You are here

ROLLING UPDATE No.3 on the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster by Japan resident

Tony Boys's picture

Continuing the updates on the Fukushima No.1 Nuclear Power Station in Japan from...

The original article

The original article in French

ROLLING UPDATE 1

ROLLING UPDATE 2

More about the 'Say "No to nukes!" campaign' and its aim (bottom of page)

Updates will be posted here. Later dates will be at the top, but later updates within each date may be anywhere, depending on importance and relevance to other material reported on that day. Previous days>> April 8, April 9, April 10, April 11, April 12, April 13, April 14, April 15, April 16, April 17, April 18 - no post, April 19, April 20, April 21, April 22, April 23, April 24 - no post, April 25, April 26, April 27, April 28, April 29, April 30, May 1, May 2, May 3, May 4, May 5, May 6, May 7, May 8, May 9, May 10, May 11, May 12, May 13, May 14, May 15, May 16, May 17 - no post, May 18, May 19, May 20, May 21, May 22, May 23, May 24, May 25, May 26, May 27, May 28, May 29, May 30, May 31, June 1, June 2, June 3, June 4 - no post, June 5, June 6, June 7, June 8, June 9, June 10, June 11, June 12, June 13, June 14, June 15, June 16, June 17, June 18, June 19, June 20, June 21, June 22, June 23, June 24, June 25, June 26, June 27, June 28, June 29, June 30, July 1, July 2, July 3, July 4, July 5, July 6, July 7, July 8, July 9, July 10, July 11, July 12, July 13, July 14, July 15, July 16, July 17 to 20 - no post, July 21, July 22, July 23, July 24, July 25, July 26, July 27, July 28, July 29 to 2 August - no post, August 3, August 4, August 5, August 6, August 7, August 8, August 9, August 10, August 11, August 12, August 13, August 14, August 15, August 16, August 17, August 18

_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/
I did talk with Kevin Barrett on No Lies Radio from 10 am to 11 am Japan time on Sunday 1 May. This was a recording, and was broadcast from 9 am to 10 am Tuesday 3 May, Pacific time. There is a programme promo and an archive has been posted.
The JapanOffspring Fund is planning to produce a documentary film The Truth About Fukushima 311 and are calling for donations to help them do it. Can you please take a look at the page and help them out if you can? [How to donate from inside Japan] (This page refers only to donations in the US. I will try to post alternative donation methods here later.) Thank you.
Sites worth taking a look at every day:
EX-SKF
GREEN ACTION's Fukushima Update
Radiation Safety Philippines
http://enenews.com/
IAEA Fukushima Nuclear Accident Update Log, though they are not updating every day now.
Please go to the new forum Nuclear Power in Australia for a discussion on whether Australia should build nuclear power stations or not.
Please send a postcard to support an anti-nuke activist!

Please send postcards of support to:

Ms. Atsuko Ogasawara, c/o Asako House,
396 Aza Ko-okoppe, Oh-aza Ohma, Ohma Machi, Shimokita Gun, Aomori Prefecture, JAPAN 039-4601

Explantion here

Thank you!

Koriyama Schoolchildren Mass Evacuation Trial updates

...




HANDS UP! What chance do they stand against the nuclear bandits?
(Photo source)

....






Very frightening stills of F#1 reactor 3 blowing up from Arnie Gundersen's presentation linked below in the July 12 update. The stills are taken from about 20 mins 35-40 secs into the presentation. Note that the face appears to be 'screaming' out to the northwest, the direction in which the heaviest nuclear contamination took place in the first two weeks after the earthquake.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Rolling Update 4 will start from August 20 as this page is now very long...

August 19

CHINA SYNDROME?

...

Japan hopes to turn sci-fi into reality with elevator to the stars

...

Don't wait for quake-proof plants - By RICHARD WILCOX

People must keep saying 'no' - By CHERIE BROWN

Agency didn't think to tell neighboring countries radioactive water was released into sea

Hokkaido nuclear reactor resumes operations, but other plants not expected to follow suit

...

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Toshiba's SARRY Starts Full Operation

...

~~~Radiation Lookout~~~

#Radiation in Japan: A Hokkaido Town Measures Radiation As "Temporary" Disaster Debris Depot May Be Coming Near Them

Japanese Government Will Lift Shipping Ban on Cows from Fukushima and Miyagi (Hello #Radioactive Beef Again)

#Radioactive Beef Conundrum: High Level Cesium Detected from Beef Not Fed with Radioactive Rice Hay

Another "Baseless Rumor": Cicadas in Japan This Summer Have Been Awfully Quiet

...

First quantitative measure of radiation leaked from Fukushima reactor

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

August 18

VIDEO: Chris Busby: Chernobyl-like radiation found in Tokyo - Two points here: Chris Busby mentions that he has heard from an authoritative (?) source that the Fukushima nuclear disaster site is spewing out 10 TBq (tera becquerels - i.e. 10 trilion Bq) per hour, though I am sure this is little more than a rough estimate. Multiplied by 24 gives 240 TBq per day. (Note that in mid-July, releases were reckoned to be 1 GBq per hour (G=giga=10^9=billion). Down below, in the update for May 15, we cite the figure of 154 TBq/day of releases, which seemed high at the time. So have releases suddenly risen recently? We've heard reports of cracks in the ground around the reactor buildings, from which steam is escaping intermittently. Has the corium of at least one reactor now burned its way through the concrete floor of the containment vessel and into the ground below? Whatever is happening, it's one big sordid mess!

Secondly, Chris Busby mentions that contamination has been found in Tokyo that is higher than the Chernobyl exclusion zone. I think he is referring to this: Radiation Defense Project. Under the explanation, you will see two pdfs. Take a look at the top one and scroll down to the bottom. You'll see there a Sugamo (central Tokyo) figure of 61,713 Bq/kg (total Cs) for 'roadside sand.' That is where you would expect to find higher levels of contamination, but for the center of Tokyo this is really quite high.

...

Wall Street Journal: How the Japanese Government Failed Residents of Namie, Fukushima - Possibly the best article on what happened at Namie Town in the first few days after the nuclear disaster began.

...

~~~Radiation Lookout~~~

Now, #Radioactive Sanitary Napkins?? - Made in Fukushima Prefecture - you have to check this for everything you buy now!

1 Millisievert/hour Radiation from a Truck in Iwaki City in Fukushima?? - Must be serious - the video has been removed from Iwaki. So you can either let people see it and make up their own minds about it, or you can have it removed and instantly convince people that there is something important being hidden... Must be a hard decision to make...

...

~~~Overseas~~~

US Government Considered Evacuation of 90,000 US Citizens in Tokyo - But then, as we saw on August 16, they decided to play it down instead. Oh.

US Nuclear Regulatory Commission: It's All About Politics? - No, I think it's still all about money. The nuclear industry doesn't want expensive changes, so the pro-nuke (Republican?) commissioners drag their feet. What else?

US Vice President Joe Biden to Visit China, Japan, and MONGOLIA Oh, happy day for the people of Mongolia...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

August 17

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Early Days of Confusion and Mistakes at the Plant Being Revealed - Such a mess, it's almost laughable if it wasn't such a serious situation! Here again we see the GROSS INCOMPETENCE of TEPCO when it comes to doing ANYTHING!!

...

Hokkaido Governor Allows the Re-Start of Tomari Nuke Plant Reactor 3

Governor Takahashi has been receiving campaign donations from executives at Hokkaido Electric Power Company (link in Japanese), and she says she will continue to do so as she sees nothing technically wrong with it.

Another politician taking the money and doing the bidding of the power companies (see the Japanese link in the article for the source on the contributions from Hokkaido EPCO). Time for the Japanese public to ensure that politicians like Gov. Takahashi have truncated political lives, I think.

...

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant Worker: No Steam Gushing From Cracks, But There Are Many 10-Plus Sieverts/Hr Locations - Unverified rumors.

...

~~~Radiation Lookout~~~

186,000 Becquerels/Kg Radioactive Cesium in Aizu Wakamatsu City in Fukushima

186,000 bq/kg radioactive cesium found 100 km from plant

Radioactive sludge piling up

Radioactive Fukushima children given cancer all-clear - Here's another of those "smile and the radioactivity won't affect you" type articles. It the first time I've heard about potassium iodide pills being 'quickly' distributed! Wrong planet?

...

~~~Overseas~~~

VIDEO: America's Nuclear Nightmare

NGO offers wisdom from Chernobyl

"The parents don't have enough money and one thing they do every day is drinking . . .
beer or vodka. And their children start to do the same," Vdovichenko said.
"I hope the people in Fukushima would not have the same problems as we have."

See another CNIC article about Radimichi

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

August 16

SolarIMG podcast with Arnie Gundersen from Fairewinds - In this interview (audio only - 15 mins) - please download the mp3 from the linked page - Arnie Gundersen gives us some very interesting pieces of the puzzle. The most interesting part (starts at about 12 min 40 sec into the interview) was the Arnie states that a decision to downplay the Fukushima nuclear disaster and its consequent radioactive contamination was taken at the highest levels of the US government, the State Department and the FDA, and that this decision was taken in coordination with the Japanese government in the form of Hilary Clinton (Secretary of State) signing some kind of pact with her 'counterpart' (the current Foreign Minister, Takeaki Matsumoto - who took office on 9 March 2011 - oh) to the effect that the US will continue to accept food imports from Japan. I.e. the US will not test imports of food from Japan.

So what does this look like? Both Japan and the US want to play down the nuclear disaster. Neither country wants to be forced by its population to forego nuclear power. So they can work together on that for mutual benefit, the US agreeing to accept Japanese food imports virtually unconditionally. The amounts of food exported to the US from Japan to the US must be miniscule compared with what is moving the other way, but still it is useful for Japan since Japan can point to this when negotiating with other countries over the food export/import problem. Japan also wants to continue to import food from the US (Canada, Australia, Argentina, Thailand and a host of other countries) due to a low food self-sufficiency rate (39% this year, goodness only knows what it'll be next year). So to have the US 'guarantee' not to stop exporting food to Japan is very handy for Japan given the soil contamination situation (er... which is so small as to be insignificant, of course) and the negotiations for Japan's upcoming participation in the TPP, which the US and and Japanese business circles are very keen to promote, and against which the greatest opposing argument is that the TPP will result in a massive influx of cheap food into Japan, thus causing Japan's rural economy to collapse. I have also been arguing for about a year now that TPP is the 'wrong way' for Japan to be heading now. The slide down the declining side of the oil peak (the IEA admitted in November last year that the peak of annual production of conventional oil was passed in 2006) will mean declining agricultural (food production) productivities around the globe, especially in the energy-intense agricultural systems of the countries that are currently capable of producing surplus food supplies they can export. Higher oil/natural gas prices and/or declining availability of both mean less food available for import to countries with low food self-sufficiencies. So I think Japan and the US are colluding to down play the seriousness of the Fukushima nuclear disaster and the consequent radioactive releases, each giving the other 'guarantees' on matters of importance: food imports, TPP, military bases and whatever is on the agenda. However, the possible 'guarantees' of continued food imports from the US to Japan will not hold up once fossil energy shortages start to bite seriously. Will we be seeing electric tractors ploughing the fields? Can electricity be used to manufacture the nitrogen fertilizers (and mine and the other minerals that are used to manufacture other chemical fertilizers) which account for the greater part of the nutrients currently used to grow humanity's food in place of the Haber-Bosch process using natural gas to produce ammonia, the precursor for nitrogen fertilizers? Thus food importing nations are likely to go hungry and nuclear power will not be a great help.

Another interesting point was that of nuclear contamination rainouts that have been occurring in North America, mostly, but not limited, to the Pacific Northwest. Arnie believes that this contamination is due not only to releases of radioactive matter from the ongoing problem at the Fukushima nuclear disaster site, but also due to burning of contaminated material in Japan. This may be true to an extent as the Japanese government has said that it is permissible to burn materials that are less than 7000 Bq/kg. Matrial burned in this way merely moves the radioactive material around to the next town, the next prefecture, or across the Pacific to North America. However, as noted above the governments (including the Canadian government) have decided to play the contamination down and are describing it as very low-level and too insignificant to worry about. Arnie says that papers will soon be published that show 'definitively' that the governments are wrong. Thus the truth about the cover-up is likely to come out.

Arnie also says in the interview (near the beginning) that the levels of radiation in Fukushima Prefecture (a large place, so within 50 or 60 km of the nuclear disaster perhaps) are high and therefore the incidence of lung cancer is likely to rise about 20% over the next five years. Presumably, this is mainly from the inhalation of hot particles. Arnie says this is based on what has happened after other nuclear accidents. In this sense he is saying roughly the same thing as Chris Busby - that cancer rates will increase from internal exposure due to hot particles in the air.

...

Speakers liken current policy to wartime tactics -- NGOs, academics call for abolition of nuclear plants

"Having a group of people profit from the sacrifice of the public is wrong,"

...

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

TEPCO tests Japan-made decontamination unit

TEPCO to use desalinating devices in pools

...

~~~Radiation Lookout~~~

Radiation effect on children's thyroid glands

China's State Oceanic Administration: Wider Ocean Contamination Than Japanese Government Has Admitted

Negative publicity overseas pummels agricultural exports

Radioactive Sulphur from Fukushima I Nuke Plant Reached California

"The levels we observed are in no way harmful in California," Thiemens said.

Oh, why is that? Are Californians tougher than other people or is this because the State Department has told them so??

#Radiation in Japan: Pile of Radioactive Garbage Ashes Next to an Apartment in Fukushima City

Parents pack up Fukushima children - Short video report in English.

EDITORIAL: Government needs to set clear overall radiation safety standards - Of course they do, but then that would be admitting that something fairly serious was going on, wouldn't it?

...

Some recent articles from Japan Focus...

CHRIS BUSBY: Fukushima is Worse than Chernobyl

Food Safety: Addressing Radiation in Japan’s Northeast after 3.11

Radiation Effects on Health: Protect the Children of Fukushima

The Truth About Nuclear Power: Japanese Nuclear Engineer Calls for Abolition

Tohoku and Nuclear Plants

...

Chemical Aftermath: Contamination and Cleanup Following the Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami - Long and detailed article about chemical contamination after the earthquake and tsunami.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

August 15

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Reference to Tritium in Water - Tritium is associated with developmental problems in humans. It's not surprising that it is being found at F#1, but has it found it's way into the general water supply yet? Testing is required, I think.

Neptunium-239 Detected from Soil in Iitate-mura in Fukushima??? - It's unclear what this means, or even if it is "true" - there is a suggestion that the researcher may have got something wrong. If it's true, then there should be quite a lot of Pu-239 in the soil. Why didn't the researcher test for that, or if he did, why isn't that result being given out with the result for Neptunium-239??? The point of the Neptunium-239 being there is that it will decay quickly into Pu-239, which has a halflife of 24,000 years, basically sticking around 'forever'.

~~~Radiation Lookout~~~

Bioremediation for Contaminated Soil: Phytoremediation and Mycoremediation - A good 7-point scheme to follow here. Private citizens should do it, and of course the government should encourage it and give (financial and other) support, but will they. I doubt it. They probably do not want to admit that there's any problem which requires measures like these, except in the worst areas around Iitate Village, perhaps. That's a shame, because this is something the government could push quite hard for relatively little money and expect get quite a large effect for their trouble. I might personally try something like this in the field in front of my house. Maybe in a couple of years I'll be able to grow fairly clean vegetables and so on. Might be worth doing in on the paddy field for one year. The problem will be how to harvest and how/where to dispose of the final ash (after incinerating the mushrooms, but where is the incinerator?) That's why the govt needs to get involved.

#Radiation in Japan: Bill That Will Allow the National Government to Dispose Radioactive Debris Set to Be Submitted To the Diet, Will Probably Pass The radioactive material will probably find its way into 'burial sites' all over the country. Spread it around, dilute it, and even out the health effects so that no one will be able to tell what is causing what. It'll take a while, which is just what the pro-nukes and others resoinsible want...

"I won't be responsible, because I'll be dead by then."

Please see the article for the source of the quote...

Japanese firms developing radiation checkers - Daringly outrageous reporter Willy Wickles screams, "GOTTA love this one- profiting from disaster! CREATE THE CRISIS AND THEN OFFER THE SOLUTION!!

...

~~~Overseas~~~

People's Protest Shuts Down the Dangerous Chemical Plant in Dalian, China - Oh! The Chinese know how to get things done! What's happening in Japan? A lot of polite talk based on the notion of "wa" - harmony, which, of course plays very nicely into the hands of the rich, powerful, deceitful, and highly dangerous pro-nuke people.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

August 14

Clusterfukushima

In interviews and public statements, some current and former government officials have admitted that Japanese authorities engaged in a pattern of withholding damaging information and denying facts of the nuclear disaster — in order, some of them said, to limit the size of costly and disruptive evacuations in land-scarce Japan and to avoid public questioning of the politically powerful nuclear industry. As the nuclear plant continues to release radiation, some of which has slipped into the nation’s food supply, public anger is growing at what many here see as an official campaign to play down the scope of the accident and the potential health risks.

Yep, that's just about the size of it. Note also that this article says:

“In the end, it was the prime minister’s office that hid the Speedi data,” he [Seiki Soramoto] said. “Because they didn’t have the knowledge to know what the data meant, and thus they did not know what to say to the public, they thought only of their own safety, and decided it was easier just not to announce it.”

... which is a little different from what an article I quoted on August 12 said, which was that Reports from the forecast system were sent to the nation's nuclear safety agency, but the flow of data stopped there. Prime Minister Naoto Kan and others involved in declaring evacuation areas never saw the reports, and neither did local authorities. I 'prefer' to believe that NISA did pass on the SPEEDI info to the PM's office (because that's what bureaucrats are trained to do, isn't it?), but if PM Kan and the other politicians failed to interpret the data, that is because NISA and other advisors did not explain it properly? I don't believe that either, so the remaining possibility is that PM Kan and the others knew what it meant, but decided not to publicise it because it was too shocking or revealing of the terrible situation at F#1, which, at the time, they were still hoping could be contained. One day, maybe, we'll know what really happened.

Another point brought up in the blog article concerns Tellurium-132.

In one of the most damning admissions, nuclear regulators said in early June that inspectors had found tellurium 132, which experts call telltale evidence of reactor meltdowns, a day after the tsunami — but did not tell the public for nearly three months.

That's serious. If you look down this page, you'll see that the detection of Tellurium-132 is mentioned on June 5, but the news appears to have come out on June 3. If you read the article there (#Fukushima I Accident: Tellurium-132 Was Detected on March 12 Morning, 6 Kilometers from the Plant, NISA Now Admits) it is pretty clear that at least one reactor has experienced a meltdown. NISA spokesman Hidehiko Nishiyama is quoted as saying "We didn't intend to hide the information, but it never occurred to us to disclose it to the public. We are sorry." In hindsight this looks a lot less like stupidity and a lot more like outright deceit. Nishiyama is not saying that he did not know what the presence of Tellurium-132 indicated. I reckon he did. But then, if he can say "it never occurred to us to disclose it to the public" while understanding the importance of the Tellurium-132, then we must understand that the 'job description' of NISA does not primarily consist of informing the public about important events and so on, but of collating and interpreting information for feeding to top bureaucrats and politicians who then decide what to do and whether or not to release the information. That pretty much matches with what they've been doing all along (e.g. with the SPEEDI data), so it's possible they have been 'good boys' and have been acting within the remit of their 'job description' all along. Thus the disingenuous "Oh, it never occurred to us to tell the public" line. Anyway, in the same article the IAEA report is quoted as saying:

"The Japanese government's longer term response to protect the public, including evacuation, has been impressive and extremely well organized."

Are they saying that the coverups about the nuclear accident/disaster and the efforts to play down the seriousness of the radiation in Fukushima Prefecture (mostly, but not only) and keep people in place without evacuating them were impressive and extremely well organized???

...

Professor's anger at lawmakers creates buzz on Internet>>

...

~~~Radiation Lookout~~~

#Radioactive Manure from Cows That Ate Radioactive Rice Hay

Follow Your Government's Instruction and You'll Be OK, Says the Government - Please enjoy the embarrassing stupidity pointed out by this article. Oh, and don't forget to have a nice day...

Just Burn Radioactive Materials Then They're Harmless, said One Japanese Economist - Either amazingly stupid or receiving money from the power companies...

1 Millisievert Internal Radiation from a Man in Minami Soma City - The mayor seems to be happy that only one man exceeded the internal exposure limit of 100 mSv, beyond which cancers may occur. However, this is based on the ICRP model, which is reckoned to give a 300-900 times lower prediction for numbers of cancers than the ECRR model. Suppose you breathe in a small Plutonium or Uranium particle and it lodges in your lung. In terms of radiation exposure it may be very small. It is not detected by the whole body counter (since these are alpha emitters not gamma emitters), so you'll get a 'zero' reading for internal exposure. However, your chances of developing a cancer in your lung will have risen considerably. And by the way, the Fukushima Prefecture health study for all the people of Fukushima, just starting up now, is based entirely on the ICRP model. Wonder what results we'll see from the study. Wonder what the reality will be in the decades to come.

"The World's Safest Cookies" Baked by Fukushima School Kids - Sorry, you cannot say they are the "world's safest" till you show that all the ingredients are certified organic :-)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

August 13

Nice hot Obon holiday here in Japan. Obon is the time to remember the ancestors. It's the hottest time of the year, so a good time for a break - usually three days, so it incorporates the remembrance of the end of the 'Pacific War' on 15 August 1945. I'll be visiting the family tomb later today, so I'll do a little early updating. Not so much here, but further north, this Obon season is a tragic one, since so many died as a result of the earthquake and tsunami on 11 March. Since this is the first Obon since they passed away, it is called Nii Bon a 'new bon'. So far relatively few people has died as a consequence of the F#1 nuclear disaster, but over the next 50 years or so, and even after that if genetic damage is passed on to the next generation, the health problems will slowly unfold. Of course, it would be 'nice' if they would not, as the government and official doctors are fond of telling us, but in the end I'm afraid we're going to find that they have simply lied...

Decrease in White Blood Cells, Headache, Nausea in a Hospital in Sendai City, Miyagi - A tweet from a nurse?

When we wash their hair, it comes off in a clump. It is really scary. The doctor says, "I really wonder why the white blood cell count is down..." Doctor, don't be so relaxed about it. There is going to be more and more people who don't respond to treatment.

Woops! Classic radiation sickness symptoms, if I'm not very much mistaken. I'm supposed to go to Sendai for a week at the end of this month. What on earth am I thinking about!

...

~~~Halleluya, brothers and sisters, more revelations!~~~

TEPCO just can't seem to get its math right!
Yesterday's (12 August) Akahata Newspaper ran an article on p.15 outlining another problem at F#2 NPP. Apparently, two calculations concerning the earthquake safety assessment were pointed out by the plant maker to be mistaken in March, but this only came to light when TEPCO reported the mistakes to NISA on 11 August. The mistakes concern reactor 2 at F#2. Under the revised earthquake safety assessment of 2007, TEPCO had to make a series of calculations to show how much components within the reactors would vibrate in the case of an earthquake. The two calculations that were mistaken were for the force that the structure supporting the reactor pressure vessel would be subject to in the case of an earthquake. The second was for the amount of vibration that would be seen in the control rods when shutting down the reactor. Both are very crucial figures that ought to be known with some precision, but both were estimated at about 10% below what the correct figure should have been. Is this a simple calculation mistake or some attempt at a coverup? Presumably less motion would be 'safer.' Whichever the case may be, it is simply one more example of TEPCO's incompetence and unwillingness to allow the public to know what is happening in a timely manner. Or are they simply lying again? If you look at the quotes from the two articles below, you will see that TEPCO was, right up to the meltdowns on 11 March engaged in all its old tricks of deceit. There seems to be some confusion over whether a report was submitted on 28 February or if NISA ordered a report to be submitted on March 2, but which has not yet been submitted by TEPCO is there any point is submitting it now, anyway?). Or are these two separate reports?? (The content seems to be somewhat different.) Again, whichever it is, it still adds up to the same tale of incompetency and deceit. How come these people have been allowed to run NPPs for so long? In a country where many things are done properly, the inability to run NPPs safely has been a national shame. Since 11 March, it is tantamount to criminal behaviour!

Disenchantment With Nuclear Power - Japan's Silent Anger - Yes, but I do not think the government should count on wa ("harmony") to enable them to get off scot-free in this case. The historical background to wa was to try to get warring parties to be more peaceful by making a moral virtue out of obedience to the elite - basically the shogunate. Much of what we now now as 'Japanese culture' stems from the Edo Period. In fact, there have been plenty of wars and uprisings in Japanese history, and, as the article portrays, the anger is simmering just under the surface. Just as in England now, an incident could set a spark to the smouldering embers and Japan could be engulfed in a wave of protest and violence. The government needs to be careful not to overstep the mark. People are getting pretty fed up with the "polite" politicians of Tokyo lying and selling them down the river. At some point, the Japanese people are going to start demanding that their 'leaders' get real.

Anyway, there is an interesting paragraph in this article:

This year, on 28 February, Tepco submitted a report to the Japanese Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (Nisa) about the Fukushima plant, admitting that it had submitted fake inspection and repair reports (3). Tepco had failed to inspect more than 30 technical components of the six reactors, including power boards for the reactor's temperature control valves, as well as components of cooling systems such as water pump motors and emergency power diesel generators. These generators were knocked out by the tsunami, leading to the crisis with the cooling system.


...

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

The Fukushima Daiichi Reactors Were in Meltdown After the Earthquake, But Before the Tsunami Hit -- TEPCO's Darkest Secret
By DAVID McNEILL and JAKE ADELSTEIN

On March 2, 2011, nine days before the meltdown, the Nuclear Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) warned TEPCO of its failure to inspect critical pieces of plant equipment, including the recirculation pumps. TEPCO was ordered to make the inspections, perform repairs if needed and report to NISA on June 2nd. It does not appear that the report has been filed as of this time.

Giant tent to go up over Japan nuclear reactor

...

~~~Radiation Lookout~~~

Now It's #Radioactive Firewood: But It's "Culturally Insensitive" Not to Burn It, Say Japanese Radiation Experts

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

August 12

Feel the chills run up and down your spine - this is the nuclear nightmare that was predicted but we never thought would happen!!



Radiation forecasts ignored; Namie not warned -- Inability to grasp SPEEDI data put Fukushima residents at risk

Reports from the forecast system were sent to the nation's nuclear safety agency, but the flow of data stopped there. Prime Minister Naoto Kan and others involved in declaring evacuation areas never saw the reports, and neither did local authorities.

"When I think about it now, I am outraged," principal Hidenori Arakawa said. "Our lives were put at risk."

...

Japan to Create Nuclear Safety Agency under Ministry of Environment

The Role of Specialists: Dr. Kodama vs Dr. Yamashita - Good video here, in Japanese, but with the script in English on the page.

...

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Krypton-85 and Xenon-131m in Reactor 2 Containment Vessel Air Samples - Half life of xenon-131m is about 12 days. - As someone says in the comments, Xe-131m is beta decay product of I-131. Hmmm. It does look as if there is still some fissioning going on, and the molten 'corium' is in the air, not underwater?

...

~~~Radiation Lookout~~~

NHK Special: Mapping the Radioactive Fallout - English version - hurry before it disappears!!

#Fukushima "Special District for Medical Research" Planned by Japanese Government - Really strange! Why would they do this if they were so sure that there were going to be hardly any health effects from radiation?? Something not quite right here?

Nuclear commission erases children's exposure data - The commission itself is sick and stupid! If they didn't want individuals to be identified, why did they put the address of the child on the site in the first place? If they cannot understand this very basic issue, how can they actually do anything at all??? Nuclear Safety Commission? If you gave them a car I doubt they could find their way to the NPPs they are supposed to be supervising.

...

Japan's food self-sufficiency rate drops below 40% - Right and will probably drop a few points more as people start to buy food produced overseas, especially rice.

Food self-sufficiency rate fell below 40% in 2010 - And if farmers are faced with poor prices now and threatened with introduction of the TPP, how would anyone ever expect them to to be enthusiastic about production??!! The goal of 50% food self-sufficiency is a truly sick joke. Under the current arrangements it can never be met. There have to be financial/economic incentives for young people to enter farming. It's that easy, but the current regime of dinosaurs still thinks it's OK to be importing food effectively 'forever' and do not see the looming fossil energy crisis about to occur (despite the fact that they moan and groan that fossil energy is expensive when people start to mention denuclearization)!

Radiation from Fukushima may lead to decreased population in Japan - It's not just the radiation, it's the whole mismanagement of society that Japanese women in general are fed up with.

Son urges phaseout, natural energy use; Hori says improve safety, keep reactors -- Nuclear power debate heating up

Fabricated public opinion is the norm

Nuclear safety: A dangerous veil of secrecy -- Who can the public trust on nuclear safety - the anti-nuclear camp, the nuclear lobby or academics funded by the latter?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

August 11

~~~Halleluya, brothers and sisters, more revelations!~~~

Three reactors at Fukushima No.2 NPP also on the brink of meltdown catastrophe after March 11!!!

When my Tokyo Newspaper said good morning to me this morning, it smacked me in the face! Under the headlines Partial loss of power for three days and Problem avoided by using human wave tactics with several thousand workers on the front page, the newspaper tells us how TEPCO has managed to avoid telling us what happened at F#2 on 11 March and after for FIVE LONG MONTHS! See yesterday's article: Despite the promises of TEPCO's PR minions to release full information immediately, the company persists in being extremely selective about what it releases and when.

According to the article, when the tsunami arrived, the sea water heat exchange building was flooded. The pumps that pumped up the seawater for reactors 1, 2 and 4 ceased to function. The electrical distribution panel was also immersed in seawater for a time and so power was lost. The ability to cool the reactors was thus lost. While changing the pump motors, a 9 km electric power cable had to be laid (nobody ever thought of preparing external power such as this in the event of an accident). There was not enough cable at F#2 NPP (!!) and so cable had to be trucked in from Kashiwazaki-Kariwa NPP in Niigata and flown in by Self-Defense Force helicopter (which landed at the NPP at night, the headlights of 20 workers' cars being used to mark out the landing spot in the car park). The cable brought in by truck proved to be too heavy to unload (!!) and a heavy crane had to be brought in from outside. (No wonder people say emergency manuals are useless in emergencies!)

Meanwhile the reactors, including No.3 were heating up and the NPP prepared to carry out vents. These were not needed in the end, as one by one the reactors were brought back under control on 14 March. The NPP chief, Mr Naohiro Masuda, later explained, "There were several thousand workers onsite on that Friday. If the earthquake had happened just a little later, at night or on Saturday, we would not have been able to cope. We were a hair's breadth away from disaster." Whew!

Yesterday, I wrote a little about what we think happened at F#1 and tentatively concluded that the problem was that NPP piping is likely to fail in an earthquake. This portrayal of the problems at F#2 on 11 March and after looks like a 'pure' tsunami-type disaster - seawater flooding of pumps and distribution panels causing loss of cooling capability. Presumably, external power also failed, otherwise why the need for the 9 km cable? There's no mention of pipes rupturing. It's possible that some did, but were covered by the backup cooling system. (The fact that the pressure in the reactors rose, possibly necessitating vents suggests that some pipes may have ruptured.) However, it is probably true to say that FAR MORE EXTENSIVE rupturing of pipes took place at F#1, reflecting age of reactors and lack of appropriate maintenance/repair.

Anyway, thanks, TEPCO for being nearly five months late with that announcement!! You have so far consistently managed to prove that you are grossly unreliable. Having people like you running NPPs does nothing to enhance my sense of safety and well-being.

Draft Articles for Current Japanese Constitution to Cover Emergency Powers - JAPANESE article. The draft covers 4 articles and 11 clauses and includes limitations on freedom of communications, freedom of residence and movement and 'rights to assets.' A "Basic Emergency Situation Law" is also apparently in preparation. Oh, then why do they need the changes to the constitution? The person responsible for the drafting thus far, the LDP's Taro Nakayama is said to have looked at the constitutions of other countries when drafting the articles, but no details are given. Which countries, I wonder?

My feeling is that there is no need to amend the current Japanese constitution. As far as I know, it has not been amended since it was drawn up immediately after the war. This is both a good thing and a bad thing. The good part is that it is actually a pretty good constitution - I had to read it pretty thoroughly in a Law course as an undergrad in a Japanese university about 30 years ago. It has stood the test of time in the intervening 65 years and has not really needed to be changed because it deals with large issues in a very overarching way, setting broad guidelines without going into great details. The bad part is that the right-wing crowd are always venting their displeasure about having to live under a constitution that was 'handed down' to them by the Americans. So they've been eager to change it for several decades, but so far have not been successful. This attempt by Taro Nakayama appears to be along the lines of 'let's not waste a good crisis; let's use it to make amendments to the constitution.' Once the constitution is amended once, then perhaps people's resistance to constitutional amendments will slowly abate, and then they can do what they like with it, like remove Article 7 - the renunciation of war...

As I say above, these emergency powers (though I have not seen the draft) do not look to me as if they 'sit' well with the current constitution. If there is to be an emergency powers law, then what's the point? Simply to have a constitutional amendment?? So what if the constitutions of other countries have been used as reference? There are lots of different constitutions in the world. Which countries? Afghanistan, Argentina, Algeria, Albania, Andorra? We won't know unless Mr Nakayama tells us.

The limits to rights in times of emergency also look like just the kinds of things the government would like to do now. Freedom of communications? Stopping inconvenient people telling the truth on the Internet for example. The government is working hard at that one right now. I wonder how long it will be before they find me? Freedom of residence and movement? Sounds like what the government is doing now to force people to return to areas which are quite contaminated with radioactivity (see below). Or force them to remain in contaminated areas, such as is happening in Fukushima City, Koriyama City and other places. 'Rights to assets'? I'm not sure exactly what this is, but it could cover a wide area such as bank deposits, landholdings, buildings and other property. In other words, it could be the denial of property rights by the government in times of emergency. If this is what it is, then I hope the people of Japan will understand what they are getting themselves into! It is one of my worst nightmares - the government (for example) nationalizing (commandeering) all farmland in a food emergency. It's amazing to me how people whose main ideological principle is the right to hold private property can decide (by enshrining it in the constitution) to take that right away in times of emergency. The Japanese people need to think very carefully about this one. The other thing they need to think carefully about is what actually constitutes, or defines, an emergency.

...

Today's Nuclear Safety Commission Meeting Has a Noisy Audience - They are not happy about Tomari NPP (Hokkaido) reactor three going into regular commercial operation after over 5 months of 'testing' (that would usually last about a month). Governor of Hokkaido Harumi Takahashi was more than a bit annoyed that she was not consulted on the decision (she and the 4 local towns would usually have a meeting to decide on whether to approve the change or not) and the METII minister Banri Kaieda had to call her and agree not to make the change official until she had approved. The feeling is that the government (METI) is trying to see how far it can push before public opinion starts pushing back. See a Japanese news clip here.

...

Japan's TEPCO logs $7.4bn quarterly loss

...

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Heat Exchanger Operational for SFP in Reactor 1

(Literally) Covering Up Reactor 1 Has Started at #Fukushima I Nuke Plant - Live cam

...

~~~Radiation Lookout~~~

PM Kan needs to read this in conjunction with the following item:
Health Effects of Chernobyl - 25 years after the reactor catastrophe
- It's about time some of the people in the Japanese government found out what the radiation in Fukushima and other places is going to mean! This short paper will give them some idea. Or perhaps they already know but are simply trying to wriggle out of the 'responsibility'.

#Fukushima Children Know Radiation Contamination in Fukushima - Yes, let the children speak for you. They will tell the truth. Are you listening PM Kan? (Are you even alive, PM Kan?)

Tokyo rice exchange starts amid radiation scare

Extend and Pretend: Japanese Government to Permanently Return Residents in Evacuation-Ready Zone Outside 20 Kilometer-Radius - Wow! Seems a little premature, to say the least. Aren't they (even) going to wait till the reactors at F#1 are in a 'stable' condition???

More on Returning Residents to Evacuation-Ready Zone in Fukushima - It's all about money. Again the government (and TEPCO) trying to pretend nothing very serious has happened and it's no big deal, even the situation at the F#1 disaster site...

#Radiation in Japan: Practically Any Radioactive Debris Will Be Burned and Buried

#Radioactive Beef Consumed in School Lunches in 296 Schools in 12 Prefectures in Japan

http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/2011/08/radioactive-beef-consumed-in-school.html

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

August 10

Two news items from Thailand relating to the NNAF in Tokyo last week - Energy Ministry stresses need to ratify nuclear power

" If the price[of natural gas] goes up, we won't escape an energy crisis."

"We don't want to repeat Japan's mistakes," said Sodsai Sangsoke, from an anti-nuclear power group in Ubon Ratchathani.

Sodsai was one of the participants in the NNAF meeting last week.

Safety laws not ready for nuclear project - Quite informative. Clearly this is the seminar that one of the participants told me yesterday they had attended. Thailand is not quite ready for nuclear power, is it? Let's hope it never will be.

Of course, Japan did not 'want' to repeat the mistakes of Three Mile Island or Chernobyl. Who would? After the First World War, I don't think most of the people of Europe were very 'happy' to see the Second World War starting up, but it happened. After the Second World War, a great number of people said, "Never again!" but it was not long before the Korean War and the Vietnam War and many other wars were happening. Can we say Japan has repeated the mistakes of Chernobyl?

The accident at Chernobyl appears to have occurred when the operator attempted to run the reactor at a low input, thereby destabilizing it and allowing it to run out of control. That is not the case at Fukushima#1, where reactors 1, 2 and 3 were in normal operation. So it was the very severe earthquake and ensuing tsunami that 'caused' the disaster. Yes, but then if all three reactors at F#1 experienced meltdowns but none of the reactors at Onagawa, F#2, and Tokai NPPs, then what was the problem at F#1 that was not present at the other three NPPs? Luck? I don't think so. We will have to wait for quite a number of years till we get 'full' answers to these questions, but let's have a look at what we have now. TEPCO has maintained that the problem at F#1 was that the tsunami swamped the backup diesel generators and thus the multiple-reactor meltdowns were 'caused' by loss of cooling capability due to the tsunami. This has been countered by rumours of lack of fuel in the diesel generator fuel tanks (it is known that the generators ran only for a very short time) and by Arnie Gundersen, who has said that the diesel pumps need auxilliary pumps right down near the edge of the ocean, and these would have been taken out by the tsunami anyway. The tsunami theory has also been challenged, e.g. by Mitsuhiko Tanaka in TEPCO will do anything to maintain the 'unforseeable' theory Mr Tanaka shows that it is very possible that the reactors, especially reactor one, were well on the way to a meltdown long before the first wave of the tsunami struck F#1 NPP roughly 45 minutes after the quake. According to Mr Tanaka, the accident was a typical 'loss of coolant' and 'station blackout' (loss of external power to drive cooling pumps). People escaping from the reactor buildings after the earthquake struck talk of pipes 'buckling and hissing.' (July 27) TEPCO has admitted that one pipe in reactor 3 ruptured in the earthquake. (May 26) Of course, if it was the earthquake that were 'primarily' responsible for the meltdowns, then none of Japan's NPPs are safe. TEPCO will no doubt want to maintain the 'tsunami' theory, both to attempt to exonerate itself from any blame for the accident and to prevent people stating the obvious - Japan is too dangerous a place to have NPPs.

A lesson that definitely needs to be learned from F#1 is that if anyone really wants to run an NPP, they have to think very carefully about how to run it safely. Unfortunately, private companies are not good at this (because safety costs money) and this also does not work very well in a country, like Japan, where there is no real independent nuclear regulatory body with enough teeth to inspect properly and demand appropriate safety upgrades and so on. A well-maintained NPP may have ridden out the earthquake + tsunami. The other NPPs in the region survived, but it's not clear what factors are involved in that. Luck? If the crucial point at F#1 was keeping the pipes intact, it's still possible that no 'normal' amount of maintenance would have prevented pipes from rupturing. All cooling backup systems were lost, and a vent was found not to be possible at a crucial time. It would have been perfectly 'normal' for someone to have realised that the diesel generators could have been placed on higher ground a short way inland, but if they require auxiliary pumps near the sea then perhaps that did'n matter either.

Another safety aspect that worries me is that the plants are not being run and staffed by actual power company employees. It seems that sub-contractors of sub-contractors are doing the actual work of running, maintenance and repair of NPPs. I.e cost-cutting again. CNIC has documented many of TEPCOS safety problems and coverups spanning nearly 20 years. With no strong regulatory agency it is no surprise that TEPCO is a company that runs a slipshod ship, and therefore no surprise that a severe accident should happen under severe conditions such as those of 3/11. That is definitely a lesson that all countries who are running or planning to run NPPs must learn. If they don't, there will be more TMIs, Chernobyls and F#1s. The best way to prevent this is simply not to have NPPs.

The first three days (30, 31 June and 1 August) of NNAF were interesting. The first day was a 'seminar' on the F#1 crisis. Among the speakers were Sei'ichi Nakate from Fukushima City, Ayako Ohga, a resident from near F#1 (misspelled 'Oka' in one of the Thai newspaper reports, but then the Thais cannot easily differentiate between "Ohga" and "Oka") and the agriculture journalist Kazuoki Ohno. Particularly interesting was Mr. Nakate's idea of "satellite" evacuation. Basically, affected communities in Fukushima would evacuate en masse, as a community, to a 'safe' location. Accommodation, schools and so on would have to be constructed in the new location, but the displaced community would retain their identity. The children would be taught by the same teachers in the relocated schools. People would be allowed to go back to the original location when necessary, so links with the 'place' would not be cut. After a few (?) years of decontamination, the community would relocate back to its original setting. It would cost some money, but not all that much. It seems eminently humane and doable. Is the government talking notice? Not that I have seen, but maybe it will as the pressure builds (which is really too late).

The party was split on the second day as some people went to participate in a demonstration in Fukushima City. I did not go. The radiation in Fukushima City worries me. I persuaded at least one person not to go. Many people who did go accepted masks from me. Apparently the organizers also prepared masks for the participants, but I got very few back afterwards (one mask might not be enough for a day.) The people who stayed in Tokyo participated in an event at Waseda University about the export of nuclear power from Japan. Excellent presentations were given by Prof. Murai of Waseda University, Mr Yuki Tanabe of JACSES, Mr I Heon Seok from South Korea, Mr Nuruddin Amin from Indonesia, and Sodsai Srangsoke from Thailand. Most impressive was Nuruddin Amin's bird's eye view of the location of the proposed Muria NPP on the northern shore of central Java, The location is quite obviously on the lower reaches of a volcano! Nuruddin tells me that the volcano is dormant, but I remain unconvinced. How can we forget the earthquake and tsunami of 26 December 2004 and the long line of earthquakes and eruptions that have taken place in Indonesia before and since? If anything Indonesia is a worse choice for nukes than Japan is.

On 1 August, the whole group gathered again to to hear 'country reports.' My vague feeling before the NNAF began was that the rest of Asia might help Japan in some way to phase out nuclear power. After listening to reports from China, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand it was clear that I was quite wrong. The main points that came over clearly from the country reports were 1) Nuclear power leads inevitably on to nuclear weapons (particularly India, Mr. S. P. Udayakumar and South Korea, I Hoen Soek) and 2) That Japan must LEAD Asia in denuclearization, partly because of the F#1 disaster, but more importantly as Japan (and South Korea) is an exporter of nuclear power (Indonesia, Mr. Dian Abraham; the Philippines, Ms Mitzi Chan: Thailand, Ms Sodsai Srangsoke; and Taiwan, Mr Lin Changmao). The reasons for Japan not having nuclear weapons are not exactly clear, but let's just say that it will be an extremely sad day when the only country to have experienced the atom bomb begins to prepare to drop it on others. At the end of the day a Joint Declaration "Let us work hand in hand to create a nuclear-free society," and a list of requests to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and TEPCO were drawn up and agreed upon. The requests consisted of six items, 1) Apologise to the people of Asia for the pollution of the sea and atmosphere by the F#1 disaster, 2) Bring the disaster to a swift conclusion, 3) Release all information and give clear explanations of the truth of the disaster, 4) Evacuate all affected people and pay full compensation for losses, etc., 5) Effect a complete denuclearization of Japan, 6) Stop all nuclear power exports and disband all organizations whose primary aim is the export of nuclear power from Japan.

2 August was the last day of the NNAF meeting in Tokyo. In the evening, many of the participants travelled to Hiroshima for a few more days of meetings and events. After dropping all the baggage off at Tokyo Station, the group went first to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. We were ushered to a conference room on the top floor of the building. The group of four METI officials consisted of three young men around 30 years of age and an older man in his 40s. Quick introductions were made and our Japanese organizers wen slowly through the list of requests. The officials replied calmly and in a manner that you would expect at a national ministry, the contents of the answers, of course being 'textbook' answers out of the manuals. The main answer for request 1, for example was that METI and the Japanese government holds press conferences where matters are explained and communicates information to other governments when necessary. For number 4, it was basically 'we are doing everything we can.' For number 6, the answer was that nuclear power is exported by private companies and the government does not tell the companies what to do. On the other hand there is no mention of the fact that the Japanese government, especially METI, is actively supporting and encouraging the export of nuclear power through financial help and help with such activities as feasibility studies. None of the officials seemed embarassed by what was happening, nor did they show any degree of emotion about the unfolding disaster happening 250 km north in Fukushima Prefecture. Perhaps they believe their own propaganda. Perhaps they don't read the newspapers. I don't know. The short meeting broke up with a friendly exchange of name cards. A 20-minute demonstration with flags banners and a pair of very loud megaphones took place on the sidewalk outside the METI building. (Short speeches by the Asian participants with Japanese interpretations by yours truly.)

The next event was a demo at and visit to the offices of TEPCO, only a five-minute walk from the METI building. Our group was ushered to a street corner by the police and flags, banners and so on were set up. The megaphones appeared again and for 20 minutes or so the above demonstration was repeated. The Asian participants and the Japanese organizers then left the demonstration to go into the TEPCO building for a meeting. In the conference room, we were met by three TEPCO PR officials, two in their 40s and one in his 50s (who did most of the talking while the other two kept notes. Everyone was given handouts (available in either English or Japanese version) - "Press Releases" (7 pages) and "The Great East Japan Earthquake and Current Status of Nuclear Power Stations" (23 pages - lots of coloured diagrams and maps and so on). Firstly there was a ritual apology by the three TEPCO PR men. Again the Japanese organizers went slowly through the six requests. Again we got 'canned' replies. Quite annoying was that every time a subject was brought up, the head PR man would ask everyone to look at a certain page in the materials. This took a lot of time (and so was done on purpose?) because the 'Press Releases' material had no page numbers and the coloured material had page numbers that started from p.1 at three different points in the materials. Actually, if you look at this small pile of materials carefully, you can see that it consists of three separate PowerPoint presentations (two slides on each page, top and bottom, each slide being numbered). So there is no way you can ask a group of people to refer to a certain 'page' in the materials unless they are fully aware of what is in them! (This company runs nuclear power stations, remember? Have you heard the stories about the blueprints they use when they do maintenance and repair on the reactors?? No laughing, now, please.) I suppose in a way it was meant to be chaos. Anyway, after a while, when most people had got the right page, the head PR man would then proceed to read it out verbatim. This also took time, and was also pretty annoying as it was mostly 'old' news.

Request No.3 turned out to be a bit sticky for the PR people. It was pointed out that TEPCO is releasing data far too late. The head PR man was adamant that information was 'now' being released at the earliest possible moment. The organizers queried why it was that the meltdowns were not announced until May 16, despite the fact that they occurred very early on in the disaster. We were referred to a page in the mateirlas that no one could find and then the subject moved on to the next request... No.4 (evacuations and compensations) was similar to METI's answer - we are doing our best under the circumstances... I think we skipped No.5 and the answer for No.6 was that TEPCO was pulling out of all of its overseas business, which was interesting, but some of the Asian participants (particularly the Taiwanese, who say that TEPCO is involved in a proposed power plant near Taipei) remained very skeptical.

As a PR exercise, I personally felt that both meetings were a disaster. There was not a shred of sincerity in anything that the officials in either METI or TEPCO said. I thought that the Asian participants were disappointed by the visits. Not necessarily because the officials did not agree with the contents of the requests and so on, but more because none of the officials expressed any sorrow for what had happened or the people affected, and neither did they seem to have an awareness that people had come from all over Asia to hear what they had to say and that therefore they owed them at least the honour of being sincere and human about what was going on. In a sense, this made the meetings meaningful. It was quite clear to the Asian participants that what they had suspected and what they had heard about the delays in releasing information, the coverups and the misinformation (e.g. Dr Yamashita's 'radiation won't harm you') was completely true. The officials had built up their little story about how it was not all that bad, no big deal, not terribly serious, and for whatever reasons they were going to stick to it regardless of who might be suffering in Fukushima Prefecture now (from the nuclear disaster; I know there are plenty of people in Fukushima, Miyagi and Iwate Prefectures suffering from the consequences of the earthquake and tsunami and not getting very much better treatment from the government) and who might be suffering there and further off, hundreds of kilometers further off, in five or ten years time when the cancers and other illnesses begin to appear.

And will they? A week before the NNAF meeting I spent four days going around with Dr Chris Busby. If you haven't heard heard his talks and so on about internal radiation, about the differences between the ECRR model and the ICRP model, about how the IAEA and WHO has diverted everyone's attention away from the truth about the health effects of Chernobyl, then you should, because this is the battleground on which the F#1 disaster compensations and health surveys and so on is going to be fought. (See this huge study by Alexey Yablokov) The government are determined to show that (almost) nothing happened! That's what the ICRP model predicts and that's what the 'health studies' will show. (The chief of UNSCEAR has already declared this.) If you believe the ECRR, there is going to be quite a lot of ill health and quite a lot of cancers in northern Japan in the coming years. If you have a lot of time to read and have a medical/scientific 'frame of mind,' try reading Chris Busby's Wolves of Water (or the earlier Wings of Death). If you do, you will see how the government and the pro-nuke doctors, academics, bureaucrats, businessmen and all the others who think 'radiation is fine' and 'it's OK to drink plutonium' and 'Japan needs nuclear power' are selling the people of Fukushima and the rest of the country down the river in a rice paper canoe.

For... don't say it... (gasp!) money! Money has so taken over our lives that we no longer recall that the government is supposed to be looking after the people. What else is the government for? (They seem to have found plenty of alternative purposes.) If the people are not important, then what is?? Money? If we live in societies (as I believe) so that the weak can be helped by the strong, how come the strong have now abandoned the weak, or at times even demand that the weak support the strong? If these people have human brains in their heads and human hearts in their chests, why are they not seriously going all out to help the people who have been affected, with all the financial resources that can be mustered? Instead we find that the government rushes almost obscenely to pass a law that will ensure the survival of TEPCO and its ability to continue to make profits, after which TEPCO announces that compensations will be paid out starting from mid-October!

Meanwhile, F#1 continues to shake, rattle and fume. It is maybe that denuclearization is the least that Japan needs.

I'll try to do some other stuff tomorrow. Have a nice evening.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

August 9

Japan PM in Hiroshima vows nuclear-free future - And also today at Nagasaki. Although not mentioning the "datsu genpatsu" (nuclear phaseout/denuclearization) word, he did say something to the effect that a nuclear-free society would be a good thing to aim for. His own opinion, of course, and not that of the government. The two mayors also made similar statements without actually mentioning "datsu genpatsu". It seems you can say what you like as long as you do not use the offending vocabulary item and do not suggest that you are representing anyone. Ha, ha. Who are they kidding! Why not just go the whole hog and get a little public support! Mr Edano actually said at a press conference today that TEPCO should pay compensation to parents in Fukushima who want to evacuate their children away from contaminated areas outside the designated evacuation zones. A personal opinion, no doubt. Is it public pressure by people like Mr Nakate (Seiichi Nakate - Fukushima Network to Protect Children from Radiation) that is causing these slight shifts in the government stance? I hope so.

...

~~~Radiation Lookout~~~

Minami Soma City Embarks on Decontamination on its Own, But Where Will The Radioactive Dirt Go? - Good question - where do you suggest??

#Radioactive Rice to Come? Rice Growing in a Rice Paddy with 35,000 Becquerels/kg of Radioactive Cesium? - Well, yes. With the world financial meltdown about to take place (?), this time next year it may simply be a case of "Eat it and shut up! You're lucky enough to have that!" One person commented, "Get the passports ready..." I think that might be the best solution for a lot of people. Rice futures market? Please give us a break. Might be 'interesting' gradations in prices for different degrees of radioactive pollution. I'm sure the government will come out with a grading system soon so that everyone can get in the same ball park. On the news last night, there was an item about how the Japanese Meteorological Agency is thinking about changing the grade system for tsunami waves by, for example, elimination the two grades for a 3 metre wave and a 4 metre wave and combining them into one grade and so on. Very nice. I can just imagine 10 bespectacled middle-aged men (there might be a woman there, you never know) sitting round a table in a small meeting room discussing this for 3 hours, give or take 30 minutes. Nothing better to do, I suppose.

...

Radiation Defense Project - As I was saying yesterday, some of the interesting news is now beginning to happen away from the standard MSM (though they may have managed to catch up on this one). This group has measured soil samples (5 cm depth) in 150 locations in metropolitan Tokyo and in surrounding areas. Their results show that contamination is significantly worse than the government has been saying and that they had previously thought. They are going to begin other activities and a more detailed sampling survey soon. A soil sampling survey has already begun in the Kansai area.

...

Thai Channel 3 report on NNAF meeting in Tokyo last week - If you don't understand Thai, sorry, please just watch the video. Mr Nakate is wrongly identified as Mr Nakata, unfortunately. If you understand Japanese, you'll understand what he's saying - basically humans and NPPs cannot exist together and we're sorry for the innocent children who are being affected and sad that we did not oppose nuclear power a little more forcefully before the accident. I hope the Thais get the message. I was told that today some of the Thai participants (including the reporter responsible for this video) visited a government energy department for a 'seminar' to report on the trip and explain about the situation in Fukushima. Thailand is in the process of planning four NPPs. I hope this will help to dissuade them.

...

Sunflower radiation absorption project blossoms around Japan - Hmmm... Good idea? Hope it works. Apparently, sunflowers are not the best decontamination crop, but they do work to some extent. Another problems is what to do with the plant matter after it has absorbed some of the radiation from the ground. Some people have suggested digesting it with bacteria. OK, but there will always be some radioactive material left and some place will have to be found to 'dispose' of it...

...

~~~Overseas~~~

Getting rid of a German nuclear plant, one rivet at a time - Oh? How polite. I can't see things going like this in Japan, somehow. Certainly not at F#1, anyway. Ha, ha!

Bayer chief warns firms may leave Germany over energy costs - Shame, shame!! Marijn Dekkers seems to have caught the Yonekura disease. Careful, Mr Dekkers, you might end up looking like him!! (Woops!)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

August 8

Never did get around to doing any links to news items yesterday, so I suppose I'd better do some today...

Rice Futures Market Repens in Japan in 72 Years: Limit Up in Tokyo on 1st Day Because of Radiation Scare - This was apparently decided in late June or on 1 July, as seen in this JAPANESE VIDEO where Ko-ichi Kato of the LDP explains his party's strong opposition to the opening of the rice futures market in Japan. After all we've seen since 3/11 and with the knowledge of the contamination of the soil in northern Japan, surely this is not the time for a rice futures market! Are the government begging for riots on the street, or what!? You only have to look at the next article to see what's happening...

Rice prices soaring as wholesalers increase inventories - and this does not mention the futures market! Why not?! Didn't the newspapers know about it, or have they been told not to mention it till it started?????

...

Three Plutonium Brothers of Japan: "They Are So Safe You Can Drink It" - To see the English subtitles, click on the small "cc" just under the screen and on the right hand side. If the TV station would just add in the canned laughter these might be very funny.

...

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

Japanese Researcher Says Reactor 3's Fuel Melted Twice, Dropped to Containment Vessel - Possibly, just possibly, this is an explanation for the radiation spike that was experienced from about 21 March. So far there has been no convincing explanation of this. I'm going to have to sit down and think about this a bit...

Arnie Gundersen: Lethal Levels of Radiation at Fukushima: What Are the Implications? - Comment on Arnie Gundersen's video of August 5.

