July 1, Friday

Posted by Chika On 2:30 PM 0 comments
[ . BACK to TOP of this BLOG. ]
:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Gabi reports:

A young man worked in a car repair factory when the tsunami hit.
He had not much time, so just jumped on the hood of the car and hold on to dear life. The car was lifted up by the swirling waters, higher and higher, until just a few centimeters below the ceiling of the repair hall.
Can you imagine the thoughts that went through his head at this moment?
And then the water receeded, leaving him clinging to the car, on the ground now, in the midst of incredible rubble and debris.
That was March 11, 2011.

Yesterday we saw him on TV, working in Kurashiki, Okayama. The company had offered to give him work here (Kurashiki is about one hour's drive from my home.) Now he lives alone, trying to make new friends here while fostering the bonds with his family in Tohoku.

He learned about the hand fans (uchiwa 団扇 ) made in Marugame, a town just over the bridge on the island of Shikoku. He could get the maker to make a donation of 1000 fans, which he packed in his car today to drive to his hometown. People still living in the school sports hall as evacuees are having a hard time now with the heat and humidity.
Even a small breeze from a handfan is welcome.



. Handfans from Marugame 丸亀


a cooling breeze
floats toward Tohoku -
Marugame fans


.................................................................................

It is raining again this morning, and more rain to come.

Since today, power saving is the theme of the day (or rather the months to come).

15% power cut required for large users on Friday
. Energy saving 節電 setsuden - INFO

. . . . .

Mr. Kan's thoughtless headhunting
. The Political Situation .  INFO .

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

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

Friday, July 01, 2011 07:59
Govt to warn of possible rolling blackouts
The Japanese government plans to issue a public warning that rolling blackouts may occur when peak demand for electricity is projected to reach the supply amount.
Tokyo Electric Power Company will be able to provide 53.8 million kilowatts this summer. This is lower than last summer's peak demand of 60 million kilowatts.
Tohoku Electric Power Company will be able to supply 13.7 million kilowatts this summer which is 1.1 million kilowatts short of last summer's peak demand.
The government is asking households and businesses to cut electricity use by 15 percent compared with last year in order to avoid a massive blackout.
If it appears that electricity consumption will reach close to 97 percent of maximum supply, the government plans to issue a public warning at around 6 PM on the previous day about possible rolling blackouts.
In that case, the government will also call on households and companies to further reduce power use.


Friday, July 01, 2011 01:40
Circulation cooling system works again
The newly installed reactor cooling system at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has resumed working after a 5-hour suspension due to mechanical trouble.
The operator of the crippled plant, Tokyo Electric Power Company, TEPCO, says a French-made water-decontamination device, which is part of the cooling system, stopped automatically on Thursday afternoon. An alarm system was set off within 10 minutes.
TEPCO says after repairing the device and doing test runs, it resumed operating on Thursday evening.
The system that decontaminates and re-uses the plant's radioactive water is considered key to the stable cooling of the reactors. Although the cooling system had stopped, the utility says the decontaminated water continued to pour into the reactors.
The company says the alarm device indicated the level of decontaminated water inside one tank was too low, and a gas exhaust had malfunctioned.
TEPCO is trying to find out why the alarm system was set off, and the cause of the other troubles.
Since its start on Monday, the cooling system has suffered a series of problems including leaky piping.


Friday, July 01, 2011 10:43
Another worker exposed to high radiation
Tests have revealed that another worker at the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has been exposed to radiation doses exceeding 100 millisieverts. Before the accident in March, 100 millisieverts was the maximum radiation exposure permitted in an emergency situation.
Tokyo Electric Power Company, the operator of the plant, submitted a report to the heath ministry on Thursday. The utility checked the radiation exposure of about half of the 4,300 people who started working at the plant in April.
TEPCO says none of the workers has been exposed to doses exceeding the legal limit of 250 millisieverts set by the government for emergency situations.
But one worker was exposed to 111 millisieverts, while the readings for 9 other people were between 50 and 100 millisieverts.
The health ministry instructed the utility to promptly carry out tests on the remaining half of the workers and report back by July 13th.
TEPCO has nearly completed checking the people who were working at the plant in March. The checks found that 3 of them had been exposed to doses exceeding the 250-millisievert emergency limit, while 4 others were suspected to having surpassed that limit.
The limit radiation exposure was raised from 100 millisieverts to 250 millisieverts after the Fukushima accident to secure enough time for workers at the plant to bring the situation under control.


Friday, July 01, 2011 11:43
TEPCO to enhance manual on coolant system
The operator of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says it will improve the content of operation manuals for a newly introduced reactor coolant system. The move is intended to prevent human errors from causing suspension of the cooling operation.
On Monday, Tokyo Electric Power Company started using the system, which is designed to decontaminate and recycle highly radioactive water that is being used to cool all three troubled reactors. The work was suspended several times due to water leaks and other problems.
The company says human errors, including mistakes in handling valves, were largely responsible for the trouble.
It says that the new system was hastily built by piecing together various technologies from Japan and abroad. It added that workers have not been given enough time and training to get used to operating and maintaining the system.
The company says it will improve the content of the operation manuals with an eye toward eliminating human errors while it continues operations to cool the reactors.


Friday, July 01, 2011 11:43
BOJ Tankan: Business confidence down after quake
The Bank of Japan's latest quarterly Tankan survey shows that business confidence has tumbled since the March 11th disaster.
The headline index for large manufacturers stood at minus 9 points during the April-June quarter. That's down 15 points from the March survey, and is the first negative figure in 15 months. ...


Friday, July 01, 2011 12:19
Radioactivity survey ship leaves for Fukushima
A research ship has left Tokyo to survey the spread of radioactive substances into the ocean from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

The ship belonging to Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology left Toyoumi Wharf in Tokyo Bay on Friday morning. About 30 specialists in ocean observation and marine biology are onboard the Umitaka-maru. 海鷹丸
In cooperation with a fisheries research organization and other groups, the ship will collect seafloor samples off Fukushima to study the impact of radioactive substances on fish and plankton. The research will focus on shellfish and sandworms on the seabed that are believed to be susceptible to radioactive materials.
Professor Takashi Ishimaru 石丸隆, the team's leader, says it's important to provide accurate information because without data, people tend to become suspicious and they might create groundless rumors.
Ishimaru says he hopes the results of the survey will help scientists learn how fish and shellfish absorb radioactive substances.
The ship is to arrive off Fukushima on Saturday and will continue its activities until July 8th.


Friday, July 01, 2011 13:33
Human error blamed for cooling system halt
Tokyo Electric Power Company says human error was responsible for the latest problems with a water-decontamination device at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
The French-made device automatically stopped operating on Thursday afternoon after an alarm system was triggered. It resumed operation 5 hours later.
On Friday, TEPCO blamed the trouble on flawed programming of water levels in a tank that contains processed water. It says workers mistakenly set the water level at 3 percent of capacity, rather than 30 percent. As a result, water levels dropped rapidly and caused the device to stop operation.
TEPCO on Monday started the operation of a new cooling system that is expected to play a key role in stabilizing the crippled reactors.
But the system, which is designed to recycle cooling water after removing radiation from it, has been suspended several times.
Trouble has been occurring particularly frequently with the decontamination device, mainly because of human error.
TEPCO says the decontamination system had been operating just 55 percent of the time as of Tuesday.
The company said it will also take the step of improving operation manuals for the cooling system as a way of eliminating human errors.


Friday, July 01, 2011 15:19
113 households in Date City advised to evacuate
The city of Date in Fukushima Prefecture sent 113 households written notices on Friday to recommend that they evacuate.
On Thursday, the central government designated the 113 households as areas with radioactive hotspots despite being outside the government-designated evacuation zone around the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
The cumulative radiation is expected to reach the government standard of 20 millisieverts a year in areas that include the 113 households in 4 districts in the Ryozenmachi area. Date City is about 50 kilometers northwest of the plant.
The city is asking the 113 households if they plan to evacuate and to return their answers by July 8th.
The city says it will provide subsidies for rental accommodation, adding that about 40 municipal housing units are available.


