May 30, Monday

Posted by Chika On 2:17 PM
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planting hope
for Fukushima -
planting sunflowers



The plants are reported to be effective in absorbing radioactive substances from soil.
. Sunflowers and Radioactivity .

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Gabi reports:

TEPCO prepares for hard rain at Fukushima plant
and at 12:50
Work suspended at Fukushima plant due to hard rain
. . . and also
Professor Shunichi Yamashita of Nagasaki University says there's no need to prepare for radioactive rain.
. Typhoon Nr. 2, Songda .

We had strong rain and wind over night, but now, about six in the morning, it became quiet, hopefully to stay. There is a lot of damage in many parts of Japan as the weather pattern moves to toward Tohoku.
A cold front from the north moved in over Okayama and brought us a wet and cold morning.
As I sit and write, I hear the birds outside enjoying a break in the rain.

. . . . .

23,795 people are dead or missing
. . . 5,269 people confirmed dead
102,501 evacuees still living in shelters

. . . . .

A group of carpenters from a coastal town has started to build a large shed and office building out of scrap. They have collected a lot of beams, logs, panels and plates from the debris that could be re-used for building or repairing homes. They want them to be under a roof for protection. They can not get permission to build from the town office, because that has been swept away by the tsunami.
So they decided to go ahead anyway.
Many locals are waiting for their help in repairing what is left.

. . . . .

Parties working on no-confidence motion
Prime Minister Naoto Kan 菅直人
and
Ten weeks after the earthquake and tsunami, it’s tempting to give Japan a new name:
Tepco Nation. (William Pesek).
I try to follow the political infighting here now:
. The Political Situation .

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

Sunday, May 29, 2011 23:18
Tropical storm brings heavy rain to Japan
A tropical storm, downgraded from a typhoon, is bringing heavy rain across a large area from western to eastern Japan.
The Meteorological Agency is calling for caution against mudslides.
The agency says the typhoon changed to a tropical storm around 3 PM on Sunday, after passing near southern Kyushu and reaching waters south of Shikoku.
Wet air from the south continues to blow into the front that stretches along the southern coasts of western and eastern Japan, causing heavy rain in the Shikoku, Kinki and Tokai regions.
Some parts of western Japan have had up to 250 millimeters of rainfall in the past 24 hours, heightening the risk of landslides.
Winds of up to 117 kilometers per hour were observed in Okayama Prefecture.
Wet air from the south is expected to hit cold air from the north above Honshu through Monday, and some parts of western and eastern Japan will have 50 to 70 millimeters of rainfall per hour. Heavy rain is also likely along the Pacific coast of the Tohoku region.
Gusts of up to 90 kilometers per hour are expected along the Pacific coast of western Japan through Monday. Waves will top 6 meters on the Pacific coast of eastern and western Japan as well as the Tohoku region.
Quake-hit areas have become vulnerable to mudslides and floods due to the loosening of the ground.
The agency is warning of possible flooding in low-lying areas, overflowing rivers, strong winds and high waves.


Monday, May 30, 2011 06:05
Cooling system restored at No.5 reactor
A broken pump has been replaced at the Number 5 reactor of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, and the temperature inside the reactor has started to decline.
The reactor has been in a state of cold shutdown.
An employee patrolling the facility noticed around 9 PM on Saturday that the pump was not working.
The pump sends sea water to the cooling system of the reactor and the spent fuel storage pool. Its failure caused the water temperature inside the reactor to rise from 68 degrees Celsius at 9 PM on Saturday to 94 degrees at noon on Sunday. The water temperature inside the spent fuel storage pool rose from 41 to 46 degrees.
Tokyo Electric Power Company, which operates the plant, began replacing the failed pump at 8 AM on Sunday, and restored the cooling functions before 1 PM.
The water temperature inside the reactor reached 94.8 degrees before the work was completed. It fell to 76.5 degrees by 2 PM, and the temperature of the spent fuel storage pool has also stabilized.
The utility says it will investigate the cause of the failure, as it continues to monitor the temperatures inside the reactor and the pool.
TEPCO did not release information on the trouble and the repair work until Sunday morning.
TEPCO senior official Junichi Matsumoto said on Sunday the company did not start repair work until Sunday morning due to safety concerns.
He said TEPCO told the government and the prefecture about the problems on Saturday night.
Matsumoto added that the company will make efforts to tell the public about troubles as early as possible.

