May 27, Friday

Posted by Chika On 3:24 PM
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Beer Fes
Beer Festivals to Help Tohoku !
. Source:  www.beertaster.org


. WASHOKU : local beer from Japan

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Gabi reports:

It was raining most of the day, typhoon Nr. 2 is approaching.
I was out all day.

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Bulletins from NHK Online
source : www3.nhk.or.jp

Wednesday, April 27, 2011 06:29
Experts: Quakes increased before March 11 disaster
Experts say increased seismic activities in the Pacific Ocean in recent years may have been a sign of the massive quake of March 11th.
The Coordinating Committee for Earthquake Prediction, which consists of experts from universities and research institutes, met on Tuesday to discuss last month's quake and tsunami. A Tohoku University research group said seismic activities started to increase off eastern prefectures from Miyagi to Ibaraki about 3 years before the massive quake.
Nagoya University Professor Koshun Yamaoka 山岡耕春 said research by a national institute shows that the focuses of small quakes in the 2 days before March 11th gradually moved closer to the focus of the massive earthquake.
Professor Yamaoka said these seismic activities may have been an indicator of the mega-quake that followed.
The Geospatial Information Authority of Japan 国土地理院 said coastal areas of Miyagi and Chiba prefectures sank during the huge quake, but some rose 5 to 8 centimeters afterwards. The authority said tectonic plates have continued to shift since the massive quake.
CCEP Vice Deputy Chairman and Tohoku University Graduate School Professor Toru Matsuzawa 松澤暢 told reporters that relatively big earthquakes struck off Japan's northeast during a short period in the past, but the huge quake was beyond prediction. He said his group will closely monitor seismic activities and tectonic movements.


Friday, May 27, 2011 06:47
Antiscattering chemical to be sprayed on buildings
The operator of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant will spray an anti-scattering agent onto its buildings to prevent radioactive dust from spreading.
Radioactive dust appears to be scattered on the reactor buildings and turbine buildings due to the explosions last month. The containment work is scheduled to begin on Friday. The chemical hardening agent selected for the task is usually used to contain asbestos.
Tokyo Electric Power Company says it will use two fire engines to spray the chemical onto building walls.
However, TEPCO says it cannot spray all the walls because debris still blocks access to some areas.
Since April, a chemical hardening agent has been sprayed over the ground and debris to prevent radioactive dust from being blown away.
However, the chemical won't be applied to all areas because if it gets inside the pool that contains spent fuel rods it might interfere with the circulation of cooling water.
Prevention of radioactive substances from spreading to the air and ground is one of the main goals of the utility's plan to stabilize the reactors.
TEPCO is also planning to put covers over the reactor buildings.
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TEPCO may need to plug leak at Fukushima plant
The operator of the Fukushima nuclear power plant says highly radioactive water continues to leak from a waste disposal facility in the complex.
Tokyo Electric Power Company said on Friday that the water level had dropped by around 3 centimeters as of 7 AM from the level observed at 5 PM on Thursday.
TEPCO had transferred to the facility some of the highly radioactive water flooding the basement of the No.3 reactor's turbine building and nearby tunnel, before it suspended the work earlier this week.
On Thursday, the transferred water was found to be leaking into an underground passage to another building.
The utility firm says it is likely that the water level in the facility will stop falling, but added that it may need to plug the leaks.
The work is expected to be difficult as radiation levels of up to 70 millisieverts per hour have been detected on the water's surface.
TEPCO also faces the urgent task of preventing the contaminated water around the No.3 reactor from spilling into the sea or underground.
. . . 19:45
Workers check contaminated water in No.1 reactor
Workers have entered one of the damaged Fukushima reactor buildings to survey a pool of radioactive water that the plant operator plans to recycle as a coolant.
The No.1 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is thought to have suffered a meltdown after the March 11th earthquake and tsunami.
Highly contaminated water is apparently leaking from holes created in the pressure and containment vessels, flooding the building's basement.
Workers entered the reactor building on Friday, preparing to pump out the leaked water before cooling it and sending it back to the reactor.
In the morning, 8 workers lowered a sensor into the basement to measure the water's depth. Five other workers then collected samples for analysis.
In the afternoon, different workers attached a hose to the pool for spent nuclear fuel on the 3rd floor. The hose will be part of the pool's new heat exchange system that is due to be installed around July.
Highly radioactive water is also accumulating in other reactor buildings, and some is being pumped into storage at a waste water disposal facility.
However, water from the No.3 reactor building is apparently leaking from the storage site into a passage leading to another building. Workers are monitoring the flow of water, and aim to prevent it seeping into the ground.