#Contaminated Water Treatment System Comes to a Dead Stop (Again)

...

~~~Radiation Lookout~~~

#Radiation in Japan: Chernobyl-Affected Trees from Europe Sold in Japan?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

August 7

As I was saying to one of my friends yesterday, my current time horizon is about a week. At 12:33 today we had an earthquake that worried me a bit. Turned out to be an M4.8 and quite near here, so no big problem, but if it had been further away, i.e. larger at the epicenter, and near the nuclear disaster site, it could have been very dangerous. If there is another really big earthquake near the Fukushima coast, then it could cause further serious damage to the reactor 1-4 buildings, and if any of the spent fuel pools are destroyed, e.g. by a building collapsing (reactor 4 AND the fuel pool within it are leaning to one side) then you really can say bye-bye to northern Japan. I'm sure this is not the only concern - what is the status of the meltdowns in reactors 1-3? No one seems to know. Thanks. At the end of August, I am supposed to go to Sendai to give two courses at the university. I guess it will happen, but I won't be 'sure' till about the day before...

Speaking of meltdowns, the US$ and the US economy also appears to be melting down. Not a lot of fun for ordinary Americans, and if it really does collapse Japan may be in for a very hard time too, e.g. what happens if food exports to Japan fall? It's beginning to look to me like the generalized world collapse - what I was calling in the early-mid 90s the complex (systemic) crisis of population, energy, food and 'money' - though at the time I did not think it would be financial crises pulling the apple cart over, but the general resource/food/population crisis bringing the financial structure down.

Wouldn't we all like now to put the radioactivity back in the NPP, wind back the clock a bit and demand fiscal responsibility instead of rising government debts, and wish we had elected leaders who really cared for the people (who elected them) instead of doing the bidding of big money interests? Well, we can't and now we're going to pay for it. But at least now we know we were fooled. We may be fooled again, but not all that many times. And perhaps a lot of people are not going to be fooled anymore. We woke up, and we grew up, like waking up to a cold and rainy Monday morning from a really pleasant and happy dream. Oh.

At least on those cold and rainy Monday mornings there was still some hope for the future. My time horizon used to be about 50 years. With care, I might live to be 80 or 90. Still another 20 to 30 years to go. Time to do what I want, like read some interesting books and read and speak the languages I am interested in - Japanese, of course, but also Thai, Lao, Khmer, Karen, Chinese, Cantonese and Korean. Of course, I'll never be 'fluent' in all of them, but if I can have simple conversations and read simple stuff, I'll be happy. But since 3/11, I have hardly been able to do any of this. Far too busy with this blog and with all kinds of other 'work' connected with working for a nuclear phase-out in (denuclearization of) Japan, to do with the accident site, to do with radiation hazards and to do with supporting the people of Fukushima, Miyagi and Iwate Prefectures. Not a lot, but I do what I can do.

As i say, the time horizon is down to about a week. If the Japanese government dislikes what I say or do, they can put me in detention and deport me. As far as I am concerned, a death sentence. They probably don't give a hoot, though. We also do a little farming. Some rice and some vegetables. VERY few vegetables this year. Just can't seem to get outside to do it. We may have have very light soil contamination here, but any (radioactive) contamination just absolutely sickens me. The total disregard for any form of life, not just humans, of TEPCO and all the other nuclear-pushers, and now the government, since it is quite plain they they do not 'care,' either, is so staggeringly abhorrent to me that I can hardly look at the trees, grass, flowers, birds, insects, etc., etc. without wondering, "If they're going to do this, just what on Earth is the point in going on?"

We try to eat cleanly, we try to drink clean water and other liquids, avoid processed foods and stuff in 'pet' bottles. We avoid putting chemicals on any of our land. To stay healthy, I try to get enough exercise each day, watch my weight, try not to overeat, hardly ever drink alcohol, don't smoke (only one person has ever smoked in our house since it was built 25 years ago - the year of Chernobyl). And now Fukushima! Thanks, TEPCO. I know you will continue to take from me (I pay your electricity bills) and you will never give me anything back for this little piece of 'suffering,' but I really do feel that since 3/11 my life has irrevocably changed because of your complete and utter stupidity, and I will do whatever I can with my remaining life to see that (even if your company continues to exist) everyone knows just who is responsible (and in what way) for this unspeakable crime against the Japanese people. (I'm not exaggerating; I think it is clear that TEPCO managers have been criminally negligent for at least the past two decades, and it is documented. It's simply a question of getting the information to people.) And to see the complete denial of nuclear/atomic technology in Japan, Asia and the world.

I might actually get to updating a few links later...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

August 6

Summary (Part 1) of Professor Tatsuhiko Kodama's Interview with Daisuke Tsuda on August 5

Gov't unchanged on nuclear plant export negotiations after crisis

However, Edano commented, "It is necessary to keep existing promises."

Oh, dear, it's so hard to get through to these people! Look, Mr Edano, the people who want the NPPs live a long way away from them and stand to make money/enjoy the electricity generated from them. Most of the local people will get few benefits and will be saddled with the disbenefits like regular radiation releases, anxieties over possible accidents, loss of fishing grounds, destruction of local culture, and perhaps actual accidents. These people do not want NPPs in their towns and villages and therefore DO NOT WANT Japan (and S. Korea, Russia, USA, etc.) to export NPPs. These are promises you can break, Mr Edano. Please stop exporting NPPs from Japan.

Japanese Government Plans to Allow Residents within 3 Kilometer Radius of Fukushima I Nuke Plant to Return Temporarily

EDITORIAL: Taxes should not be used to bail out TEPCO - The last sentence sounds nice, but the fact is that as things stand TEPCO WILL survive. I think that's the wrong decision. A drunk driver who kills people on the road will be locked up. What's the difference here???

...

Documents reveal U.S. plan in mid-1950s to deploy nuke arms in Japan - OK. Look at India and now South Korea. Atoms for peace has a way of leading onto atoms for war. What is interesting here is that it is not at all clear why Japan does NOT have nuclear weapons. In theory, they should by now have all the technical know-how and the components (uranium enrichment, reprocessing, etc) that make it possible to manufacture and deliver a nuclear weapon, BUT the reprocessing plants in Tokai and Rokkasho Villages (like the Joyo and Monju FBRs) have been TOTAL WASHOUTS! Why is that? The Shinkansen has a great safety record, whereas the Chinese can't seem to keep their trains on the track. But China has nuclear weapons and their delivery systems. Or is it that the US never wanted Japan to have nuclear weapons and was too afraid of public opinion/political backlash to ever try very seriously to deploy them here?

...

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: 700 Liters of Highly Contaminated Water Leaked - VERY radioactive water - both the water that leaked AND the water in the basements of the various buildings!

TEPCO may use 'shower spray' on troubled reactor - Yeeoow!! I wish I had the luxury of making decisions in two or three weeks!! Right now my time horizon is about a week. Thanks to TEPCO, I have no confidence right now of being alive after about 14 August.

...

~~~Radiation Lookout~~~

(UPDATED) Yokohama City Finally Admits It May Have Been Feeding School Children with Radioactive Beef

Public hoarding old rice over fallout fears - Right, so how about if rice below the government standard (500 Bq/kg??) were shipped out to west Japan and mixed 3-1, 5-1, 10-1 with very low-contamination rice to dilute the overall radiation level? Are people going to agree to/put up with that? Presumably, the somewhat contaminated rice grains are still going to contain fairly high radiation levels while the west Japan rice grains do not. Are people going to measure every grain? Is the government going to try to do this secretly? (Bet they can't keep the lid on it.) And what about the little rice farmers who aren't selling into the market? (My family.) Are the local authorities going to come round to our field and test/measure the rice before harvesting? Doubt it. Frankly, I'm not at all surprised that people are hoarding old rice. But what about next year and the year after?

...

Japanese parents live with radiation fear

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

August 5

I might try to be be a bit more coherent today -- ha, ha!

Law on nuclear disaster compensation is enacted

The new framework has been designed to help Tokyo Electric Power Co. provide compensation to people and businesses in difficulty without going out of business amid the crisis at its Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.

- Help TEPCO provide compensation????? Sounds nice, but is actually help TEPCO to survive as a company. It really is a national shame when the only thing these Tokyo politicians can do relatively quickly is pass a bill that ensures the survival of TEPCO! By any standards of judgement of TEPCO's track record over the last 20 years it is clearly a criminally negligent company. Allowing it to survive like this only serves to highlight the fact that there is NO democracy in Japan, since the vast majority of politicians are busy serving corporate interests and NOT the people who elect them!

Professor Tatsuhiko Kodama in Shukan Gendai Interview - People like Prof. Kodama should be given executive powers to override the monster politicians and bureaucrats who seem unable to focus on the suffering in Fukushima, Miyagi and Iwate.

Japan to sack top nuclear energy officials

Hitachi and Mitsubishi 'to open merger talks'

...

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

New video from Arnie Gundersen explaining the high levels of radiation at the vent stack - Lethal Levels of Radiation at Fukushima: What Are the Implications?

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: 2 Sieverts/Hr on Water Surface in the Reactor Bldg Basement??

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: 3.6 Sieverts/Hr at Stack Drain Pipe for Reactors 1 and 2

...

~~~Radiation Lookout~~~

Taking matters into their own hands - Monitoring for radiation now an activity for regular people - Of course, the government and local administrations could set up stations like these, but they're too busy doing other stuff to worry about ordinary people. (Some local administrations may have actually done this, I have just not heard of any...)

...

~~~Overseas~~~

Britain to shut nuclear unit in wake of Japan disaster

US to talk nuclear cooperation with Saudi Arabia

End of nuclear in Germany pushes Vattenfall into red

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

August 4

Japan's Minister of Education Visits Monju, Says Fast Breeder Is Necessary for Japan - Oh, gee, this one again? We've already destroyed the arguments for this on July 16. I need a few whiskeys before continuing...

"Research and development to find ways to use uranium fuel more effectively and to reduce nuclear waste is a natural fit for Japan, which has scarce natural resources."

Oh, how nice if it could be done without killing too many people. Dream on. No one is EVER going to make it work properly and cleanly (you know, like 'no pollution'). This FBR doesn't work and I doubt it ever will, the Joyo pilot FBR in Oarai Town, Ibaraki Prefecture is doing zilch. The Mitsubishi demonstration FBR won't be built for at least another ten years (that means effectively never if you just think in terms of how much oil is going to be coming to Japan after about 2021). The Rokkasho Village reprocessing plant is a very expensive joke. I got a feeling (a feeling I can't hide) that the Minister of Education doesn't have much of a clue what he's talking about. Please read the article to find out why (apart from the above quote). Where on earth can he be getting his information? From the bureaucrats who run the ministry, I suppose. These people seem more and more to know absolutely NOTHING!

...

TEPCO Is Not Providing English Translation of Its Report to NISA on Emergency Cooling Scheme That Assumes Fuel and Reactors Intact at Fukushima I - Dear me! potential misunderstandings by inconvenient foreigners, eh? Just don't know how to keep their minds shut and their noses clean like good Japanese folks. And of course TEPCO assumes that foreigners can't read Japanese... When I went round with the Asian participants of NNAF to the TEPCO Head Office the other day, the senior PR man of the three queried our Japanese organizer as to why there was an obvious European in the group despite the "Asian" title. The organizer had to explain to him that I was the interpreter. His eyes opened wide and he looked at me as if to say, "What, this worm can speak Japanese?!" Ha, ha! Yes, we have a pretty good idea of what is going on here...

...

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Video of Packbot Approaching 5+ Sievert/Hr Location inside Reactor 1 - Oh, boy! Neerly as eerie as some parts of the Alien series. Had me wondering if the extremely radiated and annoyed alien was suddenly going to pounce on the unsuspecting pacbot...

...

~~~Radiation Lookout~~~

#Radiation in Japan: 12,600 High School Students from All Over Japan Gather in Fukushima for Annual Cultural Festival - I wonder if people in the areas affected by the Chernobyl disaster are seeing this kind of thing going on in Japan. They must be shaking their heads and wiping their eyes... not from laughter.

...

Fukushima Prefecture to Test Wild Mushrooms Harvested in Fukushima - Oh, really? Nothing better to do, I suppose...

...

Panel calls for more rice fields - My friend in Kyushu sent me this one today. Perhaps he was trying to drive me into an early grave, or at the very least into a nervous breakdown. I talked above (Monju article) about how politicians and bureaucrats (not limited to this country, I suppose) seem to have the intelligence of gnats (sorry, gnats), but this really has to take the imperial biscuit. Has any of the people who are putting out this monstrous garbage ever been near (let alone in) a paddy (rice) field?? Sure, plenty of young people not willing to take over their parents' small landholdings (e.g. around 0.5 ha or even less) and I just wonder why? Well, the price of rice for the producers is less than 10,000 yen/hyo (60 kg) when the production costs are around 16 - 17,000 yen! Er? Not a lot of 'fun' that. The downtrodden, wrung out and hung up to dry farmers are subsidising the traders, supermarkets, city folks and all and sundry! And what will these 20 to 30 hectare farms look like? 'Salary man' serf farm labor riding around on tractors, spreading chemicals bund to sordid bund, producing rice hardly fit to eat - yes, we've had that around here; there are some places near here where they say the rice is 'kusai' - stinks - and does not taste too good. And what will happen to this when oil/nat gas becomes more expensive? Won't run. Will have to be put back the way it is now (not easy, especially when they tear up the traditional irrigation channels!!!) or even smaller individual fields. Completely and utterly bleeding stupid and ignorant with a total lack of vision for the future to boot!

Looking around my house, I see more farmers are growing okabo (upland rice) this year. They know there's going to be a shortage, so they think it might bring a bit more cash this year. It's growing nicely right beside my house now and I can smell the rice plants growing as I walk by. Know the smell of rice growing in the field, bureaucrat? Walking my dog a few days ago, I was walking by one of these fields when a farmer I have a passing acquaintance with drove up on his small (20 hp) tractor. He had stopped by to check out how the okabo was growing. He looked at the field (about 1/10 ha) carefully for about 90 seconds and then went back to the tractor. We'd caught up with him by that time. "Looks like quite a new tractor. One or two years old?" I quipped. "Bought it two years ago." "Right. Cost you a bit." "Yes, it did." "Be OK if the rice grows nicely and you can sell it OK." "Yes, we're worried about that." "End of the road for nukes, I think." "Yep, they're no good!" He started the engine and went off to his next stop. Politicians, bureaucrats. Come here and talk to my 70-year-old + farmer friends. They know a great deal more than you do! Try three or four nights in a Karen village (N. Thailand, not Burma, bit too dangerous) at harvest time. Part way through, if you don't break down in tears for the sudden realization of what human life truly is and how wonderful it can be, you don't have a brain or a human heart in your chest. Nuclear power? FBR? Reprocessing plant? TPP? Economic growth? Before Fukushima, just about, maybe. Now? Forget it. That's all yesterday and the rest of us are trying to find a sane tomorrow, so please just get out of the way or join us, huh?

I'm not going to do anymore tonight, 'cos I'm just too depressed and fed up with the crassness of it all. Have a nice evening and maybe tomorrow will be better.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

August 3

Hello, again! I'm back from the No Nukes Asia Forum (NNAF). I will try to report on that later. I have a lot of catching up to do and a lot to say, and very little time in which to do it, but I will try to find as much time as possible each day to update this page so that you will be kept in touch with what is happening at the Fukushima nuclear disaster site and what is going on in Japan as a consequence of the nuclear disaster.

...

People from All Over Asia Protest in Front of TEPCO Head Office - This is the NNAF demo in Tokyo, near the TEPCO head office. I'll try to report on this in more detail in a few days.

...

Professor Tatsuhiko Kodama of Tokyo University Tells the Politicians: "What Are You Doing?" (Part 1)

(Part 2) Professor Tatsuhiko Kodama of Tokyo University Tells the Politicians: "What Are You Doing?"

(Part 3) Professor Tatsuhiko Kodama of Tokyo University Tells the Politicians: "What Are You Doing?"

Video with English Caption: Professor Tatsuhiko Kodama of Tokyo University Tells the Politicians: "What Are You Doing?"

Professor Kodama's Speech in Four Languages (Japanese, English, French, German)

...

Takashi Hirose Who Has Pressed Criminal Charges Against Government, TEPCO: "We remain unaware, we just want to believe everything is OK"

Another Tokyo University Professor Haruki "Detarame" Madarame Tells Like It Really Is: "It's All About Money, Isn't It?"

...

Japanese Military Analyst: Chinese Nuclear Submarine Accident in Dalian, China??

...

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: OVER 10 SIEVERTS/HR Radiation OUTSIDE Reactor 1 and 2

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Workers Knew About the Extremely High Radiation Around Exhaust Stack

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: 10+ Sieverts/Hr Spot Photos from TEPCO

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant Reactor 1: More Than 5 Sieverts/Hr Radiation on 2nd Floor

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant Reactor 1: It Was Over 5 Sieverts/Hr at the Entrance of "Train Room" on 2nd Floor

...

TEPCO to Conduct Flow Test of Toshiba's SARRY

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: One Step Forward, One Step Back, and One Enigma

#Fukushima Contaminated Water Treatment System: Hitachi's Desalination Unit Leak was from PVC Hose

...

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Humans Enter Reactor 3, Receive 4.61 Millisieverts for 40 Minute Work

Wanted: 20 Healthy Males Who Want over $600 for 4-Hour Work a Day for One Month to Help Disaster-Affected Tohoku

...

M6.4 Earthquake Right Off the Coast of Iwaki City, Fukushima

...

~~~Radiation Lookout~~~

Japan's Crown Prince and Princess Taking Their 9-Year-Old Daughter to High-Radiation Summer Retreat

...

#Radioactive Leaf Compost: Kamakura City in Kanagawa Finally Stops Giving Out Compost to Residents

#Radioactive Compost Has Been Sold in 23 Prefectures

#Radioactive Leaf Compost Spreads to Schools

...

#Radioactive High School Baseball Games in Fukushima

#Fukushima Teacher Pressured to Resign Over His Effort to Protect Children from "Invisible Snake" (Radiation)

Fukushima Teacher Muzzled on Radiation Risks for School Children

#Radioactive Beef: Cesium Is Not Evenly Distributed in a Cow

Plants Dying in the Middle of Central Tokyo

#Radioactive Rice: Chiba, Tochigi Prefectures to Test New Crop for Radiation

...

#Radioactive Fallout in Tokyo in March: Iodine, Cesium, Tellurium, Radioactive Silver

#Radiation in Japan: Now It's Radioactive Manure

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

July 28

[From tomorrow until 8/2 I will be attending the NO NUKES ASIA FORUM, so no updates till at least 8/3 - sorry.]

#Radiation in Japan: How the Brainwashing Was Done in Fukushima - The people are going to remember the names of these professors... (read the comments below the article, please). I heard roughly the same sentiment from a young woman who attended a meeting in Ibaraki Prefecture yesterday where a different professor from a different university was giving the local people essentially the SAME STORY. This professor (I know his name and university - do you want to know?) stated (in answer to an obviously planted question from a prefectural staffer), "It is said that low radiation exposure is good for your health. This is exactly the situation we are in now." Thanks, Prof. We'll remember who you are. In the meantime, this is called radiation hormesis and is debunked as an incredible lie by Karl Grossman, a professor at State University of New York College.

...

Niigata reactors to stay offline, governor says

Noting that the central government still hasn't gotten to the bottom of the Fukushima nuclear crisis, Izumida said Tuesday in Tokyo that the new safety assessment procedure is almost useless unless the cause of the accident is taken into consideration.

In other words, nuclear reactors should not be restarted until TEPCO and the government starts being quite a bit more honest about what actually happened at F#1. But, as we saw yesterday (top article) TEPCO and the government have no wish to do that because it would show that plant mismanagement and the earthquake rather than the tsunami were relatively much more important 'causes' of the disaster. So they either lie or give up? Another factor is that the government and business circles are asking for nuclear reactor restarts, but have studiously avoided any mention of a date for a nuclear phase-out. Because of the way METI minister Banri Kaeda and others in the government have handled this, popular opinion is turning strongly against nuclear power, and it may just prove to be impossible to restart ANY reactors until a firm promise of an appropriate (i.e. in the 2020s) phase-out date is given by the government.

...

Japan's Prefecture Assembly Chairpersons Want Prime Minister Kan to Resign

...

Power companies' generation figures called into question amid push for reactor restarts - A very unsatisfactory article. The power companies and METI are VERY CONSCIOUSLY HIDING the figures for thermal power stations and hydroelectric generation. I can't find them anywhere. Just as for nuclear power reactors (for which the information is easily available!!) I cannot find anywhere on the web which thermal power stations are online/offline and what their maintenance schedules are and so on. Please prove me wrong by showing them to me. That includes you, Mr Banri Kaieda, METI minister. It's been clear since the 1980s that this secrecy is deliberately employed to prevent people knowing that thermal power stations have maintenance scheduled for the summer in order for the power companies and the government to pronounce pompously that "nuclear power is necessary" when it is not! How about the regular press finding the figures and publishing them instead of this almost totally meaningless article?!

Power shortages expected even 5 years ahead - Another pretty absurd article. Designed (as usual) to elicit the "Ah, yes, after all Japan cannot survive without lots of nuclear power" response. In the situation Japan is in at the moment (and with the economies of US/EU/China on the edge of the precipice) who knows how much electricity will be needed in 5 years' time?? OK, if Japan wants to go the French way, maintain its nukes and even build more, we will all have to face the possible consequences. If Japan wants to go the German way and phase out nuclear power in the 2020s, then one of the first things to do now is to begin to reduce electric power consumption through conservation, just as Germany is now as it moves toward the increase of renewable energy. Without this yes/no decision on whether Japan is going to go down the nuclear phase-out path or not, talking about "power shortages" in 5 years' time is almost as ridiculous as Tetsunari Iida's favorite(?) saying that "100% of Japan's energy can be provided by renewable energy sources in 2050." 100% of what? 100% of what Japan is using now or 100% of what Japan will be using in 2050? The latter I suppose, but how much energy is that compared with what Japan uses now? 10%? 20%? That part is never made clear. I'm sure most people who hear him say that are just making up some kind of dreamy story in their heads. I must remember to ask him what the answer is next time I run into him in Tokyo...

...

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

1,600 workers projected over radiation limit

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Robot "Quince" Video Inside Reactor 3 - Interesting for gamers, maybe.

#Contaminated Water Treatment System: 58% Operating Rate, Amount of Water Increased by 3000 Tonnes in a Week - Apparently the water treatment system is not keeping up with water pumped into the reactors in the attempt to cool them.

~~~Radiation Lookout~~~

#Radioactive Compost Has Already Spread Wide

Tochigi Prefecture tested the leaves that went into the leaf compost bags, and they found 72,000 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium. The leaves were collected in the northern Tochigi in April, and was sold outside the prefecture from mid June to early July.

Er... so they knew about the contamination but did not stop the leaves from being bagged?? Not sure I quite understand what is going on...

...

Agriculture Defense Coalition - A LOT of information archived at this site.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

July 27

Contents page of the CNIC bi-monthly newsletter Nuke Info Tokyo No.143 - Please see the top article, which is about how the disaster at F#1 occurred. The author, Mr Mitsuhiko Tanaka, describes how reactor 1 probably melted down and how this story 1) is different from that described by TEPCO in its simulation, and 2) describes how the meltdown process probably began before the arrival of the tsunami, making the earthquake the major 'cause' of the disaster rather than the ensuing tsunami (though 'causes' are very complex in this case and I would certainly not ascribe the 'cause' of the disaster to something as 'simple' as the earthquake alone.) The meltdown described here seems to be eerily similar to that described by METI itself in a video created some years ago (though it is not clear exactly when). See the top link in the update for July 23 for the video. ALSO, please note that in the article UK Independent: A young man sacrificing his future to shut down Fukushima linked in yesterday's update, the young man featured recalled that On 11 March, when the quake disabled the plant, he watched in terror as pipes hissed and buckled around him. Thus it does now look very much like a loss of coolant accident accompanied by loss of external power (Station Blackout - SBO) was the immediate cause of the meltdown, at least in reactor 1.

...

IAEA Chief Yukiya Amano visits Fukushima Daichi

IAEA's Chief Amano Does #Fukushima I Nuke Plant Tour - The IAEA people seem to be perfectly aware of the dangers of radiation - even internal (inhaled) radiation - since they are wearing the filter masks and so on. Of course it's a lot closer to the damaged reactors than Fukushima City, but they were only there a short time. Isn't living in Koriyama or Fukushima Cities just as dangerous???

And then today, after visiting the nuclear disaster site yesterday, Mr Amano now tells PM Kan that nuclear power is going into business-as-usual mode! Nuclear power to grow despite Fukushima, IAEA head says after meeting Kan - I'm going to have to quote most of the article here because it is so absurd! Also please see the comments under the article linked here to confirm that many people are NOT buying the IAEA line.

The head of the U.N. atomic watchdog said Tuesday that nuclear power will keep growing in the world despite the crisis at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi plant, which he visited the previous day.

“Some countries, including Germany, have reviewed their nuclear energy policy, but many other countries believe they need nuclear reactors to tackle problems such as global warming,” he told reporters. “Therefore, securing safety is more important than anything.”

Amano, who visited the crippled Fukushima Daiichi plant on Monday, said he affirmed to Kan that the international nuclear body will help the disaster-hit country bring the atomic power plant under control.

“I told the prime minister that the IAEA can help Japan because we have knowledge and experience on decontamination and the management of melted or spent nuclear fuel,” he said.

Japan and plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) are trying to bring the plant’s reactors to stable “cold shutdown” by January.

Kan has also announced “stress tests,” modeled on a similar program in the European Union, for all nuclear reactors in Japan. The majority of the nation’s 54 reactors are currently offline for safety checks.

“I think it’s very good that countries check the safety of nuclear generation after the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant,” said Amano. “It would be good if the IAEA could review such safety inspections internationally.”

1. I do not subscribe to this "watchdog" idea. It's not as if the IAEA keeps a careful watch on the safety of nuclear reactors worldwide and then comes in with strong recommendations for action if it sees something amiss occurring at a nuclear plant somewhere. That would be what a "watchdog" does. If there is a sense in which the IAEA is a "watchdog," it would be in the way that the IAEA seems to promote nuclear power and act as a mouthpiece for the nuclear industry when conscientious and concerned groups and citizens oppose nuclear power or nuclear power plants due to valid safety reasons somewhere in the world.

2. "...need nuclear reactors to tackle problems such as global warming ... “Therefore, securing safety is more important than anything.” I think the world is quite capable of tackling global warming without nuclear reactors. Since mining, refining, transportation of nuclear fuel, the fabrication of fuel rods, construction, decommissioning, dismantling of nuclear reactors and nuclear power stations, and the storing and final disposal (a problem not yet solved) of spent nuclear fuel all use fossil fuels, the effect of using nuclear power on CO2 emissions abatement is small. If "securing safety is more important than anything," then JUST DON'T BUILD NUCLEAR REACTORS/NUCLEAR POWER STATIONS IN THE FIRST PLACE! In the end that is the only way to ensure real 'safety'.

3. If the IAEA is going to "help the disaster-hit country bring the atomic power plant under control" then I'd like to know in concrete detail what it is the IAEA is actually doing or is going to do. F#1 is a first in history. I think the real situation is that NO ONE really knows what to do. Sounds very reassuring, but in fact a lot of hot air, isn't that right, Mr Amano? I'll be very happy indeed to know what concrete steps/measures/actions the IAEA is planning to help get the crippled reactors of F"#1 under control.

4. Similar to 3. "...the IAEA can help Japan because we have knowledge and experience on decontamination and the management of melted or spent nuclear fuel." Yes, that might be very nice, but how about helping with the health problems of people, especially children, in Fukushima Prefecture and other surrounding areas. Why is this NOT mentioned? We should recall that the WHO is not permitted to make any statement or take any action concerning the area of health and radiation without the approval of the IAEA, isn't that right, Mr Amano? (Please see the Guardian article of April 11: How nuclear apologists mislead the world over radiation.) So is the IAEA NOT concerned about the people who are being affected, and is the IAEA NOT going to make any particular effort for the health problems of affected people/areas, but only help with getting the reactors at nuclear disaster site under control??

5. "...trying to bring the plant’s reactors to stable “cold shutdown” by January." This is probably a problem with the author of the article rather than Mr Amano. “Cold shutdown” is a term that is usually used to refer to bringing nuclear reactors to a halt in normal circumstances, or to a non-catastrophic halt in an emergency such as an earthquake and so on. It is not a term that can be used to describe the final cooling of the totally destroyed reactors 1, 2 and 3 (and 4?) at F#1.

6. "The majority of the nation’s 54 reactors are currently offline for safety checks." F#1 reactors 1-6 are certainly offline, but not for 'safety checks'!!! I live near Tokai nuclear power station, which has only one reactor. It just about managed to shut down safely on 11 March. Whew! When "stress tests" were ordered, the governor of Ibaraki Prefecture, Masaru Hashimoto, called NISA? METI? the Nuclear Power Minister (Mr Hosono)? to confirm whether the Tokai reactor would be subject to the test. He was told, "No, the reactors on the coast affected by the earthquake/tsunami are not included." That probably includes Onagawa, and F#2. Higashidori nuclear power station is apparently preparing to undergo the stress test (In Japanese). (Japanese articles on the web here and here show that Tokai and Onagawa are not being asked to restart and that F#2 is not included in the stress tests. If a nuclear power station is not included in the stress test then it cannot restart, and if it is not being asked to restart then it is not included in the stress tests.) It's even possible that none of these will ever run again. Certainly, people around me in Ibaraki are saying that the Tokai reactor is 'finished.' It would be nice to have a little more accuracy with the reporting.

7. "I think it's very good that..." "It would be good if..." Excuse me, but are these the words of a serious nuclear "watchdog" that we can really trust?? I think not. Extremely weak. How about, "The IAEA will do whatever it can to ensure that..." and so on? Does it not actually have the real power to tell national and private power generators what to do? I suspect not. See the blog update for May 14 where this quote appears: "What national nuclear regulators appear to want from stress tests is a largely toothless paper-shuffling exercise." And isn't that the point, Mr Amano? Just make it look good on the surface and on paper and pretend that nuclear power is 'safe' so that the little people on the street don't lose sleep getting all anxious over a little radiation. There is no "watchdog," there is no real 'safety,' and clearly there is no concern for the people (especially children) who are right now being affected by the radiation releases from the F#1 nuclear disaster site. Please tell me, Mr Amano, if we do not worry about these people in Fukushima City, Koriyama City and other places in Fukushima Prefecture, and parts of Tochigi Prefecture and Ibaraki Prefecture, then why is it necessary for you to wear full protective gear, including an air filter mask (presumably to prevent the inhalation of hot particles) to visit F#1 for a few hours? In fact, given the ability to see things very well over long distances via the Internet or with HD videos, why was it necessary for you to visit the disaster site in the first place? Are you some kind of 'disaster tourist' or is this just another extension of 'theatrical politics'?

Final note. Mr Amano, I am not trying to attack you personally, but simply trying to point out some of the problems I see with the stance of the organization you represent, the IAEA. I will be very happy indeed to receive any correction concerning 1-7 above and place it here for all to see. If I am wrong somewhere, I will be perfectly happy to acknowledge that fact on this page. Please feel free to write to me at any time.

Basically the same article -- Atomic power to grow despite Fukushima: IAEA head

...

Post-Nuke Reconstruction Plan for Fukushima Prefecture: World-Class Radiation Medicine, Radiation Contamination Removal, Renewable Energy - Well, I'm sure the people of Fukushima Prefecture will be very happy to hear about this... even so, I think what they're really asking for is a little help and understanding NOW!

...

PDF FILE: SPECIAL REPORT- Japan's Nuclear Sorftspot - Fukushima long ranked Japan's most hazardous nuclear plant

...

~~~Halleluya, brothers and sisters, more revelations!~~~

"Now They Tell Us" Series: #Fukushima Reactor Cooling Was From Outside the Shroud - Rather pathetic, really. A good example of bolting the stable door after the horse has fled. What's the point of cooling the shroud once the molten nuclear fuel has eaten its way out of the reactor pressure vessel and onto the floor of the containment vessel, or even further? I suppose some of the water may have gone down there...

Nuke Plant Politics: METI Sent Energy Agency Chief to Pursuade Governor of Fukui to Re-Start Nuke Plants - Shinkansen? Wake up guys. Those days are over.

...

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Quince Entered Reactor 3, Now Humans' Turn to Brave 75 Millisieverts/Hr Radiation

...

~~~Radiation Lookout~~~

#Radiation in Japan: 60 Becquerels/Kg Cesium from Eggs in Fukushima

Nuclear plant workers developed cancer despite lower radiation exposure than legal limit

Radiation exposure over lifetime studied - A government food safety panel recommended Tuesday that safeguards be taken to ensure that cumulative radiation exposure during one's lifetime not exceed 100 millisieverts, a benchmark beyond which the risk of cancer increases.

...

U.S. used Hiroshima to bolster support for nuclear power

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

July 26

Updating early this morning because I want you to see this video of a meeting between residents of Fukushima City and Japanese government representatives - WARNING! NOT PLEASANT!

Japanese government killing its own people in Fukushima

Despite the 'safety myth,' nukes are known to be dangerous and so are sited as far as possible away from major population areas - though in Japan that has turned out to be difficult. Basically these areas are also areas where the main forms of livelihood are 'primary' industries - fisheries and agriculture. Primary industries have a very hard time competing with (secondary) manufacturing industries (in terms of "efficiency" of making money) and so become very disadvantaged within the society/economy of the country. In most advanced 'civilised' countries primary industries have to be supported by government subsidies and so on (since food security is considered by most countries to be an important component of sovereignty - Japan is an interesting case because of it's large population and low food self-sufficiency). Thus, because of the cash sweetener, it has proven to be fairly easy to get (depressed) rural locations to accept nuclear power stations here.

Regarding some aspects of nuclear power the local people were lied to, and the power companies (TEPCO) have failed to keep their promise to run the nuclear power stations safely (the argument that the tsunami 'caused' the F#1 accident has now completely run out of steam). So, of course people are very unhappy about being lied to and then treated like 3rd class 'citizens' when they have to bear the brunt of the nuclear contamination following the disaster - as seen in the video above. Talking to Tokyo people, they are just waking up to the fact NOW that their food AND electricity comes/came from the same places and that what has happened has been inconvenient for them, but also that the real situation that has existed for the past 40 years or so was somehow hidden from them, and that the people who have had to put up with the anxieties (both of farming and nuclear power) during that time are now, ON THEIR (Tokyo people) BEHALF suffering an unmitigated disaster in which the government has very callously turned its back on them!! Time for the people of Tokyo to wake up, turn round and tell the government that this current behaviour is SIMPLY UNACCEPTABLE!

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

I have attempted to do a rough calculation of extra cancers likely to occur from the F#1 nuclear disaster in the Tokyo conurbation based on the calculations by Dr Chris Busby in his PDF paper The health outcome of the fukushima catastrophe. The results are below. (Tables 1 and 2 are the same as Tables 5 and 6 (pp.10-11) in Dr Busby's paper. Calculation methods are given in the same paper on pages 9-10, but if anyone would like to know the details, please leave a comment at the bottom of this page.)

The 100 km zone is estimated to have a population of 3,338,900.

Table 1. The predicted cancer increases in the 100 km zone near the Fukushima site
Model Cancer yield Notes, Assumption
ICRP

2838

In 50 years based on collective doses at an exposure of 2 µSv/hr for one year
ECRR Tondel

103,329

In ten years following the catastrophe, based on surface contamination only
ECRR absolute

191,986

In 50 years, based on collective doses at exposure of 2 µSv/hr for one year; probably half of these expressed in the first ten years

The 100-200 km zone is estimated to have a population of 7,874,600

Table 2. The predicted cancer increases in the 100-200 km zone near the Fukushima site
Model Cancer yield Notes, Assumption
ICRP

3320

In 50 years based on collective doses at an exposure of 2 µSv/hr for one year
ECRR Tondel

120,894

In ten years following the catastrophe, based on surface contamination only
ECRR absolute

224,623

In 50 years, based on collective doses at exposure of 2 µSv/hr for one year; probably half of these expressed in the first ten years

For the estimate in the 200-300 km zone I have assumed 1 µSv/hr for one year or 300 kBq/sq m ground contamination. If the resulting figures look large, that is because the population of this zone is large. However the radiation exposure/contamination assumptions may be too large. An estimate of one-half to two-thirds of the one given here might be approporiate. We will know in ten years time because according to the ECRR models there should have been at least 250,000 extra chancers in this area. It remains to be seen whether cancer statistics that will enable this to be judged will actually be kept.

The 200-300 km zone is estimated to have a population of 37,630,341 (see Table 4)

Table 3. The predicted cancer increases in the 200-300 km zone near the Fukushima site
Model Cancer yield Notes, Assumption
ICRP

16,463

In 50 years based on collective doses at an exposure of 1 µSv/hr for one year
ECRR Tondel

573,712

In ten years following the catastrophe, based on surface contamination only
ECRR absolute

1,097,552

In 50 years, based on collective doses at exposure of 1 µSv/hr for one year; probably half of these expressed in the first ten years

For the number of extra cancers appearing in the whole 300 km zone, the figures for each model in Tables 1, 2 and 3 must be added. I.e. for the whole zone out to 300 kms, the ECRR absolute model would predict roughly 1,500,000 extra cancers over 50 years, half of those perhaps occurring in the next ten years.

Table 4. 200-300 km zone population
Region Population
Tokyo Met

13,161,751

Chiba

6,217,119

Kanagawa

9,049,500

Saitama

7,194,957

Gunma

2,007,014

TOTAL

37,630,341

Parts of Iwate Pref., Akita Pref., Niigata Pref. and Nagano Pref. in the 200-300 km zone have been ignored. The furthest parts of Kanagawa Pref. may actually lie beyond the 300 km line from the Fukushima site. Population statistics from Japanese Wikipedia (2010 figures)

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

https://sites.google.com/site/hoshano311/radiationpollution/july17 - Chris Busby's talk in Tokyo on July 17 - English and Japanese - with slides. - Not quite right yet but will be improved in the near future.

...

The Simple Life - This is what I'd like to be doing, and should be doing now, but with the ground contaminated with radioactive Caesium 134/137 and goodness know what else, I do not really feel like going out into the field to do any work!

...

Japan’s Nuclear Power Plants under Scrutiny - The impact of the July 16 earthquake in Japan on a large nuclear power reactor near Niigata has raised issues about transparency and safety. BY VIVEK PINTO. This is a PDF article from 2007 that shows very clearly that Japanese nuclear woes definitely did not start on 11 March 2011.

...

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

UK Independent: A young man sacrificing his future to shut down Fukushima

On 11 March, when the quake disabled the plant, he watched in terror as pipes hissed and buckled around him.

...

~~~Radiation Lookout~~~

#Radiation in Japan: Government to Survey Half of Japan for Soil Contamination - This is one of the things Dr Chris Busby said during his recent trip in Japan that the Japanese govt MUST do in order to produce a radiation contamination map (to be published on the Internet and so on) that will allow people to make up their own minds what to do. Needs to be done quickly and properly. One further measure was to set up high-volume air filters at 10s of kms distances out to 200-400 kms from Fukushima No.1 to monitor airborne hot particles and so on. The filters must be analyzed every two weeks for uranium, plutonium and so on and the results published. Looks like the Japanese government will do the first, but totally ignore the second, which is really necessary. Several people have left comments on this page saying that the idea of making a radiation map by helicopter is laughable and that the map should be made by people actually surveying the radiation on the ground. Sure, if they can do it in a reasonable amount of time. The helicopter survey is reckoned to tak the rest of this year. It doesn't look like the Japanese government wants to commit a lot of manpower/money or other resources to this project.

#Radioactive Rice Hay in Tochigi: 106,000 Becquerels/Kg Cesium

#Radiation in Japan Spreads: Wheat, Rapeseeds in Fukushima, Rice Hay Outside Fukushima Far Exceeding Safety Limit

...

IAEA chief visits Japan's stricken nuclear plant

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

July 25

Well, the Chinese have had their technodisaster and buried the remains of the trains immediately, while at the same time trying to remove all traces of criticism of the accident from the Internet. I don't think I would trust these people with a nuclear power plant....

...

Declassified papers show U.S. promoted atomic power in Japan

"It is important to our relations with Japan that we seek to remove the strong Japanese notion that atomic and nuclear energy is primarily destructive. We should accordingly attempt at an early point to include Japan in bilateral and multilateral actions intended to develop peaceful uses of atomic energy."

Startling Revelations about Three Mile Island Disaster Raise Doubts Over Nuke Safety - Oh, so now it seems that TMI was actually much worse than has been thought!!

...

Genkai reactor may have faulty vessel - Study says aging No. 1 unit should be suspended

Problems of Japan's ageing reactors - Kan cautious about extending life of Kansai Electric's Mihama No. 2 reactor

Nuke crisis refugee fought losing 18-year legal battle against Fukushima plant

'70s activist foresaw nuclear disaster - Alarm fueled by daughter's fears of cross-border radiation fallout

"I sometimes feel a sense of powerlessness when seeing the rush to build nuclear power plants, but I think to myself, 'Even ants can defeat an elephant if they are brought together.' We can change history if we can have a strong common will."

IMHO, however, the article shows very clearly how people who have opposed nuclear power up until quite recently have faced an impossible task due to the incredibly large imbalance in power relations between 'ordinary' people on one side and the power companies and the government on the other. Since 3/11, the power balance has shifted somewhat, but perhaps not all that much.

Mayor of Naraha-Machi Wants Fukushima II Back Online - Some people will just do anything for money!!

...

Japan's Hamaoka atomic plant to build huge seawall

...

70% in Japan support PM's nuclear-free future: poll

...

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

Workers at Fukushima plant report harsh conditions

A man who took part in the construction of emergency housing in Iwate Prefecture said he had been promised 20,000 yen, or 250 dollars, per day, but received only about one-third of the amount.

Not actually people working at the F#1 nuclear disaster site, but this behaviour is CRIMINAL. Is this the GOVERNMENT doing this??? Even 20,000 yen/per day is not fantastic, but 6,000 to 7,000 yen/day is close to slave labour! Is this the sort of thing the workers at the nuclear disaster site are experiencing?? The article appears to suggest so. NHK is not exactly renowned for its radical reporting, so just exactly what is going on? If this kind of thing is happening at the nuclear disaster site then it is a NATIONAL DISGRACE!!

#Contaminated Water Treatment System Is Stopped, Nth Time, at #Fukushima I Nuke Plant

...

~~~Radiation Lookout~~~

Gov. releases radiation forecast system data - Er, well, excuse me, but isn't this a bit bloody late for a 'SPEEDI' forecast??!!

...

~~~Overseas~~~

Editorial, ''In the Wake of Fukushima,'' The New York Times, July 23, 2011

''New energy architecture: Germany's decision,'' Guido Westerwelle, The Hindu, July 23, 2011

GE expected to report 13 percent rise in profit & pays no taxes, huh?

UN watchdog reviews S. Korea's nuclear safety regulations - The IAEA approves South Korea continuing to be gung-ho on nuclear power.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

July 24

Nuclear agency: reactor restarts months away

Open letter to nuclear experts

...

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

#Contaminated Water Treatment System: TEPCO Will Bypass Clogged Steel Pipes

Cause of Fukushima blackout identified

TEPCO checks piping of decontamination system

...

~~~Radiation Lookout~~~

Over 2,600 Meat Cows Suspected of Being Fed with Radioactive Rice Hay

Japanese Consumer Advocates Scold Consumers for Making a Fuss About Radioactive Beef

Decontamination experiment starts in Fukushima

#Radiation in Fukushima City Order of Magnitude Higher Than Official Numbers?

Some facts and figures about the radiation hazard

Decontamination experiment starts in Fukushima

...

~~~Overseas~~~

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

July 23

Melt-Through Simulation Created by Japan's METI Well Before #Fukushima - Please see the animation here - it looks like THIS was the accident that happened in F#1 reactor 1 on March 11!!

Bureaucrats had early doubts about nuke fuel recycling program

Nuclear vs Oil: The devil we know

...

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

TEPCO to eliminate gangsters from nuclear projects - Oh, gee... how are they going to get their workers, then?

Hamaoka to get seawalls of 18 meters - ¥100 billion plan to make nuclear plant safe from huge tsunami - CEPCO seems to be quite keen on actually running the reactors at Hamaoka NPP at some point in the future...

...

~~~Radiation Lookout~~~

#Radioactive Beef from Tochigi Prefecture - Discovery Follows Hayakawa Map

Another Premium Japanese Beef (Yonezawa Beef) Affected by On-Going Cesium Scare in Beef and Rice Hay

Thus Spread Radiation All Over Japan - Through Contaminated Cows

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

July 22

70% of Japan's nuclear reactors remain shut

An old article with some interesting detail - Bursting point - A new threat to Japan's energy strategy, and the world oil price

Nuclear Waste

...

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Power Is Off, TEPCO Doesn't Yet Know Why

Fukushima cleanup recruits 'nuclear gypsies' from across Japan - Thousands of engineers and labourers have been lured by higher wages and a sense of duty

...

~~~Radiation Lookout~~~

Nuclear Radiation Survey: 1 in 20 Fukushima Children Will Develop Thyroid Cancer

#Radiation in Japan: 100 Millisieverts in Lifetime to Be Set as New Radiation Standard in Japan

Radioactive Cesium from World-Famous Super Premium Matsusaka Beef

#Radiation in Japan: Chinese Tourists Are Back, Because They WANT Radiation

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

July 21

Dr Chris Busby's trip went well, but I am now very tired and so will not do much updating today.

Latest video report from Arnie Gundersen - Ex Japanese Nuclear Regulator Blames Radioactive Animal Feed on "Black Rain"

Christopher Busby's Talk in Japan, July 17: From Air Filters, Plutonium in Fukushima, Uranium in Tokyo - If you read the comments, you'll see that Dr Busby's short trip has attracted a certain amount of attention. The fact that a pro-nuke person (from Nuclear Power? Yes Please) has contributed quite a lot to the discussion probably signifies that Dr Busby is telling just a bit more of the truth than is comfortable for the pro-nuke people. I haven't seen the U-stream videos because I was there - as Japanese interpreter, so if you hear the Japanese interpretations, it's me. Don't know if they actually show my smiling face, but you might just get lucky...

...

Business as Usual for Nuke Industry as Hitachi-GE Won Negotiating Right with Lithuanian Government for Nuke Plant in the Country

...

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

#Contaminated Water Treatment System: 53% Operating Rate for the Week - See the 4th comment below this article.

1 Billion Becquerels Per Hour Emission of Radioactive Materials from Fukushima I Nuke Plant at the End of June

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant "Roadmap Step 1" Successfully Completed, Say TEPCO and the Government

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Reactor 3 Turbine Bldg Roof Repair Resulted in High Radiation for Carbon Workers

...

~~~Radiation Lookout~~~

About the Contaminated Beef

84 Additional Meat Cows That Ate Radioactive Hay Already Shipped to 5 Prefectures

#Fukushima Cattle Farmers Used Rice Hay Because It Wasn't Regulated

#Radioactive Rice Hay Found in Miyagi Prefecture - Good map here.

#Radioactive Beef Exceeding Safety Limit Sold in 18 Prefectures

240 Children in 3 Nursery Schools in Yamagata Prefecture Ate Cesium Beef - Quite a lot of comments.

1,458 Meat Cows Possibly Contaminated from Radioactive Rice Hay Have Already Been Sold

Radioactive Beef Bento Was Sold on Shinkansen Bullet Trains

Japanese National Government, Fukushima Prefectural Government, Industry Groups Plan for Lifting the Shipment Ban on Fukushima Beef

...

Iodine-131 Still Detected in Sewage Sludge in Tokyo

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

July 16


As I will be helping Dr Chris Busby with interpreting from Sunday 17 to Wednesday 20 July, the next update will probably be on Thursday 21 July.

Kan: Nuclear-free society plan personal

Japan's Prime Minister Naoto Kan says the policy he announced on Wednesday on reducing the country's dependency on nuclear energy is his own, and not a government plan.

Justice Minister Satsuki Eda said many Japanese are increasingly suspicious concerning the future of nuclear energy, and that Kan's announcement was aimed at starting national debate on the issue.

Sounds like PM Kan is isolated inside his own cabinet. Perhaps that is because the other ministers are basically in favour of nuclear power (and therefore are trying to push Kan out). Eda appears to be supportive of Kan, but I'm not clear on what his stance on nuclear power is.What does many Japanese are increasingly suspicious concerning the future of nuclear energy mean? Many Japanese are suspicious about nuclear power? Yes. Suspicious about whether or not a nuclear phase-out is actually going to happen or not? Yes. Suspicious about many politicians' stances on nuclear power? Yes, Mr. Eda, a little too much ambiguity, I think.

Kan under fire from Cabinet for advocating nuclear-free society - Satsuki Eda makes another supportive statement about PM Kan, saying he's heading in the right direction.

Japan Reconsiders Nuclear Power and the Monju Fast-Breeder Reactor—Or Maybe Not - Here Eda complains that CO2 emissions will jump if nuclear power is phased out.

Monju fast-breeder reactor project may be reviewed
and thrown on the dust heap of history where it can rot and decay for a hundred million years or so...(Wikki Wikkles)

Yoshiaki Takaki told reporters on Friday that ... the issue of whether to continue or abandon Monju must be discussed in the context of Japan's overall energy policy.

Oh, is Japan still going to attempt to complete the back-end of the nuclear cycle, then? That's really the only energy context in which a decision not to scrap Monju makes any sense. And since, as Wikkles suggests, FBRs do not look like a terribly good future energy option, scrapping it would seem to make more sense than anything else. However, to politicians, the only things that make much sense are their pride, money under the table, and their future election chances. Compared with these, the realities of FBR operation pale away over the far-distant horizon.

...

Phasing out nuke power an aspiration, not policy: Edano

Hosono: Building more nuclear plants difficult - You bet! And what about those that are under construction now?

Renewable energy bill's policy - Really!? Just amazing how much the power companies have held up progress on this, and they are still doing their darndest to hold it up post-3/11!

...

Two antinuclear arms groups divided on nuclear power

A hibakusha group said in its declaration in August 1956, "Our only hope is that atomic power, which could lead humanity into destruction and annihilation, will be used in the direction for human happiness and prosperity."

One of the organizers of the convention is Rengo, the Japanese Trade Union Confederation, the country's largest union group. Under its umbrella are unions at power utilities and nuclear reactor manufacturers.

A bit of a specious argument really. a) In 1956, the authors of the declaration probably had little chance of knowing what nuclear power would mean today, and they would almost certainly oppose it if they were to come to write the declaration today. b) Sure, RENGO will struggle to protect the livelihoods of its membership. What do you expect them to do? I know it's hard to equate nuclear power and livelihoods, but that's how they will see it. But nuclear power does not have to be faded out immediately. If PM Kan gets his way (he won't) it will take 40 years. Realistically, it will take at least ten years (unless the pro-nukes really take a strong stance, and then it could happen more quickly). The problem may be that new nuclear power stations will no longer be built in Japan. Is building them overseas an answer? Not really. So, for the time being, thermal power stations and renewable energy equipment will have to be built to satisfy energy needs. The employment will have to shift over to these. No big problem for the membership, except that the companies they work for now might get pushed out of the market. That's happening all the time, so what's the fuss? (And anyway, who can see ten or more years into the future now??)

...

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Water Treatment System Is in Trouble

...

~~~Radiation Lookout~~~

High Level of Plutonium Rumored to Have Been Detected in Rice Paddies 50 Kilomters from Fukushima I Nuke Plant

...

AlJazeera English: Nuclear beef scare again hits Japan

#Radioactive Beef from Fukushima Sold in 26 Prefectures

84 Additional Meat Cows That Ate Radioactive Hay Already Shipped to 5 Prefectures

The rice straw had been supplied by a farmer in Shirakawa, about 75 kilometers away from the tsunami-hit nuclear power station - Finding that radiation-tainted straw was produced far from nuclear plant causes shock

Radioactive Cesium from Shiitake Mushrooms Grown Indoors in Date City, Fukushima

Differences in nuclear regulations - The presentation by Arnie Gundersen and David Lochbaum on July 12 makes it clear that not everyone agrees.

Hitachi GE picked for nuclear plant talks: Lithuania

"The Visaginas project is important for energy independence but it is also an economic project whose development may have a positive impact on growth," Kubilius said.

And, of course, growth is far more important than the potential risks.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

July 15

Big Brother is watching you - and using your money to do it!
According to a front-page article in the Akahata newspaper for yesterday morning, the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy, a part of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), has been farming out programs to look for anti-nuclear opinions in the press and on the Internet. These programs have been carried out under the "adaptive information provision program," a part of the "nuclear facility siting promotion and adjustment program." (Quite a lot of newspeak there!) The program has been farmed out to different organizations since 2008, when 23.94 million yen were paid out form the program. In 2009, 13.12 million yen and in 2010, 9.76 million yen were paid out to the operators of the organization. (Since the figures are going down, perhaps the Agency doesn't find the results as interesting as they would like...) According to the Agency's explanation at the time of bidding for the program in 2010, the aim of the program was to 'respond to inappropriate or inaccurate information.' The program covers 30 newspapers, including main national newspapers, industrial trade papers and local papers from areas which have nuclear power stations. The organization that carried out the program in 2010, a foundation named the Institute of Applied Energy (IAE), said that if they found a 'mistaken' article, they would report it to the Agency and also prepare corrections.

The IAE themselves said that they were unclear about what the term inappropriate meant exactly and agreed that it could be interpreted to mean a wide range of things. The program specification [had to stop for a few minutes there for an earthquake at 21:01 - M5.5 in south Tochigi Prefecture - quite near here] drawn up by the Agency mentioned "analysis making use of specialist views or knowledge of trends concerning" the country's nuclear power policy, the use of MOX fuel in any conventional reactor, and so on. The program operators were also told to monitor anti-nuclear academic or engineers' blogs to see what kind of data or arguments they were employing. An Agency spokesman explained that "There is much misunderstanding about nuclear power.This is a program about effective information provision." I won't bore you with the details, but this IAE organization has quite a number of former TEPCO and METI people on its board of directors. What a surprise. I'm sure the Japanese people are thrilled to know about this particular use of their tax money.

...

Rejecting ¥160 million offer from J-Power, Aomori family left with view of nuclear plant - This is Atsuko Ogasawara, the person I'm asking you to send postcards to at the top of this page!

She's equipped her house with solar panels so she won't need power from the plant. She noted the irony that after the quake, family and friends came to her house to charge mobile phones because electricity to the town was cut.

"If nuclear plants are safe for people to live near, they should build one in the middle of Tokyo," she said, pointing to the construction site.

Solar panels in the middle of a nuclear power station. That's a good one. If another earthquake comes when the plant is running (if ever) and external power is lost, the plant manager can just step over to the house and ask Atsuko if they can hook up to her solar panels for a few hours to keep the cooling system going. Oh, and Gov. Ishihara was saying the other day that he'd like to build a gas-fired power plant in Tokyo. Not too smart. Everyone knows that nuclear power is cheaper. The Agency for Natural Resources and Energy and METI have been saying that for a long time. Since gas will eventually run out and uranium will eventually be in short supply, why not build the whole nuclear cycle in Tokyo? You could base it on the circular Yamanote line. Have a nice big nuclear reactor in Shinjuku, near to the Metropolitan Office so that Gov. Ishihara gets all the energy he needs to run his cooler, then have a nice big reprocessing plant at Shibuya. Have a big fast breeder reactor at Tokyo Station then run the line around to the final nuclear waste depository at Ikebukuro. Then you'll be ready to start again at the nuclear reactor at Shinjuku. Now that's what I call a nuclear fuel cycle! Come on, Gov. Ishihara, how about it? Nice and safe! (See the population of Tokyo drop to about 5,000 staunch nuclear power supporters over about two or three months! Note for Agency lurkers: I humbly apologise for the inappropriate content of this article:)

Kan's nuclear phase-out plan draws anger over lack of details, talks

Hitachi wins Lithuania nuclear plant bidding right

Disaster-hit Miyagi town questions dependence on nuclear money

...

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

#Fukushima Water Treatment System: Toshiba's Long Tall "SARRY" to the Rescue!

Contaminated Water Treatment System at #Fukushima Is Stopped Again

Fukushima's radioactive water treatment system fails again

...

~~~Radiation Lookout~~~

Shizuoka Governor Kawakatsu Entertains NY Tea Drinkers - Interesting.

Fukushima town farm ships 42 cows after feeding cesium-contained straw

All Fukushima cattle may face radiation checks

Beef Contaminated by Radiation Intensifies Food-Safety Concerns in Japan

...

~~~Overseas~~~

Chinese mine giant snaps up 43 NSW farms in Australia

“This is our highest priority right now”: Los Alamos lab trying to stop nuclear contamination from spreading — 800 waste sites remain

'Monsoon rain could flood Los Alamos with contaminants' - (VIDEO)

#Radioactive Beef from Fukushima: Nearly 100K Becquerels/Kg Cesium in the Hay in a Town Near Shirakawa City, 60KM from the Nuke Plant

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

July 14

PM Kan, can you please put your money where your mouth is??!!
The Akahata newspaper for yesterday (13 July) ran a small article tucked away in a corner of page two. 28.8 billion yen cut from renewables: In a paper approved by the cabinet on July 12, it was made clear that the 2011 budget for renewable energy programs, including PV panel diffusion programs, was 28.827 billion yen (about US$360 million) less than in 2010. Of this, 21.48 billion yen was for accelerated introduction of renewable energy forms, 5.2 billion for PV house installation subsidies, and subsidies for small and medium sized hydropower and geothermal energy development.

Seems to me to be just the sorts of things they would want to be promoting now if they were serious about a nuclear phase-out. Not really surprising that they conclude nuclear power is 'necessary' if they do things like this!

...

Nuclear in Japan No More? Looking for Phase-Out and New Renewable Solutions - However. p.2 of today's Tokyo Newspaper has PM Kan saying that if no new nuclear plants are built Japan will become nuclear-free in 2049. Only 38 years to go! I wonder if they can manage to get through it all with no further nuclear disaster. (Don't answer that!)

Japan must ditch nuclear power: Kan - Timetable specifics lacking but snap election mandate ruled out

Kan plan set to end nuke goals

...


GE plan followed with inflexibility - Tepco wouldn't change blueprint that left emergency backups vulnerable
- It says 'part two' here, but I can't see part one!

EDITORIAL/ Seeking a society without nuclear power generation: Japan must change course to create a nuclear-free society

Edano: Japan discussing a nuclear-free society
Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary says Prime Minister Naoto Kan's Wednesday announcement will lead to a national discussion on how to realize a nuclear-free society.

...

Fukushima plant site originally was a hill safe from tsunami - Part 1. Where's Part 2?

Interesting, but I see two problems. The article says that the top of the bluff was removed so that the NPP could be built directly on the bedrock. But as far as I know it is not; the bedrock is something like 8 or 10 meters below the NPP buildings. Or is that what they mean by 'directly on solid bedrock.'?

The second thing here is that the story in the article says that TEPCO was applying to the government to construct and start up the NPP. However, what I hear from Japanese people (sorry, no references, just what I hear people say) is that it was the government that wanted nuclear power and the power companies weren't all that keen on it at first. Japanese people tell me that is the reason why the power companies don't seem to be very 'interested' in or 'proud of' the NPPs. It wasn't their big idea in the first place. There us still a sense of, "Oh, well, the government forced us to do it, and we're not really sure how to run these things anyway..." This is the reason why, despite the fact that the NPPs are all owned and run by private power companies, the people and the power companies themselves want the government to take an major part of the 'responsibility' (blame) - and also why the government accepts this - the apologies have not been 'ritual apologies; PM Kan et al. are having to apologise seriously for this mess because of this history.

...

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/14_31.html

Quake damage to turbine blades found at Tokai

Halting reactors would increase CO2 emissions

...

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

TEPCO to Start Nitrogen Injection in Reactor 3 at #Fukushima I Nuke Plant

#Contaminated Water Treatment System: PVC Joint Broke Off Completely in AREVA's System, in 100 to 150 Millisieverts/Hr Environment

TEPCO and NISA: #Fukushima Reactor 3 Is Earthquake-Safe, Trust Us - -Sure. You wouldn't lie now, would you?

...

~~~Radiation Lookout~~~

Ash in Chiba is radioactive

#Radioactive Beef from Fukushima: Osaka Finds 4,350 Becquerels/Kg Cesium in Beef from Minami Soma

#Radiation in Japan: As It Is Being Spread Almost Willfully, The Country Is Getting Unhinged

#Radiation in Japan: Fukushima Prefecture Stops Subsidizing Residents for Taking Summer Vacations Outside Fukushima

Moms set up network to protect kids from radiation

Kan promises to tackle soil contamination

Fukushima to decontaminate entirety of Fukushima City — Officials expect process may take 20 years

...

Softbank, governors to promote renewable energy

Geothermal power plant planned for Iwate Prefecture

The Perils of Tritium
San Onofre: a Trillion Dollar Threat to SoCal

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

July 13

No need to buy or rent DVDs - 2 hours of presentations on nuclear reactor problems...

Duxbury Presentation with Gundersen from Fairewinds Associates on Vimeo.

...

Nuclear crisis minister wants underground barrier built quickly - Daring reporter Willie Wikkles says - Gee, what a nifty idea! I wish I could have thought of that...

...

Japan says reactor 'stress tests' in two phases - Despite the fact that several politicians have been trying to poke their noses in and affect the procedure, Edano says:

"This is all technical procedure, not a decision to be made politically," Edano said.

...

Japan still needs nuclear power: Tokyo governor - It's all a bit too much... there's so much to comment on here that I could sit here all night and write about this. If it wasn't for the fact that Gov. Ishihara is top man in one of the worlds largest (and now most radioactive) cities in the world (and that for some unfathomable reason the people of that metropolis have been electing him), this might be very funny. Chose the wrong metier, old chap; should've been a CLOWN!!

...

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

#Contaminated Water System: Leak Was from the Same Joint

...