Friday, July 01, 2011 14:48
Robot deployed at Fukushima reactor for cleaning
Tokyo Electric Power Company has put a robot inside a highly radioactive facility at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant to decontaminate the site.
The No.3 reactor building has been filled with highly radioactive sand, dust and rubble since it was badly damaged in a hydrogen explosion in March.
The radiation level inside the facility is 170 millisieverts per hour at its peak. The high radiation is preventing workers from going inside and taking steps to prevent fresh explosions.
On Friday, TEPCO sent a US-made remote-controlled robot fitted with a vacuum cleaner inside the building.
An operator is manipulating the robot to make it clean the floor.
TEPCO plans to send a worker into the building as early as Saturday to check radiation levels. If they are sufficiently reduced, the utility hopes to prepare a nitrogen injection to prevent hydrogen explosions.


Friday, July 01, 2011 17:16
Hitachi starts power-saving shift
Leading Japanese electronics maker Hitachi has started shifting some of its operations to weekends to cope with expected power shortages.
The firm is closing its group factories in eastern Japan on Thursdays and Fridays, to operate them on weekends from July to September.
The shift is part of efforts called for by the government to cope with possible power shortages due to the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant and the closure of many reactors of other plants for safety inspections.
The government has asked large-lot users in eastern Japan to cut their power consumption by 15 percent during the summer. Violators could face fines.
On Friday, one of the firm's plants in Hitachi City, north of Tokyo, that produces turbines for thermal power stations and has about 7,000 employees was quiet, with closed gates and shutters. Hitachi says it's taking other power-saving measures such as covering walls of its office buildings with leafy plants to block sunlight.
.
Power saving begins at Tokyo Stock Exchange
The Tokyo Stock Exchange has joined other major businesses in cutting power consumption following a government appeal to save electricity during summer.
The Stock Exchange on Friday switched off 75 percent of its large electronic display board showing current stock prices. It also turned off other displays and escalators in the building. Educational tours have been suspended until September 30th.


Friday, July 01, 2011 18:30
Tokyo subway saving power
Tokyo's subway system has begun temporarily stopping air-conditioning at stations because limits have been placed on heavy electricity users from Friday.
The system run by the Tokyo government began suspending the use of air-conditioners for one and half to two hours from noon to 3 PM at nearly half of its 106 stations.
It will also reduce trains by 20 percent, except during the morning and evening rush hours, to meet aims of cutting power use by 15 percent from last summer's peak.
A company employee says he hates the summer heat. But he says that he has no other option than to put up with the expected power shortages this summer.
(It must be pure hell in this heat!)


Friday, July 01, 2011 20:02
Panel mulls damages for internal exposure
A government panel is discussing whether to compensate people suffering internal exposure to radiation from the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
At a meeting on Friday, panel leader Yoshihisa Noumi 能見善久  said discussions should be made on whether to recognize such people or those exposed to radiation but yet to develop health problems as suffering mental distress.
Some panel members said people who have been exposed to radiation can be recognized as suffering mental distress. Others said that in cases of no health damage, compensation should not be paid.
The panel decided to continue discussions, saying it is difficult to determine which radiation levels will be covered by compensation.
The members also discussed whether to compensate for damage caused by import bans on Japanese goods by foreign governments and a decrease in tourism to Japan. The panel is expected to continue discussions to wrap up its interim guidelines in late July.
The panel had already decided to compensate people who were forced to evacuate by government order after the nuclear plant accident for mental suffering.


Friday, July 01, 2011 20:16
Saga governor to decide in weeks on plant restart
The governor of Saga Prefecture in southwestern Japan has indicated that he will decide within a few weeks whether to approve the restart of reactors at a local nuclear power plant.
At the prefectural assembly on Friday, Governor Yasushi Furukawa reiterated his view that the Genkai nuclear plant is safe to operate. Two of the 4 reactors at Genkai remain halted since the nuclear disaster in Fukushima. They were offline for regular safety checks at the time.
The governor indicated his belief in the plant's safety earlier in the week, after meeting economy minister Banri Kaieda on Wednesday. The minister assured him that the government will guarantee nuclear plant safety.
Furukawa said that mid-July may be an appropriate time for a final decision on the restart, because a briefing for residents and an assembly session are scheduled in early July.
He added that he is asking Prime Minister Naoto Kan to visit Saga so that he can hear Kan's views directly before deciding. The accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant forced the suspension of many nuclear reactors across Japan.
Genkai may become the first plant to resume full operations, although safety concerns continue to occupy local authorities and residents.


:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Voices from around


. Daily Radiation Levels .  

. . . . .

Japan Times :

Cesium found in child urine tests

Small amounts of radioactive cesium are found in the urine of 10 children in the city of Fukushima, confirming their internal exposure to radiation, according to a survey by citizens' groups.
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20110701a2.html


113 households identified as radioactive hot spots
The central government designates 113 households in Date, Fukushima Prefecture, as areas with radioactive hot spots and recommends that the people living there evacuate.
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20110701a3.html


Magnitude 5.4 quake jolts Nagano, leaving 11 injured
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20110701a4.html

Last nuclear evacuees leave closed Grand Prince Akasaka hotel
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20110701a5.html

Canada inviting 150 students from disaster zone
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20110701a7.html

Defiant Tepco rallies utilities around future of nuke power
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nb20110701n1.html

Radioactive debris dilemma unresolved, growing worse
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20110701f1.html

.................................................................................

quote
TEPCO denies new leak at Fukushima plant
Radioactive tellurium-129m was detected for the first time in seawater near the water intake of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant's No. 1 reactor, Tokyo Electric Power Co., the plant operator, said June 29.
Seven hundred and twenty becquerels of the substance was detected per liter of water collected on June 4. This concentration is about 2.4 times safe levels.
Tellurium-129m has a short half-life of about 34 days. Its detection near the intake indicates the possibility of a new leak of radioactive water into the sea.
TEPCO, however, said a new leak was unlikely because there wasn't a sharp increase in other radioactive substances and because tellurium-129m was detected only at this single sampling point near the water intake.
source : asahi shinbun


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His blue T-shirt -
the color of
calm sea and mountains


Tomorrow, my son joins the Tenrikyo Church Disaster Relief Corp, will spend a week in Soma city, which is not so distant from the Fukushima Nuke Power Plants, but not within the evacuation area.

Kuniharu Shimizu
source : see haiku here

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[ . BACK to DARUMA MUSEUM TOP . ]

[ . BACK to TOP of this BLOG. ]
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July 1, Friday

Posted by Chika On 2:30 PM 0 comments
[ . BACK to TOP of this BLOG. ]
:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Gabi reports:

A young man worked in a car repair factory when the tsunami hit.
He had not much time, so just jumped on the hood of the car and hold on to dear life. The car was lifted up by the swirling waters, higher and higher, until just a few centimeters below the ceiling of the repair hall.
Can you imagine the thoughts that went through his head at this moment?
And then the water receeded, leaving him clinging to the car, on the ground now, in the midst of incredible rubble and debris.
That was March 11, 2011.

Yesterday we saw him on TV, working in Kurashiki, Okayama. The company had offered to give him work here (Kurashiki is about one hour's drive from my home.) Now he lives alone, trying to make new friends here while fostering the bonds with his family in Tohoku.

He learned about the hand fans (uchiwa 団扇 ) made in Marugame, a town just over the bridge on the island of Shikoku. He could get the maker to make a donation of 1000 fans, which he packed in his car today to drive to his hometown. People still living in the school sports hall as evacuees are having a hard time now with the heat and humidity.
Even a small breeze from a handfan is welcome.



. Handfans from Marugame 丸亀


a cooling breeze
floats toward Tohoku -
Marugame fans


.................................................................................

It is raining again this morning, and more rain to come.

Since today, power saving is the theme of the day (or rather the months to come).