Friday, May 27, 2011 10:11
Radiation monitors given to Kawamata children
A town near the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant will distribute dosimeters to all school children and monitor their radiation exposure.
Kawamata Town will deliver the dosimeters to about 1,500 children at local kindergartens, day care centers, elementary and junior high schools. Part of the town falls within the evacuation zone around the stricken plant.
Children will be asked to put on the monitors to measure their radiation exposure. The data will be sent once a month to laboratories to check their cumulative levels of exposure.
The dosimeters will be provided by Kinki University, which has proposed to measure radiation levels of soil on school grounds.
The Fukushima prefectural board of education says this will be the first municipality in the prefecture to provide radiation gauges to every child.
The town's board of education says it hopes the move will help to ease the fears of parents.


Friday, May 27, 2011 13:45
Govt to reduce school ground radiation levels
Japan's education minister says the government will strive to keep cumulative radiation levels at school grounds in Fukushima Prefecture below one millisievert per year. The prefecture is home to the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
Yoshiaki Takaki 高井吉明 also told reporters on Friday that if the levels exceed a benchmark of one microsievert per hour, the topsoil will be removed, and most of the cost will be paid for by the government.
Removing the surface soil is said to be an effective method of limiting the radiation exposure of children who use the school grounds.
The government had earlier set a yearly limit of 20 millisieverts of accumulated external radiation for children taking part in outdoor activities. But parents have protested the decision.
Twenty millisieverts per year is in line with the levels set by the International Commission for Radiological Protection when dealing with emergency situations, although it recommends one millisievert per year as a benchmark.
Fukushima Governor Yuhei Sato 佐藤雄平 welcomed the decision. He stressed that the government should shoulder the cost of achieving the goal, saying that nuclear power generation has been promoted as a national policy.

Fukushima begins to decontaminate school grounds
Work has begun to remove radioactive contaminated topsoil from school grounds in Fukushima Prefecture, where efforts are continuing to bring the disaster-stricken nuclear power plant under control.
The decontamination work began in 26 elementary and junior high schools in Fukushima City on Friday.
In one, Watari Elementary School, the top 5 centimeters or so of soil will be scraped off and replaced with uncontaminated earth.
The municipality says it expects the removal of the topsoil to substantially lower radiation levels at the school to about 0.6 microsieverts per hour from Friday's reading of 3.0 microsieverts per hour.


Friday, May 27, 2011 14:11
190,000 get radioactive screenings
Fukushima Prefecture, location of the troubled nuclear power plant, says it had conducted radioactive screenings of more than 190,000 people by Wednesday.
That is about one-tenth of the prefecture's population.
The prefecture began the screening service at welfare centers and other locations on March 13th. It uses special equipment to scan a person's entire body and even the soles of the shoes for radioactive contamination.
The prefecture says many of those who come for the screenings are residents with health concerns or persons who make business trips to the prefecture and want to be checked before leaving.
A Fukushima resident in his 60s who received the test on Friday said he was relieved to find he was not contaminated.


