June 8, Wednesday

Posted by Chika On 2:31 PM
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normal lives
in abnormal situations -
rain in Fukushima

Gabi reports:

We saw a report about a reporter, who had lived in a coastal town in Tohoku for more than 20 years. He lost all in the tsunami, including family members and home. Since March 11 his life and that of the people around him has changed, stopped in a way, revolving about loss and debris and daily survival.
He had to come back to Okayama for private reasons and said, he felt so confused when leaving the airplane at Okayama airport. Everything was normal --- he had not experienced a normal day since March 11. There was plenty of electricity and all goods available for the consumer, almost like in a different country, he felt.

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Coming June 11, all the missing from the tsunami, about 8200 people, will be declared officially dead, to facilitate the payment of compensation benefits to their relatives.
Usually this time limit is one year for missing persons.

. . . . .

The Chubu Power plant can not deliver electricity to other parts any more.
Electricity will have to be found elsewhere.
People in the town nearby wonder about the "support money" that has been flowing freely to infrastructure development until now.
. Hamaoka Power Plant .

. . . . .

Fish are becoming more expensive, since there are so many fishing boats destroyed by the tsunami. Katsuo bonito is one of them.
Also strange types of deep-see fish are landing on the beaches and in nets. They may be have been disturbed by the earthquake? More questions to answer.

. . . . .

LDP wants Kan to exit by mid-June
Edano defends Kan adminstration
. The Political Situation .


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

Wednesday, June 08, 2011 06:13
Ministry failed to publish some radiation data
The Japanese government says it failed to publish some radiation data from the nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.
The science and technology ministry says it did not release radiation monitoring data from March 16th through April 4th and radiation measurements for soil on March 16th and 17th. The data was taken by the Fukushima prefectural government outside a 20-kilometer radius of the plant.
The ministry apologized for not disclosing the data.
It says it thought the Fukushima government had already released it.
The data was collected as a reference for deciding on evacuation measures and restrictions on food and water consumption. The ministry says the unpublished information does not affect the steps that are now in place.
The ministry says it will publish the data on its website.

. . . . . MEXT
Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Japan
Reading of environmental radioactivity level :
Reading of environmental radioactivity level by prefecture
Reading of radioactivity level in drinking water by prefecture
Reading of radioactivity level in fallout by prefecture
source : www.mext.go.jp

. . . . .

Wednesday, June 08, 2011 06:13
Utilities asked to submit nuclear safety measures
The government's nuclear safety agency has instructed utility companies across Japan to come up with measures to better respond to a serious nuclear accident like the one at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.
The government has compiled a report for the International Atomic Energy Agency about the nuclear accident. It said the Fukushima plant lacked sufficient safety measures to deal with such a serious accident that caused the loss of all power sources.
The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency asked utility firms to take such measures as preparing portable lights and communication equipment as well as generator trucks. These vehicles would be used for emergency ventilation to keep radiation below certain levels in the central control room.
The agency also proposes boring holes or removing panels in a reactor building if there is a high concentration of hydrogen. The measure is aimed at releasing hydrogen outside to prevent an explosion.
The agency has instructed utility companies to submit the safety measures by Tuesday next week.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011 08:44
Radioactive debris outside No.3 reactor removed
Workers have completed the removal of radioactive debris that was outside the No. 3 reactor building at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
Tokyo Electric Power Company finished removing the debris near the entrance to the building on Tuesday.