~~~Radiation Lookout~~~

Radioactive beef already sold, eaten - Fukushima meat sent to nine prefectures

"Eating only a portion of the meat will not cause a great deal of damage to one's health," said Goshi Hosono, state minister in charge food safety.

- Er... What? Just a small cancer, then??

>>>

Beef from Fukushima to Be Tested (Somehow) in Fukushima from Now On, But It's Too Late For School Kids in Yokohama

Update on #Radioactive Beef in Kanagawa: Beef Sold in June in Fujisawa City Tested 3,240 Becquerels/Kg Cesium

None of the shops who sold the contaminated beef is named. The reason? Because "Even if you eat this meat, I don't think there is no immediate danger to one's life" (official in Yokohama City, as reported by Tokyo Shinbun), so there's no need to name the shop.

Wow! Things just zing up worst and worst everyday, isn't we?


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

July 12

Talking of "stress tests," my friend in Kyushu, who has a way with words (and therefore says the most outrageous things, which is why I do not let you know what his name is because it will get him into trouble), sent me a little message after reading what I said about stress tests last night...

All this 'stress test' BS, purlease. We've just had a stress test in Fukushima. It's called a Magnitude 9 earthquake and nuclear power plants don't stand up too well, as we are witness to.

What other stress test are they thinking needs examination? The Chairmens' ability to stress out and retire on a lolopping wad of freshly printed notes after a statutory sumimasen boo hoo bowing and scraping session on TV? He obviously failed the stress test. Matsumoto failed the stress test. Kan is looking dubious. Hatoyama and Ozawa have their heads down.

Perhaps the only people passing the stress test are the poor, directly affected, tax paying citizens of Iitate Mura, Kawamata, Namie, etc., etc... who have lost EVERYTHING. These people never had a choice.

People within a 100km radius of Genkai and other nuclear power plants should decide if they want the stress of what those in Fukushima have faced. Fukuoka City, that means YOU babes. Can you afford to say 'Yes'?

And of course, they cannot. Quite right. The important stress tests have either been failed or are still ongoing. I'm still here, but that's only kinda provisional, if you know what I mean...

...

Why Fukushima Can Happen Here [the US, that is]: What the NRC and Nuclear Industry Don't Want You to Know - 52-minute presentation movie from ARNIE GUNDERSEN @ FAIREWINDS. Have a pleasant evening...

...

Different Manifestations of Technospheric Breakdown - by Richard Wilcox, with a reply from Vivek.

...

Longtime anti-nuclear engineer prepared to fight from within field to right wrongs

"The adults are the ones who have been promoting nuclear power, but it is our children who will likely bear the burden that comes with it. I want to fulfill my own responsibilities in order to somehow reduce their suffering," Koide says.

...

'World Peace 7' calls for nuclear-free Japan

...

Kyushu Electric Power execs made questionable donations to governor

"I made the donations out of my desire to promote pluthermal power generation. I decided the amount of donations myself and have no idea about contributions by other officials," a former Saga branch manager told the Mainichi, denying that the donations were made systematically by the utility.

I might have found this a tiny bit more believable if he had said 'support nuclear power generation' or something like that, but, to me anyway, 'promote pluthermal power generation' sounds like he was scripted...

...

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

Wife of a Worker Who Died of Heart Attack at Fukushima I Nuke Plant Wants His Death Recognized as Industrial Accident - Callous! Illness not accident? These people are HEROES! I don't think the people at TEPCO (and the subcontractors, too, perhaps) are real humans with hearts beating in their chests. If this is what our wonderful civilization amounts to, you can stick it!

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Robot "Quince" Is Back, Measuring Radiation in Reactor 2 Bldg

TEPCO Has Been Feeding Employees with Fukushima Produce Since March 28 - Erm... to help the farmers of Fukushima Prefecture?? Because the produce is cheaper?? And then the workers will have to pay to eat it from tomorrow?? Tut, tut! How cynical of me...

#Water Treatment System Stopped at #Fukushima I Nuke Plant Due to Another Leak at AREVA's System

...

~~~Radiation Lookout~~~

High radiation found in straw given to cows whose meat was contaminated

#Radioactive Beef from Fukushima Update: Already Been Sold in At Least 9 (not 5) Prefectures

Expert: contaminated beef poses no problem
- Expert, texpert, choking smokers, don't you think the joker laughs at you? Hee, hee, hee! Ha, ha, ha!

Radioactive contaminated beef found in Shizuoka

...

Fukushima: What don't we know?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

July 11

Now four months since the earthquake and the nuclear disaster just simply seems to lurch from problem to stupidity. As you will see below, some people are now estimating that it will be ten years before they can start to get the nuclear fuel out (if they ever do)...

Fukushima fuel rods removal can begin in 10 years

...

Okada says Japan's reactor 'stress tests' should be shorter than EU's

"A long-term test similar to the European Union's would have an impact on industries and people's daily lives," Okada told reporters while on a visit to Ofunato, Iwate Prefecture. "The point is how to create Japan's version of the test."

Oh? Since when was Mr. Okada an expert on nuclear safety? Since when was the EU 'stress test' a 'long' test? First I've heard of it (although they have been termed 'a largely toothless paper-shuffling exercise,' as we saw yesterday). Saying the test should be shortened because otherwise they would have an impact on industries and people's daily lives is the same as saying the tests are just a sham and we want to get them out of the way ASAP. If you're going to do the tests, Mr. Okada, do them properly in the knowledge that we can have confidence that those NPPs that pass the test will operate safely and that those NPPs that fail will be shut down until they can pass or be decommissioned. IF you do the tests properly, then it might just spare the people who live near NPPs a certain amount of anguish. And if further nuclear accidents can be prevented by doing the tests appropriately and the government and the power companies doing their best to ensure safety at NPPs (instead of spending lots on money in the media and running around trying to 'explain' that their friendly local NPP is 'safe') then the correct effect will have been achieved, eh, Mr. Okada? One more small matter: Japan's version of the test? A better one or a worse one? If it's a shorter one, it will probably not be as good. Not as good as 'a largely toothless paper-shuffling exercise' is really not very good at all, is it? Are you planning to simply deceive everyone with a poor excuse for a paper-shuffling exercise or are you planning to do what most Japanese are expecting you to do with these tests, Mr. Okada?

...

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

UPDATE: Contaminated Water Also Leaked from AREVA's System

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: They Will Start Charging Workers for Food at J-Village - If true, and I think it is, this must mean the end of TEPCO. If they can't even find the money to feed the heroes who go to the nuclear disaster site, they must have their backs jammed right up hard against the wall. (And if they do have the money then they need to have their backs jammed right up hard against the wall!) I hope this will turn into a national outcry!!

...

~~~Radiation Lookout~~~

Japan:Cattle farm inspected for radiation-tainted beef +

The inspection has found that the 11 cattle were kept inside a barn, and since last fall, they had been fed with straw that was stored indoors and mixed with feed from outside the prefecture. They were given water drawn from a well.

No radioactive substances were detected on the skin of the cattle in pre-shipment screening.

So where did the radioactive contamination come from, then??? The NHK 19:50 news on BS1 solved the mystery. In fact the farmer had run out of hay (straw) and had used hay that had been sitting around outside till sometime in April. The hay was measured at about 75,000 bq/kg. Oh.

Cesium found in hay fed to cattle

Update on Fukushima Beef: It Was the Feed That Had 75,000 Becquerels/Kg Cesium

...

#Radiation in Japan: 70,800 Becquerels/kg Cesium from Burning Household Waste at Kashiwa City, Chiba

Scientists launch 'operation sunflowers' to decontaminate farmland near nuclear plant

If the sunflowers that have absorbed cesium are burned, the radioactive cesium could be dispersed into the atmosphere. Therefore, Yamashita and other researchers are planning to use bacteria to decompose the sunflowers and reduce the volume of the plants and treat them as radioactive waste.

...

See these articles about Kesennuma to get an idea of what life is like in the north, where the effects of the 3/11 earthquake and tsunami were felt the hardest...

Guest Post: Letters from Kesennuma (Part 1) - The Other, Forgotten Disaster

Guest Post: Letters from Kesennuma (Part 2) - Life Has to Go On

Letters from Kesennuma (Part 3) - Photo Gallery

...

~~~Overseas~~~

Despite Fukushima, Russia's Nuclear Industry is Open for Business

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

July 10

Mr. Madarame/Detarame, how come the NSC just wants stress tests as a formality??
The Tokyo Newspaper this morning carries an article on the front page concerning Mr. Madarame's (Japan's Nuclear Safety Commission Chairman) comments on the nuclear power stations' "stress tests" - whatever they are, a kind of computer simulation, perhaps. Mr. Madarame (also known as 'Detarame' [a load of BS] for some mix-up about dumping or not dumping sea water on the Fukushima #1 reactors at the beginning of the nuclear crisis) claims that passing the stress tests is not a condition for restarting currently down nuclear reactors. He bases his comment on the fact that during the recent stress tests in Europe some of the reactors underwent the stress test while they were running. I have not heard that any reactors were stopped or prevented from restarting due to failing the stress test in the EU (did any of them fail it?) and the tests have been labelled 'a largely toothless paper-shuffling exercise' by some people there (see under 'Overseas' in May 14 below). So, Mr. Madarame/Detarame, what's the point if passing/failing the stress test is not going to make any difference about whether a nuclear reactor runs or not?? I agree that doing the stress test while a reactor is running is fair enough, but that if a reactor fails the test then it should be stopped until all agree that it is 'safe' to operate it. Nuclear safety really is a mess in Japan! It is just incomprehensible to me that the Chairman of the NSC should want toothless stress tests that are merely a formality...

...

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

Worse than a ‘melt through’ – a ‘melt out’? — See Graphic - Garbled, but the intent is clear.

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: AREVA's System Stopped Due to Chemical Leak

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: AREVA Chemical Leak Photo

Hopes for water purification, cooling system to bring Fukushima nuke plant under control

"Bringing the crisis to an end largely depends on the weather," a TEPCO official says.

Oh, right, so if they screw up again it will have been 'unforseeable' like the tsunami, I suppose.

...

~~~Radiation Lookout~~~

Moms rally around antinuke cause

Citizens' radiation fears beyond crisis zone mount

#Radiation in Japan: How Cows and Pigs Evacuated from Fukushima - Yes, where on earth did they all go??

#Fukushima Cattle Evacuation: Farmers Will Get to Pay for It

...

Earthquake at 9:57AM JST on July 10 in Tohoku, Tsunami Warning - Where I am in N Ibaraki, this earthquake was quite long - started with fast vibrations building up over a minute of so, followed by long lateral movements. Because it went on so long it felt like it might be working up into a really big one. In the end it was about M7.1 and the epicenter was off the coast of Miyagi Prefecture, quite a long way north of F#1. Good thing it was not right off the mid-Fukushima coast...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

July 9

#Radiation in Japan: Dr. Shunichi Yamashita Will Become Vice President of Fukushima Medical University - Please watch the video here. It's a compendium of little clips of the Dr. saying most of the stupid things he has become famous for saying so far. I think many people in Fukushima just don't want to see him around, but he seems to have been temporarily transferred to Fukushima Medical University from Nagasaki University just so he can be near the radiation polluted areas.

Four cities request bigger nuclear safety zone

Govt. explains Genkai nuke plant safety measures

Reactor restart at Ikata nuclear plant postponed

...

Japan Examines Future of Tepco

REFILE-Japan's nuclear industry credibility crumbles amid email scandal

Govt., TEPCO draw roadmap to reactor decommission

...

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant Reactor 3 Follow-Up: Steel Sheets Size

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant Reactor 3: Humans Entered Reactor Bldg and Did What Bots Coulnd't Do

...

~~~Radiation Lookout~~~

#Radiation in Japan: 2300 Becquerels/kg Cesium from Beef from Fukushima

Update: 3200 Becquerels/Kg Cesiuim Detected from Beef from Minami-Soma City in Fukushima

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

July 8

Kyushu Electric: Emails Sent to 2,300 Employees at Subsidiaries

Kyushu Electric Scandal: Vice President and Other High-Ranking Execs Involved

President of Japan Nuclear Operator May Resign Over E-Mails Scandal

Saga governor not happy with gov't decision on nuclear plant 'stress tests'

Nuclear stress tests trigger backlash

Japan PM criticized over nuclear plant stress tests

...

Genkai mayor retracts plant restart consent

Genkai mayor withdraws OK for two reactors' restart

Governors criticize central govt's nuke response

Angry Kaieda to quit after Kan shifts nuke stance

Systematic involvement suspected in Genkai scandal

...

Guest Post: Fukushima Cover Up Unravels

INTERVIEW/ Ulrich Beck: System of organized irresponsibility behind the Fukushima crisis

Antinuke stance within establishment slowly gathers steam - Power play: Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker Taro Kono has long championed reduced reliance on nuclear energy

...

Reactor restart at Ikata nuclear plant postponed

Nuke plant equipment fails quake-resistance check

...

Simi Valley Nuclear Disaster - What? Where? - see the video...

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

How the first 24 hours shaped Fukushima nuclear crisis - Chaos, inadequate preparation, indecision, lack of forthrightness

Trouble at Reactor No. 3: Unable to inject nitrogen in containment vessel to prevent hydrogen explosion

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant Reactor 3: Warrior and Packbot Couldn't Complete Their Mission - Gee, is this turning into some kind of sick kiddies cartoon show??!!

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Humans Will Enter Reactor 3 Again

TEPCO to boost radiation monitoring at plant

5.6 quake rattles Japan near Fukushima site

...

~~~Radiation Lookout~~~

Tokyo parents demand safe school lunch

Radioactive cesium detected from Tochigi tea

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

July 7

Gov't leaders created secret plan aiming to break up TEPCO after nuke crisis

Sengoku has eyed changes in the current system of power generation and distribution, saying, "We will destroy the feudal system created under the LDP administration that placed electric power companies at the pinnacle."

Unfortunately, it does not look as if he will actually get the chance...

...

Kyushu Electric Power Busted for Using Shills to Promote Pro Nuke Views at Genkai Hearing - Really. What a totally underwhelming surprise. Even in the middle of a huge nuclear catastrophe, these people just don't 'get it,' do they? Nothing more important than money, right? Eat it! Go on, let's see you chomp those 10,000 yen bills and swallow those 100 yen coins. Keep on eating it till you figure out what it is you're eating and what it is you're doing to the people and all living things of this country and of the Earth. Maybe you'll wake up, but I doubt it.

...

All reactors will face 'stress tests' - Move to reassure public may up power shortages

Kaieda ready to step down over Genkai confusion

Kan orders new rules to restart nuclear reactors

Saga governor asks govt to clarify conditions

...

Japan's nuclear crisis affects farm exports

BLAZE IN NUCLEAR POWER PLANT IN TOKAI, JAPAN

Fire at Tokai No. 2 nuclear plant Photo included here :-)

...

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

#Fukushima: Drawings of AREVA's Decontamination System Written in Italian and French, Details Unavailable due to National or Corporate Security - It sounds like a big mess, but you should read the comments too.

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Contaminated Water Treatment System at 76% Operating Rate

...

~~~Radiation Lookout~~~

#Radiation in Japan: Katsuo (Skipjack Tuna) Haul Is Zero at Onahama Port in Fukushima

...

Keidanren head, Merkel agree on energy cooperation

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

July 6

More on the NSC Disclosure of Radiation Survey on Fukushima Children in Late March

No.1, the subjects. 134 children were surveyed on March 26 and 27 in Iwaki City, 647 children on March 28 to 30 in Kawamata-machi, 299 children on March 30 in Iitate-mura. Total of 1,080 children were tested. It's in the footnote but the survey done in Kawamata-machi on March 24 was excluded because of the high background radiation.

As always, the quote is out of context, so if you want to get the 'whole' story, please follow the link to the article. Er... so the results of an exposure survey are discounted are excluded if the radiation in the area is higher than you expect it to be? Translate: If we get results we don't like then we will discount them. Even if the high 'background radiation' (it is not 'background radiation,' because ALL of it over about 40 nanoSv is from the nuclear disaster) makes it difficult to carry out the tests in some way, then you put THAT fact in the footnote and give the results anyway, THAT is the scientific method, not arbitrary decisions on what data to include or not to include. All data is data, even if there is some problem with it. This is one of the problems of having too many humanities (law school) people running around without much of a clue and too few people with a robust scientific background involved in the work. Especially politicians are well-known for chasing their agenda and not listening to advice from people who really know what they're talking about. Hmmm?

...

A Governor’s Power to Shape the Future of a Nuclear Japan - As the article states, what is needed in Japan is an orderly phase-out of nuclear power, not an immediate shutdown. So what's the problem if the Saga governor gives his approval to restart the Genkai nuclear reactors? Basically, people like Banri Kaieda have polarized the debate by demanding nuclear power station restarts without making any gesture towards an eventual nuclear phase-out. That is annoying a lot of people (and there's plenty to be annoyed about in the news recently). Another thing the article does not mention is that the governor's father worked for Kyushu Electric and was the general manager at the Genkai PR Center. Hmmm. That does not necessarily mean that the governor is bound by family ties to approve the restart, but neither does he want to be seen to be granting the approval too hastily. A little bit of political theatre going on here, perhaps.

...

Murakami puts a bomb under his compatriots' atomic complacency

Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany was able to announce her momentous decision to shut down all of her country's nuclear power plants within the coming decade, while Japan's seized-up government seems perpetually ensconced in a sarcophagus dropped over their heads by a profit-at-any-cost industry, an uncreative and captive bureaucracy and an apathetic, meek citizenry fed on a broadly apathetic and meek media diet.

...

~~~Radiation Lookout~~~

17,020 Becquerels/Kg Cesium in Dirt Cleaned Out from Elementary School Swimming Pool in Ibaraki Prefecture - Don't forget to wash your hands after cleaning the pool, and then dispose of the 'mud' (deido in Japanese - 'mud/earth') as 'industrial waste,' not 'nuclear waste', despite the fact it is over the 8,000 Bq/kg standard.

...

20 mSV for Children: "Scientific Basis Not Clear" by the Japan Medical Association - A bit old, but I'll include it here for 'completeness'. Note that...

...the statement issued by the International Commission on Radiation Protection (ICRP) dated March 21, on which the designated radiation rate is based, only states, ” after the termination of this emergency, it is possible to choose as a reference levels for ordinary people in the band of 1 to 20 mSv per year.”

So when it came to making some kind of decision, the people involved simply looked at this and said, "Oh, well, we choose 20 mSv/yr, then," without any serious scientific consideration of what that meant. Maybe there wasn't anyone there that knew what it meant... Perhaps they thought no one else would know what it meant either.

...

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant Reactor 3: "Warrior" Robot Is Now a Photographer

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant Now Has a Temporary Tide Barrier - Looking at the pic, I feel so underwhelmed... still, there is an Uncle Genpachi and Tama cartoon posted here just to help bring you back up to par after looking at the pathetic 'tide barrier'...

...

The Melting Sun: Japan’s Nuclear Follies This book might be worth reading...

...

~~~Overseas~~~

Power company RWE wants compensation for nuclear opt-out

German energy giants await London nuclear decision

French nuclear reactor authorised for 10 more years

India offers veiled warning to nuclear suppliers

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

July 5

No Japan without nuclear energy – Japanese official

Quite interesting 'interview'with Hidehiko Nishiyama, former spokesman for the Nuclear Industry and Safety Agency. Of course, he trots out the government line, but at the end he says:

Thirty per cent of our electricity [is produced] from nuclear energy. So, we have to use nuclear energy in the near future at least.”

That's not quite as bad as saying 'We are never going to allow a nuclear power phase-out in Japan.' But, then, his credibility is shot through anyway...

...

Town agrees to restart of Genkai nuclear reactors due to dependence on subsidies - Good explanation of why the town mayor wants the reactors restarted!
...

Govt plans detailed radiation monitoring

Emergency generators faulty at 2 nuclear plants

...

~~~Halleluya, brothers and sisters, more revelations!~~~

Radiation at Thyroid Gland Found in 45% of 1,000 Children Tested in Fukushima - Although they say that they uploaded the information to their website in May and that they informed the parents, waiting THREE MONTHS before announcing this is simply one more example of the cynicism and callousness with which Japanese officialdom has handled this whole crisis. Since there is effectively NO safe dose of radiation, presumably if SOME of the children tested (1080) have internal exposure of the thyroid gland then SOME of them will get a cancer of the thyroid. If 100 millisieverts per year body dose equivalent will increase the risk of cancer by 0.5% and some of the children were measured at 50 millisieverts/year, then there will be some presumably measurable increase in the risk of cancer, be it 0.2% or 0.1%, or whatever.

Informing the parents (when, and did they actually give the parents the individual results?) is fine, but what about all the other children and their parents. Surely, if they heard that 45% of children tested had internal exposure of the thyroid gland, they would assume that their child also had a two to one chance of thyroid exposure also and then take whatever measures are appropriate. But THREE MONTHS LATER??!! Commissioner Shigeharu Kato, I consider that totally unconscionable! It makes me doubt whether you actually have a human heart beating inside your chest!

45% of kids in Fukushima survey had thyroid exposure to radiation

...

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant Reactor 3: Steel Sheets on the Reactor Building Floor to Shield Radiation

Circulation cooling system now working at Fukushima plant

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

July 4

Daily life in Fukushima: 'It was like visiting another universe'

Japanese fear authorities hide ugly truth about nuclear risks

Meltdown: What Really Happened at Fukushima? - JAKE ADELSTEIN AND DAVID MCNEILL

Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO): Is it time to turn off the lights?

Fukushima Cover Up Unravels

This Is the New Japanese Minister in Charge of Recovery and Reconstruction

Mayor approves restart of Genkai nuclear plant

...

~~~Halleluya, brothers and sisters, more revelations!~~~

"Now They Tell Us" Series: Depleted Uranium Storage Facility Next to Cosmo Oil Refinary In Chiba Burned after Earthquake Hit on March 11

...

Tsuruga reactor not equipped with vent to relieve pressure

...

The real Japan? - Japan needs to do more than simply 'cope' with stress

...

~~~Radiation Lookout~~~

Radioactive Cesium Is Found in Tokyo Tap Water for First Time Since April

...

Getting used to Life without Food - Wall Street, BP, bio-ethanol and the death of millions - by F. William Engdahl

William Houston interviewed on the King World News - You can download the mp3 from this page. It's only about 12 minutes, but well worth the listen. You will learn how the baricentre does a somersault every 180 years and causes more volcanic/seismic activity - just as we have been having for the last several years, including on 3/11, and how this is connected to sunspot minima, likely to cause significant cooling of the global climate...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

July 3

Experts: Nuclear waste planning vital - Reporter Willy Wickles quips, "OH GEE WHY DIDN'T I THINK OF THAT?!"

...

EDITORIAL: Government should not rush to restart nuclear reactors

Kaieda said reactors that are considered dangerous will be shut down.

Fine, but who will 'consider' which nuclear power stations are dangerous and which ones 'safe'? Local residents, for example?

...

Japanese translation of European Committee on Radiation Risk (ECRR) 2010 Recommendations published by Mihama No Kai (JAPANESE) - This is an important development for the people of Japan, as it gives them, free of charge, access to the scientific reality of the health threat they face. (Source: THE LOW LEVEL RADIATION CAMPAIGN

...

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

TEPCO builds levee to protect reactors - ..."designed to withstand an 8-meter-high tsunami" - regardless of the fact that the tsunami that hit the power station on 3/11 was reported by TEPCO to have been 14-15 meters above sea level. In the picture the new levee does look very 'makeshift'. Is this the best you can do, TEPCO? Pathetic, just pathetic.

...

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: "Warrior" Robot Vacuumed Reactor 3 Floor, Radiation Still Very High - Ahem... On the video here it looks to me less like a 'robot' and more like a remote-control vacuum cleaner.

...

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: TEPCO Starts Full Circulation Cooling of Reactors

TEPCO improves circulation cooling system

...

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant Reactor 5 Cooling Stopped for 3.5 Hours Due to Ruptured Pipe

...

~~~Overseas~~~

Des Moines Register: "Nuclear plants need scrutiny, not hysteria" - Yes, and maybe if we had a little more scrutiny/security/safety, then we'd have a bit less 'hysteria.' Oh, well, I suppose people who think the worst possible thing that can happen is an economic crisis finds anyone with a different worldview 'irrational' and 'hysterical.'

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

July 2

Cesium-134 and 137 detected in the urine of schoolchildren in Fukushima City

The Fukushima Network for Protecting Children from Radiation, an organization of parents in Fukushima City, released the results of urine analyses of ten children (boys and girls between the ages of six and sixteen) on 30 June. The samples were taken between May 20 to 22 and analysed by a French research organization ACRO. Cesium-134 (half-life two years, indicating that it almost certainly originates from the Fukushima No.1 nuclear disaster) was found at levels between 0.41 and 1.13 Beqcerels/litre (Bq/l) and cesium-137 (half-life thirty years) was found at levels between 0.43 and 1.30 Bq/l. These levels are estimated to have been zero before the nuclear disaster. Shigenobu Nagataki of the Radiation Impacts Research Institute says that health impacts at this level of internal exposure have not been reported and that the people can go about their normal daily lives without undue worry. Mr. Haruki Madame, chairperson of the Cabinet Office Nuclear Safety Commission said, "Quite low values. Epidemiologically, health impacts are unthinkable." The parents' organization has called on the country and the prefecture to undertake the responsibility of carrying out immediate testing of internal exposure for all children in Fukushima Prefecture.

Three Japanese sources:

YouTube of part of the press conference

NHK article with video newsclip

Yahoo news article

...

TEPCO's PR Budget for 2010, US$145 million

On 29 June, the Akahata newspaper published a long article (also available on the web in Japanese), starting on the front page and continuing on p.3, on TEPCO's PR budget and the way in which it was able to 'tame' Japan's thee main mass circulation newspapers, the Asahi, Yomiuri and Mainichi.

TEPCO's PR budget for 2010 appears to have been 11.6 billion yen, or about US$145 million. In hindsight, it probably would have been better to use this money on improving safety measures at nuclear power stations.

The taming of the three mass circulation newspapers apparently began in 1974, when the Asahi Newspaper was feeling the pinch of lost advertising revenue due to the downturn of the economy following the first oil shock. Not long after, the advertising manager of the Yomiuri Newspaper contacted TEPCO to remind them that it had been their former president, Shotaro Shoriki, who had been largely responsible for introducing nuclear power into Japan and that the Yomiuri was therefore concerned that TEPCO was commissioning PR ads to its rival newspaper.

Once the Asahi and the Yomiuri were publishing regular PR ads for TEPCO, the Mainichi Newspaper also indicated that it would like a share of the pie. However, the Mainichi was also running anti-nuclear campaign articles and a series called "Bringing Politics into Daily Life" (Seiji wo Kurasi he), which TEPCO was not too happy about. The TEPCO PR director at the time was a man named Ken Suzuki (wow, really, there must be thousands of them in Japan). He told the Mainichi people, "What's your company's policy on energy issues? If you believe opposition is for the public good, then shouldn't you take a thoroughly oppositionist stand? What's the point in worrying about a few advertisements? ... If you base the writing in your newspaper on fanning the consumer movement and destroying companies, then obviously advertisements will gradually dry up." The editorial managers promised to be prudent about articles on nuclear power and the "Bringing Politics into Daily Life" series disappeared from the pages.

Quite amazing what you can do if you have deep pockets, eh?

...

Japan's Electric Companies Defend Nuke Plants, Diss Opponents as "Spreading Baseless Rumors", and Say Their Loss Is National Loss - The whole article is somewhat surreal. There's so much stupidity and downright lying in it it's hard to know where to start! And let's not forget, folks, that these asinine liars are the people who are responsible for the running of nuclear power stations. That doesn't really give you a lot of confidence that these power stations are going to be very safe, does it?

...

Defiant Tepco rallies utilities around future of nuke power

Toshiba Pushes for Spent Fuel Processing Plant in Mongolia, in Discussion with US Government

...

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant Reactor 4 Spent Fuel Pool Photo

Arnie Gundersen reports... New Analysis of Unit 3 Fuel Pool Video Reveals Top of Fuel Bundle

TEPCO: Nuclear fuel pool cooled to stable level

...

~~~Radiation Lookout~~~

#Radiation in Japan: Professor Kosako: "Come the harvest season in the fall, there will be a chaos" - I think with the rice, they will simply draw harvests from different parts of the country together and mix them. Most people will have no idea what's going on and the average radiation contamination will, of course, be far lower than the arbitrary standards.

Specifically, Mr. Kosako said the government set a relatively high ceiling for acceptable radiation in schoolyards, so that only 17 schools exceeded that limit. If the government had set the lower ceiling he had advocated, thousands of schools would have required a full cleanup. With Mr. Kan's ruling party struggling to gain parliamentary approval for a special budget, the costlier option didn't get traction.

"When taking these steps, the only concern for the current government is prolonging its own life," Mr. Kosako said.

Children's lives vs. money and keeping hold of power. Great.

...

Radioactive debris dilemma unresolved, growing worse - No grand plan; hot spots spread; schools just hide dangerous soil

Radioactive cesium detected in tea leaves grown in Tokyo

Higher radiation detected on fields than asphalt

...

~~~Overseas~~~

German parliament approves nuclear exit

US vows to support India's nuclear waiver

...

Nuclear Fiddling, While Los Alamos Burns

Nukes, Fire and Secrecy
Burning the Truth at Los Alamos

'NATO Drops Uranium Bombs on Libya'

Jellyfish halt British nuclear power station

-------------------------------------------------------

ARTICLES FROM JAPAN FOCUS ON THE FUKUSHIMA DISASTER

Japanese Cancer Expert on the Fukushima Situation

Okinawa’s Fukushima Connection: Nuclear Workers at Risk

How Japan’s Low Carbon Society and Nuclear Power Generation Came Hand in Hand - The “Egoism” of TEPCO ”Ecoism”

Protecting Children Against Radiation: Citizens Take Radiation Protection into Their Own Hands

Japan’s Decline as a Robotics Superpower: Lessons From Fukushima

74% of Japanese Favor Nuclear Phase-out

ARCHIVES ON FUKUSHIMA

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

July 1

In the early afternoon today the hourly NHK news was showing pictures of different places in Tokyo with the lights and 'coolers' off. One of these was a large office floor in the Ministry of the Environment. The main lights were off and the staff were working away at their computers with desk lamps on only. Quite dark. The air conditioning was apparently off (it was around 30C today) and some of the printers had signs on them saying "Not in use due to conservation of electricity". A bit overdone, I think. My wife said, "Ha, ha. Konkurabe." Konkurabe means a 'test of endurance,' in this case between supporters of a nuclear phase-out and the pro-nukes. All government personnel are, of course thrown in on the side of the pro-nukes (since nuclear power in Japan is a 'government policy'), even if they are in the Ministry of Environment. The problem with konkurabe-type tests of endurance is that neither side can afford to give an inch because that might result in total defeat, so the argument inevitably gets polarized into black and white positions (something that often happens in Japan) - nuclear power forever vs. shut 'em down NOW! What Japan really needs is the German solution: 1) a date by which the last nuclear reactor will go into decommissioning, 2) an organized energy conservation plan, 3) realistic introduction of renewable energy techniques. We might then see fewer overdone scenes like those in the Ministry of Environment today.

...

Saga governor comes under fire over position toward reactor restart

Suit filed to seek decommissioning of Hamaoka reactors

...

VIDEOS: Fukushima Nuclear Power Station: Tepco Designs Container to Store Deadly Radioactivity
- by Lucas Whitefield Hixson. Interesting about the sarcophagus shell that TEPCO is constructing to entomb reactor 1, but the author gives no reference to indicate where the material is from.

...

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: iRobot's "Warrior" to Do the Vacuum Cleaning on Reactor 3 Floor

...

~~~Radiation Lookout~~~

113 families advised to evacuate as 'hot spots' from nuclear crisis

Radiation: Like an Angel's Smile - Sarkozy would perhaps call this 'medieval' and 'irrational'.

2,700 Becquerels/Kg Cesium from Teas Picked by Elementary School Children in Itabashi, Tokyo

...

~~~Overseas~~~

Revealed: British government's plan to play down Fukushima Internal emails seen by Guardian show PR campaign was launched to protect UK nuclear plans after tsunami in Japan

Raw Footage of Fort Calhoun Nuke Plant Fly-by from AP

Swiss nuclear plant closes early to fix security issues

Sarkozy bucks Europe's anti-nuke trend

"There is no alternative to nuclear power today," Sarkozy said. "Those who ask for a moratorium -- I find this curious. It would consist in keeping old plants and abstaining from researching new safer plants."

If you hear someone say, "There's no alternative to ..." they are usually consciously lying. "There is no alternative to nuclear power today" is a ridiculous statement, even in France. There are plenty of alternatives, and Mr Sarkozy knows it. If the alternatives didn't exist, there would be no fight - no need to insist on it. A moratorium would not necessarily prevent old plants from being decommissioned. What's the problem? Research is research, there's no reason to stop it unless the research itself is dangerous. If nuclear power is phased out, there will probably not be much point in researching new plants, but the final disposal of spent nuclear fuel and the effects of radiation on health still require a lot more research. In the picture, Angela Merkel looks about as fed up of listening to Sarkozy's diatribe as I am...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

June 30

Meltdown as "Speed Bump" - The Nuclear Gang Regroups

READERS IN COUNCIL
An idea for a containment domeBy RICHARD MESCE, Arcata, California

Core problems with nuclear fuel - By TOM FIELDHOUSE, Canberra

...

Atomic power to stay, Kepco tells investors

Saga closer to Genkai reactor resumption - Mayor of host town gives OK but governor mum on date

...

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

Radioactive water leaks from Japan's damaged plant

About 15 metric tons of water with a low level of radiation leaked from a storage tank at the plant on the Pacific coast, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said.

It's really great how these people seem to specialize in telling us about little problems when we already know they have similar huge problems which are not ready to 'reveal' yet. It's as if they're saying, "We have to give the little kiddies the easy-to-swallow stories first followed by less and less easy-to-swallow problems in order to build up their resistances to bad news and then tell them what's really going on (which is really bad!)" Ahem... well, we've already known for a couple of months now that many tons of highly radioactive water are leaking into the groundwater and that TEPCO has to take immediate steps (like build a barrier dam) to ensure that this water does not flow out into the sea or flow inland, thus poisoning the groundwater in the surrounding region. Get real, please (and fast!).

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Radioactive Tellurium Detected in Seawater at Water Intake - It's a bit of a problem because apparently Tellurium-129 has two different forms with different half-lives. Still, finding an radionuclide with a half-life of 70 minutes outside in the sea is a little odd since it should all effectively disappear in 10 or 11 hours.

Contaminated Water at #Fukushima Increased to Over 120,000 Tonnes

VIDEOS: Fukushima Nuclear Power Station: Tepco Designs Container to Store Deadly Radioactivity

Progress in cooling Fukushima Daiichi spent fuel

...

~~~Radiation Lookout~~~

Rejoice! Mito City Board of Education Declares Swimming Classes Are Safe at City's Schools

CNN Has the Most Details in "Radioactive Iodine, Cesium Found in Urine Samples of 15 Fukushima Residents" News

France's CRIIRAD Report Critical of Japanese Government Response to Radiation Contamination Yes, I think all perfectly valid criticism. But what can the people do? The worst of it was almost four months ago. Some places still need evacuation - some parents are demanding the local authorities take responsibility for evacuation the children.

#Radiation in Japan: Radioactive Cesium from Urine Samples of 10 Children in Fukushima City

...

~~~Overseas~~~

As Fukushima Spews, Los Alamos Burns and Vermont Rages ... We've Almost Lost Nebraska

Bulgaria gets 73.8-mln-euro aid for shut nuclear units
- Sofia (AFP) June 28, 2011

Bulgaria signed grant agreements on Tuesday to receive 73.8 million euros ($105.3 million) for energy projects as compensation for shutting down four units at its Kozloduy nuclear plant ahead of joining the EU in 2007.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

June 29

I had to go to the local electrical appliance shop today to get some blank DVD discs. My wife wanted to look at the electric fans (we have three, but she wanted to look at ones which charge overnight or which run on a built-in solar panel...) When we got to the area where the fans are on display we had to laugh because it looked like those old photos of Soviet supermarkets with rows of almost empty shelves. I asked a shop assistant what had happened and he told me that they had all sold out four or five days ago. Oh. I've never seen anything like this in Japan before. Interesting, because it means that the Japanese public are taking the government claim that there will be a 'power shortage' very seriously. We don't have air conditioning in our house, but almost everyone here does. That means that people are seriously thinking of, or already implementing, since it about 30C today, leaving the 'coolers' off and using fans instead. (The government claims that this alone would reduce summer peak domestic power by 53%.)

On the hourly NHK news today, we have been treated to scenes of Mr. Kaieda (Minister for the Economy, Trade and Industry) in Kyushu pleading with the local administrative heads to give their approval for the Genkai Nuclear Power Station to be restarted soon. You can hear him say things like, "The necessary safety measures have been taken and we need to get the reactors back online to ensure that there is no problem with the summer power peak..." but the town and prefecture heads look embarrassed and everyone seems to know now that he's telling a barefaced lie. The newspapers carry little graphs every day showing how many percent of available power capacity was used the day before and what the prediction is for the day, so we all know roughly what the score is. I think the Japanese people have decided that if they have to reduce power consumption by 15%, then they'll do it. You only have to look at the electric fan sales area to see that. The people are going to prove you wrong, Mr. Kaieda. There is no need for nuclear power here. Why are you so intent on pushing it when the population is so obviously against it, I wonder?

Here's the little graph from today's (29 June) Tokyo Newspaper. On the left the graph of power consumption in the Tokyo area for 28 June. It reaches a peak between 4 and 5 pm. Peak power consumption was 43.26 GW (gigawatts); 88.6% of capacity, which is 48.8 GW. On the right is the forecast for today - a peak at 43.5 GW, or 89.1% of capacity, between 4 and 5 pm. have fun trying to convince everyone that nuclear power is 'necessary', Mr. Kaieda. Now that the papers are making it quite obvious that Japan can run perfectly well without nuclear power (with a little cooperation from the population) it's going to get much harder for you to go running around telling your little lies, isn't it?

...

Keidanren hits Rakuten's criticism - Rakuten has decided to withdraw from Keidanren due to a disagreement over support for the electrical power industry, but Keidanren chairman Yonekura defends his organization...

Keidanren is "not a group for the interests of a certain industry but a policy group for improving the living quality of the general public and the Japanese economy," Yonekura said Monday in a speech in Tokyo after Keidanren received a document notifying them of Rakuten's intention to withdraw from the business group.

Sigh! I almost thought he was going to say 'trickle down' or some tired old phrase like that... Sad about the dinosaurs; lost in space and hell bent on making the planet toast for everyone else...

...

38 years of nuke profit up in smoke? - Tut, tut. Really should have been a bit more careful with those reactors. And if this is so, why does the former CEO get away with a severance pay of about US$7 million? Several days later and I'm still trying to figure out how that can happen. I see on the TV this evening that Donald Keene is going to become a Japanese citizen and live out his remaining years in Japan (he's 89). I hope he is fully aware of what he is getting himself into...

...

Anti-nuclear proposals shot down at shareholders' meetings of utilities

Shareholders hammer Tepco over nuclear fiasco - Management gets six-hour earful on losses, tsunami failings

...

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

Keeping Up the Appearance: TEPCO's Water Circulation System to Cool the Reactors

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Some Kind of Fissioning Still Somewhere?

...

~~~Radiation Lookout~~~

#Radiation in Japan: Government to Use SPEEDI for Radiation Exposure Survey for Fukushima Residents - This just about sums it up doesn't it? The government had all the information right from the start and sat on it, and now they are going to use it to tell everyone how much radiation exposure they HAD and measure the consequences instead of using it for what it was intended for - getting people out of harm's way quickly when an accident happens. The same with just about everything that has happened throughout this whole nuclear disaster.

...

~~~Overseas~~~

Wildfire Approaches Thousands of Drums with Plutonium-Contaminated Waste at Los Alamos Lab

Chief: “We have fire all around the lab – It’s a road away” — “Zero percent containment”

Gundersen: Intake Structure that cools reactor and spent fuel pool is probably most vulnerable part of Ft. Calhoun nuke plan — Critical that it stays dry (VIDEO with sound only)

Fort Calhoun Nuke Plant: Borated Water in Reactor, Spent Fuel Pool, Normal Procedure, Says Plant CEO - Video here

...

And now, a little light entertainment from NISA - NISA Removes Hidehiko Nishiyama from His Spokesman Job

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

June 28

Court Case to have Schoolchildren in Koriyama City (Fukushima Prefecture) 'Mass Evacuated' to Begin at the Koriyama Branch of Fukushima District Court - This case is beginning to gear up. I will be posting an explanation on a different page: Here it is.

Fukushima starts health checks - It's not quite clear from the article, but it seems that the whole population of Fukushima Prefecture will get a similar health check.

...

Censorship in Japan: The Fukushima Cover-up - by RICHARD WILCOX

...

Moody's warns of yet another 'lost decade'

"It is not inconceivable the country would have a third 'lost' decade of growth," Thomas Byrne, senior vice president at Moody's, said in an emailed statement.

The economy would need to expand at double the current pace at a minimum "to help the government grow out of its huge debt burden."

Yes, but in the medium term Japan will find it exceedingly difficult to grow it's economy, largely for fossil energy supply reasons. The IMF says that Japan's growth rate in five years will be 1.2 percent. Oh.

...

LDP in Fukushima goes antinuke - In other words, they just woke up to the fact that they are political toast if they continue to promote nuclear power in a prefecture which has areas that are as contaminated with radioactivity as some parts of the Ukraine, Belarus and Russia after the Chernobyl disaster.

...

Japan begins nuclear charm offensive

Panel urges Japan PM to end nuclear crisis

...

TEPCO's Annual Shareholders Meeting Still Ongoing, Over 3 Hours

TEPCO's Shareholders' Meeting Finally Over after 6 Hours

...

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

TEPCO restarts water-circulation cooling

Nuclear plant operator skipped pipe check - For two weeks? During which times there have been aftershocks, including an M6.7 earthquake on 23 June. They've always been asleep at the wheel and they are still asleep at the wheel. How come the retiring CEO gets severance pay of US$7 million? Beats me. How come he's retiring in the middle of the worst industrial accident the world has ever seen? Beats me.

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: New and Improved Reactor Cooling System Using Treated Water Shuts Down After 1.5 Hour of Operation

TEPCO halts water circulation due to leaks

...

~~~Radiation Lookout~~~

Dilution of radioactive materials at sea is no solution to nuke-plant crisis - and they need to get that underground barrier constructed pretty soon too!!

High level of radiation exposure estimated

#Radiation in Japan: Radioactive Cesium from Ashes from Household Garbage at Waste Disposal Plant in Edogawa-Ku, Tokyo

Radioactive strontium detected in seabed

...

~~~Overseas~~~

China needs improved administrative system for nuclear power safety

Fort Calhoun Nuke Plant: Flood Water Has "Seeped" into the Turbine Building But "Everything's Under Control"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

June 27

Court Case to have Schoolchildren in Koriyama City (Fukushima Prefecture) 'Mass Evacuated' to Begin at the Koriyama Branch of Fukushima District Court - A group of lawyers is helping the parents of 14 elementary and middle school students to fight a case against Koriyama City authorities concerning the radiation in school premises. The parents claim that mass evacuation of the children is the only realistic way to protect them from the radiation exposure. There are no materials (I know of) in English yet, but I intend to follow this case closely on this page/site. The first court hearing is scheduled for 4:30 pm, Tuesday, July 5th at Koriyama Branch Court (Koriyama City). PLEASE go along to the court on the day if you are in the area!

...

Power industry's chokehold A fairly informative article about the way those who hold the 'power' in Japan also prevent real democratic progress from being made here. A fairly small group of people literally holds the rest of Japan to ransom and believes that it 'owns' the country.

Shareholders preparing protests

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Cooling of Reactors Using Treated Water to Start June 27 PM - (Reactors? What reactors?)

Water decontamination and recycling to resume

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: T-Hawk on the Roof

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Reactor 3's Radiation Remains High - Deception also apparently remains at a high level...

TEPCO failed to report possible hydrogen explosion

...

~~~Radiation Lookout~~~

Radiation health checkups to start

Fukushima residents' urine now radioactive

High school students in Fukushima take independent radiation measurements

#Radiation in Japan: Government Wants to Offer Japan's Seafood to Developing Nations

Radiation Detox - Clay Bath

...

~~~Overseas~~~

Flood berm collapses at Nebraska nuclear plant

Auxiliary building at Ft. Calhoun surrounded by water after berm failure

Waters Encircle Nuclear Plant in Nebraska, USA

Flood berm collapsed after being punctured by an unidentified piece of machinery

Senators demand congressional investigation into safety at US nuke plants — Public concerns heightened after recent news reports

Protestors rally against French nuclear plant

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

June 26

Experts urge great caution over radiation risks

"So many people in Japan are now saying that they can't trust their own government."

"I also suspect that full disclosure of such data is not in the interests of the Japanese nuclear industry."

Gov't explains nuclear plant safety measures - Quite surreal... Even the carefully selected seven asked potentially embarrassing questions -- or, this being Japan, it was scripted? With 50 people demonstrating outside about the way the meeting was being held, it would seem the government is doing itself no big favour by trying to tilt the playing field.

...

Fukushima Citizens Call for Radiation Health Risk Advisor’s Dismissal - Oh, look... it's that Dr/Prof. Yamashita again. He really has annoyed a lot of people in Fukushima with his "Radiation? Laugh and be happy!"

...

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

Resumption of decontamination system not in sight

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Reactor 2's Pressure Gauge Still Doesn't Work

TEPCO unable to gauge No.2 reactor water level

TEPCO ready to inject nitrogen into No.2 reactor

...

Boric acid being added to No.3 reactor fuel pool

...

~~~Radiation Lookout~~~

#Radioactive Tea in Shizuoka: Shizuoka City Mayor Launches "We Are Drinking Teas Made in Shizuoka City" Campaign - When it comes to doing a PR job for nuclear power, even mayors of major Japanese cities do not shirk at possible internal radiation from drinking tea brewed with irradiated tea leaves. Sure, the idea is to keep selling the tea in an attempt to prevent the local economy from collapsing, but it is also promoting a denial of the fact that radiation may be fatally dangerous, or even that the radiation is there at all, which is just what the power companies want.

#Fukushima I Nuke Accident: TEPCO Created Radiation Dispersion Simulation Maps on March 12

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Radioactive Strontium from Ocean Soil Off the Plant
...

~~~Overseas~~~

US EPA Halted Extra Testing for Radiation From Japan Weeks Ago

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

June 25

TEPCO President's Golden Parachute: Over 7 Million Dollars - Oh, well, I wish I could screw up that badly!

Ministry official who released book criticizing gov't over nuke crisis asked to resign

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: TEPCO Cannot Confirm Identities of 37 Workers

...

Reports on Fukushima reactors made public

Mihama Town favors reactor restart - But the prefectural governor has NOT yet approved restart of the reactors.

Nuke crisis evacuees to visit homes without protective gear over heat stroke worries

News Navigator: Are there final disposal facilities for radioactive waste? A rather superficial article, but better than nothing.

>>>

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

Decontamination system meets performance target

#Contaminated Water Processing: AREVA Overachieved, Kurion Underachieved, But Full-Run Ready Next Week

TEPCO unable to gauge No.2 reactor water level

...

Made-In-Japan Robot "Quince" Joined the Also-Failed at #Fukushima I Nuke Plant

Robot, drone fail on Japan nuke-plant missions

...

~~~Radiation Lookout~~~

Radiation results in Fukushima City

Tokyo officials: Radiation levels all below limit

...

Survey shows disappointment, anger among Fukushima evacuees

...

Sharp to build solar power stations in Japan

...

Nuclear Chemistry: A Primer

...

~~~Overseas~~~

Doctor says radiation test on cars 'scientifically negligent'

Nuclear Power? What's the Alternative? - By JOE GIAMBRONE

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

June 24

For some stupid reason, it's at times like these, when a really bad disaster or other event occurs, that we recall our history. After a war, we vow never to do it again, and then recall that we did exactly the same thing 20, 50, 80 years ago. A bit like waking up in the morning with another hangover, or throw the Camels in the trash, recalling that we'd done that the last time we had a bad cough... Even if the F#1 nuclear disaster had not happened just as we were recalling that it was 25 years since the Chernobyl disaster, we would have been remembering that a nuclear disaster was something so bad that we never wanted to do it again, that we had 'promised' that it would never happen again. But it did.

As I was revisiting an article I read yesterday on EX-SKF (#Contaminated Water Processing at #Fukushima: Wrong Valve Was Open in Kurion's System) I found links to the following three articles:

ANDREEVA BAY - and another one on the same problem...

Seawater Could Trigger the Explosion of a Large Radioactive Waste Storage Facility in Russia

and then another one on a different disaster inside the former Soviet Union...

Inside the Zone BY ALEXANDER ZAITCHIK

Maybe I'm ignorant and a total idiot with my head in the sand and don't know what time it is, but I have no recollection of hearing about these before, but now, in the middle of the F#1 nuclear disaster, I see that history comes back to haunt and mock us. I want to say two things, mostly with the article at the third link in mind:

1) All those who are saying, "It's safe, the radiation won't affect you," and especially Dr. Shunichi Yamashita of Nagasaki University, who says radiation won't affect you if you're happy and laugh (yes, yes... being happy and laughing may have a certain effect in boosting the immune system, but people caught in the middle of a nuclear disaster are not generally known for their happiness - check out the relevant NHK documentaries if you need to understand that - young men whose families have lost their farmland literally crying on screen!!!*), please, you need to read this and find out what is going on in the real world.

* NHK ETV Special, Radiation Pollution Map Produced by Network - Two months after the Fukushima Nuclear Power Station Accident, broadcast 20 May 2011, 89 min. [ETV Tokushu, Nettowa-ku de tsukuru ho-shano- osen chizu - Fukushima genpatsu jiko kara ni ka getsu] - A very good documentary on the realities of the radiation pollution in Fukushima Prefecture.

2) Read the article and think "Fukushima," "Iitate Village," Fukushima City," "Koriyama City," and quite a few other places where the radiation levels are abnormally high, but which are outside the 20/30 km zones, and where the people are essentially being asked to stay where they are or evacuate at their own expense. TEPCO and Japanese government, you are responsible for the disaster. Please ensure that what happened to the people mentioned in this article (Inside the Zone) does not happen to the people of Fukushima!

...

This next news item also made me think of Dr. Shunichi Yamashita and the different responses people have to radiation and nuclear power.

European And US Consumer Views On Cloned Products Differ - The results of the survey are quite revealing:

...Americans were more accepting of cloned products than Europeans.

+ Students in Ireland and France were less likely to consume cloned products than K-State students.

+ At Kansas State, sociology and English students were less likely to consume cloned products than the agriculture students.

+ Participants were more likely to consume cloned products after learning that both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the European Food Safety Authority had stated that cloned animal products pose no safety risk.

More of the European students were concerned about cloning from an ethical and moral perspective, while the American students cited food safety concerns. The strength of opposition to cloning was much stronger for those who morally opposed cloning than for those who opposed it for food safety concerns, Fox said.

The survey also found that women were less likely to purchase cloned products, and people familiar with science were more accepting of cloned products.

What does this tell us (my interpretation)? Because of the nature of European and American society (big generalization - I'm saying 'on average,' not 'everyone') Americans are more likely to be uncritical of things they are told by 'experts' or 'authorities,' especially if it is repeated frequently enough (or maybe because it is repeated often). Europeans are more likely to hang on to their doubts even in the face of a propaganda campaign, or maybe the propaganda is less intense. Also Americans were more likely not to consume cloned meat because of safety concerns, whereas Europeans were more likely to reject cloned meat on the basis of ethical or moral grounds. I.e. Americans are more concerned about personal safety issues, whereas Europeans are more concerned about the wider issues of animal care, what society can and cannot do and so on (though 'safety' can also be thought of on a society-wide basis). Also women were less likely to consume cloned animal products than men, women in general being considered closer to 'life' or 'nature' because, perhaps, they carry and give birth to the next generation. (Too simplistic; anyone want to express it better?)

Note that all participants seemed to be fairly easily reassured by government authorities. Note that also science students (i.e. agriculture students = agricultural science students) were more likely to consume cloned animal meat than humanities students. I.e. science students have it drilled into them that science is 'safe' and 'objective' - i.e. ethical and moral concerns are largely irrelevant and anything that 'works' is beneficial. (I was a science student, by the way.) Science students are much more likely to dump their ethical/moral compass and deride opposition to scientific progress on ethical/moral grounds as 'hysteria,' 'irrational,' 'medieval,' and 'emotional.' (Remember those? Search below for the sources - thank you, Messrs. Sarkozy and Mori...) Lastly, the strength of opposition to cloning was much stronger for those who morally opposed cloning than for those who opposed it for food safety concerns, thereby making those who oppose cloning and the consumption of cloned animal products to seem all the more 'hysterical,' 'irrational,' 'medieval,' and 'emotional' by the 'objective,' 'scientific,' '(economically) rational,' 'modern,' 'forward-looking,' etc. technocrats, businessmen, politicians, university professors, nuclear power researchers, and so on.

Now transfer this to Japan and put it in the context of the F#1 nuclear disaster ad the radiation pollution situation in Fukushima Prefecture. I don't think I have to even explain it... :-) Personally, I find the idea of cloned animals abhorrent. AND I don't think it can be denied that this is leading to cloned humans. How many people are aware of what this really means? I am prepared to put up with 'modern' agriculture because at this level of population (circular argument: the population has risen at least in part because of modern agriculture) we have no option if we want to eat. We are all captives of the system. A system that does what? Makes machines of animals and factories of fields. It's hidden so that city folks don't usually get to see this. Human cloning? Makes people into machines, commodities (well, 'things') to be bought and sold and existences over whom some other people will play God - have the power of life and death over. Scary, but we are very clearly approaching the time when this will seem 'normal,' just as it will soon seem 'normal' to be eating radiated food or food produced from GE crop plants and cloned animals. I think all of this is inextricably interwoven with nuclear power and the whole structure of the ideological power relations of our current political, economic and social arrangements (even in the 'developing' countries, which all now effectively governed by substantial 'advanced' world bridgeheads within them). There's no pick and choose. As I have been saying since the The original article, the nuclear phase-out is the first step towards a saner, sustainable human lifestyle.

...

An article in the Tokyo Newspaper yesterday (23 June, p.26) mentions the issue of building a barrier wall at the F#1 nuclear disaster site to prevent the melted coriums reaching the groundwater. We've seen this mentioned before in the article Preventing radiation contamination more important than TEPCO's stock prices on June 21. The article took the form of an interview with Professor Hiroaki Koide of Kyoto University Research Reactor Institute. He stated that reactors 1 to 3 at the F#1 site had melted down and that at least reactor 1 had become a 'melt through' to the concrete floor of the reactor building, the corium being at a temperature of about 2800C, and possibly into the ground below, becoming the world's first 'China syndrome.' Professor Koides said, A barrier should be constructed around the reactors to shut them off from the groundwater. If the nuclear fuel comes into contact with the groundwater, the pollution will flow into the sea or spread by flowing through the groundwater.

A former civil engineer was asked about the construction of such a barrier. He responded that if the groundwater is assumed to be at a depth of 10 to 20 metres, a steel sheet panel used in river improvements can be driven into the ground to a depth of about 30 metres, a depth where it is hard for water to penetrate, and for an 'iron curtain' around the site. A liquid chemical agent could then be injected to reinforce the ground to prevent runoff into the sea. This would cost about 10 billion yen and would take about 6 months to complete. It's a construction method that is very common with river improvements, so there is no specialized problem with it. (I have also heard that under the F#1 site there is a strong rock base at about 40 meters below the surface, but cannot find a reference to this. Can anyone help??) ...

TEPCO's plan for such a barrier is shown on their progress schedule as a mid-term issue and there has not been any specific mention of the actual construction work yet. Professor Koide says, This is no time to be drawing pretty pictures with the flow chart. The barrier is the only means they have right now (of solving this problem). There's not a moment to be wasted.

...

Yesterday's (23 June) Akahata ran an article on p.14 entitled No Need to Raise Electricity Bills or Increase Taxes. The Japan Center for Economic Research (JCER) published a paper on April 25 stating that at least 6 trillion yen will be necessary to cover the costs of the nuclear disaster. They say that this can be done by using TEPCO's reserves and net assets and redirecting a part of the existing nuclear power budget. Specifically, TEPCO's reprocessing-related reserves and accumulated profits of about 3.7 trillion yen. Around 200 billion yen/year can be saved from the fast breeder reactor and nuclear cycle research. A part of a reserve fund of 12 trillion yen accumulated by the power companies for reprocessing costs can be used if the operation of the reprocessing plant at Rokkassho Village, Aomori Prefecture, is suspended. Thus there is available approximately 12 trillion yen in 'underground reserves,' mostly from accumulated funds for future reprocessing, which JCER says should now be used in part to fund the costs of clearing up the nuclear disaster site and providing compensations to the people of Fukushima and elsewhere. JCER, by the way, is no radical research organization; they are very deeply connectied with Japan's business circles (Keidanren and so on) and also TEPCO itself. The money is there. Taxes and electricity bills do not necessarily have to be raised, so where's the political will to do it?

...

Yesterday's (23 June) Tokyo Newspaper ran an article on its local Ibaraki page under the headline "They're not thinking about the lives of the people in the host regions", which was essentially an interview with the mayor of Tokai Village, Mr. Tatsuya Murakami. Tokai Village is the home of several nuclear-related facilities, including the Tokai No.2 Nuclear Power Station (one reactor, a pluthermal 1,100 megawatt BWR running since 1978) and a reprocessing plant. Mr. Murakami said, Despite the fact that the truth about Fukushima nuclear disaster has not been made clear and that disaster has not yet ended and and yet the economy and industry are being emphasized, they are not thinking about the lives of the people in the host region. Such a country should not have nuclear power. Concerning subsidies the village depends on from hosting the nuclear power station, Mr. Murakami said, We have to extricate ourselves from that awareness. We cannot equate the values of our children's safety with the subsidies. The proportion of the subsidies in the total village budget is not so large. Clearly, the mayor is indicating a 'nuclear phase-out' line. Concerning a visit from METI's (Ministry of the Economy, Trade and Industry) NISA (Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency) earlier this month to inspect emergency safety measures, Mr. Murakami said, It was superficial. In the earthquake archipelago Japan, how is it they can say that all the reactors except Hamaoka are safe? Apparently, METI's Kaieda has not requested that Tokai No.2 be restarted. Tokai village has the largest number of people living in fairly close proximity to the nuclear power station of all the nuclear power stations in Japan. Mayor Murakmai is very precautious about a possible restart of Tokai No.2. NISA should be separated from METI and emergency plans need to be reviewed, he stated.

Hmmm... Interesting. For a long time Mayor Murakami has been quite happy to go along with the nuclear facilities in Tokai Village and it has proved impossible for candidates on an anti-nuke platform to dislodge him from the mayorship. However, he seems to have changed his tune considerably on nuclear power since 3/11. The village has recently decided to remove 38 automatic drinks vending machines from village facilities as a power saving measure. Some of the villagers complained that that might make things difficult for people who are dehydrated in the summer heat. Perhaps they think they cannot bother the village officials for a glass of water...

...

Big round of applause! Monju: The In-Vessel Transfer Machine Has Been Pulled Out

Quake expert urges Japan to overhaul nuke policy

Ancestral markers warned Japanese of tsunamis - As I have said before, the older folk know that living near the sea in certain regions is dangerous, but because the large tsunamis are about 100 years apart, people forget... but not all of them. Some remember that they have stone markers telling them where previous tsunamis have come up to.

...

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

Never a dull day down at the nuke... #Fukushima I Nuke Plant: T-Hawk Helicopter Crashed onto Reactor 2 Building - FAB. Does this prove incompetence, or what?

TEPCO working to prevent overflow of toxic water

...