15% power cut required for large users on Friday
. Energy saving 節電 setsuden - INFO

. . . . .

Mr. Kan's thoughtless headhunting
. The Political Situation .  INFO .

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

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

Friday, July 01, 2011 07:59
Govt to warn of possible rolling blackouts
The Japanese government plans to issue a public warning that rolling blackouts may occur when peak demand for electricity is projected to reach the supply amount.
Tokyo Electric Power Company will be able to provide 53.8 million kilowatts this summer. This is lower than last summer's peak demand of 60 million kilowatts.
Tohoku Electric Power Company will be able to supply 13.7 million kilowatts this summer which is 1.1 million kilowatts short of last summer's peak demand.
The government is asking households and businesses to cut electricity use by 15 percent compared with last year in order to avoid a massive blackout.
If it appears that electricity consumption will reach close to 97 percent of maximum supply, the government plans to issue a public warning at around 6 PM on the previous day about possible rolling blackouts.
In that case, the government will also call on households and companies to further reduce power use.


Friday, July 01, 2011 01:40
Circulation cooling system works again
The newly installed reactor cooling system at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has resumed working after a 5-hour suspension due to mechanical trouble.
The operator of the crippled plant, Tokyo Electric Power Company, TEPCO, says a French-made water-decontamination device, which is part of the cooling system, stopped automatically on Thursday afternoon. An alarm system was set off within 10 minutes.
TEPCO says after repairing the device and doing test runs, it resumed operating on Thursday evening.
The system that decontaminates and re-uses the plant's radioactive water is considered key to the stable cooling of the reactors. Although the cooling system had stopped, the utility says the decontaminated water continued to pour into the reactors.
The company says the alarm device indicated the level of decontaminated water inside one tank was too low, and a gas exhaust had malfunctioned.
TEPCO is trying to find out why the alarm system was set off, and the cause of the other troubles.
Since its start on Monday, the cooling system has suffered a series of problems including leaky piping.


Friday, July 01, 2011 10:43
Another worker exposed to high radiation
Tests have revealed that another worker at the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has been exposed to radiation doses exceeding 100 millisieverts. Before the accident in March, 100 millisieverts was the maximum radiation exposure permitted in an emergency situation.
Tokyo Electric Power Company, the operator of the plant, submitted a report to the heath ministry on Thursday. The utility checked the radiation exposure of about half of the 4,300 people who started working at the plant in April.
TEPCO says none of the workers has been exposed to doses exceeding the legal limit of 250 millisieverts set by the government for emergency situations.
But one worker was exposed to 111 millisieverts, while the readings for 9 other people were between 50 and 100 millisieverts.
The health ministry instructed the utility to promptly carry out tests on the remaining half of the workers and report back by July 13th.
TEPCO has nearly completed checking the people who were working at the plant in March. The checks found that 3 of them had been exposed to doses exceeding the 250-millisievert emergency limit, while 4 others were suspected to having surpassed that limit.
The limit radiation exposure was raised from 100 millisieverts to 250 millisieverts after the Fukushima accident to secure enough time for workers at the plant to bring the situation under control.


Friday, July 01, 2011 11:43
TEPCO to enhance manual on coolant system
The operator of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says it will improve the content of operation manuals for a newly introduced reactor coolant system. The move is intended to prevent human errors from causing suspension of the cooling operation.
On Monday, Tokyo Electric Power Company started using the system, which is designed to decontaminate and recycle highly radioactive water that is being used to cool all three troubled reactors. The work was suspended several times due to water leaks and other problems.
The company says human errors, including mistakes in handling valves, were largely responsible for the trouble.
It says that the new system was hastily built by piecing together various technologies from Japan and abroad. It added that workers have not been given enough time and training to get used to operating and maintaining the system.
The company says it will improve the content of the operation manuals with an eye toward eliminating human errors while it continues operations to cool the reactors.


Friday, July 01, 2011 11:43
BOJ Tankan: Business confidence down after quake
The Bank of Japan's latest quarterly Tankan survey shows that business confidence has tumbled since the March 11th disaster.
The headline index for large manufacturers stood at minus 9 points during the April-June quarter. That's down 15 points from the March survey, and is the first negative figure in 15 months. ...


Friday, July 01, 2011 12:19
Radioactivity survey ship leaves for Fukushima
A research ship has left Tokyo to survey the spread of radioactive substances into the ocean from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

The ship belonging to Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology left Toyoumi Wharf in Tokyo Bay on Friday morning. About 30 specialists in ocean observation and marine biology are onboard the Umitaka-maru. 海鷹丸
In cooperation with a fisheries research organization and other groups, the ship will collect seafloor samples off Fukushima to study the impact of radioactive substances on fish and plankton. The research will focus on shellfish and sandworms on the seabed that are believed to be susceptible to radioactive materials.
Professor Takashi Ishimaru 石丸隆, the team's leader, says it's important to provide accurate information because without data, people tend to become suspicious and they might create groundless rumors.
Ishimaru says he hopes the results of the survey will help scientists learn how fish and shellfish absorb radioactive substances.
The ship is to arrive off Fukushima on Saturday and will continue its activities until July 8th.


Friday, July 01, 2011 13:33
Human error blamed for cooling system halt
Tokyo Electric Power Company says human error was responsible for the latest problems with a water-decontamination device at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
The French-made device automatically stopped operating on Thursday afternoon after an alarm system was triggered. It resumed operation 5 hours later.
On Friday, TEPCO blamed the trouble on flawed programming of water levels in a tank that contains processed water. It says workers mistakenly set the water level at 3 percent of capacity, rather than 30 percent. As a result, water levels dropped rapidly and caused the device to stop operation.
TEPCO on Monday started the operation of a new cooling system that is expected to play a key role in stabilizing the crippled reactors.
But the system, which is designed to recycle cooling water after removing radiation from it, has been suspended several times.
Trouble has been occurring particularly frequently with the decontamination device, mainly because of human error.
TEPCO says the decontamination system had been operating just 55 percent of the time as of Tuesday.
The company said it will also take the step of improving operation manuals for the cooling system as a way of eliminating human errors.


Friday, July 01, 2011 15:19
113 households in Date City advised to evacuate
The city of Date in Fukushima Prefecture sent 113 households written notices on Friday to recommend that they evacuate.
On Thursday, the central government designated the 113 households as areas with radioactive hotspots despite being outside the government-designated evacuation zone around the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
The cumulative radiation is expected to reach the government standard of 20 millisieverts a year in areas that include the 113 households in 4 districts in the Ryozenmachi area. Date City is about 50 kilometers northwest of the plant.
The city is asking the 113 households if they plan to evacuate and to return their answers by July 8th.
The city says it will provide subsidies for rental accommodation, adding that about 40 municipal housing units are available.


Friday, July 01, 2011 14:48
Robot deployed at Fukushima reactor for cleaning
Tokyo Electric Power Company has put a robot inside a highly radioactive facility at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant to decontaminate the site.
The No.3 reactor building has been filled with highly radioactive sand, dust and rubble since it was badly damaged in a hydrogen explosion in March.
The radiation level inside the facility is 170 millisieverts per hour at its peak. The high radiation is preventing workers from going inside and taking steps to prevent fresh explosions.
On Friday, TEPCO sent a US-made remote-controlled robot fitted with a vacuum cleaner inside the building.
An operator is manipulating the robot to make it clean the floor.
TEPCO plans to send a worker into the building as early as Saturday to check radiation levels. If they are sufficiently reduced, the utility hopes to prepare a nitrogen injection to prevent hydrogen explosions.