Friday, May 27, 2011 17:25
First foreign cargo arrives in Miyagi after quake
A foreign cargo ship has docked in Miyagi Prefecture for the first time since the devastating earthquake and tsunami of March 11th.
The Panamanian-registered freighter, Global Splendour, sailed into Sendai-Shiogama port on Friday, carrying 10,000 tons of coal.
Many foreign ships have stopped calling at the port after the nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, south of the terminal. Sendai-Shiogama is officially one of Japan's major international ports.
Miyagi Prefecture has tried to contain what it says are groundless fears about radioactive contamination by providing radiation readings at the port. Authorities are also working to restore facilities in an effort to encourage foreign cargo ships to return.
A port official says a survey shows the area has not been affected by radiation.
The official added that he hopes more vessels, both Japanese and foreign, will return to the port, as the recovery of the facility and its transport and logistics businesses is critical for the local economy.


Friday, May 27, 2011 17:25
Japanese auto output dives 60% in April
Domestic vehicle production by Japanese automakers plunged in April, following the March earthquake and tsunami.
Eight leading automakers announced on Friday that they produced a total of 279 thousand vehicles in April, a drop of 60 percent from the same month last year.
The March disaster forced domestic assembly lines to either stop operating or reduce output due to parts shortages.
The fall was largest for Honda at 81 percent, followed by Toyota at more than 78 percent and Mazda at nearly 50 percent. Nissan cut back by almost 49 percent.
Despite the bleak figures, automakers say vehicle production has picked up since the start of this month, and are hoping to return to pre-disaster levels by autumn.
They say reconstruction is progressing well at electronic component factories in the disaster-hit regions. The carmakers have also found alternative sources for parts.


Friday, May 27, 2011 19:45
IAEA team inspects Fukushima nuclear plant
A team from the International Atomic Energy Agency has inspected the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant to see damage caused by the March 11th quake and tsunami.
The 18 experts from Britain, France and other countries have been in Japan since Tuesday to investigate the accident at the plant.
On Friday, the team, headed by Mike Weightman, first visited nuclear facilities at the Fukushima Daini plant, which is south of the Daiichi plant.
The head of the Daiichi plant briefed the members on how a series of problems has developed and how the plant's operator has responded.
The team later went to the Daiichi plant to check the buildings of the plant's Number one to Number 4 reactors.
They were also told about an emergency diesel generator at the plant's Number 6 reactor, whose operations had been safely halted.
The team plans to submit a report on its inspection to Japan's government on June 1st.


Friday, May 27, 2011 21:15
G8 calls for new nuclear safety standards
Leaders of the Group of Eight industrial countries have called on the International Atomic Energy Agency to establish new international standards for nuclear power plants, following the Fukushima Daiichi accident in Japan.
In the joint declaration, the leaders urge the IAEA to create new international standards for the construction and operation of nuclear power plants in areas of high risk, including threats posed by terrorism and earthquakes.
The document says the major industrial countries should toughen treaties related to nuclear safety.
It also notes the need to take into account locations when new plants are built, to avoid a concentration of reactors, which has compounded problems at the Fukushima plant.
In addition, the G8 countries recognize the resilience of the Japanese economy and Japan pledges to make every effort to minimize the impact of the disaster on the global economy.
They also call on member countries to base trade and travel restrictions on scientific grounds alone, addressing import bans imposed by some countries on Japanese products after the nuclear accident.


Friday, May 27, 2011 21:15
Chinese tourists to Okinawa to get multiple visas
The Japanese government is to allow Chinese tourists to visit Okinawa Prefecture on multiple-entry visas beginning July 1st.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano announced the decision on Friday, enabling Chinese citizens with sufficient purchasing power to visit Okinawa as many times as they want during the visa's period of validity.
The decision is aimed at persuading rich individual Chinese tourists to visit Okinawa to stimulate the local economy there.
Edano said the government made the decision after taking a request from Okinawa into consideration.

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Voices from around


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Japan Times :

Kan sets 20% target for renewable energy
Prime Minister Kan vows to dramatically change national energy policy by setting a goal of having 20 percent of Japan's electricity come from renewable resources by the 2020s.
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20110527a1.html


Fukushima No. 1 eyed as site for nuke fuel graveyard
The Atomic Energy Society of Japan is mulling the idea of making the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant a storage site for radioactive waste from the crippled facility.
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20110527n1.html


Tepco now says reactor seawater injection wasn't halted
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20110527a3.html

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