~~~Radiation Lookout~~~

#Radiation in Japan: "Experiment" Just Got Bigger, As Fukushima to Fit All Infants, Kindergarteners, School Children with Radiation Monitoring Badges - Picture of the badges here.

City in Chiba Prefecture sets independent radiation dose standard for children

Don't go near the water... don't go near the water... Aha-huh... (Beach Boys) Ministry of Environment Sets Radiation Standard for Ocean Water for Beach-Goers

...

Tokyo, the megacity that works - No mention of Fukushima or radiation...

...

~~~Overseas~~~

Nuclear experts killed in Russia plane crash helped design Iran facility

Russia finds nuclear safety faults after Fukushima

Technical problem shuts French nuclear reactor for hours

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

June 23

Starting early today, but will probably not do as much as yesterday :-) . There was an M6.7 earthquake (a 5 minus on the Japanese scale) off the coast of Iwate Prefecture this morning at 07:51 JST. It was just about perceptible where I am in northern Ibaraki. We had advance warning of the quake on NHK TV. There was no apparent tsunami, though NHK warned people to look out for a possible 50cm wave. The two nuclear power stations in the area (Hidashi Dohri and Onagawa) do not appear to have been affected. However, a quake of this size further down the coast where the F#1 nuclear disaster is still ongoing could have extremely serious repercussions.

...

What I want to mention this morning, for those of you who do not know yet, is that...

Recently Re-elected Tokyo Governor Ishihara is Enthusiastically Pro-Nuclear - both Weapons and Power Stations!

The Akahata newspaper ran a small article yesterday (22 June) about how Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara participated in a 'seminar' hosted by the Kokumin Shintoh (The People's new Party) representative Shizuka Kamei on June 20. Gov. Ishihara spoke at the seminar, saying, "Japan must have nuclear weapons. As long as Japan does not have them, we will never be treated as a full-fledged independent country." "America will never protect us. Just look at the world's international politics. There's a lot of different kind of talk going around, but the people who have nuclear weapons, if I use an analogy from mahjong, are like those that declare with an i-han (a very strong hand). Those of you who know mahjong will understand; if you don't have an i-han, you can't win." "The road to Japan's survival is to form a military government. If we do not, Japan will be a subject state to some other country. I think military conscription would be a good idea." (See this TV Asahi page for a video news clip - in Japanese, but the content is the same as the above.)

Gov. Ishihara is also know for saying the 3/11 earthquake and tsunami were 'heaven's retribution' on the Japanese people (presumably for being so stupid as to not have nuclear weapons) and for declaring after the F#1 nuclear disaster that "I am a nuclear power proponent."

Phew! I am so stunned (despite the fact we have known all this for a long time) that a person like this can be elected and hold power in Japan. Oh, well, the public gets what the public wants.

I have just one question for Gov. Ishihara. Why not build a nuclear power station on some land near the Tokyo Metropolitan Office in Shinjuku (in the middle of Tokyo)?? What's the problem? Please don't tell me it isn't safe. Come on Gov., I really do want to know what the reason is!

...

See? I told you... it's SAFE!
Lady Gaga: Japan is safe to visit - REALLY!

>>>

Suicides upping casualties from Tohoku catastrophe - It's just so sad... How are the TEPCO nuclear bandits going to atone (or pay!) for this? They really should, but will they in any meaningful way? It's doubtful, of course, but that's exactly why this effort/struggle against the nuclear village/nuclear mafia/nuclear bandits has to go on till they agree to phase out nuclear power and give a firm date for shutting down the last reactor. (And also reaffirm the promises not to make or hold nuclear weapons.)

...

IAEA criticizes Japan's nuclear data sharing

...

~~~Radiation Lookout~~~

#Radiation in Japan: Children as Subjects of Radiation Research?

Researchers simulate Fukushima radiation spread - Oh, well done Tokyo University! Only about two months late. We've seen something very similar to this on April 22 in an article called Is America Getting Radiation TODAY? and actually we were late then because the article was posted on April 6. At the time we thought it might be a mistake or a hoax. Oh. How long has Tokyo University been sitting on this? (And why?)

Radioactive dust from Fukushima plant hit N. America soon after meltdown: researchers

---

Monju: They Will Try to Pull Out the In-Vessel Transfer Machine on June 23 - 24 min video (Japanese documentary program) posted here which is interesting to see even if you do not know Japanese. Oh, now you get to see some parts of Japan you don't see with the tourist groups...

...

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

Contaminated Water Processing at #Fukushima: Kurion's System Achieved Less Than 1/20 of Hoped-For Performance

#Contaminated Water Processing at #Fukushima: Wrong Valve Was Open in Kurion's System

Improper water flow blamed for filter failure - One valve had the "open" and "shut" markings on the wrong way round! How can you run a nuclear power station when people make this kind of extremely basic mistake?

...

~~~Overseas~~~

Estonia, Lithuania vow energy security - Hmmm. Not hard to see why they want the nuclear power station, but do they really? In that situation, I might want to take the risk too, but...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

June 22

NUCLEAR BANDIT TIME AGAIN! Nation needs nuclear power for main energy source: Kepco head

Mori said referendums on nuclear power, like the one in Italy earlier this month, are "inappropriate" because securing energy supply is an issue of national security.

"Emotional responses should not dictate our decisions at times like this," he said.

Cough! National security? Is someone about to invade, then? Better not to have nuclear power stations, then, since they would be a target... Oh, I see what you mean, security for you and your friends, the nuclear bandits? The current socio-economic relations cannot be said to be providing security for the majority of ordinary people in this country, so that's what you must mean. Referendums inappropriate? Take a little summer trip to Rome and see if the people there agree with you! A little advice: It's called 'democracy' and the people are thinking they'd like a little more of it, please. Thank you. Oh, and that emotional thing. Look, when people's lives are at stake (go talk to some of the people in Fukushima Prefecture/City if you don't believe me) they are not going to simply want to have interminable debates and conversations about what might or might not be done next year, etc. They want ACTION NOW! (Again, ask the Italians whether their response was 'emotional' or not.) If being emotional means ignoring objective data, then you are just as much to blame yourself when you say "It's [nuclear power is] the only way to secure a stable supply of environmentally clean electricity at a relatively low cost." Environmentally clean? Don't think the people of Fukushima would agree with you on that. Relatively low cost? Yes, if you count only the fuel costs and the construction of the plant, maybe. You know that isn't true if you count in everything, including final disposal of nuclear waste (which you have so far studiously ignored). Ask TEPCO. They have recently discovered that nuclear power is not at all cheap. Get your facts straight, Mr. Mori, and start trying to find out what the people of Japan really want rather than simply pushing the demands of your nuclear bandit clique friends. Thank you. Have a nice day. (Over 30C in many parts of Japan today - see the electricity demand soar as the city people switch on/turn up the air conditioning...)

...

EDITORIAL: Diet should pass renewable energy bill in current session

But LDP President Sadakazu Tanigaki has shown reluctance to allow the Diet to take up the feed-in tariff bill, saying it is debatable whether the measure will really be effective.

If he doubts the effectiveness of the measure, he should make proposals to improve it.

...On the flipside, this new policy would shake up the existing power supply system, in which utilities have been monopolizing regional markets. That ensures there will be strong resistance to the legislation.

The power industry has strong influence on both the ruling Democratic Party of Japan and the opposition LDP.

Many lawmakers will oppose the bill to curry favor with the industry.

Hot curry-flavoured politicians forgetting who elected them! Sure, I know they need money for elections, but politicians who manage to get elected on the basis of their election contributions are simply fooling everyone (including themselves) and making zero contribution to a democratic society. Better just not to allow election contributions at all, maybe. And it's quite clear where the LDP's sympathies lie. Not with the ordinary people who actually elect the politicians, that's for sure. However, it's extremely sad to see so much opposition to a power system that is accepted as the norm in so many other countries. For a list of countries and regions that have a feed-in tariff for electricity generated from renewables, see Feed-in Tariff. It's only the nuclear bandits that are holding the country to ransom that are opposed to it. Japan's name should be up there with the rest of them, and soon, if they ever want to catch up with Thailand, India, Algeria and Puerto Rico.

...

What's the big hurry, Mr. Kaieda?

Yesterday's (June 21) Tokyo Newspaper ran an article (p.26) under the headline What's the big hurry to declare nuclear power safe?, which was a severe criticism of Banri Kaieda, Minister for Economy, Trade and Industry, under whose jurisdiction nuclear power generation comes. Mr. Kaieda has been annoying the Japanese public for the last few weeks by running around trying to get support from local authorities that host nuclear power stations (NPSs) to allow the reactors that are down for regular maintenance and so on to restart (and for talking to the IAEA meeting in Vienna about safety of and necessity for Japan's nuclear reactors). The governors of prefectures and mayors of local townships that host NPSs have an effective veto on the restart of nuclear reactors. That means ALL nuclear reactors in Japan could be shut down by April 2012 as the ones online now are stopped for regular maintenance and the ones currently offline do not get the go-ahead to restart from their local authorities.

Mr. Kaieda's enthusiasm to see offline reactors getting restarted as soon as possible, despite the ongoing nuclear disaster, has been seen as close to obscene by the general public here. The article included interviews with members of the public in Fukushima City. One housewife in the city, who in the period immediately after the 3/11 earthquake and ensuing nuclear disaster had to wait for three hours outside to get water supplies, said, At the time they said nothing, and then later they told us there had been meltdowns and announced that there had been radiation flying around. It's not just me, it's possible that children were exposed to radiation. Even if Mr. Kaieda says it's safe and that there will be a power shortage, I'm not about to believe him right away.

Mr. Kaieda and the other accessories to the nuclear bandits, like the politicians we saw the day before yesterday (June 20) who want to very quietly introduce the notion of underground nuclear power stations in their meeting rooms without letting the public know what's going on (till it's far too late), are working completely against the wishes of about 80% of the population (see opinion poll results on June 19) while at the same time playing political games with the earthquake and nuclear disaster situations while the populations of Fukushima, Miyagi and Iwate Prefectures suffer. (It's bad, believe me. When the local Communist Party of Japan city councilor came around to collect the newspaper subs a few days ago, my wife and I spent about ten minutes reeling off all the problems that the people in the north are facing. He looked a bit sheepish. He's a nice man, we like him and support him. That's why we subscribe to the CPJ newspaper. He's not part of the problem at all, but we need him and the CPJ to tell the politicians in Tokyo to wake up and remember the plight of the people in the north, the ones still affected by the earthquake/tsunami and the ones affected by the nuclear disaster, and some people, of course, have been affected by all three! But what are the politicians doing? Running around trying to get the offline nukes restarted! Playing power political football with the problem! Hiding the horror stories, telling lies, planning the next nuclear nightmares!)

I think one of the reasons why a large part of the Japanese population are unhappy about what Mr. Kaieda is doing and saying is that they feel that he is trying to drag them down a nuclear pathway with no end in sight. The mood in Japan now is most definitely for a nuclear phase-out. I think it will be hard to change that. However, Kaieda is trying to push ahead with nuclear reactor restarts without recognizing this basic fact and therefore without giving the Japanese population some reassurance that the end is in sight. Once a firm statement is made on WHEN THE LAST NUCLEAR REACTOR WILL BE DECOMMISSIONED, and that should be closer to 2020 than 2050 (somewhere between Germany's 2022 and Switzerland's 2034?) then the public and the local authorities might feel that some of the reactors can be restarted provided they are really 'safe'. If not, what Mr. Kaieda and his nuclear bandits might get instead is more like Italy - a complete phase-out NOW.

...

Solartopia! by Harvey Wasserman

Talking of 'nuclear bandits,' the term first appeared on this page as the title of an article "Give Us Your Money, Your Planet and Your Lives" The Nuclear Bandits by Harvey Wasserman. Harvey is the author of a book Solartopia! Our Green-Powered Earth, A.D. 2030. I recently obtained a copy of the book and read it. It's a book about the world in 2030, the lifestyle of that time and the energy sources that are used to power that lifestyle. Harvey makes it clear right from the start that many of the social and economic problems we face today are directly related to nuclear power and carbon (fossil) fuels, and that our future will be secured by phasing out the use of these as quickly as reasonably possible and phasing in renewable energy sources - solar, wind, hydro, geothermal electrical power generation, biomass and biofuels (not based on human food crops) backed up by hydrogen as an energy carrier. I was quite surprised by how much Harvey emphasized the use of hydrogen.

However, before I start getting critical about the energy details, I want to say that for me this book represents a dream about the future. It would be 'nice' to think that we knew something about the future. I've been trying to look at future food and energy trends for about the last 15 years, and although I have been able to foresee some of the major trends, there is no way I could have foreseen any of the detail. Solartopia! came out in 2007, so I suppose Harvey was writing in 2005/2006 and trying to look 25 years into the future. Much of it, unfortunately, is going to be wrong (I think). But rather than the details of the energy system, the lifestyle, and how we're supposed to get there, it's the quality of the optimistic dream of the future that is really the wonderful thing about this book. The details may be wrong, but I DO want to live this future (I may still be alive in 2030, with a bit of luck).Nuclear bandits, all other forms of pro-nuke people; smokestack industry, jet fighter, aircraft carrier, star trek (space exploration type people; passenger car lovers, and others enthralled by the nuclear/carbon energy world are probably not going to like this at all. What I like about Harvey's world is that it is a world where social problems are solved by social means, not by facile application of tekno-fix.

It's not that Harvey's vision sees us 'going back' to live in mud huts. If anything, energetically at least, Harvey's 2030 world is considerably more hi-tek than today's, and the lifestyle that people enjoy is in no way inferior to ours today - in fact in many ways it is superior because it is based on true grassroots democracy with very much reduced income disparities between the 'top' and 'bottom' of society, though affluence and poverty are still in existence. It's not a 'perfect' society, but probably as good a society as can be humanly and realistically devised and implemented. Hope the dream comes true.

Finally, a few words about Harvey's energy arrangements. The first problem I have with his renewable energy scheme is does it have a large enough EROEI (energy return on energy investment) to be realistic and viable? For society to prosper, EROEI should be more than 10 (i.e. 1 unit of energy is required to produce 10 units of energy for use by society). Recent and soon-to-appear solar panels are going to exceed this with no problem. But does that still mean that one solar panel will be able to reproduce itself and also provide 10x that amount of energy for society? Solar panels, win and hydro turbines are not easy to make. Will a world that runs on renewable energy be able to do all the mining of the necessary minerals and metals, the refining and the manufacturing of the panes and turbines and still provide us with large amounts of energy for society? I'm still a little doubtful, but maybe we won't really know till we get there.

The second problem is that although some of the energy is produced locally for local use (like solar panels on your roof), quite a substantial part of the overall energy (for industry, for example) must come from remote locations and be delivered to the end user through a grid or in the form of hydrogen. The electricity grid we have now (in most countries) may not be suitable for use with electricity generated from renewables only (I have mentioned this before - see June 2). Maybe the present grid can be adapted for use or made to work somehow. It probably would not need to be as extensive as it is now; local grids would work better, people being remote from the grid simply using local renewables. See how you feel about it as you read Harvey's book.

The third and last problem is the use of hydrogen as an energy carrier (like electricity, which is also and energy carrier, not a source. The source - the sun, wind, water currents, coal, natural gas, oil, and so on - is used to generate the electricity, which then travels along wires to where you want to use it). Hydrogen can be produced by the electrolysis of water (2H2O > 2H2 + O2), then stored or piped to where you want to use it in a fuel cell or burn it in an internal combustion engine. The problem is that hydrogen is very light, hard to liquefy and can escape from almost any kind of container. So there are energy losses (as for electricity transmission) involved. The paper that finally convinced me that the pure hydrogen-only economy is not going to happen is "The Future of the Hydrogen Economy: Bright or Bleak?" by Baldur Eliasson and Ulf Bossel. (If you search for the title on Google you will immediately find the PDF. When I clicked the link it downloaded automatically so I don't even know the URL where it is located...) Eliasson and Bossel say that large-scale use of hydrogen will involve excessive energy losses and so we are better off using something else such as methanol or ethanol (Harvey does mention these), though hydrogen could be used for small-scale local applications (e.g. using solar cells on your roof to produce electricity, which produces hydrogen from water, the hydrogen then being used to run a fuel cell at night). It seems that this is what Dan Nocera is talking about on YouTube, but it is not explicit. The energy losses also look quite significant, but it may be practical.

Oh, one last thing. Harvey mentions several times that the product from the use of the carrier hydrogen is (pure) water, and so this can help secure water supplies. However, if I were to choose the water I drank, I would drink from a clean mountain stream in which the water was full of minerals. Harvey does mention the lack of water pollution in 2030, so why be all that enthusiastic about the water produced by fuel cells (if we are still able to manufacture them). Oh, well, I'm getting bogged down in the energy details again :-). Please read the book for the vision. The energy details will almost certainly be wrong, though the broad outline may be robust. The vision is something everyone should want to have a stake in. Except maybe the nuclear bandits.

...

More from Dr. Shunichi Yamashita
Dr. Shunichi Yamashita, Radiation Advisor to Fukushima: "Fukusima Will Be World-Famous! It's Just Great!" This is the doctor we've quoted before as saying, The effects of radiation do not come to people that are happy and laughing. They come to people that are weak-spirited, that brood and fret. Hysterically funny! You should be a comedian, doctor, then I can just watch your shows on YouTube every day to protect myself from the radiation around here!

...

No prospect to resume operation of 11 reactors

Municipal heads go anti-nuclear

^^^

Japan's nuclear regulatory reform may be easier said than done

"I think it is difficult to create an effective system because it is a matter of conflicts of interests."

Yes, but that's what the system is supposed to mediate. That's why it has to be independent. We know it's difficult, but if the conflict is my life against their profit, I would like to have that properly mediated by an independent body, not one that's going to judge in favor of the nuclear power industry all the time (as it has every time up till now, as far as I am aware).

...

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~


#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Reactor 2 Radiation at 430 Millisieverts/Hr

Filtering system tested for full operation

#Contaminated Water Processing at #Fukushima: TEPCO Is Ready for Full Run Again

Temperature at No.3 reactor rises

Rainy season adds to troubles at Fukushima plant

...

~~~Radiation Lookout~~~

Tokyo area parents' radiation worries grow with discovery of local 'hotspots'

#Radioactive Tea in France: Correction from Shizuoka, It Was Green Tea After All Oh.

Cumulative radiation reaches as high as 82 millisieverts

^^^

Ibaraki seafood processors demand 1.85 bil. yen in damages from TEPCO

~~~

Rothschilds Rating Agency, Moody's cuts TEPCO credit rating to junk status

Moody's cuts Japan's TEPCO to junk status

...

~~~Overseas~~~

Tritium leaks found at many nuke sites

Fukushima raises questions about new Finnish reactor

Bulgaria to press Russia for new halt of nuclear plant

No 'business as usual' as IAEA meets on nuclear safety

OECD chief says nuclear energy still important

Health Canada says no worries Canadian newspaper tries to get soil tested for radiation — Private companies, gov’t agencies, and universities all refused to get involved

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

June 21


Please send a postcard to support an anti-nuke activist!

Here's something I'd like to ask you to do...

At the northernmost tip of Japan’s Honshu Island, J-Power EDPC is in the process of building a new nuclear power station (NPS). If built, it will be a 1380 megawatt pluthermal BWR and currently it is scheduled to be completed in 2014. There’s only one problem. There are two plots of land, about one hectare in all, in the NPS site that are owned by a private individual, and she doesn’t have any intention of selling the land to J-Power.

The land was originally owned by Asako Kumagai. When J-Power was buying land for the NPS project, several of the landowners refused to sell at first, but eventually sold out leaving only the land owned by Asako unbought. Asako and her daughter, Atsuko, built a log house on one part of the property, but unfortunately Asako passed away in 2006, before she could move into the house. Atsuko, who lives in Hakodate, on the other side of the Tsugaru Strait, visits the house a few times each week.

There is a map of the NPS site. This page is in Japanese. The map is at the foot of the page and is not very clear, but Atsuko’s land is within the area marked by the red squares. In fact the two blue areas show how the position of the reactor had to be moved from within Atsuko’s land to a position about two hundred meters south (to the left on the map). If the reactor is finally built while Atsuko is still occupying the land, the log house will be a mere 300 meters from the reactor.

J-Power has provided an unpaved access road, fenced in on both sides, to the property. When mail arrives addressed to ‘Asako House,’ as the log house is known, the mail carrier has to tramp the one-kilometer road to the house to deliver the mail. This proves to everyone that the house and land are not abandoned. WE WOULD BE EXTREMELY HAPPY IF YOU WOULD HELP ATSUKO BY SENDING HER POSTCARDS!

Any postcard is OK. How about sending Atsuko a picture postcard of your town? Please write just a few sentences of support for Atsuko – in any language.

Please send postcards to:

Ms. Atsuko Ogasawara, c/o Asako House,
396 Aza Ko-okoppe, Oh-aza Ohma, Ohma Machi, Shimokita Gun, Aomori Prefecture, JAPAN 039-4601

(Please see the foot of this Japanese page if you would like to write the name and address in Japanese. This page also mentions sending Atsuko flags - please also feel free to do that if you wish to.)

Thank you!

...

Preventing radiation contamination more important than TEPCO's stock prices Why is it that my mind has to boggle EVERY DAY!!??

...

More stunning stuff from Chris Busby!

Stop Talking Nonsense - What's the Nuclear Energy For, George?
By CHRIS BUSBY No comment. Read it for yourself!!

...

Level 8? - Nuclear Nightmare Worsens
By JOE GIOMBRONE - Scary, but accurate, I think.

Fukushima is the greatest nuclear and environmental disaster in human history
by Steven C. Jones - Scary, but The amount and intensity of the radioactive fallout from this particular nuclear disaster will assuredly kill hundreds of millions of people worldwide over time. seems to be overdone. What's the basis for saying this? Certainly, Chernobyl, though it did result in many deaths, did not result in anything like this number. We will never really know, but I hope it will not be hundreds of millions of people

...

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

Contaminated Water Processing at #Fukushima: Now It's AREVA's Turn to Cause Problem

Contaminated Water Processing at #Fukushima: TEPCO Says Water Is "Hot", But The System Can Handle It

TEPCO hopes to resume water decontamination soon

Tepco water treatment hopes elude

"Corium Coolability Under Ex-Vessel Accident Conditions for LWRs" Basically give the address for this fun PDF paper.

...

~~~Radiation Lookout~~~

#Radiation in Japan: Greenpeace Detected Cobalt-60 and High Radiation "Hot Spots" in Fukushima City in Fukushima

#Radioactive Tea in France Was Made in Shizuoka The producer says it can't be that radioactive. When he had it measured, it was 400 becquerels per kilogram at most.

...

~~~Overseas~~~

Two Nebraska Nuke Reactors Are Safe, Says US Authorities

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

June 20

Going Underground - The Jam Hear the song

Somethings happening here today
A show of strength with your boy's brigade and,
I'm so happy and you're so kind
You want more money - of course I don't mind
To buy nuclear textbooks for atomic crimes.

And the public gets what the public wants
But I want nothing this society's got -

I'm going underground, (going underground)
Well the brass bands play and feet start to pound
Going underground, (going underground)
Well let the boys all sing and the boys all shout for tomorrow

A tiny article on p.2 of the Akahata for 19 June 2011: Applications for Underground Nuclear Power Stations will be Reviewed: At a cabinet meeting on 17 June, the Japanese government gave a response to a question from the LPD member of the lower house (from Fukui Prefecture) Taku Yamamoto concerning underground nuclear power stations. The response was that if power generating companies make an application to construct such a power station, the application will be reviewed by the Minister for Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) based on the existing regulations governing nuclear power stations. The promotion of underground nuclear power stations got off the ground in May, when two former JDP prime ministers (Yukio Hatayama and Tsutomu Hata) and two former LDP prime ministers (Yoshiro Mori and Shinzo Abe) became consultants to a Diet Members' Alliance for Policy Promotion of Underground Nuclear Power Stations. Taku Yamamoto, who is also a member of the Alliance, evaluated the cabinet's response by stating, "This is the first time that the government has embraced (yo-nin) the idea of underground nuclear power stations."

Yes, it looks like the public will get what the public wants!

...

Nuclear Power Too Expensive - Jürgen Trittin

Akahata 19 June 2011: Former German environment minister Jürgen Trittin gave a press conference at the Japan National Press Club on 17 June as head of a German Green Party MPs delegation visiting Japan. He said that "No one could claim that NPPs are cheap if the costs (of decommissioning and dismantling reactors and the costs of the final disposal and storage of radioactive waste materials) were added into the electricity bills." He also pointed out that if a serious accident were to occur and the immense costs of compensation were added on to electricity bills, as is planned in Japan, that would be devastating. Regarding future energy policy, Mr. Trittin emphasised that energy conservation would be important in the short term and an expansion of the use of renewable energy would be important in the mid-term.

Conservation in the short term is a good lesson for Japan to learn. Although a little old, here is a good statement of Mr. Trittin's basic position.

Interview: Germany's environment minister Jürgen Trittin

...

Toxic truth about Japan's 'miracle': Post-tsunami harmony is a myth and the reality is startlingly different

According to a well-known Japanese documentary maker, TEPCO paid for the creation of a blacklist of actors and musicians who are against the nuclear industry.

When one actor, Taro Yamamoto, joined an anti-nuclear protest, he lost his part in a popular soap opera. Yamamoto's 'crime' was to say that schoolchildren in Fukushima should not be subjected to the same annual radiation dose (20 microsieverts per year) as nuclear power workers in Europe.

And 'wa', the harmony, is disappearing as people feel that their government has failed them.

The sad but true story of some of the things that are happening in northeast Japan. We also mentioned TEPCO and Taro Yamamoto here on May 28.

...

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

Fukushima panel shocked by destruction

"It was an extremely shocking sight," Hatamura said. "I didn't have any idea as to how the situation was going to be dealt with."

That was Professor Hatamura, a professor emeritus at the University of Tokyo, one of the members of an expert panel investigating the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant visiting the site for the first time Friday (17 June). Er... excuse me professor, but aren't you supposed to be an "expert"? Don't you read the newspapers or watch TV? Everyone else seems to know that something really bad happened at F#1. Well, I know some of the people in Tokyo aren't paying much attention, but... BTW, Professor Hatamura was appointed head of the independent panel last month.

...

Test of decontamination system continues

Tepco plays down decontamination failure

"Decontamination is the key to solving the problems at the plant," said Tadashi Narabayashi, a nuclear engineering professor at Hokkaido University.

"Tepco should have had a very simple water decontamination system of its own," Narabayashi said. "Then, it's easy to fix or replace a troubled part by themselves."

Yes, quite right, professor, but then (1) TEPCO never thought they would have an accident and (2) they never wanted to spend money on that kind of equipment (or making the reactors safer), but preferred to spend it on controlling the media for PR purposes...

#Fukushima Contaminated Water Treatment: 75 Tonnes of Water Processed in 5 Hours

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Another Leak in Kurion's System at "Rapture" (Rupture) Disk

Contaminated Water Processing at #Fukushima: The Water Was Simply Too "Hot" So if the water was more radioactive than TEPCO originally thought, what does that do to the calculation concerning the total amount of radiation in the water? This was stated to be 720,000 TBq in the June 12 update below, but now they're saying the water was 144 times as radioactive as the system had anticipated, so do we multiply 720,000 by 144 = 103.68 m TBq?? I hope not, because that would be about 20 times more radiation than was released by Chernobyl (5.2 m TBq is the figure we've been using here), and that's only in the 'liquid releases.'

TEPCO races to restore decontamination system

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: High Radiation from Equipment in Reactor 4?

Radioactive reactor equipment may be exposed at Fukushima plant

...

~~~Radiation Lookout~~~

#Radiation in Japan: Mix and Match, and Fukushima's Radioactive Debris Can Be Burned and Buried

Radiation Map Clearly, a large part of Fukushima Prefecture is seriously contaminated.

...

~~~TEPCO Stuff~~~

Some power firm shareholders wary of nuclear energy

...

~~~Overseas~~~

Indonesia leader in Japan sceptical of nuclear power Under 'Overseas' on June 16 it was reported that Indonesia was willing to face the risks of nuclear power, but now the president, currently visiting Japan, seems to have reservations. Perhaps he should visit the F#1 nuclear disaster site and go the whole way to convincing himself that nuclear power is not such a great idea. There is a nice picture of the Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (looking a bit shocked) visiting Kesennuma, Miyagi Prefecture, on Saturday in the article Fukushima panel shocked by destruction posted in today's update, above.

Iran nuclear plant link-up to grid in August: report



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

June 19

The Lessons of Fukushima: Surviving Nuclear Disasters - Remembering the Sacrifice of Brave Nuclear Workers - by Lucas Whitefield Hixson

In the Japanese Government no one really cares about the safe and regulated expansion of its nuclear program and facilities. None of the efforts made by elected officials in Japan since the disaster at Fukushima have had a positive influence on nuclear policies or engineering. Instead this tragedy will go down as one of the most criminal examples of near-universal mismanagement and misdirection, a glaring recurring fact that has prevailed in nuclear disasters decades past. In hindsight it is easy to see that we have always looked to nuclear energy as a form of salvation, "an energy too cheap to meter", but some of our creations have led us to seek a salvation from our technology.

The only way to prevent these disasters is not to get involved with the technology in the first place, but how can that be done??? History shows that whatever can be done will be done. Watch out for the human clones to be appearing in a few years' time. This article also shows that those in power (who want to hold onto their power by whatever means possible) will always fail to take the best advice available and will sacrifice the honest, innocent and unprotected for the sake of their own aggrandisement. Sound familiar?

...

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Kurion's System Was Stopped At the Very First "Skid" It is possible that the water TEPCO is trying to treat/demineralize at the F#1 nuclear disaster site is possibly too full of sludge/radioactivity/seawater for the water treatment equipment to handle. If that is so, what then???

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: NISA's Nishiyama Indicates There Is No Plan-B Right Now

"We'll have to keep solving the problems as they arise. If the system doesn't work, we'll have to look for other alternatives."

Fab. Looks like seafood will be off the menu, then.

...

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Reactor 2 Double Door Will Be Opened on June 19 Night, JST And what manner of horrors will be discovered within, one wonders?

...

~~~Radiation Lookout~~~

Fukushima parents decontaminate school building

#Radioactive Tea in France: Shizuoka Governor Tells France Tea Is Safe, "No Problem"

"Even if the final blend tea measured 1,000 becquerels/kilogram, when you brew it the number will go down to about 10 becquerels. I don't think there's any problem at all if you drink the tea."

Yes, thanks, Governor. Cup of tea, anyone?

...

Today's Tokyo Newspaper has an article (front page) on an opinion poll concerning nuclear power policy conducted on the 11th and 12th June. The results are as follows:

Decommission all nuclear reactors immediately: --------------------------------9.4%
Decommission nuclear reactors as they go into regular maintenance: -------18.7
Decommission reactors as power supply is secured through other sources: 53.7%
Maintain status quo on nuclear reactors: -----------------------------------------14.1%
Don't know/no response: ------------------------------------------------------------4.1%

Since nearly 82% of people polled are in favour of a nuclear phase-out, his suggests that the Japanese people would be fairly happy with a nuclear phase-out similar to that of Germany, or even faster if thermal and renewable generating sources are able to supply sufficient power. (How much is 'sufficient', though?).

...



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

June 18

Massive incompetence, tampered video, suicide, true believers... this is Japan?
Japan Strains to Fix a Reactor Damaged Before Quake

“Monju is a vital national asset,” said Noritomo Narita, a spokesman here in Tsuruga for the reactor’s operator, the government-backed Japan Atomic Energy Agency. “In a country so poor in resources, such as Japan, the efficient use of nuclear fuel is our national policy, and our mission.”

Still, Mr. Takeda said he hoped to see Monju complete safety checks and prepare for a restart within a year.

“Japan needs the nuclear fuel cycle,” he said, because supplies of fuels will not last forever. “Uranium will last less than a hundred years. Plutonium will last over a thousand.”

Over a thousand more years of this insanity? Dropping the 3.3-ton device on the RPV would be just hilarious incompetence if it wasn't this serious - and they still expect to be allowed to play with their plutonium toy for another 1000 years? Sorry, 'vital national asset.' If you believe the fossil/nuclear worldview. Many are beginning to get quite tired of it recently...

Before the Next Fukushima Strikes - Are We on the Brink of Burying Nuke Power Forever?By HARVEY WASSERMAN -- Although written basically with the US audience in mind, I think this analysis represents some much-needed sanity that we're not likely to get much of from TEPCO, the Japanese government and all those other pro-nukes out there, so this is worth reading.

...

Harvey Wasserman also mentions the Worldwatch report THE WORLD NUCLEAR INDUSTRY STATUS REPORT 2010–2011 - Nuclear Power in a Post-Fukushima World :

~~~

READERS IN COUNCIL Place to start: reduce energy use - By RICHARD WILCOX, Tokyo

~~~

Proving one's nuclear confidence - By KRISTIN NEWTON, Tokyo

Regarding the June 11 Kyodo article "Kaieda calls for restarting nuke reactors": I would like to ask industry minister Banri Kaieda — and anyone else who so strongly recommends the continued operation of nuclear plants in Japan after seeing what has happened these past few months — to prove to us that they are 100 percent confident that the plants are safe and that accidents such as those that occurred at Fukushima after March 11 will never happen again. They can do this by buying a house next to a nuclear plant and living there for the rest of their lives.
Otherwise, their words are just a lot of hot air and their motives are very dubious. They should tell us how much money they are making by pushing the pro-nuclear line.

This echoes the sentiments of many in Japan. Notice also that some people are saying 'there will be no health effects from Fukushima' (yesterday) and that 'if you are happy and laugh the radiation will not affect you' (June 12). All of these people should be included in the little(?) housing estates that are going to spring up around Japanese nuclear power stations. I hope they will all have a very jolly time enjoying each other's company!

...

Japan panel pledges tough TEPCO restructuring Only restructuring??? Bit mild, isn't it???

...

Minister says severe accident measures taken, seeks reactor restarts I saw Kaieda saying this at a press conference on NHK today. He looked so unconvincing that he didn't even seem to have convinced himself that it was 'safe' to restart reactors that are currently offline for maintenance and repairs. He looked a bit 'zombie-like.' Quite understandable, really, since he is trying to look as if nothing has happened in the middle of the world's most horrific nuclear disaster.

Should Raising Your Kids in a Fouled Environment be Considered Child Abuse?

~~~

11 governors say nuke plants should be abolished, reduced

~~~

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

TEPCO suspends water decontamination system The water is so radioactive that one of the parts reached its radiation exposure limit in less than 5 hours. It was supposed to last a month!

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Full "Hot" Run Starts at Contaminated Water Treatment System Please read the comments here (not many) - I'm not going to reproduce them here as some of them are a bit 'rude'...

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: 2 TEPCO Workers Who Exceeded 600 Millisievert Radiation WERE Wearing Masks, No KI Available Until Too Late Most of this article is a bit 'rude' and also some of the comments. Please try to keep your hair on and prevent your ears from venting radioactive steam when you read this!

Tepco begins work to clean coolant water Another month needed to make reactor circulation safe.

Fukushima: It's much worse than you think

...

~~~Radiation Lookout~~~

Some radioactive sludge to be buried

Radioactive tea from Japan detained in France

Radiation screening in high demand in Fukushima

...

~~~Overseas~~~

Fire knocks out spent fuel cooling at nuclear plant near Omaha, Nebraska! VIDEO: ARNIE GUNDERSON ANALYSIS

Nebraska Nuclear Reactor Flooded

Midwest Floods: Both Nebraska Nuclear Power Stations Threatened

Two-thirds of hot nuclear fuel remains in reactor core at Calhoun plant even though media claims it was ‘shut down’ for refueling and maintenance

...

~~~Other Nasty Stuff~~~

The Globalization of "Fast Food". Behind the Brand: McDonald’s

Seeds of Destruction: The Diabolical World of Genetic Manipulation

Moratorium on GMOs - Peru Whacks Monsanto

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

June 17

Here's a nice little video for you...

Yes, we talked about this before on May 9, but this video is so easy to understand that even Mr. Kaieda, the Ishiharas and those folks in the Keidanren (yes, even you Mr. Yonekura) might just be able to get the message. Enjoy!

Here's the YouTube link: Uncle Genpachi and Tama 'Uncle Genpachi' is from the Japanese for NPP - 'genpatsu' and Tama is a stereotypical name for a cat in Japan - i.e. 'Kitty'.

More cartoons for you to enjoy here: #Anti-Nuke Animation "Uncle Genpachi & Tama" Series

...

The Big Lies Fly High, Fukushima and the Nuclear Establishment by Karl Grossman

“No health effects are expected among the Japanese people as a result of the events at Fukushima,” the Nuclear Energy Institute, the nuclear industry trade group, flatly declared in a statement issued at a press conference in Washington last week.

Oooh... thanks for that! Big enough to fly to the moon!

Radiation in Japan: Nosebleed, Diarrhea, Lack of Energy in Children in Koriyama City, Fukushima

...

HIDDEN AGENDA: Moves to oust Kan may be linked to politicians in TEPCO's pocket Near the end of the article it is explained how TEPCO ran it's neat little scheme for delivering money to politicians through illegal donations. It's OK for lawmakers to be breaking the law like this? Why do they bother making laws in the first place if they are going to do things like this? Presumably, the people who were giving and the the politicians receiving is an open 'secret'. So what's stopping the authorities from starting to arrest people then? And will the Japanese people want to continue to elect lawmakers who break the laws?

...

OPEC setback hurts Saudis at critical time

Energy analysts are concerned that Riyadh is using its vast oil wealth to buy U.S. weapons systems worth $67 billion to confront an expansionist Iran and spend another $130 billion on buying off the Saudi population to prevent internal unrest, rather than invest hundreds of billions of dollars in developing new oil reserves.

"Achieving this production increase is essential but it will not happen unless the rulers of those countries invest colossal sums in the development of new petroleum reserves -- especially the heavy 'tough oil' variety that requires far more costly infrastructure than existing 'easy oil' deposits."

"But right now, "Klare noted, "faced with a ballooning population and the prospect of an Egyptian-style youth revolt, the Saudi leadership seems intent on using its staggering wealth on employment-generating public works programs and vast arrays of weaponry, not new tough-oil facilities.

Just the sort of thing we would expect to happen at or just past the peak annual global production of crude oil. So maybe we should now be turning our attention toward nuclear power to offset the coming scarcity and price rises of crude oil, natural gas and coal, but that would ignore the fact that nuclear isn't easy to run without relatively cheap and plentiful fossil resources. Thus we are at the beginning of the end for both fossil resources and nuclear, and that means the end of classic economic growth. Instead of thrashing around trying to find ways of restarting the growth that isn't going to happen, why not start work on how society is going to adapt to the changes we will face living within the energy that renewables can provide?

...

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

TEPCO account of first 5 days The document will apparently be available to the public in a few days' time.

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Kurion's System Leak Was Due to High Pressure in One of Cesium Absorption Towers

I was told by a former TEPCO nuclear plant engineer that something else is likely involved when the company wants to blame workers for a malfunction or an accident. We'll see if that's the case here.

Yes, and one of the times when TEPCO has tried to blame something on 'worker error' is when an emergency cooling pump suddenly stopped functioning about ten minutes after the 3/11 earthquake, resulting in a meltdown in at least one of the reactors. In this case, the most likely explanation at the moment is that there was insufficient diesel fuel in the emergency generator tank. Also 'worker error,' no doubt...

...

Radioactive water still threatens to overflow

TEPCO: Opening door of No.2 reactor is safe

...

~~~Radiation Lookout~~~

#Radiation in Japan: Testing of Vegetables Only 0.1%, Government Discourages "Unauthorized" Health Checks in Affected Areas Oh, yes, of course, you inconveniently independent-minded people who go around pointing at all manner of stuff with your 500 yen gieger counters, PLEASE stop doing it because you'll only get it wrong and cause everyone a great deal of heartache! And you really must understand that local residents do not want to have their health checked up every couple of days, so just be nice chappies and leave it up to the relevant authorities and approved academic associations. Thank you so much, and do enjoy watching the commercials on TV tonight...

...

Yokohama checks school lunches for radiation

~~~

Fukushima to cut hiring of teachers as nuclear crisis strikes student population

Panel to urge Fukushima Pref. to stop relying on nuclear power plants

Fukushima cuts off welfare to 160 families ... until they run out of money, and then they can apply again...

EDITORIAL: It's time for the people to speak out on energy policy

Kansai mulls own nuke nightmare vulnerability

Panel evaluates Tepco assets to assure redress footing

Triple disaster proves need for an industrial revolution

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

June 16

GOOD EVENING! I WOULD LIKE TO ASK YOU TO DO ME AND MY FRIEND AKIKO IN SWEDEN ONE LITTLE FAVOUR TODAY, OR SOON -- AKIKO SAYS - Just wondering if you can ask your friends to sign at the cyber action link: http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/getinvolved/gmo-potato/
I am trying to get 5000. Another 353 names needed. Local politicians are now working to make the area, where we did the action, a GMO free zone.

OK, not really all that connected with the F#1 nuclear disaster, but just another dangerous technology the growthists are using to destroy your life, your freedom and our beautiful planet... Hope you have a nice day!

~~~

Japan: TEPCO trips, but will it fall? - The nuclear plant operator may be "too big to fail," but that doesn't mean it won't.

“If this suit is successful and the operation of nuclear plants is deemed to be against the constitution because of the very real possibility of accidents, it should be applicable to every reactor in Japan, and to any applications for new facilities,” said Eto...

With nationalization looking less and less of a possibility, the most likely outcome for TEPCO is it will become a kind of "zombie company" that generates profits only to pay back its creditors and the government, as well as make compensation payments.

Become? Become? It's already been a "zombie" company for quite some time now. How else do you account for the way they run nuclear power plants!!??

EDITORIAL: TEPCO should go through legal bankruptcy process

Tepco to liquidate public relations unit Right - not much use now they have already managed to orchestrate the largest public relations disaster in the history of corporate stupidity...

...

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant Reactor 3: Video of Inside the Reactor Bldg (6/9/2011) Look here, TEPCO bosses, pro-nuclear politicians, bureaucrats, businessmen, scientists and others who have not understood yet - you will see yourself going down these steps in your nightmares...

...

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

Contaminated Water Treatment at #Fukushima I: Final Test Run of the Entire System Started

TEPCO tests water treatment facility Is this deliberate misinformation or are they simply unable to write comprehensible English...??

The treatment system combines 4 devices, including those made by French and US makers. The French-made device uses a special chemical agent to treat the contaminated water. The US-made device is designed to remove radioactive cesium. Tuesday's testing showed it reduced the amount of cesium in the water to one-3,000th of the previous amount.

TEPCO plans to reduce the level of radioactive substances to one-10,000th before moving decontaminated water to temporary tanks.

EX-SKF claims that the French and the US devices do the same thing and that the whole contraption is a political construct.

Gov't calls TEPCO radiation exposure standards 'overly optimistic'

...

~~~Radiation Lookout~~~

#Radiation in Japan: Nosebleed, Diarrhea, Lack of Energy in Children in Koriyama City, Fukushima

Tokyo ups radiation checks to 100 sites

...

~~~Demos~~~

6.11 No-Nukes Demonstration in Japan: Ground-Zero Report by "J" in Tokyo (Guest Post)

...

Schadenfreude, anyone...?
Stupid Politicians, Middle Eastern Strife, and the Worst Nuclear Disaster Since Chernobyl
... Are About to Bring the Global Economy to Its Knees

But all is not lost... your opportunity to profit handsomely from this mess is now at hand.

...

~~~Overseas~~~

Indonesia to pursue nuclear power? "Nothing in the world is without risk..." Sure, you may die in a traffic accident today. Your toaster might blow up while you're trying to have breakfast. The girl behind the counter at McDs might throw a cup of scalding coffee in your face. You may be mugged in the street as you walk home in the dark. A huge earthquake might cause a devastating tsunami to hit the coast of Indonesia... hang on a minute... didn't that already happen? Oh, well, it only happens once in 10,000 years, so it should be OK, shouldn't it?. Can't do anything without some risk involved, after all. Is the new reactor going to be in Jakarta? Wouldn't be good to have large transmission losses... And all this from a country that was until a few years ago a natural gas and crude oil exporter!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

June 15

Japan's LDP: "Anti-Nuclear Movement Is Mass Hysteria" As we saw on June 13, everything the growthist nuclear reactor lovers don't like is "medieval" and "irrational" (Sarkozy) and now in Japan if you go out on the street and protest against the nuclear madness then that's "mass hysteria." So Mr. Kaieda and Mr. Ishihara (father and son), if fear of death by radiation (don't try to pretend there won't be any) is 'hysteria,' I'd like to see your face if you were asked to go and live near and work in the F#1 nuclear disaster site. Get a grip on reality, please. Economic growth is as good as finished here: "...Your old road is rapidly fadin'... get off of the new one if you can't lend your hand, for the times they are a'changin'!" (Bob Dylan)

...

Despite crisis, nuclear to remain core energy source: Kaieda

~~~

Huge Victory in Italian Referendum - No! to Nuclear Power and Privatized Water By MICHAEL LEONARDI One of the impacts of the F#1 nuclear disaster, I think. But Japanese people need to read this to understand how the politics of the street - grassroots democracy - can be used to tell the patronising dinosaurs where to get off! Far too much emphasis on 'quiet discussion' and the analysis of dry documentation and not enough lively public discussion of what people really want here.

...

VOX POPULI: Nuclear energy ticking time bomb to human health

Writer Natsuki Ikezawa made the following comment in the serial column "Owari to Hajimari" (The End and the Beginning) that recently ran in The Asahi Shimbun: "Somehow fundamentally, nuclear energy is beyond human control. That is why when we try to use it beyond the limits of reason, we have to base it on a pack of lies."

"Lies" must be one of the keywords concerning nuclear power...

The phrase that "radiation has no immediate effect on human health," frequently used by the Cabinet of Prime Minister Naoto Kan also reeks of deception. "Kirinukicho" director Noriaki Tsuchimoto (1928-2008) said three decades ago: "What I found frightening was the time difference that (people who were exposed to radiation) got sick and died 20 to 30 years later." This is the scariness of the "time bomb" that stays inside the bodies of sufferers for a long time.

Japanese government compiled report on Fukushima nuclear accident“The situation has become extremely severe”

...

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

1,400 Fukushima plant workers waiting for radiation exposure results

Poor decisions leave TEPCO workers vulnerable to radiation

Curium-244 detected for first time outside Fukushima plant – Requires lead shield 20 times thicker than Plutonium-238

...

~~~Radiation Lookout~~~

Fearing radiation, family quits Japan

Radiation in Japan: Cesium from Milk in Niigata Prefecture

City plans fall distribution to address parents' fears

Cesium detected in two whales caught off Hokkaido

...

HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM HOT PARTICLES

VIDEO: Urgent Natural Radioprotection & Radiation Risk Research Updates via GreenMedInfo.com

MUCH MUCH MORE INFO HERE!!!

...

Contaminated tea found at 5 more plants

Radioactive Tea: Shizuoka Governor Accuses NHK of Spreading "Baseless Rumor"

...

Tokyo to measure radiation at 100 locations

Radiation 'hotspots' hinder Japan response to nuclear crisis

Gov't to monitor radioactive cesium in swimming areas

...

Lawyers to form anti-nuclear national group

Nuke operators plan to prevent severe accidents

Ex-CIA Director James Woosley Is With One of the VCs Backing Kurion

...

~~~Overseas~~~

China will stick to nuclear energy Yes, of course they will. The Communist Party of China still believes in capitalist style economic growth, so of course they feel they need nuclear power. They will eventually be consigned to the dustbin of history! Ha, ha!

Containment building flooded at Nebraska nuke plant in order to cool fuel rods

...

Solar plane flies from Brussels to Paris
A solar aircraft has traveled from Belgium to France in a flight to promote solar power generation. Right, same one that is the subject of this article: Swiss solar plane makes history with round-the-clock flight, I believe. Solar plane flying through the night??!! Gee, I thought it was only nuclear power that could supply a stable source of power 24 hours a day... :-)

...

Global warming or global cooling?? The two articles below contain some very similar paragraphs, but they are different. If the sun is indeed heading for a new 'Maunder Minimum' you can say bye-bye to 'global warming.' If you want to know what the impact of the sun is on the Earth's climate, please see the documentary The great global warming swindle. CO2 as the cause of global warming was basically a scam invented with the help of Maggie Thatcher, who wanted to build more nuclear power stations in the UK. As usual, the politicians have us looking the wrong way at the wrong time...

Scientists predict rare 'hibernation' of sunspots

Major Drop In Solar Activity Predicted



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

June 14

VIDEO: 'Fukushima media cover-up - PR success, public health disaster'

VIDEO: RT in Fukushima: Radiation 1000 times over normal outside no-go zone

Very funny, but very true - best Jap Rap I have ever seen!

Rankin & Dub Ainu Band "You can't see it, and you can't smell it either "

~~~

Unprecedented international meeting releases preliminary vision for our energy future PDF linked to the article. Worth quoting on nuclear power:

ADVANCED NUCLEAR POWER TO CLOSE THE FUEL CYCLE

Nuclear energy has proven capacity to deliver, on a large scale, low-carbon baseload power, but there are still concerns regarding safety and radioactive waste.

Accelerating the development of forms of nuclear power that close the nuclear fuel cycle, including an effective solution for managing long-lived nuclear waste, and a widely available fuel supply, would be transformative.

To achieve significant and timely uptake of these technologies, we propose international collaborations to develop the first commercial demonstration of the integral fast reactor with a fully closed fuel cycle (full recycling of uranium and plutonium), and experimental demonstration of novel accelerator-driven thorium-based systems.

So, while admitting 'concerns regarding safety and radioactive waste,' these people want to go ahead and complete the nuclear back-end cycle. Well, I hope they have fun doing it on some different planet to this one we're on now. How about Pluto? Go and play up there for two or three hundred years and see if you can get it right. Meanwhile, back on Earth, I would not trust my energy future to these people.

Local officials saying no to restarting nuclear reactors

...

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

Err... This doesn't look very nice... #Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Live Camera Shows Huge Smoke/Steam Enveloping the Reactor Buildings Speeded up clip from the live camera at F#1 last night. Could be the wind changing direction and the way the lights look through the smoke/steam...

TEPCO begins testing cesium absorption device

Growing exposure problems at Fukushima

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: 6 More Workers Exceeded 250 Millisievert Limit

Additional 23 workers exposed to high radiation

...

~~~Radiation Lookout~~~

#Fukushima I Nuke Accident: Dairy Farmer Commits Suicide in Soma City, Fukushima

Radioactive material in sludge at 16 prefectures

Tap water deemed safe by health minister panel ...for the time being. i.e. no immediate health effects.

WHAT TO DO ABOUT THE INGESTION OF HOT PARTICLES - FOR YOUR HEALTH

Japanese Nuclear Disaster: Health

The Tokyo Newspaper ran an article today (p.2) about Assistant Professor Keisuke Sueki of Tsukuba University's isotope center, who took radiation measurements (of Cesium 137) in roughly 110 locations, mostly in Ibaraki and Fukushima Prefectures between late March and early May, turning these into a radiation map:



It's quite clear that weather and topography has moved the radiation around in non-intuitive ways. Strong radiation pollution in the south appears to have been caused by rainfall patterns. Where I live is in the white area in the northern part of Ibaraki Prefecture. Oh. I'm sure there are plenty of hot particles around, though...

~~~

Nearly half of Japanese want less nuclear power NHK is brilliant isn't it? Add the "want less" and the "close down" and you get 65% against nuclear power. That's what the news is, isn't it?

Japan poll finds 74% support nuclear phase-out

Italy goes nuclear free - Italians have voted overwhelmingly to give up nuclear energy. The Italian interior ministry says more than 94 percent of votes cast were against domestic nuclear power generation.

Italy: Resounding No on Nuke Plants

Berlusconi acknowledges reversal on nuclear power

Italians' rejection of nuclear power expected to have repercussions in Japan

~~~

Nuclear plant safety standards rendered useless by quake

Researchers call for nuclear data release

~~~

In Nuclear Crisis, Crippling Mistrust

PHOTOS of the nuke disaster from Japanese photographer About 90 photos of the nuclear disaster site here.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

June 13

Latest video message from Arnie Gundersen: Hot Particles From Japan to Seattle Virtually Undetectable when Inhaled or Swallowed. Arnie mentions that NISA had revised upwards the radiation releases from F#1 in the early days of the disaster from the original 370,000 TBq to 770,000 TBq. All along I've been going on the worse assumption from the Nuclear Safety Commission, who had estimated that 630,000 TBq had been emitted. Guess I'll have to add on another 140,000 TBq to my estimate - about 2.7% of the total radiation releases from Chernobyl (about 5.2 m TBq). So my revised estimate for Fukushima releases would be about 30%, up from about 27%.

But what is more important, perhaps, about what Arnie has to say is that much of the 'increase' in the estimated releases would have had to have been in the form of hot particles of cesium, strontium, plutonium, uranium, cobalt-60, etc., etc. Arnie estimates that people in Tokyo would have been breathing in 10 of these hot particles a day in April, 5/day in Seattle, and maybe 300-400/day in the Fukushima region. So quite a lot where I am in northern Ibaraki. 100-200/day in April, I suppose. That, of course, means internal exposure, in lungs, bones and so on. Thanks a lot, TEPCO. I'll bill you later.

~~~

Photo Slideshow of citizen volunteers taking emergency supplies to Miyagi Prefecture
Over this past weekend (11-12 June), my Swedish friend Martin Frid has been up to Miyagi Prefecture with a group of self-funded volunteers to deliver emergency supplies to the people affected by the earthquake/tsunami disaster there. I asked him if he had any photos I could put on this page - here's his answer: "I took lots of photos while holding back the tears. There is so much to do, it is just unbelievable. I made a simple Youtube movie (slide show) without any sound. Hope you like it." Take a look. Not directly related to the nuclear disaster, but remember that these ordinary citizens are doing this while the elite fiddle around playing political games in Tokyo.

~~~

METI tried to gain influence over Fukushima panel

Kan calls for reform of power industry

~~~

Germany’s nuclear U-turn may well empower France. You may have to register on FT.com to see the article.

During a visit last month to the Gravelines nuclear power plant in northern France – the fifth-largest in the world – President Nicolas Sarkozy renewed his country’s commitment to the industry and described post-Fukushima fears over nuclear safety as “medieval” and “irrational”. He did not name anyone in particular, but it was hardly difficult to guess who he had in mind.

Yes, I suppose you would seem a bit “medieval” and “irrational” if you were worried about personal or family safety from nuclear power despite the obvious benefits in terms of a lifestyle with abundant electricity and lots of money to be made. In Japan at the moment, though, its the modern, rational people who are looking more than a bit stupid.

...

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

TEPCO forced to review reactor 4 cooling plan - see photos in article linked in yesterday's update.

#Radioactive Strontium from Groundwater at Fukushima I Nuke Plant for the First Time

Update on Kurion's Cesium Removal System: Valve Doesn't Open

Leaks could delay treatment of radioactive water

Water treatment device fixed

Radioactive water treatment likely to be delayed

Test-run to be delayed at Fukushima

THOUSANDS OF WORKERS SUFFER RADIATION EXPOSURE (May 21)

...

~~~Radiation Lookout~~~

Farmland in Fukushima no-go zone to be inspected

...

~~~Anti-Nuke Demos in Japan~~~

Thousands Participate in 6/11 “No-Nuke People Action!” - Banishing the Nuclear Beast Back to Hell By RICHARD WILCOX

Demonstrations against nuclear power blanket Japan

Protests Challenge Japan’s Use of Nuclear Power

Mass demonstrations against nuclear power held in Japan 3 months after quake

Japanese stage antinuclear protest in New York

...

Reactor makers look to green energy amid nuclear allergy

Ex-adviser slams Kan, NSC for locals' exposure

Japan ready to supply enriched uranium to Iran

...

~~~Overseas~~~

Italians Voting on a Referendum on Nuclear Energy



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

June 12

Please go to the new forum Nuclear Power in Australia for a discussion on whether Australia should build nuclear power stations or not.

~~~

Energy Draft Misses the Point

It is clear that the government should start anew by scrapping the draft.

Yes, indeed! The bureaucrats in their air-conditioned offices [less of that in the summer peak, please] still think they can railroad through whatever they feel like doing. I don't think they have much of a clue what's going on in the streets below. Are they even looking at the newspapers? - they are FULL of nuclear power issues, almost all critical or reporting bad news at F#1 nuclear disaster site or other NPPs. A huge negative media blitz for nuclear power. Missed the point? Stuck on another planet with little hope of getting home would be more like it...

Japan Admits 3 Nuclear Meltdowns, More Radiation Leaked into Sea; U.S. Nuclear Waste Poses Deadly Risks. Green Action's Aileen Mioko Smith in this radio interview...

Yes. As you know, the Japanese government, in its report to the IAEA, said it had underestimated the amount of radioactivity released to the atmosphere during the first week and that it amounts to roughly 40 million curies of radioactivity. What they failed to mention is that they discharged an equally large amount into the ocean, about 20 million curies, and that the—what they’re counting here is the radioactive iodine and radioactive cesium.

A little hard to understand what he's saying immediately because of the units. 1 curie = 3.7 x 10^10 Bq. So the 40 m curies = 1.48 m TBq (terra becquerels = 10^12 Bq). So the 20 m curies = 740,000 TBq - that's about what the government were saying for contaminated water onsite (actually 720,000 TBq see update for June 5) - not released into the ocean (yet). The 1.48 m TBq is very close to what I estimated for the TOTAL releases so far. I have not heard that that has been updated to 1.48 m TBq - did I miss something somewhere?