Friday, July 01, 2011 17:16
Hitachi starts power-saving shift
Leading Japanese electronics maker Hitachi has started shifting some of its operations to weekends to cope with expected power shortages.
The firm is closing its group factories in eastern Japan on Thursdays and Fridays, to operate them on weekends from July to September.
The shift is part of efforts called for by the government to cope with possible power shortages due to the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant and the closure of many reactors of other plants for safety inspections.
The government has asked large-lot users in eastern Japan to cut their power consumption by 15 percent during the summer. Violators could face fines.
On Friday, one of the firm's plants in Hitachi City, north of Tokyo, that produces turbines for thermal power stations and has about 7,000 employees was quiet, with closed gates and shutters. Hitachi says it's taking other power-saving measures such as covering walls of its office buildings with leafy plants to block sunlight.
.
Power saving begins at Tokyo Stock Exchange
The Tokyo Stock Exchange has joined other major businesses in cutting power consumption following a government appeal to save electricity during summer.
The Stock Exchange on Friday switched off 75 percent of its large electronic display board showing current stock prices. It also turned off other displays and escalators in the building. Educational tours have been suspended until September 30th.


Friday, July 01, 2011 18:30
Tokyo subway saving power
Tokyo's subway system has begun temporarily stopping air-conditioning at stations because limits have been placed on heavy electricity users from Friday.
The system run by the Tokyo government began suspending the use of air-conditioners for one and half to two hours from noon to 3 PM at nearly half of its 106 stations.
It will also reduce trains by 20 percent, except during the morning and evening rush hours, to meet aims of cutting power use by 15 percent from last summer's peak.
A company employee says he hates the summer heat. But he says that he has no other option than to put up with the expected power shortages this summer.
(It must be pure hell in this heat!)


Friday, July 01, 2011 20:02
Panel mulls damages for internal exposure
A government panel is discussing whether to compensate people suffering internal exposure to radiation from the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
At a meeting on Friday, panel leader Yoshihisa Noumi 能見善久  said discussions should be made on whether to recognize such people or those exposed to radiation but yet to develop health problems as suffering mental distress.
Some panel members said people who have been exposed to radiation can be recognized as suffering mental distress. Others said that in cases of no health damage, compensation should not be paid.
The panel decided to continue discussions, saying it is difficult to determine which radiation levels will be covered by compensation.
The members also discussed whether to compensate for damage caused by import bans on Japanese goods by foreign governments and a decrease in tourism to Japan. The panel is expected to continue discussions to wrap up its interim guidelines in late July.
The panel had already decided to compensate people who were forced to evacuate by government order after the nuclear plant accident for mental suffering.


Friday, July 01, 2011 20:16
Saga governor to decide in weeks on plant restart
The governor of Saga Prefecture in southwestern Japan has indicated that he will decide within a few weeks whether to approve the restart of reactors at a local nuclear power plant.
At the prefectural assembly on Friday, Governor Yasushi Furukawa reiterated his view that the Genkai nuclear plant is safe to operate. Two of the 4 reactors at Genkai remain halted since the nuclear disaster in Fukushima. They were offline for regular safety checks at the time.
The governor indicated his belief in the plant's safety earlier in the week, after meeting economy minister Banri Kaieda on Wednesday. The minister assured him that the government will guarantee nuclear plant safety.
Furukawa said that mid-July may be an appropriate time for a final decision on the restart, because a briefing for residents and an assembly session are scheduled in early July.
He added that he is asking Prime Minister Naoto Kan to visit Saga so that he can hear Kan's views directly before deciding. The accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant forced the suspension of many nuclear reactors across Japan.
Genkai may become the first plant to resume full operations, although safety concerns continue to occupy local authorities and residents.


:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Voices from around


. Daily Radiation Levels .  

. . . . .

Japan Times :

Cesium found in child urine tests

Small amounts of radioactive cesium are found in the urine of 10 children in the city of Fukushima, confirming their internal exposure to radiation, according to a survey by citizens' groups.
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20110701a2.html


113 households identified as radioactive hot spots
The central government designates 113 households in Date, Fukushima Prefecture, as areas with radioactive hot spots and recommends that the people living there evacuate.
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20110701a3.html


Magnitude 5.4 quake jolts Nagano, leaving 11 injured
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20110701a4.html

Last nuclear evacuees leave closed Grand Prince Akasaka hotel
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20110701a5.html

Canada inviting 150 students from disaster zone
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20110701a7.html

Defiant Tepco rallies utilities around future of nuke power
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nb20110701n1.html

Radioactive debris dilemma unresolved, growing worse
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20110701f1.html

.................................................................................

quote
TEPCO denies new leak at Fukushima plant
Radioactive tellurium-129m was detected for the first time in seawater near the water intake of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant's No. 1 reactor, Tokyo Electric Power Co., the plant operator, said June 29.
Seven hundred and twenty becquerels of the substance was detected per liter of water collected on June 4. This concentration is about 2.4 times safe levels.
Tellurium-129m has a short half-life of about 34 days. Its detection near the intake indicates the possibility of a new leak of radioactive water into the sea.
TEPCO, however, said a new leak was unlikely because there wasn't a sharp increase in other radioactive substances and because tellurium-129m was detected only at this single sampling point near the water intake.
source : asahi shinbun


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His blue T-shirt -
the color of
calm sea and mountains


Tomorrow, my son joins the Tenrikyo Church Disaster Relief Corp, will spend a week in Soma city, which is not so distant from the Fukushima Nuke Power Plants, but not within the evacuation area.

Kuniharu Shimizu
source : see haiku here

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[ . BACK to WORLDKIGO . TOP . ]
[ . BACK to DARUMA MUSEUM TOP . ]

[ . BACK to TOP of this BLOG. ]
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June 30, Thursday

Posted by Chika On 2:38 PM 0 comments
[ . BACK to TOP of this BLOG. ]
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Beronaga ya -
Tohoku dreams
of a new future



. Beronaga べろ長 "the long tongue" .
from Fukushima


:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Gabi reports:

Save the Children Japan
Japan Earthquake and Tsunami - Emergency Response
see below
"Children's smile for recovery from earthquake"
source : Save the Children

. . . . .

. . . . . at 8:16
Earthquake M 5.5 in Nagano, Matsumoto town
. . . . . at 8.21
Earthquake M 5.1 in Nagano, same spot
. . . . . at 14:11
Earthquake M 3.9 (4) in Nagano, same spot

quote from NHK WORLD NEWS
Strong earthquake hits Nagano Prefecture
A strong earthquake hit Matsumoto City in Nagano Prefecture, central Japan, Thursday morning. The quake struck at around 8:16 AM. It registered 5-plus on the Japanese seismic scale of zero to 7 in Matsumoto, while other areas in the prefecture registered 3 to 4.
Japan's Meteorological Agency says the quake had a magnitude of 5.4, and that the epicenter was 4 kilometers below ground.
Aftershocks with a magnitude of 2 to 3 have been recorded in the region.
The agency is urging residents to be on the alert for powerful aftershocks during the next week.
The earthquake injured 9 people, 2 of them seriously.
Local train services have been partially suspended and some express trains to and from Tokyo and Nagoya were canceled.
The temblor caused cracks to the walls of a small castle tower near the main tower of centuries-old Matsumoto Castle. Both structures are designated national treasures.
The former Kaichi School, which is one of Japan's oldest elementary school buildings and a nationally-designated important property, also sustained cracks to its walls.

. . . . . at 19:22
Earthquake M 5.3 (4) off the coast of Fukushima

. . . . .

Yesterday it was again very hot in Kanto, well above 38 degrees centigrade.
Today is cloudy and we hope for some cooling rain.
But around lunchtime it is more than 30 degrees around our home - high up in the mountains.

. . . . .

10 minutes between life and death
In some villages along the coast, just after the tsunami warning, people evacuated as they were used to during drills.
They went up to the higher spots and saw a tsunami coming, in many places not going over the breakwater dams, and then receeding. So many thought that was it and started to walk back home.
After 10 minutes, the second tsunami hit - this time the BIG one - and swept over the dams, homes and people.
The new advise now is:
Do not think the first tsunami is the highest.
Wait on a safe spot.

. . . . .

- Hope and reconstruction

. Reconstruction efforts - INFO .

. . . . .

. . . . . at 16:30
I have to log off now, a heavy thunderstorm is approaching fast.
Rumbling in the sky ...
We were out of the storm quickly, but further north a huge landslide stopped the local train and more than 8000 homes were without electricity for hours.