Monday, May 30, 2011 06:05
Radioactive level up again at reactor water intake
The operator of the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant says it has detected higher levels of radioactive materials in seawater samples taken near the water intake at one of the reactors.
Tokyo Electric Power Company says it detected 24 becquerels of radioactive iodine-131 per cubic centimeter in samples collected near the water intake for the Number 2 reactor on Saturday.
The figure is 600 times higher than the national limit, though levels at the spot had been falling. A day earlier, a level 130 times the limit was detected.
TEPCO says the level of radioactive cesium is also rising at that spot, though the level of that substance had been falling, too.
The samples were taken at the same site where iodine-131 at a level 7.5 million times the limit was detected on April 2nd.
TEPCO says the reason for the upward trend is not yet clear, and that it will monitor the situation closely.
Radioactivity levels have been falling at other spots, such as offshore areas and the water intake at the Number 3 reactor.
.
Monday, May 30, 2011 07:04
High radioactivity level at No. 2 reactor
The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant says the radioactivity level and humidity are high in the Number 2 reactor building, which will make internal operations hard.
Workers entered the building last week to measure humidity and to gauge levels of radioactive substances in the atmosphere.
The results show the Number 2 reactor building's radioactive cesium level is twice as high as the cesium level in air not purified in the Number 1 reactor building. Steam is filling the Number 2 building, and humidity has reached 99.9 percent.
The high humidity means an air purification unit cannot be used to lower the level of radioactivity.
In order to cool the spent fuel storage pool that's causing the steam, TEPCO will put in place a heat exchanger on Tuesday to serve as a cooling system.
But TEPCO does not know how effective the system will be, so it will be a while before it can install the purifier to lower the radioactivity level.


Monday, May 30, 2011 13:44
Milk cows moved outside Fukushima evacuation zone
Dairy farmers have begun moving cows out of a village in the evacuation zone for the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident.
The move came after radiation levels in raw milk from Iitate Village and part of Kawamata Town cleared the government's safety standards. A ban on the shipment of raw milk was lifted last Wednesday on the condition that these cows are kept outside the evacuation zone.
Farmer Masatsugu Shiga had his 7 cows transported out of the village in a truck on Monday.
Shiga says he is relieved that his cows can survive in a different place but he is angry that he could have continued dairy farming if it had not been for the nuclear accident.
A cooperative mainly made up of dairy farmers in Fukushima Prefecture says the remaining 150 cows in this part of the evacuation zone are scheduled to be moved out by the end of this week.


Monday, May 30, 2011 14:19
Heavy rain along Pacific coast of Tohoku
A storm downgraded from a typhoon is bringing heavy rain and strong winds to Japan's disaster-stricken Pacific Coast on Monday.
The Meteorological Agency says about 13 millimeters of rain was recoded in Iwate and Fukushima prefectures during one hour by Monday noon. In Ishinomaki City, Miyagi Prefecture, gusts of up to 125 kilometers per hour were recorded shortly after 11 AM.
In Ohi Town, Fukui Prefecture, on the Japan Sea Coast, 370 millimeters of rain was recorded over 24 hours to 7 AM on Monday. The amount is the highest since records began.
The weather agency says the risk of landslides remains high in Fukui Prefecture and the disaster-stricken prefectures of Miyagi, Fukushima and Ibaraki. Kyoto and Nagano Prefectures could experience flooding.
The low pressure system that brought the heavy rain is expected to move toward the east off the coast of Japan's main island, Honshu.
Heavy rain and thunderstorms are forecast for Monday afternoon in northeastern Japan along the Pacific Coast of Tohoku.
The Meteorological Agency is calling for caution against mudslides, flooding and high waves. Particularly, caution is needed due to the loosening or sinking of the ground in the areas affected by the March earthquake.


Monday, May 30, 2011 16:03
Radiation exposure for 2 workers may exceed limit
Two workers at the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant may have been exposed to high levels of radiation exceeding the safety limit set by the government.
If confirmed, these are the first cases of radiation exposure since the health ministry raised the limit in March following the accident.
Tokyo Electric Power Company said on Monday the 2 workers are men. One is in his 30s and the other in his 40s. Both worked at the control rooms of the Number 3 and 4 reactors, and elsewhere, after the accident broke out at the plant.
TEPCO said a test conducted at an institute last Monday found 9,760 becquerels and 7,690 becquerels of radioactive iodine-131 in the workers' thyroids. This means they are likely suffering from internal radiation exposure after inhaling radioactive substances.
These figures are more than tenfold the other workers.
It was confirmed that the 2 contaminated workers have been exposed to external radiation of 74 and 89 millisieverts so far.
TEPCO said these combined readings suggest that the 2 may have been exposed to radiation levels exceeding the safety limit of 250 millisieverts set for emergency situations.
TEPCO says that so far, the workers have not complained of health problems.
. later at 21:00
Fukushima workers exposed to high radiation
The operator of the damaged nuclear power plant in Fukushima has been slow in checking workers at the plant for internal exposure to radiation.
Tokyo Electric Power Company began internal checks-ups on March 22nd, 11 days after the nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.
It takes about a week to get the results of a check-up. Workers go to the utility's Fukushima Daini nuclear plant or its Onahama Coal Center in Iwaki City in Fukushima Prefecture for the screening.
To date, less than 40 percent of about 3,700 workers at the damaged Daiichi plant have received internal check-ups for radiation exposure.
TEPCO says 2 workers may have been exposed to more than 250 milisieverts of radiation, the new limit for emergencies set shortly after the disaster erupted. The 2 had been at the plant since the March 11th earthquake and tsunami that caused the nuclear disaster, but had their first internal check-up in mid-April --- more than a month later.
TEPCO says 30 workers have been externally exposed to more than 100 millisieverts of radiation.
Two of them were exposed on March 24th while working with their feet soaked in radioactive water in the basement of the Number 3 reactor's turbine building. One was found to have been internally exposed to 240.8 millisieverts of radiation and the other to 226.6 millisieverts, the highest levels in the checks so far.
TEPCO uses 4 devices to measure internal radiation exposure. It plans to introduce 5 more devices in July.
.
Internal exposure concerns
Japan's Nuclear Safety Commission has expressed concerns about internal radiation exposure for workers at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
High levels of radioactive substances have been detected in the bodies of 2 workers at the plant.
After a meeting on Monday, commission member Shizuyo Kusumi told reporters that the organization had concerns about whether protective masks can fully protect workers from internal exposure.
She added that the commission would study the two cases based on data to be sent from the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency.
Another member, Osamu Oyamada, noted the need for comprehensive management of the work environment, saying a better environment should be in place before the summer.
He also said consideration should be given to the effects of the summer heat on workers' health, while keeping radiation exposure to a minimum.