...the Soviet Union and Russia basically have claimed that about 50 million curies of radioactivity were released to the environment—this is roughly comparable to what the Japanese government has currently admitted—and that this site continues to release significant amount of radiation in the atmosphere, nowhere near as large as it did during the first week or two, but it’s still quite significant.

Hmmm... 50 m curies x 3.7 x 10^10 = 1.85 m TBq. But the number we have been working with for releases of radioactive material from Chernobyl is 5.2 m TBq, so the figure given here seems to be quite low. I think I'll stick to my June 5 estimate of 27% of Chernobyl releases so far from F#1 - which counts contaminated water onsite as "releases" since it is sitting around outside the reactor and eventually will have to go somewhere.

...

~~~Anti-Nuke Demos in Japan~~~

Just How Many People Showed Up at 6.11 No-Nuke Demonstrations on June 11? No conclusive answer, unfortunately. Maybe 50,000 nationwide? Not one million, anyway.

...

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

Aileen Mioko Smith here again: Head of Fukushima health study: 100 mSv/yr OK for pregnant moms — “Effects of radiation do not come to people that are happy… They come to people that are weak-spirited” Oh, joy! Dear doctor, how do you expect mothers living in radiated areas where the government and local authorities are not being upfront about radiation levels or are simply not measuring radiation adequately and appropriately to be happy!!?? I could get really cynically stupid here, but let's just say, doctor, that you don't have a great deal of imagination or much of an idea what people who are living in the middle of a nuclear disaster are feeling. Easy if you want to know - just take a trip up to Fukushima and hang out in some of the evacuation centers for a few weeks. No cheating, now. Eat what they eat, sleep where they sleep, visit 'Hello Work' with them, go with them and their children to the schools, and visit the local town or village halls. See how you feel. Happy and laughing? Give us all a break, doc!! (I'll just skip the diatribe about radiation exposures being accumulative and all that... just too tiresome for words.)

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant Reactor 4: 4th Floor Photos Not pretty :-( Who is taking these pictures??? Whose working on getting the structural supports in place???

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant Reactor 3 Gamma Camera Photos

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Kurion's Cesium Removal System Is Clogged Somewhere

...

~~~Radiation Lookout~~~

#Fukushima Marine Contamination: US's Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hall Massachusetts Surveying Ocean Off Fukushima



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

June 11

Three months today since the earthquake/tsunami and the start of the nuclear disaster at F#1. Even when I wrote the The original article and started up the 'Rolling Updates,' I did not think I would still be doing this every day, as I am now. And the end of the crisis at F#! is still nowhere in sight! In the meantime, TEPCO and the government are still struggling to deal with the seemingly ever-expanding radiation pollution problem and the Fukushima nuclear evacuees as well as the earthquake/tsunami evacuees from Fukushima, Miyagi, and Iwate Prefectures. Not so bad, perhaps, if TEPCO and the government were making real progress with these issues, but they are plainly not. TEPCO and the government continue to leak snippets of information that should have been released well over two months ago (which means we are still in the to some extent in the dark about what actually happened in the first few days of the disaster), and have failed to come up with any realistic plan or methodology for overcoming the ongoing problems at the F#1 site. I'm updating early this morning because there are a couple if things I noticed late last night that I want to put up as quickly as possible...

~~~

Nuclear Reactor [IN AUSTRALIA] By 2022, Uranium Body Says If you already have some knowledge of nuclear power, you will undoubtedly see the the very serious issues in this extremely problematical - I think I can say 'provocative' - article. I will try to spell these out later today, BUT, although Candobetter.net is open to the whole world, quite a lot of the people reading and participating are probably Australians. In my opinion, this article (and I am sure there are others like it, so let's take this one as an example of many, not a unique case [search this page for "Australia" and you will see more articles linked below]) literally throws down the gauntlet to the Australian people on the nuclear issue. Oppose it strongly now or have it railroaded right over you by the nuclear power proponents. If you think nuclear power is no problem, OK, have it your way. If you have doubts about whether this what you really want in Australia, please allow me to tell you what I think from the point of view of someone who is literally living in the middle of a nuclear disaster now. I hope that in the near future it will be possible to start a 'forum' or something like it on Candobetter.net so that we can share two-way communication rather than have me simply writing my updates each day but getting very little feedback from you, the reader. Let's talk. Whether you're pro- or anti-nuke, whether you're in Australia or not, let's talk about the future of energy in Australia...

He [Mr Angwin] said although the meltdown of reactor cores at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in March caused nuclear energy to fall out of favour, the various international examinations would address many safety issues and give the community greater assurances over the power source.

Will they really? E.g. see "Stress Tests" in yesterday's update. IAEA and so on may appear to do this, and there may be somewhat of a safety effect, but in the end the plant operators will cut corners in order to prop up their bottom lines, and anyway accidents will continue to occur due to human error and the fact that no machine can run perfectly for 30 to 40 years. This is all besides the other problems of nuclear power such as where to put the spent fuel.

"Now is not the time for policy makers to go any softer on nuclear power," Mr Angwin said.

"Softer" may be your perception, but "hardheaded" might be a better way to describe what's going on. If you take a real hardheaded look at nuclear power from uranium mine to final disposal of the spent fuel, whether you route through the 'back end' cycle or not, given the chance that catastrophic accidents can occur, on balance it just does not seem worth the while and probably does not pay (though you may think it does if there are parts of the process that you can externalise or socialize).


"Now is exactly the right time for policy makers to give nuclear power a dispassionate, economic, technological, social and political examination."

Needs more explanation about why now is "exactly" the right time. To me this looks just right, because if we really did get an inclusive and informed dispassionate, economic, technological, social and political examination then we would probably find that people really didn't want it. That is what is beginning to happen in Japan now that the F#1 nuclear disaster has woken people up to the dark sides of nuclear power. However, I think the kind of thing Mr Angwin is talking about here is polite talk in boardrooms and government committees between people who are basically in favour of nuclear power anyway and backed up by a media campaign to ensure that the general public remains virtually uninformed about the problems and informed only about the bright side of nuclear power (apparently cheap and abundant electricity run all the appliances in your home and your EV too) so that the inclusive debate/examination never takes place.


He called for a "genuine conversation in which the outcome is not pre-determined by political fear and which there's some considered, weighing up of benefits of cost and after which the country makes a genuine choice."

Couldn't agree more, except I'm not sure what the 'political fear' is all about. I'll attempt an interpretation, but am willing to listen to other ideas. Ahem... a small but very vocal minority makes a big fuss about the dangers of nuclear power and they somehow manage to convince a critical mass of the voting population that nuclear power is a 'bad idea.' Opinion polls then show that at election time incumbents are going to have a hard time getting re-elected if they stand on a pro-nuclear power platform. The fear of losing the election then forces both the incumbent (and prospective) politicians from endorsing nuclear power, which will also mean they will have to oppose it in public and parliament if they wish to be elected. Political fear. Generally known as "democracy." And I would add that the pro-nuclear lobby is also 'a small but very vocal minority.' The rest I agree with just as long as Mr Angwin is truly 'genuine' about what he says. The Japanese experience is that nuclear power decisions (on siting and so on) are accompanied by media blitzes (powered by large sums of money from electric power companies) plus money and the promises of employment and so on being thrown around in the communities in question to ensure that any dissenting voices are thoroughly drowned out. People in Australia should be aware of these possibilities (they are the means by which democracy is undermined) and devise actions that can be taken to prevent or alleviate them.


Fukushima was not the accident which resolved the nuclear debate in favour of the anti-nuclear side but re-opened the entire debate.

That's true, but the fact that the debate has been 're-opened' despite the efforts of the nuclear power industry to have the debate buried for several decades, does not mean that the pro-nuclear side is any nearer to winning it. I would contend, as above, that if a fair debate inclusive of the whole well-informed population were to actually take place the pro-nuclear side would lose.


The current debate among global greens groups was no longer about their anti-nuclear tactics but whether nuclear energy was better than fossil fuels.

My feeling is that this is a sweeping over-generalization about 'global greens' (who do not really exist because greens should be acting locally and only thinking globally - i.e. if all localities are OK, then the whole Earth will probably be OK) and that this statement represents merely the thinking of SOME greens (like George Monbiot, for example?) who seem to think nuclear power is a 'good idea' because it results in smaller CO2 emissions than other energy sources watt-for-watt. However, I think many greens (please don't ask me to be exact because I know of no green opinion poll) oppose nuclear power on far stronger grounds than 'whether it is better than fossil fuels.' In fact, I think it is true to say that these grounds are irrelevant, since 1) fossil fuels have proved to be very problematic for the environment [include CO2 emissions in that if you want to], 2) since fossil fuels are very likely to become much more expensive than now over the next decade or so and so 'we' had better start thinking about how we are going to change our lifestyles in order to wean ourselves off their use, and 3) the idea that nuclear power can operate 'normally' in an environment where there is very little available (expensive) fossil fuels is most probably mistaken because many of the services (e.g. mining, construction, heavy steel and alloys, and transportation) required by nuclear power to operate simply won't be there. So the question 'is nuclear energy better than fossil fuels?' simply becomes an illusion since the two are so interlinked that nuclear power is essentially unthinkable without relatively cheap fossil fuel resources.


Demand for electricity in Australia is expected to increase 35 per cent by 2030, which will require high capital investment and be managed with the government's 20 per cent renewable energy target.

If you're still reading at this point, you may have a fairly good idea about what I'm going to say. Sure, the business-as-usual (BAU) scenario wants to extrapolate out the rising straight-line or slightly curved upwards and rising population and consumption curves and draw conclusions about the future on that basis. In an economy that runs on debt there must be growth, including population growth, or it just all collapses. But what's the realistic physical basis for this 'increase 35 per cent by 2030'? I don't think there is one. I think, based on what I have learned about fossil fuels over the last dozen years or so, that by 2022, when this first Australian nuclear power station is supposed to come online, we are going to be looking at a fossil resource world that is far more restricted than the one we are seeing now. That means higher prices, if you're lucky, or downright unavailability if you are in the wrong place geographically or do not have the ability (e.g. as a nation) to pay. That first Australian nuclear power station is going to be relatively short-lived and even if it is built I doubt it will make it to 2030. In short, here in mid-2011 I do not think we have much of a clue about what the world, Japan or Australia is going to look like in 2030, let alone make estimates of what electricity demand will be in that year. We therefore have very little basis for saying things like 'nuclear power will be necessary in the 2020s,' etc., etc. What's happening in Japan now is also very instructive. Because of the F#1 nuclear disaster, it now looks as though NO nuclear reactors will be running in Japan come April 2012 (see articles in yesterday's update). Good and bad. Bad because Japan will now have to generate the electrical power it needs from fossil fuels. That means two things: 1) more expensive electricity because (if you count ONLY the fuel costs) generating electricity from fossil fuels is more expensive than nuclear power, and 2) we are being told that there will not be 'enough' electrical power, especially in the summer peak, when all the air conditioners are running at max at 3pm on the hottest afternoons of the year. Therefore, we are being told in the newspapers and on TV, we have to conserve electricity by using electric fans rather than air conditioning (saves about 50% of domestic electricity at the peak time), turning off unnecessary lights, turning off PCs, TVs and so on instead of leaving them on standby, and so on. In other words, because of the F#1 nuclear disaster, Japan is already moving into the slow lifestyle change phase due to energy resource restriction that we thought would be coming in five to ten years' time! I think this is so because there seems to be very little evidence that the Japanese economy is going to make any kind of miraculous recovery before fossil resource restriction begins to result in a generalised worldwide 'cooling' of energy consumption in the mid-term future, i.e. by about the early 2020s.


Mr Angwin criticised those who argued against nuclear power because solar power was a baseload power source, " in that they think solar is a consistent and reliable, around-the-clock source of energy".

It's actually quite hard to figure out what this means, but that may be the fault of the writer rather than Mr Angwin. I do not ever recall having read or heard anyone say "solar power was a baseload power source." Could be wrong, but I think most people know about rainy days and nights. OK, but we can even out the valleys and mountains by using batteries and other forms of generation, such as wind, hydro, biomass, biogas and so on. (Many people do not know, for example, that large solar (PV or thermal) power stations in the US are generally constructed with a built-in natural gas generator to help smooth out the generating power fluctuations due to darkness. Kind of makes a nonsense of the whole thing, but probably obvious from the current business perspective.) However, once we get to a time when the majority of electric power is generated by renewables, we will have to have substantially rearranged out lifestyles, since the current electrical grid system (even if it can be maintained) will probably not work well with renewables (please see Nicole Foss, Renewable power? Not in your lifetime in the June 2 update). The conclusion is that 'we' will probably be living lifestyles that are defined by highly decentralised and diverse renewable forms of energy rather than the humongous centralised thermal and nuclear generating stations that provide electrical power now. We'll just have to live on what we can devise and/or buy to use on our own houses or in our immediate neighbourhood. I think you can imagine how that will work and what kind of a lifestyle it will be. Once fossil resources are essentially played out the alternatives to this are probably all worse.

In the meantime, nuclear power is a great baseload power source because it is generally safest when the power station is running at or close to 100% of capacity 24 hours a day. The problem for the power company then is how to even out the day-night fluctuations in power consumption, and that is done by ramping up or down thermal (fossil fuel) power stations (how will that work when fossil resources become scarce?) or by inventing creative ways of using the otherwise 'wasted' energy generated at night. This is done by pumping water up to higher elevations at night and then allowing it to flow down through hydroelectric turbines during the day, or having consumers install some kind of heating system that takes advantage of cheap night-rate electricity and so on. So where renewables have valleys due to darkness, reduced water flow or lack of wind, the problem with nuclear power is that it is unable to adjust to the day-night fluctuations in energy sources due to human behaviour patterns.


"Bear in mind most people's only experience of solar power is likely to have been installing photovoltaic panels in their roof at the expense of other tax payers."

This comment ignores the fact that nuclear power will also be unable to run without some kind of government subsidy. As mentioned above, if you look strictly at the fuel costs nuclear power appears to be cheap. However, there are numerous other problems that require money: siting, safety, accident insurance and final disposal of spent fuel (there may be others; I am not sure if this is exhaustive or not). Siting - local authorities have to be sweetened up in order to accept a nuclear power station within their boundaries. Sometimes this works by having the local authority impose a tax on the nuclear power station's presence. In Japan it works both ways. The government gives the local authority subsidies AND the local authorities tax the power stations. Safety - this is a whopper; I'll only scratch the surface here. Airline companies, as an example, know that safety costs money in terms of downtime, engineer/technician salaries, spare parts... you name it, but they cut corners anyway, fully aware of the fact that once in a while planes are going to malfunction. On the other hand you could spend five times as much money on safety and accidents might still occur. It's almost exactly the same story with nuclear power stations. If you want 100% safety, well 1) it's unachievable, and 2) you don't have that much money. So there's a cost-effectiveness balance in play that usually works in favour of cutting corners for the sake of the company's bottom line. TEPCO tried to do this, for example, by 1) delegating work to sub-contractors (called 'affiliated companies') and 2) by lengthening the period between regular maintenance downtime. See what happened to them. Whenever and wherever private companies are permitted to own and operate nuclear power stations, this is what will happen. Regulate it? The companies will kick up one heck of a fuss! It will just cost too much! Accident insurance - in the case of a nuclear accident, those affected will have to be recompensed. This is usually catered for by insurance companies, but do you think any insurance company will touch this one? No, you're right. So, the government sets up a kind of insurance scam where the power company has a limited liability and after that the government pays - i.e. you pay through taxes. In fact, in Japan all electricity bills include a small amount towards an insurance fund. If the power company were not backed up by the government in this way (i.e. because the government feels that nuclear power is vital in order to maintain the electricity supply) the power company could not even break ground on the construction of a nuclear power plant. Still, here in Japan, where the unthinkable has already happened, the unholy arguments about how the people affected are going to be recompensed probably mean that in the end they are going to get far too little far too late. Does this look like any kind of anxiety you'd like to live with? Final disposal of spent fuel - Please, you can do two things for me: 1) Please look down to the main article on April 23 in the updates below and read about the MESS that Japan is in with it's spent nuclear fuel, most of which is stored at operating nuclear power stations, thereby posing a huge threat to the safety of the whole country - and I am NOT exaggerating here. 2) See the Finnish documentary "Into Eternity" about the Finnish method for LONG-TERM storage of spent nuclear fuel (there's a link to an article containing the whole documentary on this page somewhere, but I'm not publicising it because there's probably a copyright issue...). If these don't turn you off about the cost and sanity of nuclear power, then you are a very special person. Yes, I know Australia is a big place and therefore there should be places where spent nuclear fuel can be stored safely, but 1) can you find a place to construct the repository that won't be opposed by some people? and 2) can you guarantee me it's going to be OK for 100,000 years? Remember what your ancestors were doing 100,000 years ago? Humans didn't start doing any form of agriculture until at the earliest about 30,000 years ago. No solution has yet been found for this problem. See what you think of the Finnish idea. This is also criticised by people who have a problem with the basic premise (hide it so that people living more than about 1000 years in the future can't find it).


Outside the conference, four university students opposed to the expansion of nuclear and uranium mining were charged with trespass[ing] after they blocked the entrance to the conference.

Wow, sounds like a small bunch of desparadoes there! They must have known what would happen to them. Still they got a little bit of media attention that they would probably not have got any other way. And isn't that the point really? Only one side is getting its view publicised. Anyone with a dissenting (different) view is made to look like a tiny minority of anti-social nutcases. Democratic decision making, as (on the surface, at least) promoted by Mr Angwin in the article, is very strongly dependent on the free flow of information (e.g. through access to the media) so that voting citizens are as informed as fully and properly as they possibly can be about election issues. I think these were probably four very frustrated students who felt the 'only way' they could get their voice heard was to do something that that they would end up being arrested for. Higher levels of frustration lead to escalated acts of violence - known as 'terror'. I'm not condoning this kind of violent behaviour at all, but simply wish to point out that it needs to be realised that part of the responsibility for actions like these lies in the source of the frustration. if you push people off and completely deny their right to express themselves freely on issues they feel strongly about, what do you expect will happen?

In summary, nice media bytes about how wonderful nuclear power is and how happy/convenient/enjoyable it will make our lives need to be balanced by the downsides that we do not hear very much about in the media, by a more realistic idea of what the global/national energy future looks like, and by the experience of the Japanese who are now experiencing what I think you could call their third nuclear disaster. When you have grasped some of that stuff you will probably then be in a better state to judge whether you want to have nuclear power in Australia or not. Anyway, I do not pretend to be exhaustive and know all there is to know, and neither do I have a reliable crystal ball for seeing the future. I am open to discussion and criticism and believe that if people get together in the right frame of mind they can find really good solutions to problems and make robust judgments on difficult issues. Hope we can start that kind of forum here - we can do better!

...

Article in Der Spiegel, 05/27/2011 Japan's Nuclear Cartel - Atomic Industry Too Close to Government for Comfort By Cordula Meyer. Excellent long article on what the Nuclear (Atomic) Village has done to Japan. Must reading!

~~~

Also please note that, despite the rainy season weather (and it is raining here today) there are several anti-nuke demonstrations due to take place in Tokyo and other parts of Japan today (see link at the top of yesterdays update). Hopefully, they will not be rained out! I will try to report on some of the demos later today...? Later in the morning the rain stopped and it is now cloudy but dry here and in Tokyo, I think. Looking at the site below and the link from it this is clearly the largest ever anti-nuke demo day in Japan ever. In fact I have NEVER seen so many coordinated demos in Japan on one day.

6.11 No-Nuke Demonstrations Throughout Japan Today

Some of the events are about to start. You can view them at this site (in Japanese): Click on the map of Japan, and the events planned for the region pop up.

...

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Areva's System Leaks

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant Reactor 3 Bldg Has Over 6,400 Tons of Contaminated Water

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant Reactor 3 Bldg Radiation Measurement

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: One Worker Fell Unconscious, 9 Workers Exceeded Allotted Radiation Level

...

~~~Radiation Lookout~~~

#Radiation in Japan: Date City in Fukushima To Fit Kindergarteners and School Kids with Dosimeter Well, at least they will be able to monitor radiation doses to children to some degree, but what are they going to do when they find out that some of the children are receiving higher doses than they think are 'safe'? Evacuate, I suppose.

Widen evacuation zone for children, pregnant women: Greenpeace chief Naidoo's team of radiology experts found hot spots that had a maximum hourly reading of 45 microsieverts of radiation alongside a school zone.

...

Sweden's Lesson for Real Sustainability - The Green Revolution Backfires EVs end up polluting more than anything else up to now because the owners love their nice new electric cars so much they now drive more than before!! Now that oil prices are going up, if we want to sustain the fab lifestyle 'we' have been used to for the last 50 years or so then WE WILL need more nuclear power! If that's more than you can stomach then it would seem that the only answer can be that we change to simpler lifestyles and stop consuming so much stuff!

...

~~~Overseas~~~

A 35% Spike in Infant Mortality in Northwest Cities Since Meltdown Is the Dramatic Increase in Baby Deaths in the US a Result of Fukushima Fallout?

Electrical Fire Knocks Out Spent Fuel Cooling at Nebraska Nuclear Plant
The safety of spent fuel pools, as at the Fort Calhoun plant outside Omaha, has been an issue since the accident at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi plant.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

June 10

Go to Japan Nuclear Crisis to see venues of anti-nuke demonstrations in Tokyo and elsewhere TOMORROW, June 11.

Japan May Shut All Nuclear Reactors by Next April

CORRECTED-Japan may have no nuclear reactors running by next April -ministry Right. You never know, the government might wake up and call a national emergency. Or they might...

Increase the consumption tax! IMF urges Japan to triple sales tax to steady finances

Power Cuts Spread to West Japan as Nuclear Restarts Put on Hold

~~~

#Fukushima I Nuke Accident: EU's "Stress Test" For Nuclear Reactors Just like US's "Stress Test" for Wall Street Banks

...

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

U.S. study called quake concerns over Fukushima-type containment 'negligible'

Despite the potential vulnerability to earthquakes of the Mark I containment system, which is identical to those at the No. 1 and 5 reactors of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) concluded in a 1980 safety evaluation that probable damage from tremors was "negligible" and "insignificant."

Even if the reactors, containments and buildings are 30 to 40 years old? Well, we know now that F#1 reactors 1, 2 and 3 were damaged and on their way to meltdowns BEFORE the tsunami arrived. So either the NRC evaluation was wrong (or its assumptions irrelevant) or TEPCO was criminally negligent. Or both. I don't care if the disaster shouldn't have happened; it has happened, so now I want to know what those responsible are going to do about it and what the long-term consequences will be (hint - nuclear phaseout).

TEPCO to use filters at plant Uh-huh - and then the problem becomes what to do with the highly radioactive materials that are filtered out. Turn it into concrete for construction? No! Surely not...

Fukushima: Blatant Coverup of Radiation In-your-face article on the right track. Watch out for the typos in the list.

Watch the TBS feed AND the TEPCO Webcam simulcast

~~~Radiation Lookout~~~

Many Japanese people are, of course, concerned about radiation pollution of the environment. Others don't seem to be so bothered about it... See the following two items:

#Radiation Contamination in Japan: "Let's All Help Fukushima Farmers" by Buying Their Produce

#Radioactive Cement Here We Come!

This second item concerns the sewage sludge that has been in the news recently. As I have said below (June 5), the radiation in the sewage sludge almost certainly originates in rainwater runoff from the regions surrounding the town or city where the problem exists. The rainwater, along with the city sewage is then treated in the sewage plant, resulting (hopefully) in clean water and the sludge of stuff that has been removed from the water. Somehow (most of) the radioactive materials are also removed from the sewage water - by filtration or chemical means such as oxidation and so on. This sludge can then be mixed in with concrete as a cheap filler. Great way to 'get rid' of it, until you have to live in an environment that has been built with concrete that includes this radioactive sludge... Hmmm...

Concerning the item above that, "Let's All Help Fukushima Farmers," a friend of mine who lives in Tokyo sent me the following email...

A Society in Denial of the Nuclear Nightmare (and other scary tales)

Now that three months have passed since the Fukushima nuclear disaster began, you would think people in the region where this has occurred would be waking up. Not where I live in the heart of central Tokyo’s Shibuya area.

Of course, if you walk around the busy parts of this main city hub you will notice no difference in people’s demeanor, “life goes on.” La-dee-dah. Hey, let’s go shopping for the latest electronic goods so we can use more electricity!

I have often mentioned the issue to people in shops and so on, and I do think many people are concerned, but as time passes the issue is fading into the background, in their minds, as the media likes it that way. But you would definitely not dare ask any food vendors or shops about radiation in their foods. I am sure you would get the usual Japanese passive-aggressive, feigned victim response: What do you mean? Are you slandering our business? How dare you ask such an impertinent question; would be the mood and tenor, if not the actual words of their response.

When I saw a friendly young fellow who spoke English in the elevator today, I asked him about his suntan. He said he goes to the beach a lot in Chiba. I asked about his worries of swimming in the ocean due to radiation levels. His response was typically pathetic, “Its far away from Fukushima so it should be safe.” I wished him good luck.

What about the world of academia? Most of the teachers I work with do not talk about the incident much. Some are very concerned and disgusted with the situation, but I actually talked to two teachers that were still pro nuclear!

One Japanese professor I knew years ago bumped into me on the street just after the accident in March. He told me Japan would “never” give up nuclear power. Oh, that’s a great attitude professor.

Here is a final anecdote about the stubborn and stupid ways of Japanese folks. A little birdie told me this story just after high levels of radioactivity were discovered near school playgrounds in Koto Ward. In our ward the school won’t test the soil because the ward office has told them it is safe (but how do they know this if they have not tested the soil?). The Tokyo government itself only supplies one air monitoring reading for the entire city of Tokyo! A complete scientific fraud. (This is changing now; see below.)

I know from years of dealing with this elementary school’s administrators just how shallow, superficial and incompetent (and xenophobic) they are. For years the grounds of the school was an innovative clay soil, which is meant to be a good surface to play on. But it turned out that the PTA director (who is a medical doctor) found contamination from industrial effluents in the soil. So she worked hard to get the school to replace the contaminated soil. After years of meetings and battles with the ward office, they finally agreed to remove the contaminated soil and plant a special type of grass. Turns out the same greedy yakuza company that built the school ground in the first place, with the defective soil, was used to plant the grass as well. Then, it was discovered they used a much cheaper grass type than they were contracted to -- resulting in its not taking very well to the surface.

* When I mentioned this story to some of the parents of children at that school, while riding my elevator, they just sniffed at me as if to say "foreigners don’t understand Japan and should not say such things, even if true." However, I did in fact know the intimate details of this case.

Finally, the ward office agreed that new grass could be planted to replace the defective grass. They also spent a lot of money building a special garage to house a riding lawn mower, full of tool and gardening implements, hoses, and so on. Holy smokes, I could mow that patch of grass in a half hour with a push mower and you would have saved thousands of dollars. Oh well, when the Japanese do something, they really do it, eh?

So, the nuclear nightmare came along and guess what, the new PTA leader said the old PTA leader (still working on the grass issue) would not want to have the soil checked for radiation because “we have to support the people in Fukushima.” What does that mean? If we find radiation in Tokyo that is somehow hurting the folks in Fukushima? In other words, you should buy those radioactive foods to support the farmers, go on vacation to Fukushima to support the tourist industry, and don’t talk about radiation, because, maybe, if we pretend it does not exist, it will just go away. I was then informed by the new PTA leader that “there is nothing we can do” about the school ground soil issue. When I enquired whether the ward office monitors the air and soil levels and how to find their data, I was just ignored. How richly ironic that the eccentric do-gooder on a campaign to give the children safe soil, had switched her tune if it meant going against the national interest of Japan (“Support Fukushima and ignore radiation!”).

Fortunately, a group of 35 families in Koto ward are demanding the government carry out school ground testing, but where are the other several million families in Tokyo making such demands? Why is the PTA not doing anything to find out about soil contamination? Enjoy mulling over these rhetorical questions and don’t bother to guess at an answer. Welcome to the Japanese nuclear nightmare.

~~~

In the city where I live, only half the distance from the F#1 nuclear disaster site as Tokyo is, things are a little different. A kindergarten just near me called the city office to see if they could get their grounds checked for radiation, and sure enough they said someone would be round in the afternoon to do it. A man and a woman came round from the city office just before 2 pm and took a series of readings with a hand-held geiger counter. They explained that they would take 6 sets of readings - one in each corner of the grounds, one in the centre and one in the sand pit (where the children play in the sand). Each set of readings was taken a ground level and at 50 cm off the ground (i.e. the height of small children). For each reading the geiger counter was placed on the ground or held at 50 cm above the ground (see photos) until five readings were taken (the geiger counter appeared to take an new reading every 5 seconds or so).





The man called out the readings each time and the woman dutifully marked them down on the standard form (come on... this IS Japan). The average appeared to be about 0.140 microsieverts/hr. I pointed out that this was about double the reading shown (on the Internet) from the local elementary school monitoring station. They knew about the MS, but could not account for the difference. I suggested that it might be because the MS is on the roof of a building. They agreed that might be so, but did not know if that was actually the case - they did not know if the MS was on the roof of one of the school buildings or not. (The man did say that the particular geiger counter he was using was known to give a slightly high result.) Anyway, the whole procedure took a little over 30 minutes. Everyone seemed to be satisfied that there was no big problem. One thing that worried me a little was that the city office people did not seem to know about local 'hotspots' or where to look for them (see this video clip from June 8), but were simply interested in carrying out the prescribed testing method.

The average of 0.140 microseiverts/hr works out at 1.23 millisieverts/year, just above the 1 millisievert per year that the Ministry of Education has set as it's 'target' level for school playgrounds. To be lower than this level the average reading would have to be 0.114 microsieverts/hr. And this isn't even Fukushima City!

~~~

Greenpeace warns of radiation risk to Japan children

#Radioactive Tea: Shizuoka Government Told Online Food Grocer Not to Publish the Test Result for Tea on Their Website

One Shizuoka Tea Tested 679 Becquerels/Kg Cesium in the Final Product

Da-dah! Tokyo Metropolitan Gov't to begin atmospheric radiation tests across city

Fishermen to Tepco: Don't release water - Agency: No. 2 plant discharge unacceptable, low level or not

Fishermen take matters into own hands Story of fishermen in the tsunami disaster area struggling to maintain their livelihoods, but will they find that despite their efforts they will not be able to fish because of radiation pollution of the ocean?

Scientists Study Ocean Impacts of Radioactive Contamination from Japan's Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant

Heartbreaking evacuations as Fukushima's nuclear fallout spreads

~~~

EDITORIAL: Time for a hard look at nuclear power in Japan

Murakami: Japan should have opposed nuclear power

Myth of nuclear safety sets back robotic research and development

~~~

Earthquakes and Nuclear Power IMPORTANT DATABASE FROM ANTI NUKE JAPANESE NGO, CNIC!

CNIC's English Language Newsletter: Nuke Info Tokyo 142 (May/June 2011)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

June 9

"Give Us Your Money, Your Planet and Your Lives" The Nuclear Bandits - By HARVEY WASSERMAN
Oh, gee, if the US NRC can't even tell power companies under it's jurisdiction to get their fire protection measures up to par, what chance did the Japanese regulators have of telling TEPCO and all the others to get their safety measures up to scratch? I should think something very similar to what is described in this article has been going on for a long time in Japan. The title says it all...

IAEA to ask Japan for transparent nuclear report The Japanese government can't even manage to be honest with the IAEA, let alone its own people! Does that mean it still has a lot more to hide??!!

~~~Radiation Lookout~~~

.

#Radiation in Tokyo: It's Already a Secondary Radiation Contamination in Koto-Ku

.

~~~Halleluya, brothers and sisters, more revelations!~~~

.

("Now They Tell Us" Series)Strontium Was Detected 62 Kilometers from Fukushima I in April and May, Says Ministry of Education What was all that about transparency and full disclosure of information we were hearing way back in March?? It's certainly going VERY SLOWLY!!!

("Now They Tell Us" Series) #Fukushima I Nuke Accident: 1 Ton of Hydrogen In Few Hours After Fuel Rods Got Exposed

.

#Fukushima Update: Power Back On in Reactors 1 and 2

.

~~~Overseas~~~

.

Watchdogs urge completion of post-Fukushima checks

French Greens seek nuke power phase-out

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

June 8

BEHIND THE MYTH: 'Nuclear village' rules itself in TEPCO hierarchy First in a four-part series about Japan's nuclear village.

"The problem is that no one was thinking about safety designs and accidents because our hands were kept full by government inspections and explanations to officials for as many as 17 reactors."

Er... hang on a minute... nobody thinking about safety (designs) and accidents because they were too busy with government inspections intended to ensure that safety is maintained and accidents do not happen??? This sort of thing happens in a lot of areas in Japanese society - some activity that is intended to serve some purpose becomes formalized to the extent that it becomes a ritual which then gets in the way of achieving the goal it was originally supposed to achieve. Form not substance. Form OK, throw the substance out the window. BANG! What was that??? The nuke just blew up! Oh, never mind, just go on TV and give the public one of those formalized statements, will you? There's a good chappie...

.

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

.

Just In: Power Outage in Reactors 1 and 2 at #Fukushima I Nuke Plant, Nitrogen Injection Stopped

Japan to report nuclear 'melt-throughs' to UN

Prime Minister Naoto Kan, approving the 750-page report, said that "above all, it is most important to inform the international community with thorough transparency in order for us to regain its confidence in Japan."

Could we then have a little more domestic transparency so that the population might regain a little confidence in the people who are supposed to be running Japan??

Panel leader Yotaro Hatamura, a Tokyo University professor emeritus on the study of human error, said at the meeting that "nuclear power has higher energy density and is dangerous. It was a mistake to consider it safe."

Yes, and a bit late to be stating the obvious, professor. Plenty of people have said that it was a mistake from about the early 70s, but who was listening then? Not you. Not the people who are responsible for this disaster, who quite brazenly expect to remain in business/power in the future despite what they have done. Are the people who have opposed nuclear power since the 70s going to get some kind of social bonus points for having been treated like social outcasts for 40 years only to find they were right in the first place? I very much doubt it. They'll probably end up being vilified for the power shortages that are going to occur in the future...

Plutonium found near Fukushima shows nuclear “crisis is far from over”

.

~~~Radiation Lookout~~~

.

Video: Fuji TV Covers Independent Radiation Survey in Fukushima (1 of 2) Transcript in English to go with this revealing Japanese TV video clip.

("Now They Tell Us" Series) #Radiation in Tokyo: 2.7 Microsieverts/Hr Air Radiation Inside Sewage Treatment Facility in Ota-ku, Tokyo

Parents urge Tokyo to rethink radiation monitoring

Yamauchi, an expert on radiation physics, said high levels of contamination were detected in soil, especially around a plant in Koto Ward that produces sludge, an ingredient in cement, where the level reached 2,300 becquerels per kilogram.

If that was soil, it would still be considered safe to grow crops on. How would it be if you lived in an apartment block made using this concrete??

Unwanted radioactive sewage sludge piling up Nowhere to put it!

#Radiation in Japan: Gifu Prefecture Doesn't Have Potassium Iodide Pills Ready for Residents

The government seems to be doing an awful lot of "mulling" these days. Is it some kind of substitute for action?? Evacuation of hot spots mulled


Normally, radiation spreads concentrically, but conditions sometimes cause radioactive materials to accumulate in certain locations.

Whew! Thanks Einstein! I think most people have managed to get that message by now!

Beaches face nuke readings Pic of a woman official from the Ibaraki Prefectural Government checking radiation levels on a beach in Hitachinaka on Tuesday. About 100-110 km south of the F#1 nuclear disaster site. Even if the beach is relatively radiation-free, would you want to swim in the water? (Tokai NPP is only about 10-15 km north of here.)

Only about 7 km down the coast from F#1, so far unheard of problems at F#2 - #Fukushima II (Not I) Nuke Plant Wants to Dump 3,000 Tons of Water into the Ocean

#Fukushima II's Contaminated Water: Cobalt-60, Cesium-134, Cesium-137

Radiation Understated After Quake, Japan Says Trying to figure out what percentage of the Chernobyl radiation releases have been released by F#1 so far...

~~~

Big rush to get nuclear power stations back online now: Genkai Nuclear Plant with MOX-Fuel "Pluthermal" Reactor To Get Back Online by Early July

Japan Concedes Severity of Blast - Nuclear Disaster Strained Relations With U.S. in Days After the Meltdown

Japanese Government's Report to IAEA on Fukushima I Nuke Plant Accident: Links to the paperwork online.

~~~

Experts: Seabed off Miyagi sank before March 11

.

~~~Overseas~~~

Protests as Dutch nuclear rail shipment heads to France

Call for safety checks, IAEA role to boost nuclear safety in order to boost nuclear power.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

June 7

Kaieda: Nuclear plants to resume operating in July

Kaieda said Japan's economy must have a stable supply of radiation electricity.

Full stop. End of conversation. Don't bother to think, please, it might not be good for you. I'm the minister and obviously I know best, irrespective of the fact that I know very little about anything except that industry must go on... blah, blah, blah... Small wonder politicians are so unpopular in this country (see article about 'Diet not functioning' below). What has me puzzled, though (and Japan can be a very puzzling country) is why the people keep electing the same old dinosaurs...

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

Disaster victims manning front lines in struggle to tame Fukushima nuclear crisis

Fukushima. The Risk for Workers: "Levels of Radiation Could Increase Exponentially" TEPCO Fights Humidity in No 2 Reactor - Workers Hospitalized

Japan Finds Plutonium One Mile Away From Fukushima, Doubles Radiation Leak Estimate

#Fukushima I Nuke Accident Tellurium-132 Conundrum: Case of Missing Iodine and Cesium

Fukushima to get 370 tanks for radioactive water

.

~~~Halleluya, brothers and sisters, more revelations!~~~

#Fukushima I Nuke Accident: Japanese Government Admits "Melt-Through" in Reactors 1, 2 and 3

#Radiation from Fukushima I Nuke Plant: It Was 850,000 Terabecquerels, NISA Now Says, and Not 370,000 Oh, well that puts our estimate of percentage of Chernobyl releases up from 27% to 30%.

~~~

Majority of public think that the Diet is not functioning: Mainichi poll

An overwhelming majority of the public believe that the Diet is not functioning properly in facilitating the restoration of quake-hit areas as well as local businesses and residents' livelihoods, a Mainichi Shimbun poll suggested.

I don't think this is anything new. The 'Diet' has not 'functioned' in any real sense of the word for a long time. Maybe never. The current circumstances just make it appear more obvious. The Japanese people need to do something about it (like think what they're doing on polling day).

~~~

Millions Fewer Girls Born Due to Nuclear Radiation?

~~~

Was Fukushima Too Big to Fail? By TOM HASTINGS

~~~

.

~~~Overseas~~~

Germany looks to post-nuclear era

Nuclear energy vital for economic growth: Russia

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

June 6

Looking at the Japanese Tokyo Newspaper this morning, they featured very prominently a comparison between the explosions in reactors 1 and 3 in mid-March, noting that the explosion in reactor 3 had been a 'detonation.' This 'news' was from the Institute of Applied Energy. Unlike TEPCO and the government, they seem to be listening to what Arnie Gundersen is saying...

~~~

White House & NRC Recommend 50 Mile Fukushima Evacuation, Yet Insist US Safe With Only 10 Since 3/11, speculations about nuclear accidents are just so much nonsense...

~~~

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Areva's Water Treatment System Revealed

Contaminated Water at #Fukushima Nuke Plant: Areva Hopes Their System Will Work

~~~

Nuclear Nightmare Getting Worse, Yet Propaganda Continues

.

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

Radioactivity of materials released in Fukushima nuclear crisis revised upward

The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) on June 6 revised the level of radioactivity of materials emitted from the crisis hit Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant from 370,000 terabecquerels to 850,000 terabecquerels.

That would be just over 16% of the Chernobyl radioactive releases. Yesterday I estimated that percentage at about 27%. Well, it isn't over yet, anyway...

News Navigator: What is re-criticality?

Latest (English) video of Fukushima plant

Are Nuclear Reactions Still Occurring at Fukushima?

EDITORIAL: It is essential to protect health of workers at Fukushima plant

TEPCO plans to seal off water inlets at damaged nuclear plant by end of June

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant Reactor 1: RPV's Pressure Turns Out to Be Very Close to Atmospheric Pressure

#Fukushima I Nuke Accident: 950 Millisievert/Hr Rubble on West Side of Reactor 3

Video of 4-Sievert/Hour Steam Gushing Out in Reactor 1 at #Fukushima

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant Reactor 1: Packbot Detects 4 Sieverts/Hour Radiation

TEPCO says contaminated water may overflow

105,100 tons of water contains an estimated 720,000 terabecquerels of radioactive substances

TEPCO tests filtering system at Fukushima plant

Soil sampling begins in Fukushima

.

~~~Radiation Lookout~~~

Ombudsman slams secrecy over Fukushima contamination See comment (Search the page for 'ombudsman')

Soil sampling begins in Fukushima

#Fukushima I Nuke Accident: Plutonium Found Outside the Plant

#Fukushima Nuke Accident: WSPEEDI Shows Tokyo Was Under Radioactive Plume on March 15

Low-Level Doses of Radiation Can Cause Big Problems

#Radioactive Tea: Shizuoka Governor Now Says He'll Order Test for Bulk Tea (What About the Ones Already Sold?)

#Fukushima I Nuke Accident: Japan's Nuclear Safety Commission Ready to Loosen Already-Loose Radiation Safety Limit for Foods

Disposal of radioactive debris to go ahead Sounds like a very good way of spreading the radiation all around...

~~~

Why is the United States so obsessed with nuclear power?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

June 5

Candobetter.net seems to be back to normal (and even better?) now. I have missed a couple of days of updating and there is a lot to catch up on...

Firstly, there has been a long interview of Arnie Gundersen by Chris Martenson - Part one, and Part 2. This is a really excellent overview of the whole F#1 nuclear disaster and deserves at least one careful listen (both parts 1 and 2). Just for the record, I noticed two places where ai would disagree with Arnie. 1) I do not think any of the tsunami waves there were at least two) reached 14 meters. I think the highest was probably around 7 meters or perhaps between 7 to 8 meters. For what I have written on this before, please search this page and the previous update pages for '7 m'. 2) I do not think the radioactive sludge in the sewage works in Koriyama (in Fukushima Prefecture) or in other prefectures, or in Tokyo was caused by contamination of the groundwater at the F#1 disaster site. As I said on April 23, I think this is cause by rain runoff (e.g. from surrounding mountains) flowing into the sewer system (as it does in Japan) and then being being concentrated in the sewage treatment plants. However, that does NOT mean that I think the groundwater contamination is not a serious problem. It is very serious. Just too early to be showing up dozens of kilometers away. Apart from these two points, the whole interview is absolutely great and far beyond any analysis than TEPCO, the Japanese government or the media is offering.

~~~

Here's an interview with Vaclav Smil done by Jim Puplava on Financial Sense just a few days before the 3/11 earthquake. If you want to know about energy issues, this is VERY interesting. Strangely, Smil seems not to thing that 'peak oil' is a good concept. However, if you listen carefully to what he says, he does actually describe it quite well. And though he says something like the price of oil will go up and so on, but we will still be well-supplied with liquid fuels for some decades to come, this is not contradictory to the concept of peak oil. Since 'peak oil' is the point where the annual world production of conventional crude oil reaches a peak (surprise), there will be liquid fuels available for decades to come, but the price will go up and there may be supply disruptions. It's really not so different from what he is talking about.

But what really impressed me about the interview (and you'll have to pick this up from several places, but maybe the 22-25 minute section and then some at the very end, is the way he describes the possible transition from the current fossil fuel + nuclear power energy system to a future system based on renewable energy. It's very similar to what we were saying about this transition in the updates for June 1 and June 2 below. 1) Renewables work very nicely in an isolated community far from cities, but not in a megacity, and 2) there are big problems with connecting renewables to the high-voltage grid. The main conclusion is that a society that 'runs' on renewables will be one where people live in fairly small, self-reliant, sustainable, decentralised communities. It's a bit different from what we have now. I do not know if Mr Iida agrees with that or not...

~~~

The great global warming swindle - Full version Some people might think it inappropriate that a link to this (good) documentary be posted here. However, I want to point out that there is a 'story' (covered in this documentary) that says that when Maggie Thatcher was in power in the UK in the early 80s she was looking around for ideas to use as persuasive material for building new nuclear power stations, and one of the ideas her advisors came up with was 'global warming due to CO2.' So even if you 'like' the idea of 'global warming' because part of the message is that 'we' need to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, do we really want to be supporting a strategy whose original purpose was perhaps to enable more nuclear power stations to be built? Not me. Personally, if we need to start thinking about how to reduce our dependence on fossil resources, then you can just be honest with people and tell them what the score is and what is necessary to do the job by 2030 or 2050 or whenever you want to do it by. Why all this beating around the bush with global warming? Two answers: 1) because the hidden agenda is to build more nuclear power stations, and 2) because governments (for their own reasons, e.g. the pathetic one about not wanting the poor little darlings to panic) have a hard time being up front with their populations. Just like the Japanese government is behaving now with the whole F#1 nuclear disaster. Probably has a lot to do with the people who pull their strings. The faster we all get real about nuclear power and the fact that fossil resources are in the process of becoming scarce and expensive, the faster we'll get on the path to thinking about and implementing the kinds of social and economic policies we need to in order to get over the inevitable impacts that fossil resource shortages are going to bring about.

~~~

By the way, there's an interesting documentary about the Finnish method for dealing with spent nuclear fuel. You can see the documentary by going to the link posted right near the end of the update on May 30 that mentions 'interesting videos' - I highly recommend you watch this when you have time.

~~~

We now have a figure for the amount of radiation in the radioactive water that has been leaking from the reactor buildings at the F#1 nuclear disaster site.

720,000 Terabecquerels of Radioactive Materials in 100,000 Tonnes of Contaminated Water

On May 15 we estimated that radiation releases from F#1 thus far were about 12% of those from Chernobyl, but this did not include liquid releases. Add the 720,000 TBq to the approximately 650,000 Tbq from atmospheric releases = 1,370,000 TBq. But this still doesn't account for all the liquid releases, since some radioactive water has been dumped or has leaked into the sea, and some appears to have disappeared into the groundwater. Let's round up the figure to 1,400,000 TBq and then find what percentage of the releases from Chernobyl (5,200,000 TBq) that would amount to = 27%. BUT, the F#1 disaster is a L-O-N-G way from being over yet, and anyway, in many respects the F#1 disaster is already worse than Chernobyl, so no self-congratulatory pats on the back for TEPCO, the government or the nuclear power mob are in order, that's a fact!

~~~Halleluya, brothers and sisters, more revelations!~~~

What's all this about tellurium-132 (and iodine-131) being found on the morning of March 12???

#Fukushima I Accident: Tellurium-132 Was Detected on March 12 Morning, 6 Kilometers from the Plant, NISA Now Admits

#Fukushima I Nuke Accident: NISA Now Says 1.31 Million Becquerel Iodine-131 Was Detected on March 15, 38 Kilometers from the Plant

"It is not clear that the data would have helped at all, even if it had been disclosed."

What rubbish! Just because you don't understand what the data means that doesn't mean that no one else does. It also does not mean that you have any 'right' to just 'sit' on data and pretend it doesn't exist. However, I assume simply that you do not know what you are doing, but I also think that is not necessarily the case...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

June 3

The Ministry of Education etc. (MEXT) has set a 'target' of 1 millisievert/year, but have not removed the 20 millisievert/year 'limit'...
School radiation cleanup slammed - Parents flunk education ministry over soil-removal policy shift

Despite the education ministry's recent move to set a new nonbinding target to reduce the radiation children in Fukushima Prefecture are exposed to at schools, experts, local educators and parents don't feel reassured.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

June 2

A cold rain falling today here in N. Ibaraki. The air dose rate measured by the monitoring station near me (at the primary school) has been steady at about 68 nGy/hr for some days and has only risen to 71 nGy/hr in the rain today. The cold rain fits the mood. The conventional politicians continue to bicker in Tokyo; the LDP leader Sadakazu Tanigaki is about to submit (or already has submitted) a motion of no confidence against the government of PM Kan. - [It's just after 3pm Japan time. The vote on the 'Motion of No Confidence in the Cabinet' has just begun in the Japanese parliament. The 'yeas' are piling up, but that's no indication of the final result yet. At 3:15pm the 'yeas' were stuck at 150 and were overtaken by the 'nays'. A few minutes later, as the 'nays' exceeded 230, it became clear that the motion had failed. The final tally was 'yeas' 152, 'nays' 293. Before the session PM Kan had told a party meeting that he would step down when there there had been a certain degree of progress on the Tohoku recovery and the nuclear disaster. That could easily see him remaining as prime minister into 2012.] A couple of days ago I was in front of the TV when Mr. Tanigaki said directly to PM Kan that he would forgo the motion of no confidence and was ready to enter into a coalition government immediately with the JDP IF PM Kan would resign. He seems to forget, perhaps, that at the beginning of the crisis, soon after 3/11, PM Kan had offered Mr. Tanigaki a cabinet seat in order to get the LDP on board for the efforts to overcome the national crisis. This was refused by Mr. Tanigaki and the LDP. So now we have the whole Japanese political world focussed on what is going to happen with the no confidence motion - suppose it passes, then what?? And is the JDP going to expel Ichiro Ozawa for his recent remarks about the government's (especially PM Kan's) handling of the crises - despite the fact that he may be largely right in what he says (not that that makes any difference, of course)? They seem to have lost track of what's happening in Fukushima and further north as the political show heats up. It's probably raining now at the F#1 nuclear disaster site and in the areas of Fukushima (including Fukushima City, it would appear) that have been heavily polluted with radioactive material. The people working at the disaster site, the nuclear and earthquake/tsunami evacuees, and the mothers and fathers must be feeling pretty lonely right now...

~~~

An Angry Japanese Housewife in Fukushima City: "We've Had It, and We're Leaving"
This is the transcript: After Crises, Japanese Lose Faith In Government

~~~

I want to say few more words about Tetsunari Iida's ideas for a 100% renewable energy for Japan in 2050.

1) Nicole Foss has shown in Renewable power? Not in your lifetime how the current system of extensive electric grids will not work well with small, dispersed renewable energy generators. Personally, that doesn't bother me because I've always assumed that renewables would be small, decentralised and not hooked up to more than a few houses. However, for the current socio-economic arrangements, that is a big deal.

2) I've linked this one before - Solar Frontier Opens Largest Thin-film Plant in the World, but it's worth a couple of reads because (including the comments) there is a lot of detail there. Also, this article When is the Renewable Crossover? found its way into my mailbox yesterday. It starts,

As much as some people look forward to the Rapture, people in the renewable energy space look forward to “the crossover.”

The crossover is the point in time where the costs of solar energy fall below the price of fossil fuels.

But I think there's something missing here. It's not necessarily the EROEI, because recent systems are at about 4 to 10 and anticipated systems something like 14 to 25, which is very reasonable for a self-reduplicating energy system. (Please see What is the energy payback for PV? for this.) But we need to look closer at what's in these panels, including the thin-films that are beginning to appear. (BTW, there are several article on PV generation in today's Energy Daily) In a recent solar panel system you would expect to see steel or aluminium for the frame, copper, silicon, indium, selenium, gallium, tellurium, cadmium and probably some other elements. Then we need some plastic for the films or for covering the panels, and if we are going to store the electricity produced during the day we need some batteries, which conventionally need lead, plastic and steel as well as the acid to manufacture (and these do not last 30 years like the panels may do). Other kinds of batteries may be available, but they are more expensive and may use much more exotic elements or chemicals. Capacitors can also be used to store electricity, but I have not yet seen a practical system. Now, without a strong, fossil resource-based industry, how are we going to mine, refine, transport, and then manufacture the solar panels or thin films? Even if we have the machinery and the electrical power to run the plant, how long will the life of the plant and the machinery in it be? Will we have the capability of producing this equipment after fossil resources become scarce and expensive in a decade or two from now? I'm doubtful. I think the same can be said for wind turbines, or any other renewable energy equipment, except perhaps for some very low-tech kinds of wind, hydro or biomass/biogas technologies. As I have said before, I think renewables will provide us with a 'transitional' energy supply for most of the rest of this century, if we are lucky, and if we have the foresight to bank our current relatively cheap fossil fuels into them now, though, as I said yesterday, that will also require sacrifices.

Mr. Iida's vision of 2050 is idyllic. I'd love to go there. It could be a great society to live in. Unfortunately, for the reasons above and those I gave in yesterday's update below, the reality is likely to be quite different from his vision. Now that the situation at F#1 has shown us that nuclear power is too dangerous to use, Japan needs to think hard about what the future holds. Currently, Tetsunari Iida is considered here to be a visionary leader in the field of energy, a bit too futuristic and far out for some, but I hope I have shown here that we all need to make a more realistic appraisal of 'renewable energy.'

~~~

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: "Chinese Are Going for the Safe, Thorium Reactors, and They Are Doing Mankind a Favour" Yes, thorium reactors may be safer, but ex-skf concludes that It doesn't quite matter how safe thorium is, when the most dangerous and unpredictable component of all is the humans. True. So what's all this about thorium reactors being safe? Please take a look at Wikipedia's entry on the thorium fuel cycle. Once you get past all the science it doesn't look like something you'd want to have in your back garden, or all that clean, either. Oh, well, it's just another nuclear reactor. What do you expect?

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

Oh, no! Here we go again... Wastewater rises, fears mount

This is not good... Fatigue sets in on nuke responders

~~~Radiation Lookout~~~

French research institute finds high radioactivity

...The researchers also found high radiation levels in Fukushima City. At some places in the city, the levels of radioactivity were 7 to 9 millisieverts a year.

#Radiation in Japan: 2 Drugs to Help Expel Plutonium from Body to Be Approved in July

~~~

Seems like the IAEA team had a nice time in Japan... IAEA says Japan underestimated tsunami threat

..."The Japanese government's longer term response to protect the public, including evacuation, has been impressive and extremely well organised."

~~~Overseas~~~

Solar Panels for Backup Power at Nuclear Plants Oh, yes, use solar panels to keep nuclear power stations working. Great idea! Why not just forget about the NPP and use the solar panels...?

Despite German U-turn, nuclear here to stay in Europe

Russia lacks personnel to dismantle nuclear sites

Bulgaria plans to increase nuclear energy share

India stands firm on nuclear power

Westinghouse, Hitachi bid to build Lithuanian nuclear plant

Saudi to build 16 nuclear reactors: reports

Bulgarian nuclear reactor back on line after repairs

Poland not swayed by Germany's 2022 no nuke plan

Areva and Rhodia in nuclear, rare earths deal

~~~

Here's energy production for you: ¡Stop the Megaloads Now!

Nuclear Power Daily

Japan Earthquake Appears to Increase Quake Risk Elsewhere in the Country


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

June 1

Tetsunari Iida on the renewable future of Japan Good Youtube video interview with Tetsunari Iida on how Japan can 'run' on 100% renewables by 2050. I certainly hope this can happen, but is it realistic? And what are the problems? I think I have two problems with Mr. Iida's ideas.

1) This comes up a lot. He appears to treat 2050 and the roughly 40 years from now till then as more or less the same as what what Japan has had over the last 20 years or so. Stability, no large disruptions. Sadly, and we knew it had to happen someday, 3/11 is starting to blow all of that away. The financial and energetic chickens are coming home to roost. The next 40 years are unlikely to be anything like stable! I wish they would be, but I don't think they will. I think we are going to see a lot of 'history' - historical-sized changes - in the years to come. Mr. Iida doesn't seem to see the 'history'. He seems to be saying, "Oh, we can just do this and it will work out OK." I wish. I may be an awful pessimist, but I just don't think it's going to be that easy.

2) Of course, related to 1), but a bit more specific. Shifting from one energy system to another is not going to be easy. Here, I think the main problem is the production of the energy-producing hardware. It takes energy to make energy - energy return on energy investment - EROEI. If it were possible to run everything in Japan now on renewables (I personally don't think it can be done) then how much energy would be required to produce the energy-producing equipment (solar panel, wind turbines and so on) necessary? Of course, it does not have to be done all at once, but spread out over 10-20 years. One paper by Jeff Vail is a good guide to this. Jeff shows that sacrifices will have to be made if we really want to get there. Mr. Iida seems to assume that Japan can make a smooth changeover and that it will be good for the economy because of the jobs created. etc. And then we have to factor in the rising prices and increasing scarcity of fossil resources (which are currently needed to produce renewable energy equipment). It's going to be a bumpy road...