Work began last month to clear up the debris created by the March hydrogen explosion.
Under TEPCO's plan to bring the plant under control, nitrogen gas will be injected into the No.3 reactor containment vessel to prevent hydrogen explosions.
It will also install a circulatory cooling system at the reactor. The large equipment for these tasks will be brought into the building.
But last month, high radiation levels of 160 to 170 millisieverts per hour were detected near the door of the containment vessel.
TEPCO says workers will soon go into the reactor building to check the debris inside and to monitor radiation levels in the area.
The company says it will consider installing devices to remove radioactive substances in the atmosphere and setting up lead panels to block radiation.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011 09:46
Suicides top 3,000 in May
... By prefecture, Tokyo topped the list with 325 suicides, followed by 210 in Kanagawa and 206 in Osaka.
In areas hit by the March 11th earthquake and tsunami,
Fukushima saw an increase of 19 suicides to 68. The figure for Miyagi was unchanged at 50 while Iwate saw a decline of 3 to 32.
After the disaster in March, however, the figure increased for the next 2 months.
The police agency says it does not know whether the disaster is related to the increase. It says it will make detailed analyses of individual cases in cooperation with the Cabinet Office and other ministries.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011 13:03
TEPCO tests water purification system
Tokyo Electric Power Company says it is making final preparations to activate special purification equipment to treat radioactive waste water at the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The company plans to start up the system on June 15th.
On Wednesday, TEPCO tested the control board of a US-developed device that adsorbs radioactive cesium. It also tested the pumps of a French device that uses special chemicals to settle radioactive substances in the water.
The new water purification system has 2 other main parts that use Japanese and imported technology.
TEPCO says it expects the system to decontaminate about 1,200 tons of water per day before it is transferred to temporary storage tanks within the compound of the nuclear plant.
More than 105,000 tons of toxic water is believed to have already accumulated in the basements of the reactors and their turbine buildings. Every day more than 500 tons of contaminated water is added to the amount, as TEPCO has to inject fresh water into the reactors to keep them cool.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011 16:28
First container vessel departure since quake
A container ship has left a major port in northeastern Japan for the first time since the March 11th quake and tsunami, marking a step forward in the recovery of the region's distribution system.
Mobile cranes loaded containers onto the ship at Sendai-Shiogama Port in Miyagi Prefecture on Wednesday. The vessel left for Tokyo with 70 containers of automobile tires made in the disaster-hit area.
The disaster damaged 4 cranes at the port, the only major international hub in the Tohoku region. Complete recovery of the port is likely to take more time, as full operation of the cranes is not expected to resume until next year.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011 17:09
Japanese-made robot to be used at Fukushima plant
A Japanese-made robot will be used in restoration efforts at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant for the first time since the crisis began in March.
The robot was unveiled to the media on Wednesday at the Chiba Institute of Technology. A team of researchers from the institute, Tohoku University and others developed the robot and modified it for use at the troubled nuclear plant.
The robot moves with the help of a pair of 20-centimeter-wide rolling belts. Four additional belts at each corner of its body enable the robot to move freely through debris and up and down staircases.
The robot is equipped with a device to measure radiation. It also has a sensor to gauge levels of radioactive water inside reactor buildings, as well as a container to collect the water.
The robot's camera is tightly sealed to keep its lenses from blurring due to moisture, as the humidity level inside the Number 2 reactor building is 99.9 percent.
Since the accident, US-made robots have been used to help monitor the situation inside the reactor buildings.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011 17:09
14 people treated for heatstroke in Tokyo
The Tokyo Fire Department is urging residents to take precautions against heatstroke after 14 people in the capital fell ill and were treated at hospitals last week.
Patients ranged from teenagers to people in their 80s.
They included a teenage boy who collapsed after soccer practice, and a man in his 70s who became ill while driving his car after doing farm work. Some patients suffered heatstroke indoors, and 3 of the 14 were in serious condition.
The fire department says the number of heatstroke cases rises noticeably when the temperature reaches 26 degrees Celsius, and the number surges when the mercury hits 28 degrees.
Residents are being asked to save electricity this summer because of expected power shortages triggered by the March earthquake and tsunami and the ongoing accident at a nuclear power plant in Fukushima.
But the fire department says air conditioners should be used when necessary, specifically when room temperatures rise to 28 degrees.
The fire department also says people who feel sick from the heat or notice that they are not sweating despite feeling hot should seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011 19:45
Business sentiment improves sharply in May
A Japanese government survey shows that business confidence among people with jobs that are sensitive to economic trends improved in May for the 2nd straight month.
The Cabinet Office released the results of its nationwide survey of more than 2,000 retail, restaurant and other workers on Wednesday.
An index that shows how workers view economic conditions compared to 3 months before stood at 36.0, up 7.7 points from the previous month.
The rise is attributed to recovery in store sales, travel and the food service industry amid a weakening of the trend to refrain from spending on leisure activities after the March 11th disaster.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011 19:55
TEPCO mulls release of decontaminated water
The Tokyo Electric Power Company is studying a plan to decontaminate seawater pooled at the Fukushima Daini nuclear power plant and discharge it into the sea.
TEPCO says about 3,000 cubic meters of radioactive seawater has been stagnant in the basement of the plant's reactor and turbine buildings since being hit by a tsunami following the March 11th earthquake.
The utility says the temperature in all 4 of the plant's reactors has fallen below 100 degrees Celsius, but cites the risk that stagnant seawater will corrode equipment.
TEPCO is considering a plan to decontaminate the water so that it meets national safety standards and then release it into the Pacific Ocean.
The utility says the concentration of radioactive cobalt-60 in the water is 1.5 times the permissible limit, but that it contains no other radioactive materials exceeding the safety limits.
In April, TEPCO drew strong criticism for discharging contaminated water with levels of radioactive iodine-131 about 100 times the limit from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
The utility will decide whether to discharge water from the Daini plant after consulting with local municipalities, people in the fishing industry, and the Fisheries Agency.
The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency says that a full examination of the plan is necessary even if radioactivity is below the safety limit. It added that the concerns of local municipalities and people in the fishing industry must be taken into account. The Fisheries Agency says it cannot now authorize a discharge of seawater even if the level of contamination is under the limit.
The chief of a fishing cooperatives' association in Fukushima Prefecture expressed shock and bewilderment at the utility's plan.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011 19:55
Air in No.2 reactor building to be released
The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant will release air from inside the No.2 reactor building after lowing its intense radioactivity and high humidity, which have been hampering the work to restore its cooling system.
The No.2 reactor building has 99.9 percent humidity and high levels of radioactivity, which make it hard for workers in protective gear to work inside it for long periods.
Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, plans to install air filters to lower the contamination and humidity, and then open the building's doors to let out the air.
TEPCO hopes to install the filters by this Saturday, run them for about 3 days, and open the reactor building's doors some time next week.
The company plans to begin the work of injecting nitrogen into the No.2 reactor later this month to prevent a hydrogen explosion.
On Wednesday afternoon, a switchboard problem knocked out power to the control rooms of the No.1 and No. 2 reactors, and stopped data transmission from 2 radiation monitoring posts within the compound. Nitrogen injection into the No.1 reactor containment vessel was also suspended.
The switchboard was fixed about 3 hours later. TEPCO says the data transmission and nitrogen injection have resumed.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011 21:40
IMF urges Japan to rebuild finances
The International Monetary Fund is urging Japan to quickly rebuild its finances and points to raising the consumption tax in the wake of the disaster.
IMF acting managing director John Lipsky told reporters in Tokyo on Wednesday that the initial impact of the March 11th disaster on the Japanese economy was big, but that the government and central bank could limit the damage.
The IMF expects Japan's economic growth to be minus 0.7 percent this year but to recover to 2.9 percent in 2012. ...