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

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

Thursday, June 30, 2011 05:41
Progress in cooling Fukushima Daiichi spent fuel
The operator of Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant appears to be making progress in its work to stabilize the facility's spent fuel rods. Tokyo Electric Power Company says a new cooling system for the No.3 reactor's spent fuel storage pool should be functional in a week.
The March 11th accident crippled the cooling mechanisms that control reactors No.1 through No.4 and their storage pools. TEPCO has been working to install systems that will cool and circulate water inside the pools.
The utility maintains it restored full and stable cooling functions at the No.2 reactor's pool in late May.
Work to install a cooling system was completed at the No.3 reactor on Wednesday. A test-run is scheduled for Thursday.
But TEPCO hasn't been as successful with the No.4 reactor's spent fuel pool. A hydrogen explosion in March damaged water pipes that are connected to it. The company is reviewing its installation plan.
Workers entered the 5th floor of the No.4 reactor building on Wednesday for the first time since the explosion to see if other pipes can be used instead.
TEPCO hopes the work to install all of the spent fuel cooling systems will wrap up by the end of July. But it expects the problems with the No.4 reactor could make meeting that deadline a challenge..
.
TEPCO's water decontamination plan
The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has released an estimate of the amount of highly-radioactive water it expects to decontaminate in the next 3 months.
Tokyo Electric Power Company said Wednesday it plans to reduce the amount of contaminated water at the facility by some 34,000 tons. At this point, 120,000 tons have accumulated at the plant.
TEPCO started an operation on Monday to use the decontaminated wastewater as coolant and re-circulate it back into the damaged reactors.
But the procedure has been stopped twice since then because of pipe leaks. TEPCO workers temporarily halted the system on Wednesday after they detected a leak at a storage tank for decontaminated water.
The utility maintains the system holds the key to stabilizing the reactors and reducing the amount of contaminated water at the plant.
TEPCO's estimate of how much water will be filtered over the next 3 months is based on the assumption that the new setup will function at 90 percent capacity. Right now, the system is only operating at 55 percent capacity.


Thursday, June 30, 2011 05:41
Young tsunami survivors to get places to hang out
The Japanese branch of an international non-governmental organization is planning on giving children who survived the March 11th earthquake and tsunami a place to spend their free time.
Tokyo-based Save the Children Japan says it will set up a total of 300 facilities in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures.
Children living in shelters and temporary housing are said to alone most of the time because their parents are busy looking for jobs or clearing away mud and debris from their homes.
Kids in northeastern Japan will be given free access to Save the Children's facilities. An adult will always be there to supervise them.
The cost of building and managing the facilities for the next 5 years is estimated at about 12.5 million dollars. It will be covered by donations. The first facility will be built on an empty lot near temporary housing units in Rikuzentakata City in Iwate prefecture.
Save the Children Japan aims to provide a place where children can feel protected to support their parents as they try to rebuild their lives.


Thursday, June 30, 2011 12:59
Improperly set valve halts water treatment system
Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, says an improperly adjusted valve has led to a halt in the operation of a key water decontamination system at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
TEPCO has repeatedly suspended the water decontamination operation. The operation is vital to reducing the amount of highly radioactive water building up in the plant. The treated water is also circulated to cool down the reactors.
At around 7 PM on Wednesday, TEPCO had to shut down the system again after contaminated water was found overflowing in a French-made radiation removal unit. An investigation found that an incorrectly set valve is most likely to blame.
The decontamination operation resumed two hours later.
At the Number 6 reactor's turbine building, low-level contaminated water is increasing. TEPCO plans to start on Thursday afternoon transferring low-level radioactive water stored in make-shift tanks into a giant steel barge called "megafloat" attached to a quay on the plant's premises.
The tanks are nearing their full capacity of 12,000 tons. TEPCO aims to pump around 8,000 tons of contaminated water into the giant barge in three or four months.


Thursday, June 30, 2011 12:59
Fukushima evacuees given health questionnaires
Local residents who were forced to evacuate their homes because of the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant have been given questionnaires as part of a prefecture-wide health checkup.
The entire population of Fukushima Prefecture -- about 2 million people -- is to be checked for the effects of radiation.
On Thursday, prefectural officials visited an evacuation shelter and handed out questionnaires to 13 residents of Namie town, who are being checked first.
The questionnaires ask them to record the times of day they have spent indoors and outdoors since the nuclear accident.
The responses will be compared with daily radiation levels to estimate the residents' exposure.
A 28-year-old woman said it's been more than 3 months since the disaster, so it's hard for her to recall her whereabouts during all that time. She says she wishes the survey had been conducted sooner.
The prefecture will begin mailing the questionnaires to about 28,000 residents who have been given priority for the check-ups.


Thursday, June 30, 2011 12:59
TEPCO apologizes to Fukushima mayors
The new president of the Tokyo Electric Power Company has visited municipalities near the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant and apologized to their leaders.
Toshio Nishizawa had two separate meetings with Iwaki City Mayor Takao Watanabe and Hirono Town Mayor Motohoshi Yamada on Thursday.
Nishizawa apologized to them saying that the company has caused a lot of trouble and worry for people. He also said that he will do all he can to bring the situation under control as soon as possible.
At the meetings, the municipalities demanded that the company take care of people's concerns over the radioactive contamination as its top priority. They called for active disclosure of information.
They also said the company must compensate not only those who were forced to leave their homes but also those who are facing huge economic losses because of the contamination.
Nishizawa said the company will carry out the compensation process in a fair and quick way with government support.


Thursday, June 30, 2011 13:56
Carmakers begin summer power-saving
Some Japanese carmakers have started a summer-time power-saving schedule, to help deal with a possible shortage of electricity due to the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Honda Motor is closing its factory in Suzuka City, Mie Prefecture on Thursday and Friday. And Nissan Motor is doing the same with two of its factories in southern Japan.
Streets near the Honda factory were quiet on Thursday, with its gates remaining shut. Some workers volunteered to clean up the streets to use their time off.
One of the volunteers says he's worried about the new schedule, but that it would be a good chance to visit resorts.
Some children in Suzuka City were being taken to a daycare center by their fathers, instead of their mothers. One of the fathers says he will take his child to the center on the days he's not working. He says that he wants to make the most of his free time.
Other carmakers and their affiliated companies will close their production lines from Friday and then every Thursday and Friday after that during the summer. They will open them on weekends when power consumption is lower.


Thursday, June 30, 2011 15:14
Evacuees leave the Tokyo hotel due to closure
Evacuees from the March 11th disaster are leaving their temporary quarters in a Tokyo luxury hotel that was slated for demolition.
The Grand Prince Hotel Akasaka which had closed for business at the end of March accommodated more than 300 families from Fukushima Prefecture and other surrounding areas affected by the earthquake and tsunami disaster.
On Thursday, evacuees carried out their baggage and completed procedures to leave the hotel.
According to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, 80 percent or more will move to other hotels, and inns, as well as municipal housing and private dwellings rented by municipal governments. Some will return to Fukushima and other areas outside Tokyo.
Akemi Ohno who was evacuated from Fukushima Prefecture said she finds it hard to pay her expenses because she is not working at the moment. She wants to know whether she can eventually return to Fukushima.
Tokyo government official Yoshito Yashima said he wants to continue to keep evacuees informed by coordinating with the local municipalities where the people will be staying.


Thursday, June 30, 2011 17:40
Vending machines for disaster aid developed
New drink vending machines have been developed to allow consumers to donate money for areas devastated by the March 11th earthquake and tsunami.
The machines were jointly developed by the Japanese Red Cross Society and Coca-Cola Japan.
People using the machines can press buttons to donate either 10 yen, or about ten cents, or 100 yen, or about one dollar. The Red Cross is to collect the donations and send them to disaster-hit areas by the end of September.
One hundred of the machines are to be installed in 3 prefectures around Tokyo this year.
Coca-Cola Japan says it will continue to support the Red Cross by installing more of the machines across the country.