Perhaps Mr. Iida should read Transition and the collapse scenario by Dave Pollard. It's a bit more realistic on what's likely to happen over the next 40 years or so, and the rest of the century. Personally, I think this article shows the transition/collapse to be a bit more drawn out than it actually will be - I believe when the collapse comes it will come quite quickly and that by around 2050 we will be where the author says we will be in 2075, but that's all just imagination. What's a couple of decades either way, anyway. The other thing about it is that we get a collapse and then nothing. What are we all supposed to be doing in the 22nd century? Anyone know?

~~~

Japan's electric power companies have reported 342 faults and geographical changes
near nuclear power plants that they previously did not consider to be risks

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

Oxygen cylinder bursts near No. 4 reactor

High radioactivity levels at No.1 reactor

Water level at Fukushima reactor rises dramatically

TEPCO tackles increasing contaminated water

Fukushima workers exposed to high radiation

Stricken Fukushima nuke plant leaking oil

TEPCO begins live video stream from Fukushima

Fukushima cleanup could cost up to $250 billion

Fukushima’s operators at loss but don’t show it

~~~WHAT THE HELL ARE WE GOING TO DO WITH ALL THE SPENT FUEL??!!~~~

Who Will Take the Radioactive Rods from Fukushima? by Yoichi Shimatsu

~~~

~~~Radiation Lookout~~~

Fukushima Debacle Risks Chernobyl ‘Dead Zone’ as Radiation in Soil Soars

Radiation-linked cancer an intangible numbers game

Opera stars, fearing radiation, cancer, er, cancel

Radioactive Strontium from Soil Within 10 Kilometers of #Fukushima I Nuke Plant

LIFE IN THE RADIATION ZONE - Testimony of a Fukushima Mother (Japanese video)

10,000 children flee Fukushima over nuke fears

Japan pensioners volunteer to tackle nuclear crisi

'It was always a lie'--anti-nuke songs hit a nerve

~~~Overseas~~~

German nuclear shutdown sets global example: Merkel

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

May 31

I want to qualify what I said yesterday about Bob Nichols' article Fukushima: How Many Chernobyls Is It?. I said that I agreed with him about the amount of radioactive material in F#1 being more than 50 times more than in the one reactor that blew up at Chernobyl. Here are the actual figures, as far as I can make them out to be. Chernobyl Accident 1986 says that there were 192 tonnes of fuel in reactor 4 at Chernobyl before the accident and that the resulting steam explosion and fires released at least 5% of the radioactive reactor core into the atmosphere and downwind. In the article, Bob Nichols says “Chernobyl” ejected 30% of one 192-ton, three-month old reactor core. That’s 57.6 radioactive tons thrown into the air by fire and explosions. So there's an obvious discrepancy there, since 5% of 192 tonnes should be 9.6 tonnes (although 30% of 192 is 57.6 tonnes). The Amount of Radioactive Fuel at Fukushima DWARFS Chernobyl states that nuclear fuel at F#1 totalled 4,277 tons. So there are about 22.3 times more nuclear fuel at F#1 than there were in the Chernobyl reactor 4 at the time of the accident, not more than 50 times. However, I think Bob is trying to tell us how many more times more radioactive material than was released at Chernobyl could potentially be released into the environment if all the fuel at Fukushima somehow found its way into the environment. That would be 4277/9.6 = 445 times. Hope it won't happen...

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

High radioactivity found in Japan nuclear workers

Gov't to scrap upper limit of radiation exposure for workers at Fukushima plant


2 Fukushima workers may have exceeded radiation exposure limit

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: 2 TEPCO Workers Exceeded 250 Millisieverts Radiation Limit Mostly from INTERNAL Radiation Exposure

~~~WHAT THE HELL ARE WE GOING TO DO WITH ALL THE SPENT FUEL??!!~~~

Greater Danger Lies in Spent Fuel Than in Reactors

~~~

Greenpeace accuses Tepco of nuke 'deceit'


Fukushima forestry industry at risk of collapse due to ongoing nuclear crisis

~~~

Germany announces end to nuclear power by 2022

German state ministers want 7 nuclear plants axed now

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

May 30

Gundersen Gives Testimony to NRC ACRS Arnie Gundersen's brief five-minute statement to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards (ARCS) is totally appropriate, and yet it would appear that some people who do not wish to hear his message do not even have the decency to sit still and let him speak for five minutes, while the government and pro-nuclear people get to talk for hours! As Maggie Gundersen says, how hard it is for individuals, even if they are experts with valid and important statements to make, to get a proper hearing. At least here on Candobetter you can say what you like for as long as you like!

Bob Nichols: Fukushima: How Many Chernobyls Is It? Kindly exercise caution when reading. Although most of the data is correct, there are inaccuracies - the tsunami at F#1 was about 7 m not 30 m. I also do not see how he gets 10 Quintillion (10,000 Trillion Bq) radioactive counts per second of deadly radioactive smoke particles into the Earth’s atmosphere when I have noted below (May 15) that the figure we have for recent daily releases of radiation from F#1 are about 154 TBq (tera becquerels, where tera is 10^12). Converted to release per second, that would be 154 x 10^12 /24 /60 /60 = 1.78 billion Bq/sec. (Bob Nichols' number is 10^16 Bq/sec, whereas it was estimated that up to April 12 - i.e. after all the major explosions had taken place - a total of 630,000 TBq [63 x 10^16 Bq] had been released. According to Bob's figures that amount would still be coming out just about every minute...) Bob is correct in saying that the amount of radioactive material in F#1 is more than 50 times more than in the one reactor that blew up at Chernobyl, but hopefully ALL of that material is not going to find its way into the atmosphere, sea or groundwater. If it does, you can probably expect the dieoff he describes. IF the molten down cores do hit the groundwater, that will be a disaster. If the resulting explosions cause the nuclear material in the spent fuel pools (all of them) to be released into the environment, then there won't be any escaping it for anyone alive on the planet now. But it isn't that bad yet. I've said that before, and I was wrong that time...

~~~

YouTube: Yoichi Shimatsu - Shredding The Deadly Lies Of Fukushima Interesting interview - a little old, but with things we have not heard about in this detail before.

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

Here's the story on the pump at reactor 5 that broke down on Friday night... Pump failure nearly brings No. 5 to a boil

Fukushima nuclear plant is leaking like a sieve - May 26, 2011

Stabilizing reactors by year's end may be impossible: Tepco Well, again, I think we've known that for quite a while now. The article also seems to indicate that stabilizing the reactors will allow people who live near the plant to return home, and although that may be one factor, unfortunately radioactive pollution is going to be a far greater factor in that decision. Here's what I mean....

A Letter From A Fukushima Mother

We live 60 kilometers (37 miles) from the plant and our homes have been contaminated beyond levels seen at Chernobyl. The cesium-137 they are finding in the soil will be here for 30 years. But the government will not help us. They tell us to stay put. They tell our kids to put on masks and hats and keep going to school.

This is from a Japanese mother who lives in Fukushima City! However, the cesium-137 that she says will be there for 30 years, well, I'm sorry to say it, but that's the half-life of the cesium-137. (Of course, I do not expect everyone to know the science, but is 'half-life' being properly explained in the newspapers and on tv? I think not.) How long before we can say that the cesium-137 is 'gone'? After 30 years half is gone, in 60 years 75% is gone, in 90 years 87.5%, in 120 years 93.75%, in 150 years 96.875%, in 180 years 98.4375% - is that OK for 'gone'? Roughly 1.5% remaining? It takes 180 years.

~~~WHAT THE HELL ARE WE GOING TO DO WITH ALL THE SPENT FUEL??!!~~~

An old article, but the information is useful...

TOKYO, May 9 (Reuters) - Japan and the United States plan to jointly build a spent nuclear fuel storage facility in Mongolia to serve customers of their nuclear plant exporters, pushing ahead despite Japan's prolonged nuclear crisis, the Mainichi daily said on Monday...

The Mainichi said the facility would allow Japanese and U.S. nuclear plant exporters, which include joint ventures and units of General Electric , Hitachi and Toshiba , to better compete with Russian rivals that offer potential nuclear plant customers spent fuel disposal in a package.

Er... well, firstly, what is Japan itself going to do with its own spent fuel?? Secondly, is it really OK to be pushing this spent fuel material off on the Mongolians? And thirdly, besides Japan (and the US) having thousands of tons of this highly dangerous material already stockpiled up in both countries with no final disposal arrangement in sight at all, AND both of those countries still proposing to run nuclear power plants for the foreseeable future, AND now intending to export nuclear power plants to third-party countries using the Mongolian storage facility as a sales point for competition with Russian reactors, all of this surely is going to lead Mongolia into a horror story of an open-ended nuclear waste storage/disposal project that will end up making Mongolia look like the world's nuclear waste dump. Is this what they want? Is this what we want? What's the simple answer? Stop production of this nuclear waste material now by shutting down all nuclear power plants in the near future. Then we need to start the long (probably) process of finding a safe place/safe places for final disposal of all this extremely nasty waste. Also Mongolia has faults capable of producing earthquakes of Magnitude 8

What To Do With All The Nuclear Waste
by Lucas Whitefield Hixson. Please see the interesting videos here.

~~~

Japanese unhappy with atomic crisis response: poll

~~~Overseas~~~

Commission sees nuclear exit within decade

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

May 29

The well-known Japan Democratic Party politician Ichiro Ozawa has given an interview with the Wall Street Journal, so translated into English, and apparently it has appeared in the net. However, it seems to have 'disappeared,' so I'll just post here the snippets of it available on Enenews: http://enenews.com/. Maybe I can find the whole thing somewhere, or perhaps the original Japanese will be available somewhere... Here's the video in Japanese with English subtitles. However, this has been heavily edited and does not contain the parts shown below. The full article and interview transcript have been removed from the WSJ website.?The interview in Japanese appears to be here. It does seem to be the complete published interview, contains all the statements below, but not very much else of great interest (a lot of criticism of Naoto Kan and the current political atmosphere, though).


[...] Anxiety and frustration are growing. People cannot live in the contaminated areas. These areas are becoming uninhabitable. Japan has lost its territory by that much. If we do nothing, even Tokyo could become off limits. There is a huge amount of uranium fuels in the plants, much more than in Chernobyl. This is a terrible situation. The government doesn’t tell the truth and people live in a happy-go-lucky…


[...] Some day we may not be able to live in Japan. There is the possibility that the power plant can reach the state of criticality again. If it explodes, it’s a huge matter. Radiation is being leaked in order to keep the reactors from exploding. So, in this sense, it’s even worse than letting the power plant explode. Radiation is going to be flowing out for a long period of time. This is not a matter of money, but of life and death for the Japanese. If Japan cannot be saved, then the people of Japan are done for. We can always print money. Ultimately the people will have to bear the burden. Government must be determined to put a stop to radioactive pollution no matter what it takes, money or otherwise. The Japanese people must understand the situation. [...]


[I]t’s meaningless to put together a team made up exclusively of people who depend on nuclear power to make a living. All of them are members of the nuclear mafia. Did you see all those scholars saying “the crisis is not so terrible,” “won’t harm the health at all” on TV? What they say is meaningless because they depend on nuclear power for their livelihood. But people, and the Japanese media, don’t understand it. The Japanese media is helpless. [...]

Quite a bit over the top for a mainstream Japanese politician. Rather unpalatable fare for TEPCO and the other EPCOs (and friends), and perhaps not so surprising that it has very quickly become unavailable given what we have seen with Taro Yamamoto yesterday. Time for the Japanese people to start getting serious about the nuclear disaster at F#1 and about their quickly eroding freedom of speech, freedom of the press and so on.

The Mainichi Shinbun has recognized the fact that the interview took place, but gives a very much watered-down explanation of the contents. DPJ's Ozawa calls for PM Kan's immediate resignation

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

Cooling systems restored for fuel pools for reactors 1, 2 and 3, but NHK TV news is reporting that the cooling for the fuel pool in reactor 5 has now stopped this morning (due to the pump bringing in seawater breaking down) and the temperature in that fuel pool is now beginning to rise.

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Higher Radioactive Materials Outside the Silt Fence of Reactor 4 Than Inside?

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Water Levels Rising in Trenches from Reactors 2, 3 And a typhoon on the way. Crash on the levee, mama!!

As nuke workers wait, tainted water climbs

~~~Radiation Lookout~~~

A bit old, but worth reading...
Comparing Japan's Radiation Release to "Background Radiation"

Radioactive materials found off Miyagi and Ibaraki

Soil decontamination tests start in Fukushima

A SMALL amount of radioactive iodine-131 has been found in a sample of fish taken from a wholesale market in Hong Kong

~~~

Power outages, downed communication lines knocked out most radiation monitoring systems in disaster areas

~~~Overseas~~~

Germans call for immediate end to nuclear energy About 160,000 people have demonstrated across Germany to demand the immediate shutdown of all 17 nuclear power plants in the country.

German state ministers want 7 nuclear plants axed now

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

May 28

Apparently, power companies are still exerting huge pressure on the media in Japan... A small article on the front page of the Akahata newspaper this morning describes how the actor Taro Yamamoto was removed from the cast of a TV drama he was scheduled to act in in July and August this year. His manager told him, Your statements about nuclear power plants have been seen as a problem and your participation in the drama has been cancelled. What had Mr. Yamamoto done that was so terrible? He had participated in an anti-nuke demo and he had spoken about the 20 millisievert/yr school playground problem stemming from the MEXT decision about radiation criteria in schools on an Internet video. He had said that 20 millisieverts was 20 times the original criterion and that no one, especially children, should have to live in such a place. ?In Japanese, but here is the video.) It is not clear who 'ordered' the cancellation, but it is well known that power companies have been putting this kind of pressure on the media for a long time. It would seem that the increased scrutiny power companies have come under since 3/11 has not stopped them from trying to exert their influence on what people can or cannot say.

Interestingly, the above was only the first half of the article. The second half of the article was about the young Governor of Osaka Fu (a "Fu" being a region like a "Prefecture") is now preparing an ordinance that will enable the dismissal of any teacher in a public school in Osaka Fu who does not stand to attention when the national anthem "Kimi ga Yo" is sung. So if you have any opinions, just keep them to yourself, please.

.

~~~Radiation Lookout~~~

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: High Concentration of Radioactive Cesium in the Ocean Soil in 300-Kilometer Strip Along the Coast

#Fukushima #Radioactive Debris to Be Disposed of As Regular Debris

Ah! Maybe this is why TEPCO and the politicians aren't listening... Rabbit Without Ears, Allegedly Born After #Fukushima Accident There's a YouTube video there, but hurry up and watch it as it may be pulled - the person who posted it has been getting quite a lot of negative comments (possible hoax).

Experts: Leave radiation checks to us Yes, daddy. Thank you, daddy. Also mentions regarding the 20 millisievert/year controversy that experts have differing opinions. Surely, the bottom line is that anyone, but especially children, should be exposed to as little radiation as possible. The government are a party to this mess - let them get it cleared up. Treating people in Fukushima and the rest of northeast Japan like second or third class citizens is not acceptable. If radiation is not harmful, have the reactors in Tokyo. Take the polluted water and soil and store it in Tokyo. If you can't do that, don't push it off on someone else, and don't say "it's safe."

"Shizuoka Shincha (New Tea) Has Arrived!"

Seafood exports to China to resume

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

Tainted water ills 'massive' - IAEA team visits plant; utility slammed for not disclosing info

"They need to find a place to store the contaminated water and they need to guarantee it won't go into the soil."

Or the sea! Gee, I've racked my brains for about two weeks and I still can't figure out where they can put this water. They can demineralize it (at a price, and we still don't know what nuclides the process will actually remove), but then there will be some kind of radioactive sludge remaining - that will have to 'go' somewhere, and the remaining water won't be exactly potable (it will probably be deemed 'safe' to dump in the sea). Also...

"What I told the public was fundamentally incorrect," Kan said in the Diet on May 20, referring to assessments from the government and Tokyo that reactors were stable and the situation was contained not long after March 11. "The government failed to respond to Tepco's mistaken assumptions, and I am deeply sorry."

Er... they failed to check whether TEPCO was lying or not?

Tepco disclosure said lacking from get-go Even Edano is getting frustrated with TEPCO's behaviour now...

Coming a day after he blasted Tepco's flip-flop over the injection of seawater into the plant's reactor 1, Edano said the government "cannot respond to this matter on the premise" that no more undisclosed information will emerge.

"There is a distinct possibility that there is still more," he said, urging Tepco to accurately and swiftly report the truth to the government.


AREVA's Water Treatment System for #Fukushima I: TEPCO Denies "Rumor", Says It Only Costs US$2585 Per Tonne

TEPCO: Tainted water disposal may cost $650mln

Nuclear Crisis in Japan by Nuclear Information and Resource Service

Rainy season and typhoon season approaching...
Rain likely to induce more radioactive leaks

Crippled nuke plant not prepared for heavy rain, wind

~~~

Softbank CEO Son morphs into advocate of nuclear phaseout Dull. All it tells me is that Son doesn't 'get' things till he has first-hand experience of something, but that's nothing unusual. The next thing is that he's seeing chances for investment of his billions in setting up alternative power generation facililties. Oh, well, he may yet persuade Kan and the others to dismember TEPCO, if he can get the MITI sharks off his back...

EDITORIAL: Use solar and wind power to achieve new energy target Yawn! Alphabet soup of "global warming," "2030," "natural energy," etc., etc.

The prime minister also announced plans to install solar panels on the roofs of 10 million homes. He clearly attaches importance to solar energy as the key of natural energy sources.

As if to respond to the government move, Softbank Corp. and local governments across the nation announced a project to install solar panels in fallow rice paddies and abandoned farmland.

Right. Don't forget we need to have a means of storing the electricity for use at night, and so on. That means batteries and/or condensers/capacitors. The technology is in need of some development and this really needs some focus right now because people are usually looking at the 'panel' end and not the 'storage' part. This has in part been pushed by the power companies who 'like' to see solar panels installed without the associated electricity storage system - there are two large ones on public buildings (one of them the City Office) in the city where I live. They help keep power consumption bills down a little but are useless in emergencies, when they ought to be really useful.

One interpretation of the the hidden ruler angle.
THE ROTHSCHILDS AND FUKUSHIMA

Expert discovers simple method of dealing with harmful radioactive iodine

Unusual earthquake gave Japan tsunami extra punch

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

May 27

Wah! Amazing, isn't it, how something nasty just happens to turn up every day!!
Don't bother to clean it up, just leave all the mess right where it is and declare the 20 or 30km evacuation zone a "dead zone"??!! How convenient :)
Fukushima No. 1 eyed as site for nuke fuel graveyard
The idea appears to be to make the Fukushima #1 nuclear disaster site into "a storage site for radioactive waste from the crippled station." Note that they are not saying that this will be a waste nuclear fuel site for Japanese nuclear reactors in general, just for F#1, though what happens later will 'depend on the situation at the time,' I am sure. The article is also very nuclear... sorry, unclear about the length of time that nuclear waste will be stored there. Surely the learned academics at the Atomic Energy Society of Japan are not suggesting that this site at F#!, chosen, as it were, purely at random, could be a permanent repository for the F#1 nuclear waste, can they? The article doesn't say. Being near the sea, coastline erosion and the rise in sea level supposed to occur from global warming would make this spot unlikely to be usable for more than about 30-50 years, I would imagine. What then??? Were we not told on May 12 that nuclear waste was possibly going to be sent to Mongolia? What happened to that? Either way, this new 'plan' does absolutely NOTHING to solve the problem of the 1000s of tons of Japan's nuclear waste (see April 23) while it DOES consign the evacuees from the 20 km zone to oblivion without hope of ever returning to their towns and villages. It may actually be the case that they will not be able to return for a very long time, but it would be a little bit decent if the attempt were made to clean up the mess instead of PLANNING just to leave it all there and creating a de facto "dead zone" of the area. I'm sure the former residents of the local towns and villages are going to be very happy to hear of this. Further down today's update I have taken Keidanren's Mr. Yomekure... sorry, Yonekura to task for being very callous towards the people suffering today from the triple disaster. I think these people from the Atomic Energy Society of Japan fit nicely into the same bracket.

Meanwhile in the US:

Spent Nuclear Fuel Pools in the US: Reducing the Deadly Risks of Storage

After more than 50 years, the quest for permanent nuclear waste disposal remains illusory.

If the US can't find somewhere to put it's nuclear waste, what chance does Japan have?

~~~

Chernobyl Times Ten - Fukushima and the Radioactive Sea By HARVEY WASSERMAN

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

CNN: Reactors may be “riddled with holes” — Experts suspect full meltdown at No. 1, 2 and 3 Really, yesterday's news, but there is a lot of relevant news at http://enenews.com/

Contamination 50 times safety limit, far higher than initial measurements — Also much higher levels of iodine than expected, indicating continued leakage

Radioactive iodine at 7.5 MILLION times legal limit in water around Fukushima — Cesium-137 at 1.1 MILLION times limit (VIDEO in English)

“Very high levels of contamination” far away from Fukushima exclusion zone — More than double amount Soviets set for “relocation” at Chernobyl (Don't worry too much about the video here.)

TEPCO-AREVA Contract to Treat Contaminated Water at #Fukushima I Nuke Plant Is Shrouded in Secrecy Lots of problems, great expense!

The IAEA Team To Figure Out #Fukushima Disaster Interesting to know who's on the IAEAteam. What are the PR people there for? To learn about disinformation techniques from TEPCO and the Japanese government? (Or maybe how not to do it?)

~~~

Business lobby chief: Nuclear power is vital to the global economy The Keidanren boss Mr. Yonekura giving us the benefit of his rhetoric again. Usually I would quote a bit for criticism, but it's hard to choose which bit today. Please read all of it. Especially, non-Japanese people should be aware that TPP WILL devastate Japan's rural economy. Japan's Ministry of Ag, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) estimates that Japan's food self-sufficiency will fall from the current 39-40% (it will fall this year anyway) to 13% if Japan joins TPP. The benefits will probably go, though even that is doubtful now, to the big car and electronics corporations, while the rural areas will lose more from their economy than big industry gains! This isn't my 'opinion,' anyone who can read the newspaper in Japan knows this already; that's why the farmers (and MAFF) are angry and totally opposed to TPP. For Mr. Yonekura and the government to be bringing up the subject of TPP while people in the northeast are still visibly suffering is yet another manifestation of the 'leaders' (political, bureaucratic and business, as well as some academics and scientists) in Tokyo (and elsewhere, but especially Tokyo since this country is heavily centralized in the capital) to be very uncaring towards those in the countryside who produce their food (you want to EAT, don't you???!!!*) and now those who are suffering from the triple disaster, in the northeast ('Tohoku'), which is overwhelmingly rural and which stands to be hit hard if/when Japan signs up to TPP. How would you feel if you were living in Tohoku and the government was saying we are going to sign up for TPP because it's beneficial for the country? I live a bit south of Tohoku, but I feel very bad about it. The economy here is also going to be hit hard (Ibaraki Prefecture is second only to Hokkaido in terms of agricultural value earned). Mr. Yonekura, IMHO, you are probably the most shameless anti-life, anti-human person in this country. What, in the end, do you think all your money and your nuclear power and so on is going to do for you and your friends? Oh, and by the way, you are also very badly informed about solar power, it would seem.
* It WILL NOT be possible to continue to import food forever, especially when fossil resources begin to get a bit more scarce and much more expensive than they are now. The farmers are saying they would like to have a little more respect from those living in the big cities who appear to believe their food just magically appears in supermarkets. When importing food does become problematical it will be the people in the big cities who are going to suffer. The farmers are going to say, 'We have food, but none for you...' You can point your toy guns at people, but if you harm, kill, imprison, etc. farmers, it's going to snap back at you because you cannot produce food without these people!. (There are few enough young people in farming as it is now, anyway.) STOP BLATHERING NONSENSE ABOUT NUCLEAR POWER AND START THINKING ABOUT HOW PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY ARE GOING TO *EAT* IN THE FUTURE!!

Kan sets 20% target for renewable energy

Kan vows to boost 'green' power to 20 percent by 2020

TEPCO says it continued seawater injection at reactor without interruption

Gov't displeased with TEPCO's flip-flop on seawater injection

Labor group Rengo freezes nuclear power promotion policy

~~~

Sarkozy:G8 willing to help Japan

The French leader said many of the G8 countries, while recognizing the need to develop renewable energy, think there is no alternative to nuclear power.

??? I'm not too clear about what that means. Are we to think that we cannot live without nuclear power? I don't think we can live with it. The sooner we all learn to live without it the better.

G-8 leaders to agree on need for int'l nuclear standards

Nuclear power opponents increase in 7 countries

S.Africa to push ahead with nuclear plans 2023, eh? I don't think they'll make it.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

May 26

Nuclear Insanity by Dr. Vandana Shiva

The Fukushima disaster invites us to revisit the human-nature relationship.

Quite right! And after getting the immediate problems of evacuees and all those suffering from the effects of the triple disaster resolved as well as is humanly possible, this is one of the things that we should be turning our attention to!

U.S. court victories show how to get rid of nuclear plants By STEPHEN HESSE
Worth reading at least twice.

The Severity of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Disaster: Comparing Chernobyl and Fukushima by Prof. Matthew Penney and Prof. Mark Selden

Report From Japan: Nuclear Power’s Future In Doubt Amidst Fukushima Crisis by RICHARD WILCOX

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

Highest radiation dose yet at Reactor No. 1 — 204 Sieverts per hour in drywell

Highly Contaminated Water Probably Leaking from the Central Waste Processing Facility at #Fukushima I Nuke Plant - The cost of processing the contaminated water allegedly demanded by AREVA is 200 million yen (US$2.44 million) per tonne.

TEPCO suspects new leak at Fukushima

COVERUP OF FUKUSHIMA NUCLEAR DISASTER: IAEA Knew Reactors Had Melted Down ... Links from this article to other articles, including Governments Have Been Covering Up Nuclear Meltdowns for Fifty Years to Protect the Nuclear Power Industry

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Reactor 1 RPV, Reactor 3 Cooling Pipe Broke In the Earthquake, TEPCO Now Says

Quake may have damaged key piping at No.3 reactor

The piping system is one of the plant's most important structures in terms of safety, and must be damage-proof.

Tokyo Electric refuses to confirm, however, that the key piping system was damaged by the quake, and suggests that it is possible a gauge malfunction may be to blame for the data fluctuation.

The first sentence has to be a joke. Forgivable, perhaps, if written by a primary school student. Pipes damage-proof?? Sweet dreams. Second sentence. Well, they just probably don't know. Or they do but they're not ready to say so yet. Wait a month or so and see if they say something different. We know that the nuclear fuel melted down. Therefore the cooling system was not working. Whatever other things happened, the high-pressure coolant injection system did not function as expected. May have been that the pipes were damaged in the quake. So far, until a few days ago, we have been told that the tsunami knocked out the emergency cooling system, apparently for reactors 1, 2 and 3. We also know that at least for reactor 1 the emergency cooling system started up, but stopped only 10 minutes after the quake. There is more than a suggestion that this was due to a lack of fuel in the diesel generator fuel tank. How about reactor 2? Was that also on the way to meltdown before the tsunami came? Does all of this make the tsunami irrelevant? Not really. Whereas previously we had thought that the reactors had 'survived' the quake, but succumbed to the tsunami, now it seems that both were 'fatal.' The possibility that all three reactors were on the path to meltdown before the tsunami even arrived just makes nuclear reactors look that much more vulnerable to severe quakes. If it turns out that in at least one reactor failed piping led directly to a meltdown then that's a good reason for shutting down all nuclear power stations immediately and never starting them up again. And never building a new one. Piping has always been the weakest link in the chain. I don't think fail-safe, damage-proof piping can realistically (in terms of economics and/or construction skill) be built. Having read around the subject since the 80s, I would not be ready to trust anyone that said they could do it. The history of nuclear whistle-blowing, near misses and nuclear accidents effectively and essentially proves that it cannot be done.

TEPCO admonished for sloppy radiation control

~~~Radiation Lookout~~~

Japan Gov’t: “No immediate likelihood the plant will stop emitting radiation” — High radiation areas should voluntarily evacuate (VIDEO with English interpretation)

France's Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN) says 70,000 more people outside the exclusion zone should evacuate

An expert from the Nuclear Waste Management Organization of Japan has calculated more alarming radioactive contamination estimates for the surrounding Fukushima area

Many anxious Fukushima residents undergo radiation screening tests The photo shows how it is done. I'm absolutely against the discrimination that people from Fukushima have been subject to when they evacuate (or just go) to other areas in Japan, but shouldn't this radiation screening be carried out by whole-body counter in order to be a valid measure of how much radiation (i.e. including internal exposure) a person has been exposed to? (Yes, I understand that whole-body counters are not available everywhere and that it would take considerable time to check the whole population...)

Huge Outcry Erupting: Gov’t is leaving Fukushima to suffer and perish — Impossible to evacuate Fukushima City, home to 300,000 A friend of mine says an important court case concerning the attitude of the government (especially MEXT's 20 millisievert/yr criterion for school grounds) towards the people of Fukushima will be initiated soon. I will try to bring details of this court case on this page once it starts up.

Hawaii dairy farmers fight radiation by feeding boron to cows, goats

~~~

Nuclear policy was once sold by Japan's media

Though the government insists nuclear is central to Japan's economic well-being, what's important is the building of plants, not the production of energy. Construction benefits politicians and bureaucrats, while energy production mainly benefits power companies.

Hmmm. A bit too simplistic. I think it's true to say that politicians and others have also benefited from the profits made by power companies from the generation of electricity. The 'amakudari' parachute bureaucrats can certainly be said to have benefited. Were their politician brethren left out in the cold?

Kan discusses nuclear safety with Sarkozy

Crisis likely spells end for nuclear plant pursuit, Kan tells U.K. paper

~~~Overseas~~~

Europe divided over nuclear power after Fukushima disaster - UK and France lobby to have safety checks watered down, while Switzerland moves to phase out its nuclear power plants - ...Yes, well some people have an idea of what the 21st century is all about and some people don't know what time it is. Er... know what I mean?

Stored nuclear fuel seen as U.S. risk

Switzerland heading for non-nuclear energy in 2034!

EU firms push nuclear despite Fukushima Thanks for reading this far! Would you now please go to the top of the update for today and review the first two articles? Thanks again.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

May 25

The Implications of the Fukushima Accident on the World's Operating Reactors What can I say? Uninsured disasters waiting to happen...

Agency gears up to retrieve device fallen inside Monju reactor So they finally got around to retrieving it. I think we might be better off not playing around with this nuclear stuff. If you can't handle it, don't do it! More comment

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

Containment Vessels of Reactors 1, 2, 3 Were Possibly Damaged Within 24 Hours of March 11 Earthquake

Meltdowns also at No.2, No.3 reactors

However, TEPCO says there is still a chance the damage to the fuel rods is limited.

What? After the fuel has melted down into a pile at the bottom of the reactor, or worse, burned through the reactor vessel and the containment? Not a chance!

Multiple 10-Centimeter Holes in Reactor 2 Containment Vessel at #Fukushima I Nuke Plant

TEPCO: reactor damage includes holes Although the existence of these holes has been posited by calculation from the data available, it's been obvious for many weeks that the reactors and containments have been leaking water like sieves. Nice to know by calculation how big the holes might be, but technical. We already knew they were there.

No.1 reactor vessel damaged 18 hrs after quake

Radioactive water transfer halted at Fukushima

High levels of cesium detected above No.1 reactor

~~~Fukushima Schools Issues~~~

Concerned parents in Fukushima snap up free radiation dosimeters for children

Radiation fears cause 325 students in Koriyama to leave schools

Grrrrrr... 70,000 more should evacuate after Fukushima: Watchdog

Please also look at this informative blog: GREEN ACTION

~~~

Japan's nuclear conundrum Well, Japan is not likely to give up nuclear power immediately. Personally, I'd like to see all nuclear power stations everywhere shut down immediately, but then here I am out in radiation-polluted northern Ibaraki fantasyland and that isn't going to happen unless the good people of Japan suddenly get a fair bit more angry than they are no and demand the end of nuclear power here forthwith. Might still happen. (See article on "meltdowns" above.) A good phase-out of nuclear power in Japan might see this country roughly synchronizing the end of its nuclear power at the same time as Germany - 2021 or 2022 - if it actually happens. Of course, fossil resources will continue to become scarce and therefor more expensive, but that will also make nuclear power more difficult to run in the long term. the changeover to renewable energy forms, whether transitional or not will take time and socioeconomic adjustments...

...any plan to remove nuclear power from the current energy mix must be supported by a clear strategy and a long-term vision.

... and that's what we probably don't have here yet, a clear strategy and a long-term vision. Especially the latter. Nor will we as long as the business-as-usual business-first people are basically running the show. They do not recognize the conventional oil peak that the IEA admitted in November 2010 occurred in 2006, and they do not recognize the safety issues of nuclear power stations. Keidanren friends and buddies, please wake up - you need to figure out soon what the 21st century is really all about. All our lives depend on it.

Govt concerned over nuke crisis impact on economy Yes, and this is probably one of the main reasons for all the disinformation we've been subjected to for the last two-and-a-half months, so how about giving up diddling with the deck chairs and a) getting the problem at the nuclear disaster site sorted out, b) getting into top gear about helping ALL evacuees (not just those from the nuclear disaster), and c) having a very serious rethink about the 20 millisievert limit on radiation in school playgrounds in Fukushima. I reckon the economy can run itself for a while without the PM having to be involved with it all the time.

EDITORIAL: Japan can learn from Nordic nations on using clean energy

Long and revealing INTERVIEW/ Yasuhiro Nakasone: Learn lessons from Fukushima crisis and continue to promote nuclear energy I didn't like or agree with a lot of what he did and said when he was prime minister of Japan in the 80s, and I still don't... Here, Nakasone goes on about the tsunami problem at Fukushima #1. He should have waited a day or two before giving the interview as it has now been shown that it was probably the quake more than the tsunami that crippled the reactors.

Independent panel created to probe cause of crisis It's a race to see whether the panel can finish the report before TEPCO gets the F#1 reactors under control.

Fukushima Goes Global - When Will Governments Act to Protect Us From Fukushima's Spreading Radiation? By ROBERT ROTH

Cattle moved out of evacuation area

~~~Overseas~~~

Deal finally struck on stress tests for Europe's reactors

Japan crisis to delay Toshiba reactor orders

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

May 24

Sleep-walking in the rain while they tea leaf your life... Bando City in Ibaraki Prefecture Made 3rd-Graders Pick Tea Leaves in the Rain, Have Them Eat Tempura Made from Raw Tea Leaves TEPCO and the government, this is the consequence of your silence. Later, in a few years' time, when these children figure out what happened to them, they are going to hate you! But you don't care, do you? You'll be somewhere else. Maybe you'll be dead by that time. Why worry about all these anonymous little people? TEPCO managed to survive, didn't it? The share price didn't fall to 0 yen, did it. In the long run, it'll all just be forgotten in the flow of time. Yes, and in the flow of time, fossil fuel resources will no longer be used, and there will be no nuclear power, and probably no solar panels or wind turbines, either. Maybe there will still be people, and maybe they will be more than gatherer-hunters, and perhaps, if they're really lucky, they'll live in a society where each person is respected and loved, and where nature will be understood for the deep meanings it can give us if we care to listen...

Things Are Slowly Changing in Japan Over the Fukushima Crisis Fukushima residents hold a demo meeting outside the Ministry of Education about the 20 millisievert/year limit in school courtyards. They are angry. Just about everyone in Japan who knows about this (and it has had extensive media coverage) is angry.

~~~Halleluya, brothers and sisters, more revelations!~~~

Hiroaki Koide: "Pressure Not To Release Radiation Data" Don't tell anyone, they might panic!!

TEPCO Stating the Obvious After 2 Months: Reactors 2, 3 Total Meltdown More Likely Oh, we knew, everyone knew. We just didn't want to say it. If we say it, some people might get an unintended impression and panic. We don't what that to happen, so we keep quiet and try to handle it ourselves (leaving most of the difficult stuff to the friendly cooperating companies and their brave workers). We're the people who know what to do, after all. Oh, how do you deal with three meltdowns within a few hundred meters of each other, by the way? If you know, please tell us. It's serious! We need to know NOW! Don't wait till later. That could have awful repercussions for us. Please...

Fukushima reactor had meltdown 3.5 hours after cooling system collapsed: U.S. researcher Other links/comments

Total neurocracy! DON'T TELL ANYONE WHAT'S GOING ON! DON'T TELL ANYONE THE TRUTH! ONLY AUTHORIZED PEOPLE NEED TO KNOW WHAT'S HAPPENING! WAIT TILL IT'S FAR TO LATE TO TELL PEOPLE WHO ARE IN DANGER! Er... why? If the reactor has melted down, we're going to find out about it sooner or later (about two months on average), so what's the point? Do people panic less later? Are people less panicky and angry when they finally realize it's far too late to evacuate/take the pills/etc., etc.? Are the people who knew but didn't tell, and who handed out the gag orders (TEPCO and the government) going to be held accountable for their in/actions? I doubt it. PM Kan may resign, but the government will continue with business-as-usual while TEPCO gets off virtually scot-free. The government and business world will lose a little more credibility. Big deal. Simply trying to protect their backsides and not giving a second thought to the people affected in Fukushima and further north. Wonderful world we live in, isn't it?

Another point of view...

Anonymous said...
The Japanese people should not feel alone in being treated as they are - this is the new normal behavior of governments and corporations toward people in general. They don't care about suffering or death - in fact they encourage it. They feel they are above accountability to the people. They only respond to their secret bosses.

The residents of the gulf coast in the US found these same dynamics during and after the BP oil spill. They were lied to about the dangers, hired to go into unsafe areas as cleanup workers, and people are still encouraged to visit contaminated beaches with their children. Researchers were denied access to the area and arrested.

The new normal.

Actually, it may not be all that new. What's so civil about war, anyway?

~~~

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

Radiation at Reactor No. 1 skyrockets — Now over 200 Sieverts per hour WHAT IS GOING ON?? Please read the comment by "Darth" some way under the graph! Source of graph

Decay heat in Fukushima reactors

~~~Radiation Lookout~~~

U.N. body to probe Fukushima radiation impact

U.N. scientific body (UNSCEAR) said on Monday it would study the radiation impact of Japan's nuclear disaster on people and the environment, but it did not expect to detect any major health effects.

Are these "major" health effects rather like the "immediate" ones we've been hearing about for the last couple of months?? According to some people, 6,000 thyroid cancers after Chernobyl wasn't a big deal - except for the (young?) people involved. Oh, and of course, it's readily treatable. Nothing to worry about at all. Well, this blog is going to stay here, I hope for the next 25 years or so, so it will be interesting to see what it is that UNSCEAR reckons is not a major health effect.

Results of ACRO's monitoring in Japan (05/17/2011 update)

The contamination is very large and comparable to the environment of Chernobyl.
The Maeda field of Iitate-mura is the most contaminated place.
Iodine contamination is the largest and it is better to evacuate the population.
On the long time range, cesium 137 is the most worrying element because it has a half-life of 30 years.

This suggests that, unfortunately, health effects are going to be quite severe...

~~~

Woof, woof! UN atomic watchdog experts set off for Japan Nice pic. Person on the left is pointing and saying, "Woof, woof! Look! It's melting down!"

~~~

China syndrome for Japan

~~~

Many residents still remain in Iitate, Kawamata Yes, many people WILL NOT leave until they HAVE TO, regardless of the consequences. I know how they feel. Personally, I'd rather die where I am than have to go through the evacuation ordeal the government has been putting people through...

~~~

Let's not allow governments, power companies, business people, scientists and other apologists for nuclear power lull us into forgetting the connection between nuclear weapons and nuclear power, eh?
Mayors of Hiroshima, Nagasaki angered with Washington over recent nuclear tests

Just look at these horrific photos and ask yourself - what the hell were these people thinking about???
When We Tested Nuclear Bombs

~~~

Japan 'plans solar panels for all new buildings' Wow! by 2030. We are in a hurry! What on Earth do these people think Japan will 'look like' in 2030??


Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry Will Hold "Let's Help Fukushima" Food Market

Mark your calendar. Bring your own geiger counter.

~~~Overseas~~~

Radiation protection expert criticizes comparison of Fukushima to Chernobyl

2022 'good time' for Germany to end nuclear power: Merkel

Oh, here's Nobuo Tanaka criticizing Angela Merkel's decision to shut down nuclear power by 2022! IEA warns Merkel on nuclear decision. However, as the article notes, only four of Germany's 17 NPPs are actually producing power now. Shouldn't Germany be experiencing blackouts or "planned electricity outages" or something really terrible like that, then?? So, Nobuo, you're not from Fukushima, are you? I reckon you haven't forgotten how to speak Japanese yet, so why not come over to Japan, enjoy some of those "Let's Help Fukushima" veggies and have a talk with a few hundred of the evacuees from Iitate Village and the 20 km evacuation zone? Do you think they will agree with you, or Angela? Tough one, that.

Swiss protest nuclear power

~~~

When the wind blows...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

May 23

Ministry of Education Quietly Released WSPEEDI Simulation, It Shows Very High Organ Dose of Iodine-131 for Infants in Wide Area

Apparently released without fanfare on the MEXT (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology) website on May 10, the pdfs show what we should have been told at the time, March 24 and 25th. If you want to go to the page to see the now useless pdfs, just go to MEXT's SPEEDI page and scroll right down till you see 3X24Y and 3X25Y (March 24 and 25) and you will see the two pdfs with 'WSPEEDI' there There are also similar pdfs for March 15 just above these.

How jolly of MEXT to release these forecasts of "Organ dose of I-131 for infant" six weeks late! And please note that March 24 and 25 was at the tail end of the large releases of radioactive material from the Fukushima site that began on March 12 with the venting and hydrogen explosion in reactor 1. That much is clear from the air dose radiation graph in the update for May 1 below. What I want to know is why the delay? So that people would not panic? Because YOU people never thought there would be any accident (it was the accident itself and not the earthquake or the tsunami that was "beyond normal expectations") and so never planned to take any precautions for the population (orderly evacuations, potassium iodide pills, clean food and water). So we now find ourselves having to just fend for ourselves while the ministries stealthily place the information they had on their websites six weeks to two months late hoping that no one will notice. TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOUR!!

I suppose the morale of the story must be: Don't let anyone play around with dangerous technology because THEY WILL ALWAYS SCREW UP!! How you define 'dangerous' is up to you. I'm basically thinking of nuclear power, genetic engineering, and anything that is made specifically to kill other people, i.e. weapons and so on, but HAARP (well, do we even know what it is??) should probably be included.

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

TEPCO Releases Gamma Camera Photos of Reactor 1 Mmmm. Pretty. See TEPCO's news page for the photos. Clearly, SOMETHING is happening inside this reactor. Could this possibly be the same orange glow seen from the helicopter photos in the top post for yesterday (May 22)??

Quake caused no major damage to reactors This article is related to the second article in yesterday's (May 22) update. It appears to confirm that the abnormalities that occurred in reactor 1 were not due to the control rods failing to insert correctly, but possibly to workers having manually shut down the reactor's emergency cooling system immediately after the quake.

TEPCO to install heat exchanger at No.2 reactor

Still trying to inject nitrogen into the leaky reactor 1 - Glitch halts nitrogen gas injection to reactor

TEPCO measures radiation above reactor buildings but you'll have to wait till Tuesday for TEPCO to 'reveal the results.'

Nuclear Power Plants: Understanding Boiling Water Reactor Systems At Fukushima

~~~Halleluya, brothers and sisters, more revelations!~~~

Surprise! TEPCO didn't follow Fukushima emergency manual Indeed! May 23 and we are still bickering over what happened on March 12. We have mentioned the failed venting before (May 19) and there seems to have been the possibility that batteries supplying power to keep the vents open had "died". In this article, it would seem that the operators apparently tried to open the vents manually, but were prevented from doing so by the high level of radiation. Of course, opening the vent would release radioactive hydrogen and steam, and perhaps TEPCO did not want to do that unless it were absolutely necessary. In the event it did prove to be absolutely necessary and they were probably too late in doing it...

New video shows tsunami damage at nuclear plant Typical NHK reporting. They neither show us the video nor inform us of where we can see it. Good old NHK!

Erratic information fuels mistrust of TEPCO

~~~

Feel like a radiated sitting duck? Things you can do to mitigate the problem.

Kan to urge G8 not to restrict Japanese produce

Son eyes solar power plants

~~~Overseas~~~

20,000 Swiss protest against nuclear power

NASA/University Japan Quake Study Yields Surprises

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

May 22

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

Spoil your Sunday, too?
Fukushima Update: A Very Bad Situation
Pictures showing something in reactor 1 (?) glowing very brightly and a serious rundown on all current problems at the nuclear disaster site.

Japan’s Fukushima Reactor May Have Leaked Radiation Before Tsunami Struck

The station, which has experienced hundreds of aftershocks since March 11, may release more radiation than Chernobyl before the crisis is contained, Tepco officials have said.

Erm... so they're trying to tell us here that for some reason the control rods did NOT enter the core (for all three reactors?) because of the earthquake - i.e. the earthquake somehow affected the control rod drive mechanism of all three reactors???

1000 Millisieverts/Hr Debris Outside Reactor 3 at #Fukushima I Nuke Plant

20 terabecquerels of radioactive materials flowed out to Pacific

.

~~~Radiation Lookout~~~

Radioactive sea water simulation

The firm estimates the total accumulated radiation dispersed in the sea at more than 4,700 trillion becquerels.

The simulation shows contaminated water spreading southward along the coast on April 11th while maintaining its radiation level.

The water had reached a point about 150 kilometers south of the plant by May 1st with the radiation density decreasing. On May 11th, the water began to spread east on the Kuroshio current.

If you look at the May 15 update, you will see that we have tried to estimate how much radiation is being released from the Fukushima nuclear disaster site. According to this calculation, up to now about 650,000 TBq (Terabecquerels, Tera = 10^12) of radioactive material has perhaps been released into the atmosphere. It's simply based on what the Japanese authorities have been announcing and I have no confidence at all in the 'accuracy' of this, but there's little else to go on. What was missing from that calculation was the radiation in liquid (water) releases, and now we have a figure - more than 4,700 TBq. Are they trying to be funny? What is "more than"?? It is thought that atmospheric releases are at about 150 Tbq/day, so the liquid releases are the equivalent of about a month of that? Well, "more than". Hmmm... seems like it should be quite a bit "more than" that...

Very nice of them indeed, I'm sure you'll agree, to tell us THREE WEEKS LATER that the waters off the coastline to the south (mostly Ibaraki) have been given a good strong dose. So, of course, the radiation, not very much diluted, has now flowed into the Kuroshio Current, where it will pollute the Northern Pacific. Small wonder the EPA has shut down the fish monitoring - all the waters from Alaska to the coasts of Washington, Oregon and northern California, not forgetting my friends in British Columbia, and especially those on Vancouver Island, will be receiving, in somewhat diluted form, quite a bit of that "more than" 4,700 TBq. Well, you know, 'they' say technology has a way of backfiring, or snapping back in your face, and although the Canadians have their CANDU, Japan was encouraged to take advantage of nuclear technology by the US in the 50s and 60s. Didn't they ever stop to consider what the consequences might be if... no, I suppose they figured that could never happen...

The answer to internal exposure - drink more beer!
Nuclear plant workers suffer internal radiation exposure after visiting Fukushima

A special earthquake-resistant building that serves as a base for emergency workers at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant had its doors strained by hydrogen explosions at the No. 1 and 3 reactors in March, making it easier for radioactive substances to come in. "We had meals there, so I think radioactive substances came into our bodies," a male worker in his 40s said. "We just drink beer and wash them down," he added.

#Radioactive Sewage Sludge and Slag in Tokyo

MAY 15, 2011: Highly Radioactive Substances Detected in Tokyo

Radioactive Fukushima Plutonium And Strontium Bombarding US West Coast Since March 18th

California Plutonium 43 Times, Hawaii 11 Times Highest Levels In 20 Years In Wake Of Fukushima Nuclear Disaster

Radioactive Bricks Used in Tokyo Now that people are running around all over the place pointing geiger counters at things they are finding that in fact there is radiation all around them...

Katsushika Tokyo radiation dose experts remeasured five times [what] the government announced (Translated by machine translator, not me.)

.

~~~TEPCO Stuff~~~

Protracted battle to contain crippled nuclear plant could lead to utility's liquidation Oh, so if they did it in a relatively short time it's OK??

~~~

A Nuclear Rapture?
Fukushima's Apocalyptic Threat
By HARVEY WASSERMAN
Actually, Tokyo is only 150 miles from the Fukushima nuclear disaster site. Possible the beer consumption will go up there.

~~~

Earthquake Hazards and Dangers of Radiation: The Los Alamos Nuclear Facility Lawsuit

~~~

Nagasaki and ex-Hiroshima mayors receive Buddha peace prize in Nepal Perhaps in the future they'll be giving the prize to Governor Sato of Fukushima Prefecture and the mayors of the cities, towns and villages that have had to be evacuated because of the nuclear disaster. If there is a future, that is... Quote: "No future, no future for you..." (No prizes for knowing source of quote.)

~~~

~~~Triple Disaster~~~

Guest Post: The Other Disaster That Is On-Going, Unabated (by Tokyo Brown Tabby)

~~~

How GE's Mark 1 Reactor Caused #Fukushima I Nuke Plant Accident Presentation by the Union of Concerned Scientists

Japan's PM Kan Forced Chinese and Korean Counterparts to Eat Fukushima Vegetables and Fruits

#Fukushima Blame Game: "I Didn't Say That," Says Madarame about Recriticality

Kan to announce new energy program at G8

Asian leaders dine safely

APEC agrees to avoid excessive import restrictions

U.N. initiates blanket study of nuke crisis

Signs of big quake emerged in February

~~~

Disclosure and Deceit: Secrecy as the Manipulation of History, not its Concealment

Twenty-Five Rules of Disinformation

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

May 21

Nice Saturday morning. Everyone out fishing? (Fishing, not fission. I didn't say 'fission'.)

~~~Hamaoka News and its Impacts~~~

Pipes inside condenser found damaged at Hamaoka nuclear plant Hmmm... Could happen at any time, I suppose. Things just falling about at random in the condenser and so on. Ho-hum.

Seawater Mix-up at #Hamaoka Nuke Plant: Pipes Broke in the Condenser When the End Cap Fell Off

See a picture of the damage in the condenser

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

Go on... spoil your afternoon... Hiroaki Koide of Kyoto University: "No One Knows How Fukushima Could Be Wound Down" As the Corium May Be Melting Through the Foundation Includes a 20 min. telephone interview with Prof. Koide in Japanese. (Original YouTube address) There's an English script of an interview with Prof. Koide in 2007.

Busby: Fukushima reactors a raging radioactive inferno I don't think they have the faintest idea what they're going to do here...

Thom Hartmann: Fukushima...ticking time bomb? Very nice final sentence, Thom!!!

The Akahata Newspaper notes this morning on its from page that of 7,400 people involved in the attempt to bring the reactors under control at the Fukushima nuclear disaster site only 1,400 have been tested with the 'whole-body counter,' which measures internal radiation exposure, and only 40 of those have received the results of the test so far. Apparently, there are only two of these counters reasonably close to the site and it will take about two months for all personnel to receive the checkup. TEPCO Vice-president Muto, however, promised to get at least 12 whole-body counters and begin checkups as soon as possible.

TEPCO releases photos of manned mission into Fukushima nuke reactor building Right now about as difficult as a manned mission to Mars. You can see all the photos on TEPCO's website. Fascinating, really. Why are they carrying backpacks with "OXY GEM" written on them? Looks as if it might be oxygen. Could they be so incompetent that they cannot spell the English correctly? Why not write it in Japanese, anyway?

"Mega float" arrives at Fukushima nuclear plant Stores 10,000 tons of water. But there's 100,000 tons of polluted water just hanging around on the site. And the article simply says the barge is to be used to store water, not take it somewhere. Well, where could they take it? Where could they dump it? They could possibly take it somewhere to demineralize the water, I suppose...

~~~TEPCO Stuff~~~

TEPCO names managing director Nishizawa as next president

TEPCO drowning in red ink, loses 1.25 trillion yen

Japan Utility Posts Loss of $15 Billion Shoot! What a mess! All that trouble to build all those reactors and make some cool $$$; one tsunami and it all goes up in smoke!

~~~

Japan, S. Korea to cooperate on nuke safety, postquake recovery

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

May 20

Yamaguchi governor likely to reverse policy and say 'no' to construction of nuclear plant

If Nii does not give the green-light, the utility will not be able to construct the reactors there. That's a policy reversal on the part of the governor, who had previously been cooperative on nuclear power generation. The governor is likely to announce his final decision at a prefectural assembly meeting in June, and his assessment is likely to affect other nuclear power plants whose operations are suspended as well as other plans to secure land for additional nuclear plants.

Yes, a big fight building up here, and the power companies have every incentive to play as dirty as they can to get the decision they want. This will require democratic pressure on the Governor not to waver. Expect to see a convergence of anti-nuclear activism on Yamaguchi Prefecture for this issue. The Japanese people must prevent the construction of new nuclear power stations...

~~~

Global Implications of Fukushima

Firstly let’s declare some interests and loyalties:

1. The nuclear power industry wants to appear as safe and competent as possible.
2. Mainstream media wants to report the most shocking and drawn-out disaster to sell more papers and increase readership.
3. Government wants you to be uninformed and scared by anything nuclear, because it makes the citizen feel small and powerless, while making the big brother state appear to have all the answers.

The radiation leaks of Iodine-131, Cesium-134 and Cesium-137 amongst others from the multiple reactor units in Fukushima will render the immediate vicinity a dangerous radioactive zone for many years to come.

But the mainstream media also has other functions, like keeping you enthralled in meaningless consumerism and acting as a backup for 1. and 2. by producing 'substitute' information - various forms of disinformation parading as "truth." (Used to be called 'Pravda') There has been a shift in Japan since 3/11; a move towards the democratization of the media now that it has been openly recognized that the power companies (especially TEPCO) should not be spending the profits accruing from everyone's electricity bill on forcing the media to toe the line on nuclear power (and thereby propagandizing the population) instead of spending the money on safety measures at nuclear power plants!

~~~

Nuclear power can endure Fukushima 'bump in the road': Blix Stockholm (AFP) May 18, 2011:

A former head of the UN nuclear watchdog, Hans Blix, said Wednesday he believed the development of nuclear power would continue despite Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant crisis, which he described as a "bump in the road" for the industry. "If you ask governments who are the ones who are going to decide eventually, I have no doubt that the majority of the world will continue to use nuclear," said Blix, a former chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

First I'd like to quote John Lennon...

I’m sick and tired of hearing things from uptight, short-sighted, narrow-minded hypocritics, all I want is the truth, just gimme some truth. I’ve had enough of reading things by neurotic, psychotic, pig-headed politicians, all I want is the truth, just gimme some truth. No short-haired, yellow-bellied, son of tricky dicky's gonna mother hubbard soft soap me with just a pocketful of hope; money for dope, money for rope...

Sorry about the copyright, John, but it is all over the Internet... You know the song... If you don't, but if you like John, please try to give it a listen sometime. If you don't understand what the lyrics are about then you're probably one of the people he's singing about...

Ahem... I have just two things I want to say to Mr. Blix. 1) Fukushima nuclear plant crisis as a "bump in the road" for the nuclear industry. What you need, Mr. Blix, is a bit more historical perspective. I would put it to you that the age of fossil fuels is even less than a "bump in the road" for humankind - more like what is known as the "fossil fuel pimple". 'We' do not wish to be irradiated or to have the Earth polluted by nuclear fallout (whether from nuclear weapons or nuclear power stations) just because you and the other 'nuclear villagers' want to make a fast buck. If there is a future for humankind, Mr. Blix, you and your descendants are also going to have to live on whatever kind of horrific Earth you and your friends are busy creating, you know? There's no escaping it. What's your answer for this?

2) "If you ask governments[,] who are the ones who are going to decide eventually..." Frankly, I find this little statement obscene. Totally unacceptable. Basically, what we have here (apart from a failure to communicate) is the nuclear industry telling us that democratic process doesn't even exist! The recognition that governments and policies can change through the ballot box is not accepted by the nuclear industry, Mr. Blix? I think 'eventually' the Japanese are going to prove you wrong. The media is beginning to fail in it's hypnotic function here - many young people are not reading the newspapers or even watching TV anymore. Where are they getting their information, Mr. Blix, do you know? From those who are telling the truth and from those who say, "Hey! I think WE CAN DO A LOT BETTER THAN THIS!"

And actually, there is a third thing. Mr. Blix. Let us invite you to imagine (John Lennon again) yourself as a farmer in Iitate Village or any of the towns and villages within about 40 km of the Fukushima nuclear disaster site. Do you think the disaster has been a 'bump in the road' for the people who used to live there? You and your nuclear village have very literally ruined the lives of tens of thousands, possibly millions of people, and you have the nerve to say it's just a 'bump on the road' for the industry?? If you don't mind me saying so (you probably do, but it needs to be said), the nuclear industry is not well known for its qualities of human compassion. In fact it seems to have no compunctions against trampling all over the rights, freedoms and lives of inconvenient people who get in the way (or who do the necessary work of repairs and maintenance inside nuclear power stations). As we saw yesterday, it is now looking most likely that those people who have evacuated from the areas close to Fukushima #1 will not be adequately compensated. Most of the Japanese people in the area where I live (120 km south of the nuclear disaster zone) are looking glum, scratching their heads and saying, "How are these people going to live?" Meanwhile PM Kan and his friends are gearing up for TPP negotiations, the result of which will be the destruction of the Japanese rural economy. A bump on the road for the nuclear industry? A bump on the road that spells the end for conventional politicians, maybe! (Rant, rant...)

.

~~~Hamaoka News and its Impacts~~~

Arsenic-76 Radioisotope from #Hamaoka Nuke Plant Reactor 5 Exhaust Duct Arsenic-76? 400-500 tons of sea water mysteriously entering the reactor core through the condenser? Very funky NPP!

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

New cooling systems to be installed at fuel pools I sometimes wonder if TEPCO isn't consciously dragging its collective feet over getting the reactors and associated equipment under control. "Three months earlier than originally planned" is fine, but what does that tell us about the validity of the original plan? And "the end of the month," while the facility is spewing out 100~150 Terabecquerels of iodine and cesium radiation per day. OK, I know, it's hard and dangerous work and all the equipment has to be built and transported to the site, and so on. Er... TEPCO, do we now have a sense of the notion that it's far easier in the end to do the necessary safety work before the facility goes out of control rather than after? (I should be writing Sesame Street skits!) If you cannot 'get' that, then please give us a break and put the nuclear playthings back in the box. Thank you. (Somehow reminds me of the old punk song by Splodgenessabounds, Two Pints of Lager And A Packet Of Crisps Please - and if you accuse me of making this up I will stick an mp3 of the song here just to prove that I am NOT making any of this up, honest!)

===

Radiation tests lacking / Nuclear plant workers unsure of internal exposure levels

Doctors defy radiation woes in Japan's Fukushima

Reactor No. 6 now has over 6 feet of contaminated water in turbine building — Water in reactor building may cause cooling system to fail

Humidity, heat, radiation in reactor buildings

Workers find pools of water at No.2

TEPCO needs to stop ignoring the 'inconvenient'

Interview with Akira Tokuhiro, Nuclear Engineer: Fukushima and the Mass Media

~~~

TEPCO to post huge loss, president to resign: reports

Tepco told to avoid sale of national park land
Pretty ridiculous really that TEPCO should have land in Oze National Park, even if it is an historical hangover from pre-war times (when the intelligent people of the area prevented the company from building a hydroelectricity power station there). IMHO the government should buy it from TEPCO. Who minds if government money is spent to ensure the proper management of this beautiful park? I have hiked in this park five or six times, mostly in the late 80s and early 90s, and it is truly one of the treasures of Japan. Great place to go for two or three days' hiking! Don't let any private company get their hands on it (well, TEPCO owns a large part of it, but if they need the ready cash, let's have no hesitation in taking it off their hands).

~~~

Shizuoka Governor: "We Won't Test Our Bulk Tea for Radiation, But Our Tea Is Safe, Turst Us" Telling customers that products are contaminated with radiation only confuses them and adds to their distrust of the government. Sure...

Radiation limits activities in school fields
More than 90 percent of elementary and junior high schools in Fukushima City disallow or limit outdoor activities for students in their athletic fields due to radiation-contaminated topsoil.