Voices from around

. Daily Radiation Levels .  

. . . . .

Japan Times :

Official probe begins into nuclear disaster
An independent panel of experts launches an investigation into the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant amid strong domestic and international criticism that the government and Tepco have bungled their response to the accident.

Evacuation of hot spots mulled
The government is considering expanding the evacuation area in Fukushima Prefecture to include other areas with high levels of radiation.

Beaches face nuke readings

The government will examine radiation levels in assessing water quality at bathing areas in seas, rivers and lakes amid the Fukushima nuclear accident.

Nuke plant was unprepared for crisis, government admits
In the report, the government admits that the crippled plant lacked the necessary features to survive the huge tsunami and other critical accidents of March 11. The plant was not built with considerations to withstand 14-meter tsunami or higher.
... "It is unavoidable to fundamentally review the safety measures for nuclear plants" in Japan, states the report, which will be presented at an IAEA ministerial meeting beginning June 20.

Parents urge Tokyo to rethink radiation monitoring
A group of Tokyo parents filed a request Tuesday asking the metropolitan government to change the way it determines radiation levels in the capital after their own study found relatively high levels of contamination around Koto Ward.
"No! Hoshano Koto Kodomo Mamoru Kai"
("No! Radioactivity — The Group to Save Children in Koto")
The metropolitan government checks levels of radioactivity at an elevation of 18 meters in Shinjuku Ward, where the maximum hourly reading was about 0.06 microsievert on Tuesday.
But Ishikawa insists such readings are unreliable and should be taken at about 1 meter above the ground.

Red Cross declines blood from Fukushima
The Japanese Red Cross Society said Tuesday it has declined to accept an offer from a man from Fukushima Prefecture to donate blood due to fears of possible radiation exposure.
The man offered to donate blood May 26 at an event in Tokyo's Odaiba waterfront area.
... In a nationwide notice to its blood centers April 1, the society instructed them not to accept blood donations for six months from workers at the Fukushima No. 1 and No. 2 nuclear plants who were exposed to cumulative radiation of 100 millisieverts or more.
The society said it has imposed no restrictions on blood donations from the general public in Fukushima Prefecture.

Tepco's government support at odds with selloff

Fukushima investigation
The Kan Cabinet on May 24 established a third-party panel to investigate the accidents at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. The move was extremely tardy, coming 2½ months after the start of the nuclear crisis and nearly one month after Prime Minister Naoto Kan's announcement of his intention to create an investigation body. The panel met for the first time on Tuesday.
... panel head Mr. Yotaro Hatamura — a professor emeritus at the University of Tokyo and an authority on study of errors and dangers

Tsunami-struck museum starts recovering collection
A pile of small display cases lies in the dirt outside the Rikuzentakata City Museum in Iwate prefecture. With their glass tops smashed into a thousand shards that reflect the sunlight through a layer of dried mud, it's difficult to make out the crushed wings of the small butterflies still pinned inside.
... Miraculously, the building, which was completed in 1979, remained standing throughout the tsunami. Nevertheless, the power of the wave that hit this area — having smashed through seawalls and a 70,000-tree coastal strip of pine forest — is clear from the fact that two cars were found deep inside the building's windowless first-floor storerooms, and that its second-floor ceilings were largely ripped away.
... "I retired five years ago," said the 72-year-old who voluntarily came to the museum site to start helping the recovery work. Surveying the wreckage around him, he continued, "I'm working here like this, but I have to keep reminding myself that it is not a dream or a hallucination. This is all real."


A Russian Soyuz spacecraft has successfully lifted off, with Japan's Satoshi Furukawa and two other astronauts. They will reach the station on Friday and stay for about five months.

we conquer space -
but can we really handle
mother earth ?

Furukawa heading to space with high hopes
for growing cucumbers




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