Thursday, June 30, 2011 17:51
TEPCO moves low level contaminated water
Workers at TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant have started moving low level contaminated water to a giant steel barge for storage.
The transfer from the plant's make-shift tanks started on Thursday afternoon to the barge called the "mega float." The barge is attached to a quay on the plant's premises.
The make-shift tanks have been almost full since Wednesday with low-level radioactive water pumped from the basement of the reactor Number 6 turbine building. The water is threatening to damage equipment and gauges and thus hamper cooling efforts.
TEPCO says the water is treated to lower the level of contamination before it is transferred to the barge. The utility also says it will do everything to ensure the stored water doesn't leak into the sea. The utility aims to pump around 8,000 tons of the water into the giant barge over three or four months.
The barge, 136 meters long and 46 meters wide, can hold a maximum of 10,000 tons of water.
But the company says it has no final plan to dispose of the water stored in the barge.


Thursday, June 30, 2011 18:30
15 % electricity saving starts on Friday
Japan's government says it will require major electricity users in eastern and northeastern Japan to cut their consumption by 15 percent from Friday, due to a significant drop in power supply this summer.
The cuts are mandatory for those using 500 kilowatts or more, affecting about 14,800 wholesale users in the area served by Tokyo Electric Power Company and 3,700 in that of the Tohoku Electric Power Company. Willful violators may face fines of up to 12,500 dollars.
In a campaign lasting through early autumn, all businesses and households in the areas are being asked to aim for the saving target between 9 AM and 8 PM on weekdays.
The areas have been experiencing a significant drop in electricity supply after the March 11th earthquake and tsunami damaged many power plants, including the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
The government hopes the campaign will eliminate the need for rolling blackouts.
(Even at Okayama station they have reduced the number of neon lights and will keep the temperature at 28 centigrade during the summer.)
We also saw some new vending maschines with solar panels and special green moss plates on the top to keep them cool.



Thursday, June 30, 2011 19:53
10 % consumption tax planned for the mid 2010s
Japan's government and the ruling parties have agreed to a plan to raise the consumption tax to 10 percent in stages by the mid 2010s to help pay for social security.
The plan for doubling the tax rate from the current 5 percent was endorsed at a meeting of representatives of the government and the 2 ruling parties on Thursday.
The plan calls for expanding social security programs mainly for low-income and non-regular workers, and young people.
The government initially called for raising the tax by 2015, but agreed to comply with the Democrats' request to make the schedule less specific. It also agreed to make the tax raise conditional on an economic upturn.


Thursday, June 30, 2011 20:06
Mazda releases fuel-efficient gas-powered car
Japanese automaker Mazda Motor has released a compact gasoline-powered car with the same fuel efficiency as hybrid cars.
The new Demio compact car, mounted with a 1,300 cc engine, has nearly 25 percent better mileage than its previous model. Pistons in the engine have been reshaped so as to burn gasoline more efficiently.
Mazda says Demio runs for 25 kilometers on a liter of gasoline based on new national standards. マツダ エコカー デミオ


Thursday, June 30, 2011 20:12
Radiation detected in Fukushima children's urine
A group of Japanese citizens says radioactive materials have been detected in urine of 10 children in Fukushima Prefecture, where the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is located.
The Fukushima Network for Saving Children from Radiation collected urine samples from 10 elementary to high school students in the prefecture's capital Fukushima City. The samples were analyzed by a French research organization.
The group said at a news conference in Tokyo on Thursday that radioactive cesium was found in all of the samples, and that one from an 8-year-old girl contained 1.13 becquerels of cesium-134 per liter.
The group added that the children are thought to have taken in radioactive materials released from the Fukushima Daiichi plant.
The group said the test shows clearly that children living as far as 60 kilometers from the plant are suffering internal exposure. It urged the state and prefectural governments to immediately check children in Fukushima for such exposure.
The Japanese non-profit Radiation Effects Research Foundation says no health problems due to such radiation levels have been reported, and that people should not be overly concerned.


Thursday, June 30, 2011 20:04
Workers enter No. 4 reactor building
Tokyo Electric Power Company says debris scattered inside the No. 4 reactor building at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is posing an obstacle to work to bring the crippled reactor under control. Workers entered the fifth floor of the building on Wednesday for the first time since an explosion on March 15th.
Photos taken by the workers show that most of the ceiling, except for a small part of the framework, has collapsed. Debris, steel frames, and other various things blown by the force of the explosion are scattered all over the floor.
The radiation level inside the building was less than one millisievert per hour, which TEPCO says is permissible for workers to carry out operations there.
The utility plans to install a circulatory system that will cool and circulate water inside the reactor's spent fuel storage pool. But it says one of the valves necessary to operate the system is covered by debris.
TEPCO says it will consider whether to remove the debris or attempt to work around the debris.


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Voices from around


. Daily Radiation Levels .  

. . . . .

Japan Times :

Saga closer to Genkai reactor resumption
The mayor of Genkai, Saga Prefecture, gives his approval to visiting industry minister Banri Kaieda for what would be the first restart of reactors since the radiation crisis erupted March 11 at the Fukushima No. 1 atomic plant.
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20110630a1.html

Atomic power to stay, Kepco tells investors
Kansai Electric Power Co. tells shareholders it will stick with and boost nuclear power, its main source of juice, and alternatives such as solar, wind and thermal energy would be a smaller part of the overall future mix.
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nb20110630a1.html

Hot day stokes power overload fear
Demand for electricity in Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s service area totals 45.7 million kw, about 93 percent of the utility's maximum supply capacity.
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20110630n1.html

Fukushima Hose leak again halts water unit
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20110630a2.html

Lady Gaga denies quake charity scam
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20110630a6.html

Clothiers alter job-hunt look via Super Cool Biz
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nb20110630a2.html

Shareholders' meetings hit peak with focus on postquake earnings
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nb20110630a3.html

Factory output rises, extending rebound
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nb20110630n1.html


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Since June 2011, NHK WORLD RADIO JAPAN has been soliciting Japan's traditional fixed form of poem "Haiku", under the theme "Haiku for KIBO ~To Japan, Power of Words~".

On March 11th this year, Japan was hit by an earthquake and tsunami of an unprecedented scale, triggering a nuclear accident. RADIO JAPAN solicits "Haiku" as messages for Japan. Please send us the power of words to encourage and support Japan.
"Haiku for KIBO" is a relay of "Haiku". Following the content of the "Haiku" entered before, the next person writes another "Haiku" to continue the relay.

source : www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld


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[ . BACK to WORLDKIGO . TOP . ]
[ . BACK to DARUMA MUSEUM TOP . ]

[ . BACK to TOP of this BLOG. ]
::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: 

June 30, Thursday

Posted by Chika On 2:38 PM 0 comments
[ . BACK to TOP of this BLOG. ]
:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::




Beronaga ya -
Tohoku dreams
of a new future



. Beronaga べろ長 "the long tongue" .
from Fukushima


:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Gabi reports:

Save the Children Japan
Japan Earthquake and Tsunami - Emergency Response
see below
"Children's smile for recovery from earthquake"
source : Save the Children

. . . . .

. . . . . at 8:16
Earthquake M 5.5 in Nagano, Matsumoto town
. . . . . at 8.21
Earthquake M 5.1 in Nagano, same spot
. . . . . at 14:11
Earthquake M 3.9 (4) in Nagano, same spot

quote from NHK WORLD NEWS
Strong earthquake hits Nagano Prefecture
A strong earthquake hit Matsumoto City in Nagano Prefecture, central Japan, Thursday morning. The quake struck at around 8:16 AM. It registered 5-plus on the Japanese seismic scale of zero to 7 in Matsumoto, while other areas in the prefecture registered 3 to 4.
Japan's Meteorological Agency says the quake had a magnitude of 5.4, and that the epicenter was 4 kilometers below ground.
Aftershocks with a magnitude of 2 to 3 have been recorded in the region.
The agency is urging residents to be on the alert for powerful aftershocks during the next week.
The earthquake injured 9 people, 2 of them seriously.
Local train services have been partially suspended and some express trains to and from Tokyo and Nagoya were canceled.
The temblor caused cracks to the walls of a small castle tower near the main tower of centuries-old Matsumoto Castle. Both structures are designated national treasures.
The former Kaichi School, which is one of Japan's oldest elementary school buildings and a nationally-designated important property, also sustained cracks to its walls.