Trace of radioactive materials detected in Osaka

~~~

Atmosphere Above Japan Heated Rapidly Before M9 Earthquake Infrared emissions above the epicenter increased dramatically in the days before the devastating earthquake in Japan, say scientists.

Some people think it was HAARP
Atmosphere Above Japan Heated Rapidly Before M9 Earthquake

~~~Overseas~~~

Power plants vulnerable to hackers: security firm

Czech PM urges expertise in European nuke stress tests

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

May 19

~~~Halleluya, brothers and sisters, more revelations!~~~

Release of radioactive water made at request of U.S.: Cabinet adviser Nearly 10 weeks after the earthquake of March 11 and the revelations just keep pouring in!! Erm... When I mentioned to some friends that PM Kan had decided to request the shutdown of Hamaoka NPP at the 'suggestion' of the US, they said, "Yes, we heard that, but do you believe it?" The link to the article where this is mentioned is on May 12 below, but beware - the video clip of the TV program where this came up has now been deleted! So how do I prove it? Nothing left but belief...

Now, it seems, the release of radioactive water into the sea, quite a controversial decision at the time, was also not made on the Japanese government's independent judgment, but at the request of the US government. It's often been said (usually jokingly) that Japan is the 51st State, but this seems to be clear evidence that Japan is incapable of doing almost anything without US input. Is this kind of thing, then, going on on a daily basis...? BTW, why would the US ask for such a thing to be done anyway?

===

On the subject of water, the Akahata Newspaper gave a breakdown of the amounts of radioactive water at the disaster site on page 15 this morning. The unit is tons.

Reactor Reactor Building Turbine Building Trench Reactor Total

1

2700

9000

6000

17700

2

6500

13000

5500

25000

3

5600

9600

6800

22000

4

5600

9600

4800

20000

5

100

200

a little

300

6

4000

9500

a little

13500

TOTAL

24500

509002

23100

98500

To this has to be added the 7,500 tons that has already been moved from reactors 2 and 3 to another building on the site bringing the total to over 100,000 tons. TEPCO also announced on May 17 that from mid-July a 'cleaner' - presumably a demineralizer, but the article is not specific - with a daily treatment capacity of 1,200 tons will be installed on the site so that the water can be recycled to the reactors for cooling.

However, this is not ALL the water, because we know that large amounts of water have been released into the sea, or have seeped into the groundwater below the reactor buildings, from where it is flowing into the sea or possibly inland through the water table. In fact, the water in reactors 5 and 6 originates from the water that has been sprayed, dumped or injected into reactors 1-4 in the attempt to cool them. This water has then escaped through the damaged containments and reactor buildings into the groundwater. The concrete foundations of the buildings that make up Fukushima #1 are almost certainly damaged. The evidence for this is in the article #Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Ground May Have Shifted So Much That It May Have Caused Damage to Foundation, which is very detailed and I recommend you go to the article on EX-SKF to read about that.

===

Aquaculture damage over ¥100 billion

===

Failed venting tries linked to No. 2 damage Steam buildup likely harmed suppression chamber. Our lucky day! More revelations, and only about ten weeks late. Have we been good, patient children, or not?

In the second attempt, the valves closed after several minutes, raising the possibility that the batteries supplying electricity to keep them open had died.

The batteries died... Greatest nuclear disaster the world has ever know and they tell us that the batteries died (possibly). Sounds like, "Johnnie, why didn't you listen to the radio programme I told you to listen to for homework last night?" "Sorry, miss, I think it was possibly because the batteries in my transistor radio died." Is the collective TEPCO a primary school kiddie? Are batteries never checked to see if they are in working order? I know there are probably a lot of them in the reactor building and elsewhere, but nuclear power stations are Dangerous and important safety equipment has to be checked regularly. If you go back to my original article and scroll down to paragraph #7, you will see that early in March this year TEPCO was taken to task for inadequate inspections of safety equipment, a whole list of stuff that might have included these batteries - where can I get hold of a copy of this report, submitted apparently to NISA?? Must make very interesting reading. "Oh, and sorry, miss, we forgot to check the batteries on the venting valves..." Truly pathetic.

===

Revelation time again! Radiation Safety Philippines links to the photos of the 3/11 tsunami coming into Fukushima #1 on TEPCOs website. What I find amazing about these photos is firstly the time it has taken to publish them (why?) and the fact that they give us a good TIME record of the arrival of the tsunami. Please have a look at TEPCO's site linked above. Even though it's in Japanese, you can read the dates - 3 is March, 5 is May - Japanese 101. Look just below the two photos for May 19. There is a list of links. The top one is for 3:42 pm (the date, 2011/3/11) is just above it. Take a look at the photo. Taken looking north from the 4th floor of a 'waste treatment building.' The wave is just rolling in and hitting a car that is parked there and about to hit two other vehicles parked there. Beyond that is dry, as far as I can see. SO this is the FIRST wave to hit, not the second or subsequent tsunami wave. It is just arriving. 3:42 pm. Till now I have assumed that the tsunami hit at 3:25 to 3:30. Now we apparently know what time it was. Take a look through the whole little series of photos. Serious, yes, but I'm left thinking, "Is this the big serious 14 m tsunami TEPCO has been whining about all these weeks (despite the fact that it seems to have been actually 7 m - maybe the larger one came later and we're going to see the photos of it in July or August? Can't wait. Yawn.)? Wow! How underwhelming!

Amazing photos of the tsunami hitting the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant

There are lots more articles on Radiation Safety Philippines, including the next one...

Tepco Misleading Public Over Nuclear Crisis Well, after all, what do you think would happen to their share price if they told the truth ("1, 2, and 3 have completely melted down, the spent nuclear fuel in all the fuel pools is a mess or not even present, we are at an almost total loss as to how to get the situation under control, and we don't understand the science anyway - we just leave all that up to the makers or the government or the sub-contractors"? Would you buy their shares???

And if a company could produce pretty pdf 'roadmaps' to convince you about how clever, confident and competent they are, would you buy their shares???
TEPCO's New Roadmap to .... Anywhere?

~~~

Kan assures that nuclear-crisis-hit municipalities will be compensated

OK. When? How? Probably not soon. A TEPCO director, Naoki Hirose, gave an explanation about compensation at a meeting for the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, agricultural organizations and the food industry yesterday. It was reported on the NHK 7pm news in the evening and there was a small article about it on p.2 of the Tokyo Newspaper this morning. Mr. Hirose informed the audience that the only precedent for such compensation is the JCO 'criticality' accident that occurred at Tokai Village in 1999. At that time the compensations paid out were HALF the amounts of the claims. Mr. Hirose said, "We would like to refer to this when we come to make the announcement (of the calculation criteria)." So PM Kan is not "lying" when he makes these "promises," but there may also be things he knows but doesn't say.

On the subject of compensations and the JCO accident, since it is likely to have a bearing on compensations for the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the Tokyo Newspaper yesterday carried an article about a woman who claimed compensation for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) brought on by the fear of radiation during the JCO accident. The woman had certificates from three different doctors, but was turned down. The father of the woman felt certain enough that this was unfair and took the case to court, where they lost the case. The judge placed emphasis on the opinion of an academic who had not examined the woman, but had said in his report that the necessary condition for PTSD was that the woman should have seen the bodies of people who had died in the accident, and since she had not then it could not be PTSD. So please do not try claiming compensation for the fear of radiation because "the State does not recognize fears that you cannot see" (the title of the article). The 'morale' of the story is (no surprise) - lots of talk about compensation, but when it comes to hard cash on the table it will be the victims who are victimized and who will then have to pay back their insufficient compensations through higher electricity rates. Come on, TEPCO, make me ashamed of having written that... please!

Radioactive material detected in grass in Miyagi In fact (according to the NHK news this evening at 7 pm) the area affected goes from Miyagi in the north to at least Ibaraki in the south. Er... but rice is a grass too, and lots of farmers are transplanting their rice seedlings out into the paddy fields right now. I did mine today too. Plenty of my farmer friends out doing the same, quite nonchalantly. I talked about it with my family. The result was that we would plant it and then decide at harvest time if it's safe to eat. (The criterion will probably be that we go down to the paddy field at night to see if it's glowing or not. Ha, ha!)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

May 18

The 6am NHK TV news yesterday (May 17) confirmed for me that the emergency diesel generator at reactor 1 ran for only 10 minutes before running out of fuel. That basically confirms what I have said in the May 16 update below. If the fuel tank had had fuel in it, the cooling should have continued at least until the first tsunami wave arrived approximately 30 minutes later. The question now is: Would the tsunami wave have actually put the emergency diesel generator out of action? We may never know the answer.

The new enervated Tepco

Although the government and Tokyo Electric Power Co. (Tepco), the operator of the ill-fated plant, have worked out plans to pay compensation to victims of the crisis, it appears they are interested less in protecting people from radiation than in preserving the existing semi-monopolistic system of the power industry and in enabling the government of Prime Minister Naoto Kan to survive.

Sadly true, though it seems that Kan is far less important than the survival of TEPCO.

Should Tepco go bankrupt, not only would the Japanese financial market be thrown into an utter chaos, but international markets would lose their trust in Japanese banking institutions to the extent that the institutions would have to pay higher interest rates to secure funds.

Oh, my heart bleeds. And though it may impact myself and my family financially, I'd far prefer to live in a world without the likes of TEPCO, thanks. The damage to people's lives and the 'environment' has already been done, and I surmise to the ability of Japan to somehow revive itself to its former economic and technological 'glory.' So let's not worry so much about being blackmailed for the sake of the survival of companies like TEPCO. Let it go bankrupt. If you care about it, you've probably already lost your soul in the Faustian bargain anyway...

Tepco loss to exceed ¥800 billion

When it comes to mighty Tepco, pride goes before the fall
Quite a lot of general information on TEPCO

Rosy telling of nuke response, warnings headed for IAEA Just gimme some truth, all I want is the truth, now...

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

Meanwhile, in Fukushima...

Famous Physicist - The Nightmare Is Not Over, Fukushima Is A Ticking Time Bomb - Michio Kaku Michio Kaku mentions here the report that it will take three decades to decommission the Fukushima #1 reactors.

Hitachi, GE Submit Plan to Dismantle Fukushima Nuclear Plant This is maybe the original report from April 13 saying that decommissioning the reactors may take three decades.

Hiroaki Koide of Kyoto University: "Melted Core Outside the Containment Vessel"

Asahi Shinbun: Core Meltdown in Reactors 2 and 3 at #Fukushima Oh, look. The media is now reporting core meltdowns in reactors 2 and 3 as well reactor one. Yawn. Whatever next?

Workers enter No.2 reactor building

And apparently wearing 'tungsten vests' weighing several kilograms. What's so good about tungsten???
#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Workers Enter Reactor 2 Bldg in Tungsten Vest>

TEPCO documents reveal chaos at Fukushima nuke plant after quake, tsunamiQuite an interesting article on what was going on at Fukushima #1 in the first 24 hours or so. Why is the info coming out now???

Water manually turned off: data Worker error may have led to meltdown... What? When we already know that the emergency generator stopped after 10 minutes! Is this some kind of a smokescreen - make all the stories so complicated that most people can't follow them and just get confused?

Back-up cooling systems at Fukushima failed All sounds to me like a fabrication designed to turn attention away from the lack of fuel in the emergency diesel generator fuel tank.

N-reactor cooling failed before tsunami Similar story, but a bit different - the condenser goes off and on intermittently as if there was someone in the plant or control room turning it on and off - in the middle of a nuclear crisis? Yeah, sure, why not?

Cooling system of Fukushima plant's No. 1 reactor not functioning before tsunami

TEPCO revises plan to stabilize reactors

Rising radiation levels

Kan says meltdown unlikely to slow schedule for bringing nuclear crisis under control What does he know about it??!!

~~~

More villagers near troubled nuclear plant evacuate as no-entry zone expanded

Government releases new map of predicted radiation exposure

~~~

Tea growers in Ibaraki halt shipments

Radioactive substance detected in green tea leaves in Ibaraki towns Daigo is just north of where I live. Beautiful place - an old lumbering town with disintegrating forests waiting for the transition back to using Japanese wood for building and fuel. A lot of tea orchards there too. Hey, TEPCO, come up my way to apologise - I have some awkward questions to ask you...

Shizuoka, Kanagawa governments oppose radiation screening order for tea leaves

~~~

Gov't set to review growth strategy, shift energy focus Er... you mean they still expect to see growth after all this??

Kan to review Japan's nuclear fuel cycle policy I think Shii knows what he's talking about. The Japan Communist Party have been quite good at opposing nuclear power for a couple of decades now. I get the feeling that Kan and the reporter do not understand what "the nuclear fuel cycle policy" is. The article might have been a bit clearer if it had been written in Khmer.

~~~

Anti-nukes songs go viral after mainstream outlets reluctant to play them Ha, ha! Banning it is the best way to publicize it!

Japanese blogger claims that Geiger Counters, Dosimeters from US, France, Canada Still Sit in Narita Warehouse

~~~

Japan, Germany and China Turn Away from Unsafe Nuclear Power ... Americans Have Only Weeks to Stop Our Government From Going Rogue

Hitachi to speed up cooperation with GE in nuclear plant business

The Definitive Battle Over New Nukes - America's New Nuclear Showdown

German minister wants aging reactors shut down

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

May 16

~~~Hamaoka News and its Impacts~~~

Trouble hampered cold shutdown at Hamaoka

The Nagoya-based firm said the problem in the reactor's cooling system was found Saturday evening after a gauge indicated that around 400 tons of seawater had flowed into the condenser at around 4:30 p.m., most likely because of a piping problem.

The water also found its way into the reactor, making it necessary to desalinate it, the company said...

In a related development, Katsuya Okada, secretary general of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan, said Sunday that any nuclear power plants that are still closed or were shut down after March 11 should be restarted if they meet tougher safety standards.

"It is an irrefutable fact that Japan cannot secure the electricity it needs unless it utilizes existing nuclear plants and those under construction," he said.

1) Piping problem? Seawater in the reactor? Desalination? That sounds like quite a serious problem to me. 2) "Irrefutable fact"??? Kindly refer to the blog update for May 9 to see that the reverse is actually true. If the Japanese are careful and clever (they are usually believed to possess these qualities) nuclear power is not necessary at all.

While we're on the subject, I mentioned in yesterday's update that many of Japan's nuclear reactors are now offline, but was not sure how many. I later noticed that the detailed situation is given on the front page of the Tokyo Newspaper for yesterday. Firstly, nothing on the east coast is running. Three reactors on Kyushu and two on Shikoku are running. Two reactors are running on Hokkaido, but one of those (Tomari 3) is in "adjustment". On the Japan Sea (west) coast, 12 reactors are running, one reactor (Ohi 1) is in "adjustment". So 19 of the original 54 reactors (including all reactors at Fukushima #1) are running, two of which are in "adjustment". "Adjustment" usually means that they have just started up after a down period for regular maintenance or repairs, and usually lasts about a month before they shift to normal "commercial" operation. However, the two mentioned here as in "adjustment" restarted just before the March 11 earthquake and are still in that state over two months later, which is apparently very unusual. They appear to be both running and generating electricity at 100% capacity, so essentially it is no different from normal operation.

Two-thirds back Kan over Hamaoka closure - But would they have done so if they knew the reason for it was that he was 'requested' to do so by the US? This is not common knowledge here and the TV program where this was revealed has now been removed from the web.

.

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

Key nuclear facilities may have been damaged before tsunami Oh, this is brilliant, isn't it? Please go back to my original article on the triple disaster and do a search for "control rods" - you'll very quickly see that a source of unconfirmed info told me on March 13 "When the earthquake struck, the control rods did not enter the reactors properly." Isn't this what the article linked here is trying to tell us?

TEPCO Stating the Obvious After 2 Months: Reactor 1 Meltdown Occurred Within 16 Hours of March 11 Earthquake
"Almost of all the fuel rods melted and dropped to the bottom of the pressure vessel by 6:50 am on March 12th." (NHK WORLD news) TEPCO has disclosed that the reactor 1 meltdown occurred within 16 hours of the March 11 earthquake.Rapid meltdown occurs in No.1 reactor

Core of reactor 1 melted 16 hours after quake New analysis shows damage to fuel rods was surprisingly quick. Yes, and info comes out surprisingly slowly, doesn't it? Well, it would be quick if the control rods had failed to insert correctly and the emergency cooling system had not been working. And since my source was perhaps correct about this on March 13, I will also reiterate that the source informed me at the time that the "fuel had been removed from the emergency diesel generator fuel tank." The source had obviously heard that from someone who knew about it for sure, so I assume that there are people walking around with this knowledge in their heads. How many months, if ever, till we get the FULL story on this too???

TEPCO's Analysis of Reactor 1 Core Meltdown From here you can download your very own fun TEPCO pdf file: Reactor Core Status of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station Unit 1.

TEPCO - IT'S A NICE DAY TODAY - CAN WE HAVE SOME ANSWERS PLEASE??? HERE ARE YOUR QUESTIONS BELOW...

Graphs of water levels and temperatures. - See p.2 - clearly max core temperature is about 750C at the time of the earthquake (1446). It seems to fall very quickly to about 300C in a matter of minutes and then more or less levels out until about 1800, when the water level in the reactor core reaches the top of the active fuel.

Was the water leaking out of the reactor or evaporating? Hard to tell. Could be either, but judging from the way the water injection has little effect on the water level, it looks like a leak at that point. If the tsunami stopped the emergency cooling system, why doesn't the water level start to go down immediately after the tsunami arrived? Because it takes time for the water to boil? So at first the drop in water level is due to evaporation, perhaps?

Max core temperature rose very quickly after the water level dropped below the lower end of the active fuel, sometime after 1800, to about 2,900C sometime after 1900. Note on p.3 that the whole core seems to have molten down by about 0650 the following morning. Until just after 0600, looking at the water level graph, it seems that injecting water had some effect, but not after. So the molten core perhaps burned a hole in the bottom of the reactor pressure vessel and after that time water simply leaked away.

Also on the two left-hand diagrams on p.3, TEPCO has not deemed it necessary to show the control rods. Or were they simply not there? IF the control rods DID insert into the reactor core after the earthquake, would they not have slowed the meltdown process? If not, what are they for? I'm not a nuclear power expert, so I don't know, but it seems to me that control rods that control the nuclear reaction even if coolant is lost would be a 'good idea.' What's the truth of the matter?

Looking at the max core temperature graph on p.2, immediately after the earthquake the temperature falls quickly. Something is working as it should, perhaps. Then the temperature abruptly rises a little, and then the tsunami arrives, but doesn't seem to make much difference. Why not? Is this consistent with the notion that the diesel generator might have run for a short time and then stopped for lack of fuel? If the generator(s) were still running when the tsunami arrived, wouldn't the core temperature have continued to drop until that time? The tsunami may have damaged the emergency generators and pumps, but that would make very little difference if the generators had already stopped anyway, would it? Can you please explain the above? We're dying to know the truth.

A remarkably garbled article from NHK: TEPCO: Fuel rods partially exposed above water ...or what used to be fuel rods before they melted down.

.

Fukushima I Reactor 3: TEPCO Pouring Boric Acid to Prevent Recriticality, Yomiuri Shinbun (10:02PM JST 5/15/2011)

Radioactivity at intake of No.3 reactor rises

TEPCO makes effort to grasp precise water levels
Still a big mess and essentially flying blind.

TEPCO: No.4 blast due to hydrogen from No.3
Oh, so they discovered that the ducts from reactors 3 and 4 were joined at some place. You mean they didn't know that before yesterday? It makes one wonder what horror story they will discover tomorrow.

Original plan to cool Fukushima nuclear reactor to be scrapped

~~~

Professor Kunihiko Takeda: "Teachers, Wake Up and Protect Children from Radiation!" Who's going to protect the students in schools in the polluted areas if the government isn't willing to do so??!!

~~~Animals~~~

Beef brand hailing from area near Fukushima plant could face extinction
The Akahata Newspaper also ran an article in yesterday's newspaper about the "planned evacuation" of Iitate Village and some of the surrounding areas. At an explanatory meeting on May 13, livestock farmers were given the stark choice of moving animals (mostly beef cattle) to other pasture areas in Japan or having them 'disposed of.' Since the problem of compensation is not yet at all clear, the farmers are justifiably indignant. Of the 9330 head of beef cattle in Iitate Village and three neighbouring towns or villages, 7.7% (716) had been moved away as of May 1. There seems to be no question of just letting the animals run free. They must either be moved out or killed. However, we have seen on TV recently small herds of cattle running around freely in the evacuation zone less than 20 km from the disaster site, but there the government probably didn't have time to "plan" anything, so the animals either escaped (or were let free by the farmers) or died in their sheds.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

May 15

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

Water Torture at #Fukushima: Reactor 3's Temperature Remains High Despite Added Water, and Contaminated Water in Reactor 2 Trench Is Rising

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant Reactor 1 Bldg: 2,000 Millisieverts/Hr at Southeast Double Door, 3,000 Tons of Water in the Basement

I'm lost for words. I just can't relate to the idea that this is happening 120 km from where I live. I'm sure people in Tokyo envision it as a totally fantasy world - not just up the coast from where they are. When I read this stuff, I can hear John Lennon singing Cold Turkey inside my brain. It's that combination of lyrics and frenetic music that seems to fit with this ongoing nightmare...

Contaminated nuke plant workers going back on job as safety regs go by wayside

"Both TEPCO and the original contractor appear to be thinking it's natural that we're contaminated with radioactive substances, considering our working environment," he lamented.

"Many of us are eager to help get the plant under control, and think we can't avoid being contaminated. But frankly speaking, we're concerned," he added.

TEPCO: Years needed to remove damaged nuclear fuel Recycling the news now. We already knew that a LONG time ago.

This is from April 23, but it seems I missed it...

Japan admits daily radioactive release from Fukushima at 154 trillion Becquerels, many times higher than previously announced — Nuclear commission blames calculation error
Did a little calculator error cause the Nuclear Safety Commission to be complacent about what was happening at the disaster site? If you can pull yourself away from the pretty Japanese girls at the top of the page, you will see that it is very possible that the NSC simply did not know how to do the calculation. Not really much of a surprise after everything else that has happened. (Surely, you're not going to suggest that the did it on purpose....?)

How does this release of radioactivity compare with that of Chernobyl?

It is said that 154 TBq are being released per day. If it takes ten years to bring the reactors under control then the total release would be 154 x 365 x 10 = 562,000 TBq

But an article on April 13 said that between 370,000 TBq and 630,000 TBq had been released up to that point (presumably April 12), so 154 TBq x 32 days = 4,829 TBq

This is too small, so the great majority of the releases must have come in explosions and vents around 13 to 24 March.

Taking the higher figure:
630,000 TBq - 4829 TBq = 625,171 TBq released in explosions and vents.

Now add this and the radiation released per day over ten years:
562,000 + 625,171 = 1,187,171 TBq
providing there are no further explosions and/or other severe events.

Chernobyl apparently released 5.2 million TBq (same article on April 13), so releases from Fukushima #1 so far are approximately 12% of releases from Chernobyl, but at the current rate they will be about 23% of releases from Chernobyl.

What's missing? Do the announced releases include releases as water?

This article, Japan ups nuke crisis severity to match Chernobyl, says, "Based on an average of their estimates and a formula that converts elements into a common radioactive measure, the equivalent of about 500,000 terabecquerels of radiation from iodine-131 has been released into the atmosphere since the crisis began." So liquid releases are not counted. Are there any figures for total radioactive water releases into the sea and ground water?

Accurate data destroys optimistic TEPCO assessment, hampers cooling plan

Off the Scale: Radiation in No. 1 reactor building exceeds 1,000 millisieverts per hour — Levels too high for Geiger counter to measure

‘Situation’ at No. 1 reactor “could escalate rapidly if the lava melts through the reactor vessel”

TEPCO official describes possible meltdown at No. 1 reactor: The “molten fuel accumulates like lava”

“Nuclear meltdown at Fukushima” — TEPCO worried fuel burned a hole through bottom of containment vessel

TEPCO concealed radiation data before explosion at No. 3 reactor
Truly ludicrous!! As if they could hide it! The spikes mentioned here showed up as huge spikes at my local monitoring point, 120 km from the disaster site. They are so arrogant that they think if they don't announce it no one will notice! Amazing, incredible stupidity!

Contaminated Ground Water at Fukushima
There is no doubt that the groundwater at the nuclear disaster site is being polluted (e.g. see Arnie Gundersen's video on May 8. What we do not know is how far the pollution is spreading. Some, or most, of it is undoubtedly reaching the sea. Once the pollution reaches the water table, some of it is probably moving inland.

Also, radioactive sludge has been turning up at sewage treatment plants (see yesterday and May 2), especially at Koriyama, about 55 km (35 miles) inland, due west, of the disaster site. It is not thought that this is due to groundwater pollution. Rather, since Koriyama is in a natural basin, it appears that the (rain) runoff from the surrounding mountains is being concentrated in the sewage system in the city, and this is resulting in radioactive sludge at the sewage plants.

Government compiles timetable for dealing with Fukushima accident, evacuees Very typical of the Japanese to be drawing up a detailed plan for something that is essentially out of control! I can see the need for responses to irate people who demand to know what the government is doing about the disaster, but the Japanese tend to overdo it a bit, preferring to get their noses stuck in paperwork rather than get on with the important job at hand (and I'm not just talking about nuclear disasters here). ALSO, they still seem to be talking about "cold shutdowns" of the reactors. What on earth is a cold shutdown for a reactor(s) possibly in the process of a meltdown?? Just cool it and get it under control, please!

EDITORIAL: TEPCO desperately needs a 'plan B'

TEPCO to review cooling operation

TEPCO releases photos in the No.1 reactor

Canopy to cover damaged reactors - more duct tape needed

TEPCO confirms water in No.1 reactor

Radioactivity at No.3 reactor leaking into ocean
That's the reactor that was using MOX as fuel. So plutonium is being flushed into the Pacific Ocean??

Massive floating platform heads for Fukushima
Wow! So they are going to carry the polluted water away 10,000 tons at a time! But to where? Where is there a 'safe' place to put it? Isn't it all just going to end up in the ocean???

.

~~~Hamaoka News and its Impacts~~~

Japanese News - Hamaoka NPP Unit 5 Shutdown Kansai EPCO Mihama NPP Unit 3 is also due to shutdown today. When that happens, 35 of Japan's 54 nuclear reactors will be shut down. However, I am not sure how they are counting reactors 1-4 at Fukushima #1, so it is possible that only 15 reactors are actually generating electricity now.

~~~

Oyster farming resumes in disaster-hit Oh-funato

~~~

Panel backs new U.S. storage site for nuclear waste

Interesting read from Jennifer Lake's blog if you have the time.
Atomic Power, No Contest

World Awash In Environmental Armageddon An Open Letter to the People of Japan - March 17, 2011.

Will Fukushima’s Next Earthquake Start A Global Extinction Event?
A doomsayers viewpoint. One of these days you will look at the clock and it will say “too late”. Maybe we're already there now.

In the Wake of the Fukushima Disaster: "Problems" at American Nuclear Energy Plants

Most of the radiation is staying around Japan. But look at this wind direction map:
WHERE IS THE RADIATION GOING?


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

May 14

New video from Arnie Gundersen -- Fukushima - One Step Forward and Four Steps Back as Each Unit Challenged by New Problems

The Fukushima Nuclear Disaster in Perspective
by Dr. Helen Caldicott
: Dr. Helen Caldicott's March 18th press conference in Montreal, sponsored by the Centre for Research non Globalization (CRG)

Tepco "Compensation" for Fukushima Nuclear Crisis is a Political Fraud by Yoichi Shimatsu. Mr. Shimatsu tell us about the nice company the Japanese government are so keen to preserve.

The threats against crusading editors are real due to Tepco's long-standing ties with the yakuza, which recruits homeless men and alcoholic derelicts for short-term and uninsured jobs as "jumpers", who do the clean-up duty inside nuclear reactors. After becoming irradiated, these unfortunates are driven back into squalid urban ghettoes with a fistful of cash for their next bottle of cheap alcohol or a syringe of heroin. That’s labor relations, Tepco-style, which the in-house union has failed to protest.

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

Japan Reactor-Core Damage Worse Than Thought
What they know is that they don't know very much about what's going on inside the reactors. Cold shutdown of the three reactors may be achieved "as early as October." In the meantime, please go back to sleep.

Melted nuclear fuel casts doubt on credibility of TEPCO data

Please continue to look at http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/. Seems like Google made some kind of error during its maintenance of the blogspot site and removed ALL (the whole world) May 11 posts! Now, what a surprise!

TEPCO to cover No.1 reactor building with duct tape

TEPCO searching for 'missing' radioactive water

Fukushima Daiichi plant worker dies

~~~Hamaoka News and its Impacts~~~

Japan starts shutting down Hamaoka nuclear reactor

All Hamaoka reactors shut down

This article has quite a lot of useful info in it apart from the renewables idea...
Renewable's time is now, expert says
Goal should be 100% reliance on alternative energy by 2050.

"Japan should target supplying 100 percent of power by renewable energy sources in 2050. It's an ambitious goal, but I believe we should work for it," Iida said.

Yes, but I'm sceptical. 1) 100% of power in 2050 means how much power? 100% of what we have today, or 100% of what we use in 2050, which might be 50%, 30% 10%, etc. of what we use today. I don't mind if it's 10%, etc., but I want that to be spelt out. 2) Also, are we assuming then that the whole energy system will create enough energy to make it possible to (re)manufacture the same equipment (i.e. one solar panel and its associated equipment such as batteries will generate the power needed to manufacture the same solar panel and associated equipment) and still provide society with substantial net energy? I assume that is what is meant. If not, it means that we might be producing 100% of power in 2050, but as the equipment ages and breaks down we might be only capable of generating 20% of that amount of energy in 2080 or 2090. (Which would still be "100%" of the power used at that time.) If the answer is 'no' or 'don't know,' then the power we will be generating in the 22nd century may be 0% of what we are generating now.

~~~

Fukushima schoolchildren's radiation exposure estimated at half of upper limit

Sewage plants in Fukushima perplexed over how to dispose of highly radioactive sludge

Radioactive ash found in Tokyo after March 11
A sewage plant in eastern Tokyo detected a highly radioactive substance in incinerator ash shortly after the nuclear crisis began at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, metropolitan government sources revealed Friday.

~~~

~~~Overseas~~~

The Radioactive Dictatorship of Silvio Berlusconi
Italy's Great Nuclear Swindle, By MICHAEL LEONARDI

EU nuclear safety testing row in meltdown

Greenpeace EU nuclear policy adviser Jan Haverkamp insisted: "What national nuclear regulators appear to want from stress tests is a largely toothless paper-shuffling exercise".

Global resource consumption to triple by 2050: UN

Global consumption of natural resources could almost triple to 140 billion tons a year by 2050 unless nations take drastic steps, the United Nations warned Thursday.
A UN environment panel said the world cannot sustain the tearaway rate of use of minerals, ores and fossil and plant fuels. It called on governments to "decouple" economic growth from natural resource consumption....

It said governments must find ways to do more with less, at a faster rate than economic growth -- the notion of "decoupling".

"We must realize that prosperity and well-being do not depend on consuming ever-greater quantities of resources," said the report.

"Decoupling is not about stopping growth. It's about doing more with less. Global resource consumption is exploding. It's not a trend that is in any way sustainable."

What are these people on the UN environment panel reading? (Or maybe, what are they smoking these days?) Firstly, my perception is that the first sentence should read something like: The United Nations warned Thursday that unless nations take drastic steps to alleviate the problems that will be caused by the depletion of natural resources and the build up of pollutants in the biosphere, the availability of water and the production of essentials such as food, clothing and medicines will be totally insufficient to meet the needs of the projected world population in 2050.

Secondly, "growth"? In 2050? I do not think so. And I would not like to see what kind of a world this will be if those who insist that economies must continue to grow get their way. We must instead learn the lesson of Chernobyl, Deepwater Horizon and Fukushima #1. The attempt to increase affluence while populations are rising and resources are depleting will lead us down a path to the use of more and more dangerous technologies for smaller and smaller net energy gains.

I have been saying since about 1994 that, if we continue on our current path till about 2050 or so, the world will end up with a degraded environment and a very poor resource base (including the soil). I do not think the world will be much fun in 2050. And I do not think the world population will be 9.3 billion in that year, as the UN currently predicts.

At the end of the 21st century, if the world population is around four to five billion, that might just be sustainable and a fairly good world to live in. How 'we' get there is 'our' choice, but who will actually make the decisions? This UN report makes it sound as if the world will be OK (that growth will sustain the improvements in the comfortable industrialized world lifestyles?) if governments make a few necessary adjustments here and there, and yet here we are in Japan with a government twiddling about with a nuclear power station that is a total disaster, completely out of control, and no end in sight.

The Japanese people are quickly coming to the realisation that the government knows little better about what to do (about Fukushima #1 and the future of energy in Japan, etc...) than their next door neighbour, and that Japan had better come up with some new energy options pretty quickly. New energy options, of course, means a different society. The one we have now, we have just noted to our regret, is one that is defined by the use of nuclear power. Perhaps we can 'invent' a different one, one that is less 'consumerist' and has a little more human compassion. Perhaps for next year the UN would like to think about writing a report more along those lines.

US nuclear regulators discuss Fukushima accident

Energy Dept: US will help contain Fukushima crisis

Pakistan inaugurates third nuclear reactor
1) Let's hope Pakistan is not planning on producing material for nuclear weapons from this nuclear power program. 2) Let's also hope they can run their reactors safely and not cause more accident disasters like Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima #1.

The Japanese Economy: How Its Post-Earthquake Weakness and Scuffles With China Contribute to a Global-Market Reversal

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

May 13
Friday 13th today. Hope nothing is going to gu wong!

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

More from EX-SKF: Continuing story of the 'lost' water in reactor 1.
From TEPCO Presser May 12 AM (Part 1): "We Have No Idea Where the Water Went" from Reactor 1 RPV/Containment Vessel
And this also suggests that TEPCO, the government and academia do not have a clue what is going on in reactor 1.

"We Don't Know Whether the Fuel Rods Have Melted Or Crumbled"
Understatements galore from TEPCO's Matsumoto on May 12.

TEPCO: A Few Centimeter Diameter Hole at the Bottom of Reactor 1's Pressure Vessel, Maybe

Reactor 1 fuel rods melted, sank to bottom Coolant water much lower than Tepco had been estimating.

Melting of reactor 1 fuel 'no surprise'

"It's neither a surprise nor bad news," Kunihiko Takeda of Chubu University told The Japan Times. "This means Tepco has been pumping lots of water in the reactor without knowing what exactly is happening in it, which is the best thing Tepco could do." He added that reactors No. 2 and 3 may also be in the same situation.

FAB! That's great news, professor. The world's blowing up, but that's the best thing that could happen. Ho-hum.

Nuclear fuel at Fukushima No. 1 unit melted after full exposure

Water likely leaking from No.1 reactor

TEPCO to review No. 1 reactor plan

NISA: no need to flood No.1 reactor

Hidehiko Nishiyama told reporters on Friday that melted rods at the bottom of the No. 1 reactor are being cooled by a small amount of water.

Being cooled by a small amount of water? I'm not a nuclear power expert, but this sounds like Mr. Nakayama doesn't have much of a conception about what the inside of a (damaged) reactor is like. You mean to say that at the bottom of the reactor vessel there is a mess of molten fuel rods and 'a small amount of water' around it that is cooling it? Could the molten fuel rods be that cool that they could be cooled by a small amount of water? If so, what have we been playing at all this time? If not, then how is it even possible?

Reactor 1 in worse shape than thought
Cracks suspected in containment after fuel rods found fully exposed

New radioactive leak raises questions

TEPCO drowning in dealing with tons of radioactive water

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Reactor 3 Leaking Radioactive Water into Ocean

Radioactive water leaked while being transferred

Nuclear Crisis Drags On
Pretty tepid NHK English video about the nuclear disaster (5 min. 30 sec.) but an interview with Kenji Sumida near the end is quite interesting.

~~~

Friday, May 13, 2011
Fukushima village on way to becoming ghost town

"Give us back our beautiful village," one demanded.
The bitterest irony of the crisis that has destroyed their lives, he says, is that this rural area, 250 km from Tokyo, sees not a single watt of the electricity produced by the Fukushima plant.

~~~

Japan shelves nuclear power expansion

35 Japanese reactors are soon to be out of line

Kan slams nuclear energy, goes green Green? True 'Greenies' have always said that by the time people understand what we're saying, it'll be too late. Looks like that's just what we have here. Happy Friday 13th, everyone!

Maybe they should have done this immediately the crisis began...
Nuclear crisis investigation committee to tap foreign experts

"We will not just release the final product, but make the entire investigative process open to the public," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told a press conference on May 11.

- but just not immediately, eh?

~~~

550 Bq/kg detected in Tea Leaves in Kanagawa Prefecture south of Tokyo

Radioactive cesium detected in tea leaves

Radioactive element detected in grass, vegetables
Cesium seasoning? Thought there was something odd about that parsley...

~~~

Much more concrete detail here about how money will be made available for compensation to the nuclear disaster victims. Basically, it entails no pain for TEPCO, the shareholders or the banks. If you live in the TEPCO area, expect your electricity bill to go up about 16%...
Consumers, not TEPCO shareholders, to cover huge compensation bill

Japan decides on TEPCO compensation scheme: media

~~~Overseas~~~

Russia delivers Iran 30 tonnes of nuclear fuel: report

Philippine nuclear plant to become tourist site Ah! I get it! Fukushima #1 could become a tourist resource!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

May 12

What's the connection between 9/11 and 3/11?
3/11/11 Meets the Events of September 11, 2001

by Anthony J. Hall, Professor of Globalization Studies at the University of Lethbridge

~~~

This is a little old, and I thought I had linked it on this page before, but I can't find it now. It's important so I'll post it here today.
#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Japan Nuclear Technology Institute Senior Advisor Says "Reactors 1, 2, 3 All Had Complete Meltdown" This one seems to be an update and this is all on http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/. - Today this link will take you to this article: #Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Reactor 1's RPV Has Hardly Any Water

This last article suggests that the "water entombment" plan envisaged by TEPCO will not have to be revised because there is very little water in the RPV of reactor 1. At the end of the article there is the question "Where has the water gone?" I think one answer is that it may be in the containment vessel. The containment and the RPV are not the same thing. The RVP could be empty (e.g. because the water has boiled off), but the containment might have water in it, or might be full (but presumably it is not yet). If the containment were full of water then the water might enter the RPV from any place where there is a hole in it - the steam, at least, should be escaping from somewhere (is there a valve through which it can escape?).

~~~Hamaoka News and its Impacts~~~

And then there is also this to consider...
PM Kan's Hamaoka Nuke Plant Shut Down Request Was Made Under Pressure from the US
Please read the article to find out why! Also, please not that the associated video has been 'deleted by the user'!!

'Hamaoka plant halt cause Japan power shortage'

~~~

Will Obama Follow Suit?
Japan Junks New Nuclear Plants By HARVEY WASSERMAN
But if the decision to shut Hamaoka down came from the USA, it's unlikely that Kan will say that there will be no more new nukes.

~~~

Japan Officially Orders Censorship Of Truth About Fukushima Nuclear Radiation Disaster

Also too much important material here to mention everything...
Radiation Safety Philippines

~~~

Nuclear energy at a crossroads "Now is the time to decide future policy course"

~~~

Radiation in soil near troubled Japan nuclear plant exceeds Chernobyl evacuation level
(More links at the bottom of this article...)

Toxic Nuclear Waste to be Dumped on Poor Citizens [of] Mongolia by Japan, USA for Toshiba, GE Nuclear Reactors

Radioactive water found in No.3 reactor pit

Gov't: Burying contaminated soil into ground works

~~~

Japan's TEPCO submits compensation aid request to govt

Utility claims it cannot cover the cost of compensating victims of the nuclear disaster
Tepco turns to government for cash

~~~Overseas~~~

Regulators cite US nuclear plant for safety mishap

Fukushima indicates big gaps in world nuclear safety: Ban

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

May 11

Now two months since the day of the 'triple disaster' on March 11. The nuclear disaster is far from over, and as the following article suggests, we are still a long way from knowing just what is going on at the Fukushima disaster site.

Nuclear collapse looms? Fukushima No. 4 reactor 'leaning'
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dxbm7iJTT8U&feature=player_embedded

Deadly Silence on Fukushima: It's Not Over

This article gives a new twist to things we already know, but which the Japanese public is not informed about because most of them do not see Arnie Gundersen's reports and because there appears to be a systematic coverup attempt by the Japanese government and TEPCO to keep the public in Japan in the dark about certain important matters to do with radiation releases from the damaged reactors. This almost certainly includes plutonium releases from reactor 3 and may involve other releases as well. News about reactors 2, 3 and 4 has been pretty sparse in the last few days.

The Greenpeace ship Rainbow water has requested the Japanese government to test the waters near Japan, and Japan has refused this independent data request. The EPA has also shut down all inspection centers and is NOT inspecting fish. (Why the silence?)

There does seem to be (as I have mentioned before) a systematic effort to exclude from government and TEPCO press conferences anyone who would ask 'probing' questions. In addition a new project team has been created by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communication, the National Police Agency, and METI to combat “rumors” deemed harmful to Japanese security in the wake of the Fukushima disaster. That really does make it sound as if there is information that the government wishes to keep secret...

“The Japanese media today is no different from the wartime propaganda media that kept repeating to the very end that ‘Japan is winning the war against America,’” Uesugi exclaimed. There is one particularly telling example of the media shielding TEPCO by suppressing information. This concerns “plutonium.” According to Uesugi, after the reactor blew up on March 14, there was concern about the leakage of plutonium. However, astonishingly, until two weeks later when Uesugi asked, not a single media representative had raised the question of plutonium at TEPCO’s press conferences.

If you suddenly stop hearing from me it might be because I have been arrested...

.

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

Was there a Massive Fire Breakout At Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant May 8th 2011?

This seems to have come from this live webcam.

TEPCO slipping behind schedule to contain accident

Radiation high at No.3 reactor pool


The operator of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has detected high levels of radioactive materials in the spent fuel pool of the No.3 reactor at the plant.

Tokyo Electric Power Company examined a water sample from the pool on Sunday. The sample contained 140,000 becquerels of radioactive cesium-134 per cubic centimeter, 150,000 becquerels of cesium-137, and 11,000 becquerels of iodine-131.

None of these substances were detected during an inspection on March 2nd, before the accident triggered by the March 11th disaster.

I'm a little puzzled. Arnie Gundersen, among others, has shown us a video clip of reactor 3 fuel pool blowing up, and he and others have suggested that it was at least partially a nuclear detonation. This NHK article, however, suggests that the pool itself is still intact. The video accompanying the article does show something underwater. It's a mess and it is not really clear what is being shown. Two further things worry me. 1) The presence of iodine-131 in quite large amounts, as Arnie and others have told us, suggests that some nuclear activity is still ongoing in the pool area. 2) Where's the plutonium? There should be plutonium in the pool, since reactor 3 was running on mixed plutonium-uranium fuel. Am I wrong somewhere? Or did TEPCO simply not test for it, or did they just not announce the results? Please read the top article of today's update and think for yourself. Nothing definite, but does not look good. Isn't the public entitled to look at the information and draw their own conclusions, or at least ask 'probing' questions?

TEPCO starts adjusting gauges at Unit 1

Workers adjust gauges to flood Fukushima No. 1 reactor with water

Radiation to restrict work on No. 1
By opening the double-entry doors, air containing about 500 million becquerels of radioactive substances is believed to have been released into the atmosphere from the upper part of the No. 1 reactor building, which was damaged in a hydrogen explosion that occurred in the early days of the nuclear crisis.

Aerial fallout map confirms soil radiation levels

Government was hours late with radiation map

.

~~~Hamaoka News and its Impacts~~~

Governors cautious on resuming reactors
The notion that prefectural governors might withhold approval for the restart of nuclear reactors on the grounds of safety is gaining prominence here. Partly it will depend on how vociferous the local populations are - the governors will definitely not want to be seen approving the restart of nuclear reactors against the wishes of the local population.

EDITORIAL: Tsunami not the only safety concern for Hamaoka plant

Hamaoka impact will be far-flung
The shutdown, decided Monday, may signal an inevitable shift away from a policy of nuclear dependence. Financially speaking, the move affects not only the utility company but also Japan's core manufacturing sector.

Hamaoka nuclear plant's shutdown may impact nationwide power supply

Hamaoka suspension could adversely affect employment, warns minister

Kan to focus on natural energy, energy saving

Govt to promote use of renewable energy

Japan to review plan to raise nuclear energy level to 50 percent

"Along with Tokyo Electric Power Co., the government, which has promoted nuclear energy as a national policy, is very responsible for failing to prevent the accident," Kan said.

~~~

Contamination: From Minamata to Fukushima

What Caused the High Cl-38 Radioactivity in the Fukushima Daiichi Reactor #1?

Japan’s government faces looming crisis over ‘whack-a-mole’ nuclear policies

20 Millisieverts for Children and Kosako Toshiso’s Resignation

Save the Children: Radiation Exposure of Fukushima Students Back

Complicity and Victimhood: Director Kamanaka Hitomi's Nuclear Warnings

Fukushima Residents Seek Answers Amid Mixed Signals From Media, TEPCO and Government. Report from the Radiation Exclusion Zone

.

~~~

Japan crisis highlights mismatch between nuke power, humans: expert

"We are not competent to deal with (the) technology...we don't know enough about it, and we don't have it under control,"

TEPCO decides to accept conditions for state support

Fukushima residents having hardest time recovering from disaster: Mainichi survey

Near-record 2 million people on welfare in Japan: Mainichi survey

27 percent of evacuees say they have no prospects of making a living: poll

Fukushima city to remove topsoil from schoolyards

More Fukushima veggies banned
The government Monday banned the shipment of bamboo shoots and "kogomi" wild vegetables from parts of Fukushima Prefecture after some were found to have unsafe levels of radioactive cesium.

Japan eyes holding opening ceremony of trilateral summit in Fukushima

Nuclear plant workers release unknown amount of radioactive tritium into Mississippi River

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

May 10

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

Cold shutdown work starts at Fukushima No. 1 reactor building

High radiation may slow down TEPCO's repairs

High radiation in reactor building

Japan nuclear crew may need lead shields: official

Radioactive strontium detected at Fukushima plant

TEPCO to begin pipe work for No.3 reactor

~~~Hamaoka News~~~

Chubu Electric agrees to shut down Hamaoka reactors

Chubu Electric faces massive loss in wake of Hamaoka nuke plant closing

Kan, economic ministry differ over future energy policy

"If nuclear and thermal power generation is unacceptable, then we'll have no choice but to place emphasis on the introduction of recyclable energy and energy-saving efforts," Kan was quoted as telling his aides.


~~~

Small steps at home can add up to saving 3.1 gigawatts
Some figures to go with what I was saying about the summer peak of electric power consumption yesterday. It's nice to know that 'small steps at home' can save so much electricity, but how about businesses doing something as well?

~~~

Nuclear experts seek single regulatory body

~~~

Rape plants may help cleanse soil in Fukushima

~~~Overseas~~~

Germany at 40% nuke capacity, no issues

"More than half of all German nuclear power plants are offline but our power supply remains stable," Dietmar Schuetz, head of the German renewable energy industry association BEE told the Hamburger Abendblatt newspaper. "Until 2020 at the latest, power from the sun, wind, water and biomass can easily replace nuclear power."

China to boost nuclear safety standards

Madrid demo calls for end to nuclear power

Lithuanian nuclear plant to go online in 2020


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

May 9

Very revealing - the TEPCO Cover-up Scandal of 2002
The Whistleblower Who Shutdown 17 Nuclear Reactors in Japan

The video is basically in Japanese, but there's just about enough English to figure out what's going on. At the end, the announcers ponder on whether a Japanese engineer would have done what Kei Sugaoka did. They conclude "No". This site, http://criticality.org/ has many good articles and is very well worth a look!

~~~

Summer Peak: City People, Turn the Cooler Down a Bit, eh?

Since the Japan appears to be wringing its collective hands over whether power generating capacity will be sufficient to meet the summer peak, it's probably just as well we take a look at the figures and try to work out how big a problem this actually is.



Here's a nice graph from the website of the Federation of Electric Power Companies (FEPC). It shows the variation of power consumption over 24 hours for the day of the summer peak of consumption for selected years. The highest ever peak was in 2001 - 183 GW. Second was 2005 at 178 GW. 2009 was lower at 159 GW. How about generating capacity? There's a graph on p.11 of the April 26 issue of the Weekly Kinyoubi (Friday) magazine that shows Japan's total generating capacity from 1965 to 2007. It also shows the peak consumption point for each year. The capacity graph shows nuclear at the top, then hydro and then thermal below that. Interestingly, the peak consumption point never reaches the lowest point of the nuclear power area, but hovers around at the top of the thermal area or somewhere in the hydro area. The curve was in the hydro area from 1987 to 2002, but after that drops back into the thermal area or hovers on the borderline betwen hydro and thermal. The year when nuclear power was most necessary (when spare thermal + hydro capacity was smallest) was in 1994, when 'spare' capacity was about 10 GW before nuclear was used.



However, it would be unreasonable to assume that nuclear power was therefore not necessary, because some power stations are always down for regular maintenance. So if there had been no nuclear power available in 1994 then there probably would have been brown/blackouts in the peak summer days. After 2003, however, the summer peak has hovered right on the line between thermal and hydro, effectively making the roughly 30 GW available in hydropower 'excess'. Nuclear has not really been required. Power companies will say that's not true, and that nuclear has always been necessary to meet the summer peak, but that's probably only because they time the downtime of thermal plants to coincide with the summer peak to some extent. If there were no nuclear power, they would be busy planning downtime so that they were able to meet the summer peak with thermal and hydro.

The other thing the power companies like to say is that thermal is more expensive because of the prices of oil, natural gas and coal, but we have already seen below (April 30) that taxes required to sweeten the bitter pill of nuclear power station siting for local authorities actually makes nuclear power more expensive for consumers. Take that away and then take away the insurance that the government provides to cover accidents, also paid from electricity rates, and nuclear power becomes impossible. One more thing, which Chubu Electric Power Company seems to be saying about closing down Hamaoka Nuclear Power Station now, is that there is a shortage of fuels for thermal generation. That may be, but what they mean is simply that they didn't plan to buy in the fuels for that period because they thought they were going to be using nuclear power - it does not mean that there is any absolute sohrtage of fossil fuels at the moment. They may have to pay a high price for them, but they can get them (though it is unclear if they can get them in time for July).

The conclusion is that if power companies plan properly for the summer peak, it can be met without one nuclear reactor in Japan operating. If that looks a bit too close for comfort, then it simply requires consumers - especially businesses - to do a little planning, like enduring a 5C higher temperature in the offices, department stores and supermarkets at about 3 pm on those very hot days in late July to mid-August. Personally, I don't know what all the fuss is about. I love those days. Never lived in a house with a 'cooler.'

.

~~~Hamaoka News~~~

Chubu Electric to halt reactors in line with Kan request

EDITORIAL: Hamaoka shutdown should lead to new nuclear safety policy Pretty pathetic and wishy-washy attempt from the Asahi Newspaper people.

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

Radioactive strontium detected at Fukushima plant

Workers enter No. 1 reactor building

Preparations underway to restore cooling functions Preparatory work has begun to restore the cooling functions of the No.1 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

Man made to work at Fukushima plant for 2 weeks without prior knowledge Really quite sordid!

Radiation tests underway for debris near plant

TEPCO releases footage of No.4 reactor pool

~~~

Radiation levels fluctuate in Fukushima schools

Fisheries: No radiation risk beyond exclusion zone

Reactor in Fukui Prefecture shut down after radiation levels spike

~~~Demos~~~

Protesters demand stoppage of Hamaoka plant In Nagoya, central Japan, about 1,000 people have taken to the streets to demand that Chubu Electric Power Company halt the operation of its Hamaoka nuclear plant.

~~~Greenpeace~~~

Greenpeace Rainbow Warrior News

Rainbow Warrior begins sampling off Fukushima

Research still blocked by Japan's government

~~~Overseas~~~

EU nuclear safety sweep accused of soft-pedalling People suddenly very concerned about nuclear safety!

Is nuclear power fair for future generations?
The recent nuclear accident in Fukushima Daiichi in Japan has brought the nuclear debate to the forefront of controversy. While Japan is trying to avert further disaster, many nations are reconsidering the future of nuclear power in their regions


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

May 8

Japan was very, very lucky!
Fukushima Groundwater Contamination Worst in Nuclear History

Arnie Gundersen's latest video clip. 1) Airborne releases of radioactivity - wasn't it lucky that the wind was blowing out to sea when reactor 3 exploded and other explosions occurred (or maybe just part of the time the wind was blowing towards Iitate village)? 2) Explosion of reactor 3 spent fuel pool. 3) Liquid releases - radioactive groundwater at the nuclear disaster site. 4) Where did the radioactive sludge go?? Arnie suggests that if the wind had been blowing from east to west instead of west to east during that time a swathe of Honshu Island from the nuclear disaster site to the Japan Sea coast at Niigata Prefecture could have become uninhabitable, effectively cutting all land transport between Tokyo and the earthquake/tsunami disaster-stricken northeast of Japan.

However, now that the "SPEEDI" data has been released (oh, only about 9 weeks later - "SLOWI" Sometimes Late Or Whenever I feel like doing it) we can see, for example, that on March 15 the wind was blowing south towards Ibaraki Prefecture (where we got a good dose of it) in the morning and in the afternoon it was blowing northwest towards Iitate Village. So this must have been at least one of the times when Iitate Village received its high radioactive dose rates. I'm sure the people of that area would have liked to have known about it at the time and not about a month later, even though there was not a great deal they could have done about it except to at least evacuate pregnant women and children, which would have been good. The only way NOT to have this kind of thing happening is NOT to have nuclear power stations!!

~~~

BUT THE JAPANESE MIGHT HAVE BEEN MUCH LUCKIER IF THEY HAD LISTENED TO PEOPLE LIKE JINZABURO TAKAGI!

Late expert gave forewarning of Fukushima nuke plant disaster draws attention on Net

Jinzaburo Takagi, the late former director of the Citizens' Nuclear Information Center, also cautioned the government and utilities about their policy of not assessing the safety risks for nuclear power stations beyond their assumed scenarios.

And how true! I met Mr. Takagi several times in the late 90s, when I was helping CNIC out with some of their English publications and also doing my own research on Japan's food and energy problems. I read his classic "Fear of Plutonium" (Purutoniumu no kyofu) [Third in this list of his books on Amazon Japan] soon after it came out in the early 1980s, not knowing that I would later get to know him in person. A well-known, very respected, and very sincere man, it is one of the terribly shameful aspects of contemporary Japan that he, and others like him, were not listened to. In the end (please read the article linked here), AND SO SADLY FOR US NOW, he has been proven to have been 100% correct!

.

~~~Hamaoka News~~~

Chubu Electric puts off decision on Hamaoka plant
Despite PM Kan's call for Hamaoka Nuclear Power Station to shut down for approximately two years to implement safety measures, Chubu EPCO appears to be very reluctant to do so.

Gov't stresses enhanced nuclear safety by scrapping Hamaoka plant Scrapping? Where did they get that from??

The government maintains that further nuclear power plant shutdown requests are not forthcoming, and the government's focus on the Hamaoka plant hints that it is keen on preserving its basic energy policy of using nuclear power to supply one-third of the nation's energy demands.

Gov't intervention necessary if Hamaoka nuke plant can't make decision to shut down

Local community mixed over gov't request to shut down Hamaoka nuke plant

"Prime Minister Kan said at a press conference that the plant's suspension would be effective until medium- to long-term measures are drawn up, but that's ridiculous. Under any circumstances, the reactors at the Hamaoka plant must be decommissioned," he said.

Residents faced long struggle to halt operations at Hamaoka nuclear complex

Economic circles criticize plan to shut down Hamaoka nuclear plant

This article is full of the kind of rhetoric that one would expect from business as a country attempts to move from business-as-usual to a sustainable society/economy, but all we are talking about here is the temporary shutting down of a nuclear power station for necessary safety measures (which might not even be sufficient)!

"Companies will have to move their production bases overseas," said an alarmed senior official with the Nippon Keidanren (the Japan Business Federation).

Kan's attempt to shut down Hamaoka lacks legal basis

Ooops! Scientific proof???
Sengoku: Gov't will not ask halt of other reactors

Sengoku said for now most of the areas where other nuclear plants are situated have low risks of major earthquakes over the next 30 years. He added that it has been scientifically proven that nuclear plants on the Sea of Japan coast in particular pose no worry.

I don't know what kind of scientific proof Mr. Yoshito Sengoku has. As we have seen in the update for April 27 below, the article in the New Scientist recently about the March 11 earthquake in Japan makes it quite clear that conventional notions about the predictability of earthquakes have been proven largely wrong. We just simply cannot predict when large earthquakes will happen beyond statements such as "87% chance in the next 30 years." The same New Scientist article also made it clear that the magnitude of earthquakes cannot be predicted since it was thought conventionally that the March 11 M9 earthquake could not happen in that area. The fact that the earthquake occurred as a series of associated earthquakes also surprised seismologists. Talking of the Sea of Japan, it should also be noted that about 30 reactors in nine power stations sit on a 1500 km coastline from Tomari Nuclear Power Station on Hokkaido in the north to Genkai Nuclear Power Station on Kyushu (facing the Tsushima Straits) in the south, and if Mr. Sengoku has "scientific proof" that a large earthquake is not going to occur I would like to see it published soon because I DO NOT BELIEVE HIM!!

Shut down being considered for Fukushima No. 2
Loss of public confidence in nuclear energy may lead to decommissioning of sister plant.

"Even if they were to decide to restart the plant by taking safety measures, including the construction of sea walls, they would have no choice but to keep the reactors suspended for 10 years," a government source said.

.

~~~Hamaoka Demos~~~

Japan anti-nuclear protesters rally after PM call to close plant Demonstrators approve of the decision to temporarily shut down Hamaoka Nuclear Power Station, but say it is not enough.

Thousands rally in Japan against nuclear power

Japan - Anti-nuclear power demonstrations in Shibuya Photos of arrests are linked here.

Thousands Rally in Japan Against Nuclear Power

Braving spring drizzle, thousands of demonstrators gathered at a park in Tokyo's Shibuya district, many holding hand-made banners reading: "Nuclear is old!" and "We want a shift in energy policy!"

~~~

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

TEPCO hopes workers enter building for cooling
The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant expects that workers can enter the No.1 reactor building on Sunday to step up efforts to restore the cooling system there.

Tepco starts flooding No. 1 reactor vessel
Nuclear fuel in core must be submerged in water to cool.