Monday, May 30, 2011 18:44
Radiation exceeds limit in Iitate & Namie
The science ministry says the accumulative radiation exposure level has exceeded the government limit for evacuation at two locations more than 20 kilometers from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
The ministry said on Monday that the cumulative exposure had reached 20 millisieverts in a district in the mountain village of Iitate, Fukushima Prefecture. The district is about 33 kilometers northwest of the plant.
On Sunday, the ministry said that total radiation exposure had exceeded 35 millisieverts at one location in Namie Town, 31 kilometers northwest of the plant.
Both Iitate and Namie are within the expanded evacuation zone, where residents have been asked to leave due to concerns over dangerous levels of radiation.
The ministry installed radiation monitors at 15 locations in the zone on March 23rd to check the level of cumulative exposure.
The average radiation exposure from Japan's natural environment is about one millisievert a year.
In April, the government expanded the evacuation zone around the plant to additional areas since residents there could be exposed to cumulative radiation levels of 20 millisieverts or more per year if they stay.
Some people in the area have evacuated, and the rest of the residents are being asked to leave by the end of May.


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Voices from around


. Daily Radiation Levels .  

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Japan Times :

Pump failure nearly brings No. 5 to a boil
The seawater pump in the cooling system for the Fukushima power plant's No. 5 reactor broke down Saturday evening, prompting repair crews to install a backup pump 15 hours later on Sunday afternoon, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said.
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20110530a1.html


Stabilizing reactors by year's end may be impossible: Tepco
Stabilizing the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant by the end of the year may be impossible, senior officials at Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Sunday, throwing a monkey wrench into plans to let evacuees return to their homes near the plant.
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20110530a2.html


East Asia tourism chiefs OK joint plans for crises
Tourism ministers from Japan, China and South Korea agreed Sunday to jointly work out crisis management guidelines to address critical events that negatively affect tourism, such as natural disasters and outbreaks of infectious diseases.
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20110530a3.html


Changing Japan's system to handle the 'unexpected'
... these crises also revealed vulnerability in the fundamental system that the Japanese have long relied upon; a flaw that no one had the courage to address even while knowing something was wrong.
While there were many willing and committed people on the ground, it was a disappointment for Japanese people to see the fragile chain of command in crisis management as well as an indecisive political/industrial leadership.

Furthermore, Japanese people are furious that the very system built to protect them has instead allowed the manipulation of safety standards and tolerated the existence of collusive relationship among politics, bureaucracy, industry, and academia, which was embraced and encouraged by Tokyo Electric Power Co. (Tepco) campaign money and its propaganda.
...
Powerful lobbyists often discourage people from voicing their concerns by informally threatening them with retaliation or being intimidating them with nasty, negative campaigns.
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/eo20110530a2.html


Bedfellows of those 'lax,' 'insular' Japanese
HIROAKI SATO
... the regulators "colluded" with the regulated not to reveal the possible flaw pointed out by "an outsider," a Japanese-American inspector working for General Electric — without mentioning that GE was the designer of the troubled nuclear reactors. For that matter, they did not refer to the March 15 ABC News article, "Fukushima: Mark 1 Nuclear Reactor Design Caused GE Scientist to Quit in Protest." The protest and resignation happened 35 years ago.
...
Is complicity, along with collusion, one distinguishing trait of Japanese "culture"? It definitely is not. Remember the torrents of news articles on the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill last year?
... To go back to Onishi and Belson, "insularity" is one of the half-dozen words with which foreigners have long delighted in saying the Japanese are a race apart — since Ruth Benedict's "The Chrysanthemum and the Sword."
And many Japanese, lest they disappoint them, have aped them.
Read this interesting article :
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/eo20110530hs.html

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