. . . . . at 19:22
Earthquake M 5.3 (4) off the coast of Fukushima

. . . . .

Yesterday it was again very hot in Kanto, well above 38 degrees centigrade.
Today is cloudy and we hope for some cooling rain.
But around lunchtime it is more than 30 degrees around our home - high up in the mountains.

. . . . .

10 minutes between life and death
In some villages along the coast, just after the tsunami warning, people evacuated as they were used to during drills.
They went up to the higher spots and saw a tsunami coming, in many places not going over the breakwater dams, and then receeding. So many thought that was it and started to walk back home.
After 10 minutes, the second tsunami hit - this time the BIG one - and swept over the dams, homes and people.
The new advise now is:
Do not think the first tsunami is the highest.
Wait on a safe spot.

. . . . .

- Hope and reconstruction

. Reconstruction efforts - INFO .

. . . . .

. . . . . at 16:30
I have to log off now, a heavy thunderstorm is approaching fast.
Rumbling in the sky ...
We were out of the storm quickly, but further north a huge landslide stopped the local train and more than 8000 homes were without electricity for hours.

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

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

Thursday, June 30, 2011 05:41
Progress in cooling Fukushima Daiichi spent fuel
The operator of Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant appears to be making progress in its work to stabilize the facility's spent fuel rods. Tokyo Electric Power Company says a new cooling system for the No.3 reactor's spent fuel storage pool should be functional in a week.
The March 11th accident crippled the cooling mechanisms that control reactors No.1 through No.4 and their storage pools. TEPCO has been working to install systems that will cool and circulate water inside the pools.
The utility maintains it restored full and stable cooling functions at the No.2 reactor's pool in late May.
Work to install a cooling system was completed at the No.3 reactor on Wednesday. A test-run is scheduled for Thursday.
But TEPCO hasn't been as successful with the No.4 reactor's spent fuel pool. A hydrogen explosion in March damaged water pipes that are connected to it. The company is reviewing its installation plan.
Workers entered the 5th floor of the No.4 reactor building on Wednesday for the first time since the explosion to see if other pipes can be used instead.
TEPCO hopes the work to install all of the spent fuel cooling systems will wrap up by the end of July. But it expects the problems with the No.4 reactor could make meeting that deadline a challenge..
.
TEPCO's water decontamination plan
The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has released an estimate of the amount of highly-radioactive water it expects to decontaminate in the next 3 months.
Tokyo Electric Power Company said Wednesday it plans to reduce the amount of contaminated water at the facility by some 34,000 tons. At this point, 120,000 tons have accumulated at the plant.
TEPCO started an operation on Monday to use the decontaminated wastewater as coolant and re-circulate it back into the damaged reactors.
But the procedure has been stopped twice since then because of pipe leaks. TEPCO workers temporarily halted the system on Wednesday after they detected a leak at a storage tank for decontaminated water.
The utility maintains the system holds the key to stabilizing the reactors and reducing the amount of contaminated water at the plant.
TEPCO's estimate of how much water will be filtered over the next 3 months is based on the assumption that the new setup will function at 90 percent capacity. Right now, the system is only operating at 55 percent capacity.


Thursday, June 30, 2011 05:41
Young tsunami survivors to get places to hang out
The Japanese branch of an international non-governmental organization is planning on giving children who survived the March 11th earthquake and tsunami a place to spend their free time.
Tokyo-based Save the Children Japan says it will set up a total of 300 facilities in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures.
Children living in shelters and temporary housing are said to alone most of the time because their parents are busy looking for jobs or clearing away mud and debris from their homes.
Kids in northeastern Japan will be given free access to Save the Children's facilities. An adult will always be there to supervise them.
The cost of building and managing the facilities for the next 5 years is estimated at about 12.5 million dollars. It will be covered by donations. The first facility will be built on an empty lot near temporary housing units in Rikuzentakata City in Iwate prefecture.
Save the Children Japan aims to provide a place where children can feel protected to support their parents as they try to rebuild their lives.


Thursday, June 30, 2011 12:59
Improperly set valve halts water treatment system
Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, says an improperly adjusted valve has led to a halt in the operation of a key water decontamination system at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
TEPCO has repeatedly suspended the water decontamination operation. The operation is vital to reducing the amount of highly radioactive water building up in the plant. The treated water is also circulated to cool down the reactors.
At around 7 PM on Wednesday, TEPCO had to shut down the system again after contaminated water was found overflowing in a French-made radiation removal unit. An investigation found that an incorrectly set valve is most likely to blame.
The decontamination operation resumed two hours later.
At the Number 6 reactor's turbine building, low-level contaminated water is increasing. TEPCO plans to start on Thursday afternoon transferring low-level radioactive water stored in make-shift tanks into a giant steel barge called "megafloat" attached to a quay on the plant's premises.
The tanks are nearing their full capacity of 12,000 tons. TEPCO aims to pump around 8,000 tons of contaminated water into the giant barge in three or four months.


Thursday, June 30, 2011 12:59
Fukushima evacuees given health questionnaires
Local residents who were forced to evacuate their homes because of the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant have been given questionnaires as part of a prefecture-wide health checkup.
The entire population of Fukushima Prefecture -- about 2 million people -- is to be checked for the effects of radiation.
On Thursday, prefectural officials visited an evacuation shelter and handed out questionnaires to 13 residents of Namie town, who are being checked first.
The questionnaires ask them to record the times of day they have spent indoors and outdoors since the nuclear accident.
The responses will be compared with daily radiation levels to estimate the residents' exposure.
A 28-year-old woman said it's been more than 3 months since the disaster, so it's hard for her to recall her whereabouts during all that time. She says she wishes the survey had been conducted sooner.
The prefecture will begin mailing the questionnaires to about 28,000 residents who have been given priority for the check-ups.


Thursday, June 30, 2011 12:59
TEPCO apologizes to Fukushima mayors
The new president of the Tokyo Electric Power Company has visited municipalities near the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant and apologized to their leaders.
Toshio Nishizawa had two separate meetings with Iwaki City Mayor Takao Watanabe and Hirono Town Mayor Motohoshi Yamada on Thursday.
Nishizawa apologized to them saying that the company has caused a lot of trouble and worry for people. He also said that he will do all he can to bring the situation under control as soon as possible.
At the meetings, the municipalities demanded that the company take care of people's concerns over the radioactive contamination as its top priority. They called for active disclosure of information.
They also said the company must compensate not only those who were forced to leave their homes but also those who are facing huge economic losses because of the contamination.
Nishizawa said the company will carry out the compensation process in a fair and quick way with government support.


Thursday, June 30, 2011 13:56
Carmakers begin summer power-saving
Some Japanese carmakers have started a summer-time power-saving schedule, to help deal with a possible shortage of electricity due to the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Honda Motor is closing its factory in Suzuka City, Mie Prefecture on Thursday and Friday. And Nissan Motor is doing the same with two of its factories in southern Japan.
Streets near the Honda factory were quiet on Thursday, with its gates remaining shut. Some workers volunteered to clean up the streets to use their time off.
One of the volunteers says he's worried about the new schedule, but that it would be a good chance to visit resorts.
Some children in Suzuka City were being taken to a daycare center by their fathers, instead of their mothers. One of the fathers says he will take his child to the center on the days he's not working. He says that he wants to make the most of his free time.
Other carmakers and their affiliated companies will close their production lines from Friday and then every Thursday and Friday after that during the summer. They will open them on weekends when power consumption is lower.


Thursday, June 30, 2011 15:14
Evacuees leave the Tokyo hotel due to closure
Evacuees from the March 11th disaster are leaving their temporary quarters in a Tokyo luxury hotel that was slated for demolition.
The Grand Prince Hotel Akasaka which had closed for business at the end of March accommodated more than 300 families from Fukushima Prefecture and other surrounding areas affected by the earthquake and tsunami disaster.
On Thursday, evacuees carried out their baggage and completed procedures to leave the hotel.
According to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, 80 percent or more will move to other hotels, and inns, as well as municipal housing and private dwellings rented by municipal governments. Some will return to Fukushima and other areas outside Tokyo.
Akemi Ohno who was evacuated from Fukushima Prefecture said she finds it hard to pay her expenses because she is not working at the moment. She wants to know whether she can eventually return to Fukushima.
Tokyo government official Yoshito Yashima said he wants to continue to keep evacuees informed by coordinating with the local municipalities where the people will be staying.


Thursday, June 30, 2011 17:40
Vending machines for disaster aid developed
New drink vending machines have been developed to allow consumers to donate money for areas devastated by the March 11th earthquake and tsunami.
The machines were jointly developed by the Japanese Red Cross Society and Coca-Cola Japan.
People using the machines can press buttons to donate either 10 yen, or about ten cents, or 100 yen, or about one dollar. The Red Cross is to collect the donations and send them to disaster-hit areas by the end of September.
One hundred of the machines are to be installed in 3 prefectures around Tokyo this year.
Coca-Cola Japan says it will continue to support the Red Cross by installing more of the machines across the country.


Thursday, June 30, 2011 17:51
TEPCO moves low level contaminated water
Workers at TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant have started moving low level contaminated water to a giant steel barge for storage.
The transfer from the plant's make-shift tanks started on Thursday afternoon to the barge called the "mega float." The barge is attached to a quay on the plant's premises.
The make-shift tanks have been almost full since Wednesday with low-level radioactive water pumped from the basement of the reactor Number 6 turbine building. The water is threatening to damage equipment and gauges and thus hamper cooling efforts.
TEPCO says the water is treated to lower the level of contamination before it is transferred to the barge. The utility also says it will do everything to ensure the stored water doesn't leak into the sea. The utility aims to pump around 8,000 tons of the water into the giant barge over three or four months.
The barge, 136 meters long and 46 meters wide, can hold a maximum of 10,000 tons of water.
But the company says it has no final plan to dispose of the water stored in the barge.


Thursday, June 30, 2011 18:30
15 % electricity saving starts on Friday
Japan's government says it will require major electricity users in eastern and northeastern Japan to cut their consumption by 15 percent from Friday, due to a significant drop in power supply this summer.
The cuts are mandatory for those using 500 kilowatts or more, affecting about 14,800 wholesale users in the area served by Tokyo Electric Power Company and 3,700 in that of the Tohoku Electric Power Company. Willful violators may face fines of up to 12,500 dollars.
In a campaign lasting through early autumn, all businesses and households in the areas are being asked to aim for the saving target between 9 AM and 8 PM on weekdays.
The areas have been experiencing a significant drop in electricity supply after the March 11th earthquake and tsunami damaged many power plants, including the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
The government hopes the campaign will eliminate the need for rolling blackouts.
(Even at Okayama station they have reduced the number of neon lights and will keep the temperature at 28 centigrade during the summer.)
We also saw some new vending maschines with solar panels and special green moss plates on the top to keep them cool.



Thursday, June 30, 2011 19:53
10 % consumption tax planned for the mid 2010s
Japan's government and the ruling parties have agreed to a plan to raise the consumption tax to 10 percent in stages by the mid 2010s to help pay for social security.
The plan for doubling the tax rate from the current 5 percent was endorsed at a meeting of representatives of the government and the 2 ruling parties on Thursday.
The plan calls for expanding social security programs mainly for low-income and non-regular workers, and young people.
The government initially called for raising the tax by 2015, but agreed to comply with the Democrats' request to make the schedule less specific. It also agreed to make the tax raise conditional on an economic upturn.


Thursday, June 30, 2011 20:06
Mazda releases fuel-efficient gas-powered car
Japanese automaker Mazda Motor has released a compact gasoline-powered car with the same fuel efficiency as hybrid cars.
The new Demio compact car, mounted with a 1,300 cc engine, has nearly 25 percent better mileage than its previous model. Pistons in the engine have been reshaped so as to burn gasoline more efficiently.
Mazda says Demio runs for 25 kilometers on a liter of gasoline based on new national standards. マツダ エコカー デミオ


Thursday, June 30, 2011 20:12
Radiation detected in Fukushima children's urine
A group of Japanese citizens says radioactive materials have been detected in urine of 10 children in Fukushima Prefecture, where the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is located.
The Fukushima Network for Saving Children from Radiation collected urine samples from 10 elementary to high school students in the prefecture's capital Fukushima City. The samples were analyzed by a French research organization.
The group said at a news conference in Tokyo on Thursday that radioactive cesium was found in all of the samples, and that one from an 8-year-old girl contained 1.13 becquerels of cesium-134 per liter.
The group added that the children are thought to have taken in radioactive materials released from the Fukushima Daiichi plant.
The group said the test shows clearly that children living as far as 60 kilometers from the plant are suffering internal exposure. It urged the state and prefectural governments to immediately check children in Fukushima for such exposure.
The Japanese non-profit Radiation Effects Research Foundation says no health problems due to such radiation levels have been reported, and that people should not be overly concerned.


Thursday, June 30, 2011 20:04
Workers enter No. 4 reactor building
Tokyo Electric Power Company says debris scattered inside the No. 4 reactor building at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is posing an obstacle to work to bring the crippled reactor under control. Workers entered the fifth floor of the building on Wednesday for the first time since an explosion on March 15th.
Photos taken by the workers show that most of the ceiling, except for a small part of the framework, has collapsed. Debris, steel frames, and other various things blown by the force of the explosion are scattered all over the floor.
The radiation level inside the building was less than one millisievert per hour, which TEPCO says is permissible for workers to carry out operations there.
The utility plans to install a circulatory system that will cool and circulate water inside the reactor's spent fuel storage pool. But it says one of the valves necessary to operate the system is covered by debris.
TEPCO says it will consider whether to remove the debris or attempt to work around the debris.


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Japan Times :

Saga closer to Genkai reactor resumption
The mayor of Genkai, Saga Prefecture, gives his approval to visiting industry minister Banri Kaieda for what would be the first restart of reactors since the radiation crisis erupted March 11 at the Fukushima No. 1 atomic plant.
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20110630a1.html

Atomic power to stay, Kepco tells investors
Kansai Electric Power Co. tells shareholders it will stick with and boost nuclear power, its main source of juice, and alternatives such as solar, wind and thermal energy would be a smaller part of the overall future mix.
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nb20110630a1.html

Hot day stokes power overload fear
Demand for electricity in Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s service area totals 45.7 million kw, about 93 percent of the utility's maximum supply capacity.
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20110630n1.html

Fukushima Hose leak again halts water unit
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20110630a2.html

Lady Gaga denies quake charity scam
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20110630a6.html

Clothiers alter job-hunt look via Super Cool Biz
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nb20110630a2.html

Shareholders' meetings hit peak with focus on postquake earnings
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nb20110630a3.html

Factory output rises, extending rebound
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nb20110630n1.html


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Since June 2011, NHK WORLD RADIO JAPAN has been soliciting Japan's traditional fixed form of poem "Haiku", under the theme "Haiku for KIBO ~To Japan, Power of Words~".

On March 11th this year, Japan was hit by an earthquake and tsunami of an unprecedented scale, triggering a nuclear accident. RADIO JAPAN solicits "Haiku" as messages for Japan. Please send us the power of words to encourage and support Japan.
"Haiku for KIBO" is a relay of "Haiku". Following the content of the "Haiku" entered before, the next person writes another "Haiku" to continue the relay.

source : www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld


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