Nuke plant workers finally get checkups
Exams for 30 irradiated above 100-millisievert precrisis limit neglected at Fukushima No. 1

~~~

Tsuruga reactor to be halted Sat. to check rise in radiation level

~~~

~~~Government-Power Company Links~~~

Nuclear "Regulators" Are Captured By the Nuclear Industry

~~~Overseas~~~

Japan insurance losses slash Berkshire profits

Tornado-hit Alabama nuclear plant opened to media

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

May 7

~~~Hamaoka News~~~

Widely forecast Chubu quake prompts prime minister to take action - good basic information here:
Kan requests full closure of Hamaoka power plant

Kan calls for halt of Hamaoka nuclear plant

Critics slam Kan's plan to shut Hamaoka reactors

...other lawmakers are expected to grill Kan on his decision to close down only Hamaoka. They want the prime minister to explain his vision for how Japan will meet its mid- to long-term energy needs.

Chubu Electric plans to stop Hamaoka nuclear power plant

Hamaoka plant sits in Tokai quake focal zone

So that's the basic news. Now some comment.

1) What's this all about, and why now?
Is Kan attempting to revive his popularity rating? Yes, that's a part of it, but not all. Perhaps it explains why he decided to do this now, because it is way too late. This could have been done in the early stages, say within a week of the Fukushima disaster, rather than waiting for nine weeks. However, at the time it did not look as if he was on the way out, whereas recently there have been calls for him to step aside, leading him, perhaps, to look around for a dramatic move to shore up his image as a leader. On the other hand, if he is on his way out, then he won't mind stepping on a few (Keidanren) toes by making an altruistic move that needed to be made and that probably would not be made if the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) were to regain power in the near or mid-term future.

2) Where is Japan going?
Secondly, does this spell the beginning of the end for nuclear power in Japan? I think not. It seems that this announcement is designed to please everyone in Japan except serious anti-nuke activists who want to see (all) nuclear power stations shut down forever and as soon as possible (like, now!). The implementation of the earthquake and tsunami safety measures required by the government will shut Hamaoka down for about two years. Nice, but certainly not enough for many who live near Hamaoka, since it is almost certain to start up again to run for decades into the future, AND there are still plans for the construction of a sixth reactor (a projected 1,400MW BRW) on the same site after 2020, which would mean that Hamaoka could possibly be operating for another half-century.

The LDP, Keidanren, TEPCO (and the other EPCOs) and their associated nuclear village will be pleased because this announcement says that safety measures are sufficient to ensure that a nuclear phase-out is not going to occur. The largely docile Japanese public will be assured that 'safety' has now risen like a pheonix anew from the ashes of the "safety myth."

That's why the quote I have taken from the NHK article about criticisms of the announcement is important. Why just Hamaoka? What is the overall energy vision for Japan? Two crucial questions that must be answered. Aside from the fact that all nuclear power stations are 'dangerous,' all the existing 16 nuclear power stations (currently 50 reactors capable of generating power - i.e. Fukushima No1. reactors 1-4 are not included) in Japan have safety problems as well as their own local 'issues' that need to be addressed. Examples are 1) The fact that activists see the Kashiwa-Kariwa (KK) Nuclear Power Station (TEPCO, Niigata Prefecture, the largest nuclear power station in the world) as having about the same risk potential as Hamaoka (See the appeal for the closure of KK on the CNIC website); 2) Shimane Nuclear Power Station sits only a teeny-weeny nine km (5.5 miles) from the Prefectural Office of Shimane Prefecture in Matsue City! Tokai Nuclear Power Station is less than 20 km from the Prefectural Office of Ibaraki Prefecture in Mito City. 3) There is now a flurry of activity at almost all nuclear power stations as they buy in new diesel generators (in trucks to be on 24 hr standby some distance inland or simply placed on higher ground within nuclear power stations - where they should have been in the first place) due to the sudden realization that they did not have sufficient emergency power to run the cooling pumps in the event of loss of external power (here and here).

The second question is 'what's the overall energy vision for Japan?' That 'peak oil' is going to make fossil fuels expensive and gradually less and less available over the coming ten to 15 years is now a commonplace often cited by pro-nukes to justify their claims for more nuclear power. This will have many repercussions in Japan, not the least of which is that it will become difficult to maintain Japan's food imports as oil prices rise and fossil fuel availability falls. But does that mean that nuclear power will be able to fill in the energy gap thus created? No way. Nuclear power requires (relatively) cheap oil (fossil fuels) in order to run (transport, construction, manufacture of fuel rods and assemblies, and in the long-term the mining and refining/enrichment of uranium ores, which will eventually deplete in the same way that conventional oil is now). In the mid-term following the oil 'energy crunch' there will be no nuclear power. So what are we left with? 'Renewable energy.' Solar, wind, geothermal, hydropower, tide and wave power... But this assumes a quite different society and economy from the one we have now, not a continuation of the current business as usual. We have until about 2025-2030 to sort out how this 'new' Japanese society/economy will look in terms of food and energy. Yes, truly a vision is required, but where is it?

2) Is this the first shot?
So, was PM Kan's announcement last night the first shot in the move towards the unveiling of his new vision for the future Japanese society and economy? Sadly, I think it is not. Let's think about what PM Kan should have been saying last night.

a) Hamaoka will be the first nuclear power station to close temporarily for an upgrading of safety measures. Second will be Kashiwa-Kariwa, and all other existing nuclear power stations will be assessed as to their urgency for similar safety upgrades, which will be carried out in order of priority over the the next ten years or so, according to a plan that will be drawn up in the coming months.

b) Any nuclear reactors that are found to be unsafe in any way will be immediately shut down and decommissioned. ALL nuclear reactors will be shut down and decommissioned at the latest when they reach their 40th year of operation. Newer reactors will be shut down and decommissioned when they reach the age stated as their lifetime at the time of application for construction.

c) No new nuclear reactors will be planned, constructed or started.

d) A realistic plan will be drawn up for the final disposal of all Japanese nuclear wastes now being stored at nuclear power stations, at the Rokkasho reprocessing plant or at reprocessing plants overseas.

e) A realistic plan for decarbonization of the Japanese economy over the next 30 years will be drawn up and will include realistic plans for the introduction of renewable energy to replace fossil fuel and nuclear power use. However, it is recognized that renewable energy a) will not provide the amounts of energy that are consumed now and thus b) it will be necessary to address the issue of how Japan can move to a low-energy, low-carbon sustainable society and economy around 2050. Of all the important issues involved in this, the securing of food supplies for the population of Japan may be the most critical. The government will be assessing this situation immediately and reporting to the Japanese public within the next month.

Well, if he had said that I would probably still be rubbing my eyes and wondering if I were dreaming, BUT if PM Kan wants to be seen as a leader with real leadership abilities and a vision for the future, this is what he should have said, isn't it?

Please let me know in the comments section below if you think I left something out, or if I am right, or if you think I am completely mad...

~~~

In search of a nuclear disposal site
"At present there are no potential locations for the repository" - Oh, right. So how about PM Kan and the others suddenly discovering this little baby and doing something about it?


TEPCO president makes kneeling apology to nuclear crisis evacuees

The TEPCO president was also assailed on his way out by one 50-year-old woman angry at delays in search efforts in the disaster areas.

"Apologize from the very bottom of your heart!" the woman, whose mother and nephew remain missing, said as she stepped towards Shimizu. A man watching the scene then called out: "Kneel on the ground!" Shimizu and TEPCO staff with him did so.

Shimizu also visited the Adatara Gymnasium here, where about 100 nuclear crisis refugees from Namie are now living. There, he was showered with criticism and demands once more, including, "Get us back to our normal lives quickly," and "You told us nuclear power was safe. Was that a lie?"

Shimizu responded by saying, "From my heart I apologize to you for betraying your trust," though he avoided any concrete statements on compensation for the evacuees.

Ahem! City folks! Look, these people are angry and in pain while you enjoy your comfortable lifestyle, partly based on nuclear power. If nuclear power is so safe, then let's have a few reactors right where they are needed most - outside the Tokyo Metropolitan Office in Shinjuku. Surely I don't hear any objectors, now, do I?

METI sticks to nuclear energy despite Fukushima plant crisis

All nuclear power reactors could be shut down in one year if utility firms cannot restart them after they are halted for regular checkups, which would lead to a loss of more than 30 million kilowatts of electricity from pre-disaster level, according to the document.

How inconvenient. Daddy's little sums just wouldn't work out right, would they? Tough choice; we either have a Fukushima-style nuclear disaster once every now and then or daddy will have a hard time getting to sleep in those sultry summer nights without the air conditioner on. Dear me, which shall we choose? I know, let's get the pocket calculator out and see if we can figure it out! Erm...

Govt may OK hikes in power rates More calculations. Fine. But TEPCO gets let off the hook and continues to exist. We can, no doubt, look forward to many years of cover-ups and duplicity as TEPCO goes back to business-as-usual.

The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant Accident Caused by the Massive Tsunami by Yoshiaki Oka, Professor (Joint Department of Nuclear Energy), Faculty of Science and Engineering, Waseda University. -- It's a shame that this article is so long and full of drivel. I would like you to read it and fume! No mention of TEPCO's problems at the Fukushima No.1 site or at any other nuclear power stations, no mention of the people who have been affected by the disaster, the professor states that there is no health concern over low-level radiation (for people in Tokyo and so on), AND the cause of the accident is attributed to the larger-than-imagined tsunami. Is it out of fashion for scientists to have a conscience and some simple human compassion these days? Professor! In my class you'd be lucky to get a 'C' for this. Either please stay in your research office and write your papers or get out into the real world and find out what is going on out here! (Note: This is a "Waseda Online" piece for the Daily Yomiuri Online. See the article by Dr. Anthony J. Hall on April 20 of this update to note the connections between the Yomiuri Newspaper and Japanese nuclear power via Shoriki Matsutaro.)

Opinion split on health effects of low radiation doses Oh? How about that? OK, I hear TEPCO is having a problem finding enough people to carry out the work that needs to be done to get the reactors under control at the Fukushima nuclear disaster site. All the people who claim (with their peer-reviewed scientific papers, of course) that radiation has little effect on human health, please sign up for important duties at the Fukushima No.1 Nuclear Power Station at 9am sharp, Monday morning. TEPCO and the sub-sub-contractors are looking forward to welcoming you there. You will be well paid for your efforts and enjoy good accommodation and food for your nine-month stay. Kindly assemble outside the Fukushima No.1 Nuclear Power Station main gate at 08:45 if you would like to join the special liquidators' procession into the power station, headed by George Monbiot on bugle.

Ventilation system started at Fukushima No. 1 reactor

Decontaminating farm in Fukushima nuclear plant


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

May 6

PM Kan appeared at a press conference just after 7pm Japan time to announce that he was requesting Chubu Electric Power Company to completely shut down Hamaoka Nuclear Power Station (Shizukoka Prefecture) pending upgrading of earthquake and tsunami safety measures. These measures are expected to take about two years to complete. I will have more to say about this tomorrow.

~~~

This superb article on The Automatic Earth, linked below, is overwhelming in the amount of information linked to it. It will take you a day to watch all the movies and videos attached and read all the linked articles and so on. I read the text, scanned or read the linked articles and watched the shorter video links, but that's about half the information there, and full-length movies/documentaries and long interviews also need to be watched...

Fukushima: Fallacies, Fallout, Fundamentals and Fear

The main thrust of the article concerns whether or not the world, especially Japan, has learned the lessons of Chernobyl. There is a detailed analysis of the arguments between people like George Monbiot, who stands with the conventional scientific consensus that the radiation from Chernobyl was not very serious in terms of damage to human health, and those such as Helen Caldicott (who is criticised in the article), Rosalie Bertell, Alexey V. Yablokov, John Vidal and others who show that the human health suffering from Chernobyl has been far worse than the scientific consensus admits. I am happy with the last two paragraphs of the article, which I think tell the true 'story' - the final sentence is, "We should learn from our mistakes and turn away from this technology," which I believe is the right conclusion, and which I think that all Japanese who are aware of what is going on at Fukushima will concur with.

This video is also included in the article:

Where is all that Fukushima radiation going, and why does it matter?
Radioactive fallout is going to be 'a problem' in the US. How much more of 'a problem' is it going to be in Japan?

===

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

TEPCO pumping more water into No.1

Workers enter reactor building at Japan nuclear plant

New TEPCO reactor cooling system running by late May

Fewer workers willing to brave radiation risk at crippled Fukushima plant

~~~Government-Power Company Links~~~

I ask you, please, try to keep a straight face when you read this - in Japan, this is serious discussion...

LDP lawmakers regroup to promote nuclear power

During the meeting, Amari distributed a document that read, "There are some Cabinet members who easily talk about the idea of nationalizing TEPCO."

The chairman said: "We are not civic activists. It is irresponsible to say 'we can meet our (electricity) demand with natural energies' by concealing their huge costs and unstable supply. As a realistic problem, we cannot stop using nuclear power."

Kano said Japan should continue to use the No. 5 and No. 6 reactors at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

"Words such as solar power and wind power are romantic. But is it possible to secure a stable supply of energy without constructing nuclear power plants?" he said in an interview with The Asahi Shimbun. "Is it possible to take measures to curb carbon dioxide emissions?

"When we buy natural gas and oil from overseas, we can negotiate in an advantageous position if we have nuclear power."

"The LDP received money from electric power companies and established a system that made it easy for the government to provide subsidies to municipalities that accepted the construction of nuclear power plants. METI set up public organizations funded by power companies and gave lucrative jobs in those organizations to its retired officials."

As unbelievable as these people may seem, the Japanese people still queue up to vote for them!

TEPCO lobbied for compensation limits

~~~Overseas~~~

Australia looks at nuclear power's future

Swiss watchdog orders nuclear plants to tackle flaws

Cracks found in protective casings at Bulgaria nuclear plant


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

May 5

Look at the science – smoking and obesity are more harmful than radiation

At first glance, I had the feeling that this article was written by a nuclear power apologist for propaganda reasons, but having read the article thoroughly I think it is a fairly reasonable scientific statement of the situation. Perhaps it functions as a balance to some of the frightening (but also scientifically valid) materials we have been referring to on these pages. However, I want to make a few comments on the article.

We are a successful species inhabiting a radioactive world and must have evolved protective mechanisms to deal with the effects of natural radiation.

With 'natural radiation,' yes, but much of what comes out of damaged nuclear power stations is not natural (isotopes that do not normally exist in nature and some elements which are not usually found on earth, such as plutonium). Also, we are talking about radiation which is orders of magnitude above normal background radiation. So we cannot have developed, through evolution, protective mechanisms to deal with the effects of these. This is an argument often used by pro-nuclear power people. Sounds good, but I believe it is wrong.

On Hiroshima and Nagasaki:

The decrease in average life expectancy is 2.6 years and 21 days respectively for those who received the highest and lowest doses. Since the majority of the population received low doses, the average loss of life expectancy is four months.

Well, yes, after you have discounted the people who died almost immediately! But this also conflates individual cases into statistics (OK, statistics are also one valid way of looking at things). Life expectancy doesn't tell us how long any individual is going to live. A decline in life expectancy of 2.6 years may have seen some people dying ten years prematurely, having suffered from cancer for ten or more years up to the point at which they died. Other people may not have suffered cancer and may have lived as long as they would have done anyway. The problem is that individuals want to know what is going to happen to them personally. For an individual, dying three weeks "early" after suffering from cancer or other radiation-related disease for some years is not a happy circumstance at all. A decline in life expectancy of 2.6 years may look rosy, but I think that is too optimistic a view to take, especially on the individual level.

There appears to be little difference in the type or clinical outcome of radiation-induced thyroid cancer when compared with age-matched controls. Thyroid cancer is very amenable to treatment and although 30% of patients may suffer a relapse, only 1% may eventually die of their disease. Of 6,000 diagnosed cases since 1986, only 15 have so far proved fatal. Many of these cases would have been prevented if potassium iodide had been provided at the appropriate time.


This appears to be about the Chernobyl disaster. 6,000 cases of thyroid cancer! I think quite serious for the individuals, even if only 15 of them died. If I were among the 'lucky' ones that didn't die I still do not think that would make me any happier about the accident or about nuclear power in general. Even one cancer is too many, thank you.

Radiation risk must be put into context. The consequences for the most exposed group of atomic bomb survivors was an average loss of life expectancy significantly lower than that caused by severe obesity or smoking. A rational debate about nuclear power means putting the risks and benefits into perspective. Unfortunately it seems that when radiation knocks at the door, science and rational thinking go out of the window.

I agree that people should not go bananas about the possibilities of sickness from radiation emanating from damaged or otherwise nuclear power stations while at the same time effectively ignoring risks from smoking, poor diet, pesticides, exhaust fumes, genetically engineered food and so on. However, that doesn't put radiation into any kind of 'context' for me. As far as my personal context is concerned, I do not want to have ANY of these things in my life, regardless of what the presumed benefits may be. (What are the benefits we receive from all the things I have mentioned that could not be received in some other, less harmful way?) Personally, I do not smoke, drink very little alcohol, am careful about what I eat, exercise regularly, check my weight every morning, avoid eating GE food, avoid any kinds of air and water pollution as far as possible, AND YET I now find myself 75 miles (120 km) south of a Class 7 nuclear disaster. Radiation is OK for me? Statistically, yes, maybe, but for me personally, my life and the lives of my family, friends and neighbours are not statistics. We're all individuals for whom cancers caused by unnecessary radioactivity in the environment would be a personal disaster.

So, rosy statistics about how radiation is not as damaging to health as has been predicted make neat little statements for newspapers but, unless this kind of article just puts you back into your former soporific mode, it does little to assuage the fear that "I" might be the one to die "early" from cancer in 20 years' time. Nuclear power? Thanks, but no thanks...

.

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

Seabed radiation 100-1,000 times normal level off Fukushima plant

IAEA update for May 3 of the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Update Log

Much of the news now is about reactor 1...

Stabilizing cooling systems in Daiichi not easy

TEPCO to set up device to cool reactors

Workers set to enter reactor 1 building

At a location 15 km north of the plant, 1,400 becquerels per kg of cesium-137 and 1,300 becquerels per kg of cesium-134 were detected in the seabed. Both are more than 1,000 times higher than normal. Some 190 becquerels per kg of radioactive iodine was also detected.

Workers enter reactor building in groups of three and for only ten minutes at a time!

TEPCO neglected radiation checks in building where two women absorbed high doses

Simulations of radioactive substances diffusion from nuke plant released by gov't

Govt to decide on evacuees return in early 2012 -- So it seems that it will take until January or February next year to get the reactors 1-4 under control, AND THEN the government will make a decision on when the people in the evacuated zones will be able to return.

TEPCO president visits radiation-hit towns



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

May 4

This article brings up LARGE and SERIOUS problems...

Japan bosses: state not Tepco liable for nuclear damage

Hiromasa Yonekura, chairman of the Nippon Keidanren business leaders' body, talked to AFP in Paris - a few quotes...

"They [the government] are getting away from taking any kind of responsibility. Avoiding it," he said, in an interview during a working visit to Europe. "So I am openly criticising the government in respect of compensation.

"And those Tepco people, who are really working hard, have also lost their families and homes and they are working just in front, exposing themselves to higher level radiation," he declared.

"They are responsible. The government is responsible for continuing to help Tepco and also to compensate those residents, and they always said Tepco is responsible for this compensation, it is not true, under the law."

Mr. Yonekura also stated 1) that nationalisation of TEPCO "cannot be done" and 2) that Keidanren advocates an increase in consumption tax from the current 5% to 10% to cover the "rising costs of the social security system" and that a second and separate but temporary boost to sales tax should cover earthquake relief.

Of course I understand that as a business organization Keidanren supports businesses and also that they have a right to express their opinions, even if they are able to reach more people because of the money they have. For me, however, Mr. Yonekura's statements far overstep the limits of reasonable public discourse within democratic society. I'll try to explain why.

1) Who is 'responsible' for the Fukushima nuclear disaster? Mr. Yonekura stated in the interview that TEPCO built this plant on the basis of a safety standard which was set by the government and they have been operating in accordance with Japanese regulations. I think that's probably about half true. People who live in TEPCO's area, or where TEPCO has its nuclear power stations (not necessarily the same thing because, naturally, you can't build nuclear power stations in Tokyo since they are too dangerous) know that over the years TEPCO has systematically skimped on safety measures and then has engaged in cover-ups and lies when problems have occurred. Some of this is documented on the English pages of the Citizens Nuclear Information Center (Tokyo) - just search for "TEPCO". TEPCO officials have themselves admitted that the Fukushima nuclear disaster was a man-made disaster (look for "man-made" in the update for May 1 below). So to say that TEPCO bears no responsibility is clearly a falsehood, and I do not believe that Mr. Yonekura is so stupid as to not know he is consciously doing it.

2) So is the Japanese government responsible for what happened? Although I have problems with the way TEPCO have operated their nuclear power stations over the years, I have to largely accept the statement that TEPCO built this plant on the basis of a safety standard which was set by the government and they have been operating in accordance with Japanese regulations. The Japanese government, in the form of the nuclear regulatory bodies, the Nuclear Safety Commission (NSC) and the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA), have been far too complacent and lax in their regulatory activities, and this has been a function of the cosy 'nuclear village' relationship between the electric power companies and the government ministries and agencies, as documented below (update for April 29) where a Japanese newspaper reported that 45 high-level bureaucrats had done an 'amakudari' (parachute) down to EPCOs over the last 50 years. Kyodo News reports today that Utilities got 68 ex-bureaucrats via 'amakudari' from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI). Everyone is now shouting that NISA and METI have to be separated, but that is simply wisdom after the fact. TEPCO should never have been allowed to get away with the laxity with which it has run the nuclear power stations up to now. And now we have a huge disaster on our hands. Is the Japanese government to blame? Of course, it is. And maybe we are all to blame to some extent for allowing this situation to continue for so long. I do not think the Japanese people will ever be so naive again.

3) Now, the second part of the quote - And those Tepco people, who are really working hard, have also lost their families and homes and they are working just in front, exposing themselves to higher level radiation," he declared - is sheer nonsense. What and who can he be talking about? Which TEPCO people lost their families and their homes in the nuclear disaster? Some TEPCO personnel in the Fukushima area may have lost homes and family members in the earthquake and the tsunami, but they certainly were not the only ones. A few people are known to have died inside the Fukushima power station soon after the disaster occurred, but it is not clear if they were actually TEPCO personnel or not. Some TEPCO personnel may have 'lost' their homes when they had to evacuate from the 20 km zone around the disaster site, but so did a lot more other people. Remember that PM Kan was severely criticised for suggesting that the people who lived in the zone might not be going back there for ten or twenty years, though in fact this may have been an understatement.

4) "... who are really working hard" - yes I suppose TEPCO employees are working hard in front of their computers in their air-conditioned offices around the country, though some of them are at the disaster site - "and they are working just in front, exposing themselves to higher level radiation." Now, this really does need a little clarification. It is well known that most of the people working in TEPCO nuclear power stations are not in fact TEPCO employees, but sub-contractors and sub-contractors of sub-contractors, and that these are still the people who are bearing the brunt of the work at the Fukushima disaster site now (see Rolling Update 2). Further, it is also well known and documented in Japan that the people who are working inside nuclear power stations doing the physical work of maintenance and repairs are an underclass of daily-wage 'nuclear slaves.' Who's doing the most dangerous work at the disaster site now? Exactly these same 'nuclear slaves' (see Dying for TEPCO? on the April 30 update). And perhaps Mr. Yonekura would like to explain to us why it is that some people can only live by knowingly allowing themselves to be irradiated in the bowels of nuclear power plants, and why the obviously dangerous situation of allowing nuclear power stations to be run by sub-sub-contractors has come about. In a word, for money. For the bottom line. This is the wonderful capitalist society that people like Mr. Yonekura have constructed. Yes, I also like hot showers and plentiful food and watching soccer on TV, but not at the expense of having large companies that I cannot trust causing nuclear and other disasters. I am also extremely unhappy that Mr. Yonekura suggests that TEPCO employees are working just in front, exposing themselves to higher level radiation when it is actually the underclass created precisely by people like Mr. Yonekura who are putting their lives on the live at the Fukushima site for a few hundred dollars a day. Where's the sympathy for them? Where's the sympathy for the thousands who have been evacuated from their towns and villages because of the nuclear disaster? Where's the bright, shining society where everyone would do 'decent work' for a decent standard of living? Were we not promised that by the captains of industry and the people who fronted for them in the elections? What did we get? Heads of business organizations who go to Paris and lie their heads off to protect companies who are as consciously socially irresponsible as TEPCO is. Please, Mr. Yonekura, don't tell me you didn't know.

5) The third quote - The government is responsible for continuing to help Tepco and also to compensate those residents, and they always said Tepco is responsible for this compensation, it is not true, under the law. Mr. Yonekura is perfectly well aware of what the government has proposed (see update for April 27). That is that TEPCO should pay compensations from the money it has and then what more is necessary will be disbursed by an independent organization to be set up by the government. The money that this organization pays out will be effectively a loan to TEPCO which TEPCO later has to pay back from its profits. What's the problem? Everyone is saying, "Oh, well, I suppose TEPCO has to continue to exist." So, TEPCO gets off the hook. The consumers end up paying higher electricity rates (or if Mr. Yonekura gets his way, they spread it around a bit more by paying from taxes). What on earth is Mr. Yonekura complaining about? I have said that TEPCO should be disbanded, its assets sold to pay the compensation, the nuclear power stations taken over by the government either to run conscientiously 'safely' or to shutdown if that is what the public wants, and any remaining deficit from compensation payments be provided from future profits from TEPCO's former assets. It *can be done*. Pernicious companies should not be allowed to continue to exist (where's the guarantee that they will not cause another disaster?) and opening up TEPCO's area (a monopoly on electric power) to new market entrants should provide just the kind of economic stimulus that Mr. Yonekura should welcome instead of protecting TEPCO simply because they have a lot of money (well, actually, now they don't). (I don't think I'll even talk about how large companies control law-making procedures with their money; it's all just too sordid and brain-numbing.)

6) I'm going to end up quoting nearly the whole article, but this needs to be said: Mr. Yonekura also stated Our business organisation advocates for an increase of the consumption tax, similar to VAT here. Our current level is only five percent. We say we need to increase it to more than 10 percent, gradually... But Yonekura said funds raised by doubling VAT should only be applied to the "rising costs of the social security system" and that a second and separate but temporary boost to sales tax should cover earthquake relief. OK. As I said above, he has a right to voice his opinion, and me mine, so here goes. The Japanese consumption tax was first introduced on 1 April 1989 (at 3% and raised in 1997 to 5%). It is a tax on all purchases. As far as I am aware there are no exceptions. It is therefore a highly regressive tax system whose impacts are harder the further you go down the social scale. It is despised by virtually all Japanese at the lower end of the social pyramid, and I am still puzzled as to why they still keep voting for the people who introduced it (whether Liberal Democratic Party of Democratic Party of Japan) It was also introduced at the end of the 80s' bubble and is one factor in the long period of very slow growth in Japan which has persisted from 1990 to the present day. Look, you just simply can't say "spend, spend, spend!" while taking the money out of people's pockets in taxes in a regressive manner like this! And yet, here we have Mr. Yonekura, arguably Japan's chief capitalist, in Paris saying that he wants double-helpings of burden on the already (relatively, this is not Burma, after all) oppressed Japanese lower and middle class. If you want more taxes, Mr. Yonekura, how about your stratum paying more? How about companies paying more corporate tax instead of ferreting their money away in banks and pretending it doesn't exist? How about transferring money away from the military, money used for machines whose sole purpose is to kill people, or from the taxes that support nuclear power (see Nuclear Power Isn't Cheap - April 30) and keep it relatively cheap while buying off the local people who don't really want it in their towns and villages?

7) Anyway, who is Mr. Yonekura to go making these statements to the press in Paris? A businessman - currently chairman of Sumitomo Chemical Co. Ltd. He probably has and represents a lot of money, and since money is the main criterion by which, wisely or otherwise, we make value judgements these days, then he is an 'important man.' But how does that happen and where does the money come from? Ultimately, surprise, from consumers who buy goods and services. The very people he wants to pay 10% consumption tax and then some more for 'earthquake relief'. What if people stop buying the products? Doesn't he realise that he is dependent on the good will of all the little consumers who buy things, or is he in some way above all that? And why, being a part of the population who are not paying their fair share of taxes, is he so insistent upon forcing further regressive taxation on people who are already relatively overtaxed? Is that going to help people to spend more and improve the economy? And are the politicians now immune to the anger of the people who have to bear these burdens (and put up with nuclear disasters)? Up until now the politicians, bureaucrats and business people have all been relatively free of these problems, free to run around doing just what they wanted to while the population watched TV and slept through it all. But please be careful, Mr. Yonekura, the veil is beginning to wear pretty thin.

~~~

The Future Children of Fukushima
Cancer, Deformities and Chronic Diseases
By JOE GIAMBRONE

~~~Hamaoka News~~~

Japanese nuclear plant a time bomb?

"It should be closed down now," Fukushima said. "Scientists say the region in which Hamaoka is located is due for a major earthquake. If we wait until that happens, it will be too late."

===

IAEA update for May 2 of the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Update Log

===

Japan’s worst-case scenario assumed “significant public exposure” to occur by end of March 12 because of pressure buildup that would damage No. 1 reactor container — Explosion at No. 1 happened March 12

===

TEPCO prepares for work inside reactor building

Radiation leaks from fuel rods suspected at Tsuruga plant

Japan mulls new robot help with nuclear disaster

A mistaken belief that such a nuclear disaster would never happen in Japan is also to blame....

~~~Overseas~~~

Areva sales up in first quarter, to review forecasts

Chile finds radioactive traces in Korean cars



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

May 3

Fukushima parents dish the dirt in protest over radiation levels
Furious Fukushima parents dump school playground earth that may have radiation levels well above the old safety level

"How dare they tell us it is safe for our children," said Sachiko Satou of the Protect Fukushima Children from Radiation Association. "This is disgusting. They can't play outside with such risks. If the government won't remove the radioactive dirt then we'll do it ourselves and dump it outside the headquarters of Tokyo Electric."

===

U.S. medical group blasts Tokyo radiation policy on Fukushima children

"(Twenty millisieverts) for children exposes them to a 1 in 200 risk of getting cancer. And if they are exposed to this dose for two years, the risk is 1 in 100. There is no way that this level of exposure can be considered 'safe' for children," the statement said.

~~~

From Citizens Nuclear Information Center in Japan:
Statement by Scientists and Engineers Concerning Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (No.2) (There is a link to No.1 at the bottom of the page)
(April 7, 2011, but recently translated.)

~~~

The Peaceful Atom and Other Nuclear Fairy TalesWill the Nuclear Power Industry Melt Down?
By HARVEY WASSERMAN (a co-founder of Musicians United for Safe Energy, is editing the nukefree.org web site. He is the author of SOLARTOPIA! Our Green-Powered Earth, A.D. 2030, which you can also see at www.solartopia.org.)

Our survival ultimately depends on burying fossil fuels — and more immediately, the "Peaceful Atom" that has given us Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, Fukushima and other accidents that will inevitably follow.

Long Conversation With Deepak Chopra about Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant that includes Arnie Gundersen, Harvey Wasserman and other knowledgeable people.

~~~

IAEA update for May 2 of the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Update Log

~~~

Another nuclear problem??
Japan suspects radiation leak from fuel rods at plant in Fukui prefecture

===

Calls grow for Japan PM to quit in wake of quake
The article says that it is highly likely that there is a hole on the (No.2 unit's) suppression chamber.

===

Nuclear Adviser to Japan's Prime Minister Resigns Amidst Controversy
Not new, but there is a news clip from the Japanese TV here (in Japanese, of course.)

~~~

Power cut doomed fallout computer

The malfunction of the ERSS, coupled with "insufficiencies" attribued to SPEEDI, the System for Prediction of Environmental Emergency Dose Information, which projects the dispersal of radioactive fallout based on ERSS forecasts, is likely to have delayed the evacuation of Fukushima residents. Japan sent SPEEDI data to the U.N. but withheld it from the public.

The failure of the ¥28 billion systems casts further doubt on Japan's disaster-prevention policy, which states the two systems are to be used to analyze and predict the amount and spread of radioactive fallout in the environment in a nuclear crisis.


Er... so the emergency system failed in an emergency despite the large amounts of money that have been spent (presumably from taxes), and then the government sent the data to the UN but not to the public. Incompetence, criminal negligence, and a total lack of feeling for people suffering from the nuclear fallout.

~~~

Fukushima radiation releases (forecasts)
Enjoy seeing the swirling and circulating clouds of Iodine-131, Xenon-133, and Cesium-137.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

May 2

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

Level now 3300 times limit at No. 2 reactor intake

TEPCO to install device to reduce radioactivity

Second woman exposed to radiation at Japan plant

Emergency safety measures for reprocessing units


Japan's nuclear safety agency has told two reprocessing units for spent nuclear fuel to take emergency safety measures in preparation for a possible suspension of external power.

If all power lines were knocked out at reprocessing units, cooling of the spent fuel would be interrupted and hydrogen would be produced.

The facilities are the Japan Atomic Energy Agency in Ibaraki Prefecture in eastern Japan, and a nuclear reprocessing plant in Rokkasho village in Aomori, northern Japan. The agency is calling on those units to prepare mobile generators and pump trucks, as well as equipment that can get rid of hydrogen.

In other words, they hadn't thought of it before!

Minute levels of radiation detected in breast milk

Cesium found in sludge

~~~

Shareholders want nuclear plants closed

~~~Demos~~~

Japan unions in May Day call to end nuclear power

~~~Overseas~~~

Putin criticises Japanese nuclear industry


"The Japanese have a unique situation. I don't know why - it's their choice - they build their plants in seismic zones. The whole of Japan is a seismic zone," Putin said during a meeting of physicists in Penza, south of Moscow.

~~~Triple Disaster~~~

I think from today, because of a slight reduction in the amount of nuclear power-related news, it will be possible to say more here about the whole 'triple disaster' (earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster). I want to do this because a) they are very interrelated, and b) because, as with the nuclear disaster, it's important to see the recovery process in northeast Japan in terms of the effects of a post-peak oil* world and also in the context of moves towards more intense globalization such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). So, here's one article for starters...

* For those who have doubts about 'peak oil,' ABC Catalyst Peak Oil Report 28-04-2011 is a sexy video you can watch to catch up with the rest of us who have known about it for a decade or so...

Depopulation latest threat Disaster forces faceoff with demographic ills earlier than expected

You'll have to read the whole article yourself to see exactly what it says, but here are a few quotes...


Rebuilding the Tohoku region goes beyond simple economics, according to the Design Council's Iio. Reconstruction will provide a model for the rest of Japan as it seeks to reverse a long-term trend of centralizing its economy in Tokyo.

"This disaster has brought home the fact that it's unsafe for a country to centralize too much," he said. "We must have regions that can survive and thrive autonomously."

...

Fisheries and dependent industries, including packaging and processing, accounted for 85 percent of the jobs in Kesennuma. Families making a living from farming oysters generated up to ¥40 million in sales a year that fed into the local economy in Rikuzentakata, Mayor Toba said.

"If they don't exist, there won't be jobs at processing factories, which created 300 to 400 jobs per plant," he said.

Now, my friend in Kyushu and I, though we are not Japanese politicians, bureaucrats or officials in anyway involved in the recovery effort, have a few problems with this.

a) Let's start with the fishing industry, because that's a little easier to handle. The authors of the piece seem to have trouble focusing on what's happening about 100 miles down the coast. Don't they know there is a nuclear disaster on the Fukushima coastline that is resulting in radioactive pollution of the ocean? It's going to be quite a long time before the pollution stops, I fear, and people in Sendai, Tokyo and elsewhere will not want to buy seafood from this region until they are certain the seas are clean again. Secondly, as we saw two years ago, and again right now because of the problems in the Middle East and North Africa, as oil prices rise, it very quickly becomes economically difficult for the fishermen to go out on the sea because of the higher prices they have to pay for diesel fuel to run the boats. There will be ups and downs, but the long-term price trend for oil (and other forms of energy) is up. It's never coming down. Revival of the fishing industry in this part of Japan, and survival of the whole of Japan's fishing industry depends on a correct understanding of this and the vision necessary to get through it somehow. Clearly, NOONE has this vision now; not from Mr. Kan right down to the local officials in the disaster region. Wake up. The nuclear disaster has brought the energy problems of the mid-term future about ten years forward. It's time to start thinking and doing some serious planning for the low-energy future, not simply planning on throwing 25 billion yen into building futuristic cities that noone will live in.

One more comment: I have seen in the Japanese newspaper yesterday, and also heard from my friends in the USA (through my discussion with Kevin Barrett on No Lies Radio yesterday) that, despite the fact that we are still in the middle of a national crisis here, talk of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is beginning to appear again. This partnership will be somewhat beneficial to large corporations such as Toyota, Nissan, National Panasonic, Sony and so on, but because (Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries [MAFF] calculation) it will cause Japan's (calorie-based) food self-sufficiency to fall from the current 40% to about 13% (due to imports of cheap food, including the Japanese staple, rice) and the result will be the collapse of Japan's rural economy. Under the triple disaster, oncoming high energy prices (or low availability of fossil energy), and TPP, how will it be possible for northeastern Japan to survive? It's going to be bad enough in all the rural areas, but in the northeast I fear it will be an unmitigated tragedy. People in the major cities, starting with Tokyo, seem to have no conception of what is happening in the countryside, or the problems that the countryside and fisheries are facing. They do not seem to understand where their electricity for their city lifestyle comes from and they do not understand where the food they will be wanting to eat will come from after fossil energy shortages start to bite in the mid-term future (5 to 10 years from now?). The advent of serious fossil energy shortages will spell the end of Japan's relatively short honeymoon, roughly 1960 onwards, with the food exporting countries. How is Japan going to feed the current 127 million people on less than 5 million hectares of farmland. Come on, city folks, get your calculators out and do the sums!! (Hint: Some of the answers are here.)

b) Wonderful to see that Mr. Iio has rediscovered decentralization, but like my old maths teacher used to say, "You seem to have got the right answer, but for the wrong reasons!" I say this because, firstly, we have to remember Japan's historical imperatives for centralization. How the countryside was emptied in the 60s to provide the factories with labour and how the agricultural work was 'modernized' with chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides and machinery to make (mostly) food production more 'efficient' while ensuring that it was very difficult for the small farmer to make a decent living. Eventually, a lot sooner than many think, 'we' are going to have to go in the opposite direction, When the ship of the economy hits the rock-bottom sea floor after the ocean of fossil fuels it is floating on now dries up, who will care very much about 'jobs' migrating to the regions through some grandiose decentralization scheme? My friend in Kyushu put it nicely...

If you take the debt this country has, the energy problems we have, the cost and the raison d'etre to rebuild (empty monuments?) in proven tsunami zones and economic dead areas (i.e. much of the whole of Japan), the lack of understanding linking of all these problems, the human tragedy and inability to accept that some regions are simply never going to recover and are thus pointless in their old context, the price of future energy imports of a dwindling resource, the rebuilding of an economy based on the old school ideas of world economy/growth paradigm... it seems to me the problems are all coming together, but people's consciousness/awareness is WAAAAAY behind the curve, and they are going to be mightily disappointed.

Indeed. So 'decentralization' it will be, but decentralizing to what? A nation of independent local regions, "regions that can survive and thrive autonomously" is a good way of putting it, but I do not think Mr. Iio and I are on the same wavelength. In the past I have used the term 'bioregion,' which is fine, but meaningless if you do not understand what it involves. Basically, I'm saying sustainable, independent regions that can produce everything the population requires for life with the minimum of trade with other regions. I have envisaged a region with a coast, an agricultural plain and a hinterland of mountains that can be travelled from anywhere to anywhere in about two days by horse and cart as a 'bioregion.' Japan has lots of places like this. Some are overpopulated and some are relatively underpopulated, but overall there are too many people here (four times more than in the famine-ridden Late Edo Period), so perhaps we had better start thinking about how we want all of this to turn out during this present century. 'Renewable' energy forms will certainly help us to make the transition from here to there.

My friend in Kyushu says:

As you allude to, we are going to have to reconnect with nature. We are going to have to trim down our population, grow some food, give up our petro-lives and economies, little by little this is happening. Of course the financial tsunami I envisage will wipe out 'savings' and many people with it - especially those in the cities which will simply become unsustainable - without enough food or necessary services. The lucky ones will be able to get back to the country relatives. This is how the rural areas will survive and thrive again. I'm not sure if it is Ishikawa's 2050 Edo Jidai, but maybe something like that. Lack of cheap and abundant energy will force us there eventually.

Is this simply 'doom and gloom' or a better vision of that which we have got? These last 100 or so years may have been a terribly expensive experiment in how NOT to live. We are going to have to fit in to our energy curtailments and that means sacrificing what we now still just about have for what we used to have. Our newer renewables may (or may not) help to alleviate our 'fall'/return but not on the scale which we have come to know and accept as 'normal'.

Does this seem a little extreme to you? To me, it sounds a lot better than living in the middle of a nuclear disaster. When 'money' becomes the overriding criterion by which we run our lives, watch out, it isn't going to be pretty. Fukushima is certainly not what anyone would want, but what do you think the Faustian bargain was going to bring you in the end, anyway? I have known that it is going to be hard for Japan to get through to the latter half of this century, but for me, the triple disaster has made serious thinking about the future of this country an urgent priority; not the business-as-usual thinking, the kind that bases our future on realistic economic and energy trends and that respects ALL people.

~~~

POINT OF VIEW / Takeshi Fujitani: Aid from around the world sheds light on Japan's inward-looking attitude

Recently, we also frequently hear the statement "Asia is the cornerstone of Japan's growth strategy." Actually, however, many Japanese politicians and business leaders who visit Southeast Asia have few opportunities to speak to local media organizations. If they give news conferences, they often expose their lack of interest and knowledge about Asia.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

May 1

How much radiation released by the Fukushima disaster so far??

This article is well worth the read:
Three Mile Island expert: Fukushima could kill 200,000

This raises several questions. It would be good to try to post meaningful answers here today:
- Is Fukushima 'worse' than Chernobyl, e.g. in total amount of radiation released?
- How many have died as a result of the radioactive material released from Chernobyl, and over what geographical range.
- What kind of medial problems can we expect to see in Japan, and over what kind of geographical range?
I'll try to post links that give pointers to the answers to the above questions.

===

We've seen this before: Radiation Experts Determine 200,000 Cancers Likely from Fukushima
The health outcome of the Fukushima catastropheInitial analysis from risk model of theEuropean Committee on Radiation Risk ECRR by Chris Busby

We've seen this article before, too:
Fukushima's Suicide Squads

There is a prediction here that there will be 417,000 deaths in a 200 km zone around the Fukushima nuclear disaster site by 2061. This is based on the same pfd by Chris Busby given just above.

We've posted this link before, but it is very useful (the above information is also linked there):
THE LOW LEVEL RADIATION CAMPAIGN

Nuclear crises: How do Fukushima and Chernobyl compare?

The article quoted NISA as saying that "the amount of radioactive material released to the atmosphere from Fukushima is much less than Chernobyl." The article also says:


Japan's nuclear safety commission has estimated that the Fukushima plant's reactors had released up to 10,000 terabecquerels of radioactive iodine-131 per hour into the air for several hours after they were damaged in the 11 March earthquake and tsunami. It said emissions since then had dropped to below one terabecquerel per hour, adding that it was examining the total amount of radioactive materials released. A terabecquerel equals a trillion becquerels, a measure for radiation emissions. The government says the Chernobyl incident released 5.2m terabecquerels into the air about 10 times that of the Fukushima plant.

That gives us a few more figures to play with, but this only refers to "several hours after they were damaged in the 11 March earthquake and tsunami." Reactors 1-3 all experienced explosions and the spent fuel pool in reactor 4 experienced an explosion and a fire between March 12 and 16, so what of the releases at that time?

Here's a graph of the air dose radiation in my area (This is from the Ibaraki Prefecture Radiation Telemeter Internet Display Office (everything in Japanese):



The one closest to me is the blue line - about 120 km (75 miles) from the Fukushima nuclear disaster site. The high readings are on the Pacific coast at Hitachi City, perhaps 100 km (65 miles) from the disaster site. The left axis units are microglays/hr. The normal background reading is about 38 nanoglays/hr. The time axis is the date, so where you see "3X15Y", that is "March 15". You can see one huge spike with a smaller associated one between March 13-17. You can then see another smaller spike around 21-23 March, after which things quieten down slowly. The first huge spike is clearly the explosions and fire mentioned above. The cause of the later, smaller spike does not correlate with any event I have heard of, so if you have an idea about what it may be, please let me know by leaving a comment at the bottom of the page. The point is: do we know the total radiation that was emitted during these two episodes - has it been 'officially' announced? To my knowledge, it has not. All we have is the "10,000 terabecquerels of radioactive iodine-131 per hour into the air for several hours after they were damaged in the 11 March earthquake and tsunami." Please let me know if you have seen any Japanese government or TEPCO announcement about the release of radioactivity in the period 12-24 March. I do not remember having seen one.

However, there are huge problems when it comes to making predictions about the health effects that might occur. George Monbiot and Dr. Helen Caldicott debate....
Interrogation of Helen Caldicott’s Responses

~~~~

TEPCO official: Fukushima is man-made disaster

TEPCO vice president Norio Tsuzumi visited Iitate village in Fukushima Prefecture on Saturday and apologized to about 1,000 villagers who gathered to hear him speak.

After the meeting with local residents, Tsuzumi explained to reporters why he feels it is a man-made disaster.

He said that some say the nuclear accident in Fukushima was beyond any expectations but personally he thinks adequate precautions should have been in place.

~~~

Tepco pair caught radiation overdose

~~~

Weather chief hit for putting lid on SPEEDI projections

Niino later explained his statement, saying, "If (society members') forecasts were announced, it would have carried the risk that ordinary people may panic."

Interpreted into English: Don't tell anyone the truth, they might just see through the lies we've been telling them = they might just figure out how stupid/manipulating/patronizing we are.

~~~

Kan nuclear adviser fed up, quits
Tokyo professor calls response impromptu, says short-term thinking resulted in delays

Cabinet nuclear advisor resigns in protest over government response to plant crisis

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

April 30

Please read:

Dying for TEPCO? Fukushima’s Nuclear Contract Workers by Prof. Paul Jobin

A truly horrifying report on the workers at the Fukushima nuclear disaster site and the history of temporary workers at nuclear power stations in Japan since the 1970s.

===

Japan Callously Puts Thousands of Kids in Harm's Way

Radiation for Children's Day
By ROBERT ALVAREZ

OPINION: Children of Fukushima need our protection

Urgent Petition Against 20 millisieverts per year (mSv/y) Radiation Exposure onto Children in Fukushima

~~~

NUCLEAR POWER ISN'T CHEAP!

The Tokyo Newspaper today carried an article on p.20 under the title Nuclear Power isn't Cheap. Following the Fukushima nuclear disaster, it certainly isn't, but whereas the The Federation of Electric Power Companies (FEPC) has been telling us with great glee for many years that nuclear power is cheaper than any other power (though not too cheap to meter, and now too expensive to contemplate) we now discover that when they use their accounting practices it might be, but when other people do the sums that does not quire turn out to be the case. Professor Ken'ichi Ohshima of Ritsumeika University (Kyoto) has done the calculations and the results are presented in Table 1. FEPC calculations make nuclear power look much cheaper than the the costs as calculated by Prof. Ohshima. Why is that? The first reason is that FEPC calculates the cost of construction of new generating facilities as 'assumed' costs, whereas Prof. Ohshima has calculated these from actual costs. The FEPC defends its position by saying that the actual costs involved for any facility are company secrets. Prof. Ohshima has calculated costs from figures picked up from annual financial reports and then has added on the tax money that the Japanese government has disbursed to promote nuclear power. That results in far higher costs for electricity generated by nuclear power. The FEPC calculations only include a small part of this expenditure from taxes.

Table 1. Comparison of Electric Power Generating Costs (Unit: yen/kWh)
- Nuclear Hydro Oil Nat Gas Coal
FEPC

5.3

11.9

10.7

6.2

5.7

Prof. Ohshima

10.68

General hydro 3.98

9.9

12.23*

-
* nuclear + pumped hydropower. Calculations do not include accident compensation.

Tax is collected as a Power Development Acceleration Tax, initiated in 1974 at a rate of 0.086 yen/kWh. It has been used to reward administrative districts for hosting power stations in their areas. between 1974 and 2007, a total of 10.538 trillion yen (divide by about 82 to get US$) was handed out, of which about 7 trillion was used for nuclear power. Further, from 1970 to 2007, 5.248 trillion yen was disbursed as 'energy measures,' of which 97% went to nuclear power. This money is needed to suppoert nuclear power in many ways, one of which is to attract administrative districts to host nuclear power stations. Without this it is doubtful that any village, town or city in Japan would accept a nuclear power station to be built in their area.

Finally, there are the costs involved in two specifically nuclear issues; pumped hydropower and the nuclear cycle backend. Because nuclear power reactors have to run at a steady rate all the time and cannot be adjusted to porduce more or less power during peak and valley consumption times each day, excess power is produced at night. Part of this power is used to raise water in specially-built reservoirs to a higher level, the water being released through hydroelectric turbines when electricity consumption is high during the day. Of course there is a power loss, and of course these facilities are costly. This is one reason why power companies are happy to sell you cheaper energy at night - it makes it financially easier for them to run their nuclear reactors.

The nuclear cycle backend is what happens to the spent nuclear fuel after it has been used in the conventional fission reactors. The idea is that the spent fuel is 'reprocessed' to reover fissionable plutonium and uranium in a reprocessing plant. This would then be used in a fast breeder reactor (FBR). This actually produces more fuel than it burns and is supposed to reduce the final amount of nuclear waste. The problem is that nuclear processing is not easy to do and is very polluting of the local environment. The Japanese government reckoned in 2004 that the reprocessing plant built at Rokkasho Village in Aomori Prefecture, in the far north of Honshu Island, cost 18 trillion yen, but it has hardly worked at all. Japan has two FBRs, a test FBR at Oharai in Ibaraki Prefecture called Joyo (I have never heard of any testing actually being done. About 15 years ago I actually had an opportunity to go inside it. Shiny clean, doing nothing, and therefore safe) and a demonstration FBR in Tsuruga, Fukui Prefecture, known as Monju, which had a famous accident in December 1995, after which it was shut down until 6 May 2010. There appears to have been another accident there in August 2010, and so it is probably not running now. There is a plan for a third FBR to be completed around 2025, but I think it is unlikely that it will be constructed. Japan therefore cannot reprocess its spent fuel, but commissions it out to France and the UK (more costs). The plutonium is returned to Japan (in special ships - dangerous and costly), but since the backend does not look like working in Japan, or anywhere in the world for that matter, the plutonium has to be stored or used somewhere - and that somewhere is in the conventional fission power stations that are running MOX (mixed plutonium and uranium oxides) under the pluthermal scheme, as was reactor 3 at Fukushima No.1. Lots of problems and lots of money changing hands, but spent nuclear fuel volumes building up as the backend of the nuclear cycle remains a mirage that recedes further into the distance as you try to apprach it (a bit like fusion power does).

To summarize, in the end, nuclear power turns out to be quite a bit more expensive than other form of electricity generation. Even when the costs of accident compensations are not calculated in.

Table 2. Percentage of Electric Power Generated by Nuclear Power (Japanese EPCOs, North to South)
EPCO Nuclear %
Hokkaido EPCO

35

Tohoku EPCO

21

Tokyo EPCO

28

Chubu EPCO

14

Hokuriku EPCO

33

Kansai EPCO

45

Chugoku EPCO

15

Shikoku EPCO

41

Kyushu EPCO

42

Okinawa EPCO has no nuclear power station.

Data from FEPC 2009.

~~~

Perils on the Coast

Time to Close California's Nuclear Plants
By NORMAN SOLOMON

~~~

Lithuania presses Russia over nuclear plant

Alabama nuclear power plant offline after storm

~~~

A different kind of nuclear reactor:

Travelling Wave Reactor - Depleted Uranium as Fuel Cuts Path to Less Waste

Traveling wave reactor

A way of using depleted uranium and other spent fuel from conventional fission reactors that we have nowhere to store now. Absolutely safe technology, of course. I hear that Bill Gates is interested in it, so if it's anything like his software packages it should be 100% stable.

===

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

April 29

Worldwatch Institute's New Report - The End of Nuclear

Download The End of Nuclear here

In 2010, for the first time, worldwide cumulative installed capacity from wind turbines, biomass, waste-to-energy, and solar power surpassed installed nuclear capacity. Meanwhile, total investment in renewable energy technologies was estimated at $243 billion in 2010.

~~~

Russia Today: Gundersen First to Say Fukushima Worse than Chernobyl

Great interview with Arnie Gundersen on RT news.

Arnie suggests that Fukushima will mean the end of nuclear power because the costs, even of construction, are so astronomically high.

~~~

How to get to a nuclear-free and carbon-free world

Institute for Energy and Environmental Research

~~~

I listened to Dr. Helen Caldicott on noliesradio.org this morning. I thought I was going to be hearing Helen talk about the radiation problems of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. I was wrong. What I did hear was Helen (and Kevin Barrett) talk about the deeper human causes of nuclear power, nuclear war and many other problems of human society. The mp3 archive of this Kevin Barret show will be posted at http://noliesradio.org/archives/category/archived-shows/kevin-barrett-show in a few days and I definitely recommend that you download the show and listen to it!

See Dr. Helen Caldicott's website http://www.nuclearfreeplanet.org/

~~~Hamaoka News~~~

The Tokyo Newspaper yesterday (April 28) ran two articles on the Hamaoka Nuclear Power Station (Shizuoka Prefecture, about 170 km southeast of central Tokyo), mentioned yesterday. As I said yesterday, Chubu EPCO has announced a plan to restart reactor 3 by July, in time to help provide electrical power for the summer electrical power consumption peak, between late July and mid-August, when daytime temperatures around the Tokyo area usually exceed 30C every day, and almost every enclosed spaced is being cooled by air conditioning. Chubu EPCO says that if they do not restart reactor 3 and provide the electrical power by (coal or natural gas?) thermal instead, their monthly running costs will increase by 6 billion yen (about $US72 million) and over a year would increase by about 50 billion yen (US$600 million). 50 billion yen is about the amount expected in profits for FY2010.

Following the March 11 earthquake, Chubu EPCO was instructed by the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) to construct a levee of over 12 m on the seaward side of the power station and install an emergency generator on the roof of the reactor building (on the land side) at a total cost of around 30 billion yen (US$360 million). NISA inspected the site on April 21 and 22 and is expected to give an assessment of the safety measures before the end of the month (April).

According to the article, one Chubu EPCO manager stated that the new safety measures were for 'reassurance' (of local people) and that the reactor(s) had been 'safe' without the measures. A different manager stated that the restarting of the reactor had been included in the company's performance outlook because it was necessary to indicate to investors what the outlook for earnings and expenditures was, and there is actually no target date for the restart of the reactor. Reactor 3 operated normally until November last year, when it was shut down for regular maintenance. It was scheduled to be restarted at the end of March or the beginning of April. The Governor of Shizuoka Prefecture stated that it was hard even for an amateur to say that the safety measures were as good as they could be, and it is thought that in the present circumstances he is rather negative about approving the restart.

The main problem with restarting the reactor, the main problem with the whole power station, is that it lies directly on the coast, as Fukushima No.1 Nuclear Power Station does and is thus vulnerable to severe earthquakes followed by large tsunamis. Where the land on which Fukushima No.1 is built is about 10 m above sea level (ASL), that at Hamaoka is about 6 m ASL. The difference is that there is a 10 to 15 m high dune between the sea and the power station, and this has been the main ground on which the power company has proclaimed the power station 'safe.' However, university experts have said that the dune could be washed away by the successive waves of a tsunami. The plan is therefore to build a concrete levee that would be 12 m ASL at its highest point on the land side of the dune. This has also been criticised because there is seawater below the dune, and thus in the event of a large earthquake liquefaction might occur leading to the collapse of both the dune and the levee. This idea is supported by the fact that the 10m dune on the seaward side of Sendai Airport was washed away by the tsunami that rolled in after the earthquake on March 11 and was unable to protect the airport from the tsunami. Sendai Airport is now functioning again, but was badly damaged by the tsunami.

It is also estimated that there is a roughly 90% chance of a severe Tokai earthquake occurring within the next 30 years.

Hamaoka reactor restart in July urged

Disaster rekindles doubts about courts' nuclear plant rulings

~~~Situation at the Nuclear Disaster Site~~~

The Tokyo Newspaper yesterday (April 28) ran an article on their front page under the headline "1120 milli Sieverts/hr in reactor 1 - 4 time the worker exposure limit". A reomet-controlled robot that entered the reactor 1 building on 26 April measured the high radioactivity of 1120 milli Sieverts/hr, the highest in any of the reactors 1 to 3 and more 4 times the annual maximum exposure, which has been increased just for work at this disaster site.

This high radiation was found in the 'SHC pump room' on the northeast side of the reactor building. TEPCO says that there is a strong possibility that highly radioactive water has flown backwards to this area from the reactor core. The SHC pump room contains a pump and heat exchanger used to remove the heat from the nuclear fuel after the reactor has been stopped.

IAEA update for April 28 of the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Update Log

Radiation level of 1,120 millisieverts per hour detected in damaged reactor building

Fukushima Daiichi's shoreline to be sandbagged

Increased water injection into No. 1 reactor yields positive signs

Blast may have helped cool rods

I suppose it could have happened that way. Seven weeks after the tsunami and all we have is, "Phew, that was lucky!"???

NRC: Fukushima plant situation "improved"

~~~Government-Power Company Links~~~

The Akahata Newspaper published a long article yesterday (28 April, p.3) on how cozy ties between the government and power companies were used to promote nuclear power and maintain the 'safety myth.' The main phenomenon here is the one known as 'amakudari' - literally 'descending from heaven' - which refers to the cushy jobs handed out to retired politicians and high-level bureaucrats. A recent famous case is that of Toru Ishida, a former Director-General of the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy, who became a TEPCO consultant on January 1 this year, but who offered his resignation to TEPCO on April 18 after Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano stated at a press conference the same morning that the government would place restrictions on Ministry of Trade and Industry (METI) executives being re-employed by power companies.

The article notes that over the past 50 years the number of top officials being re-employed from METI (or its forerunner the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, MITI) was a total of 45, 6 each to Tohoku EPCO and Kyushu EPCO, 5 each to Hokkaido EPCO, TEPCO, Hokuriku EPCO and Kansai EPCO, 4 to Okinawa EPCO, and 3 each to Chubu EPCO, Chugoku EPCO and Shikoku EPCO.

Toru Ishida, mentioned above, was at one time the official in charge of nuclear power PR, promotion and planning within Agency for Natural Resources and Energy and has had a career in spreading the 'safety myth.' As Director-General he put forward the policy in the Basic Energy Plan in June 2010 of increasing the number of reactors in Japan by at least 14 by 2030 and aiming to raise capacity utilization to 90%. (It is currently about 60% due to accidents and mismanagement. 90% is either impossible or extremely dangerous. It would, of course be very profitable if they could achieve it, since it would result in far less downtime - but a higher possibility of accidents occurring.)

Even after the end of corporate donations to political parties, it is clear from donation records that power company personnel have been making substantial and systematic donations to political parties that effectively amount to corporate donations.

As mentioned in the article below How did Japan's nuclear industry become so arrogant?, in yesterday's update, the government-nuclear power elite have been able to push forward an agenda of nuclear power promotion that has been exposed to minimal democratic checks, and that is the basic structure underlying the current nuclear disaster in Fukushima.

More on this problem:

Culture of Complicity Tied to Stricken Nuclear Plant
~~~

The tragic story of Futaba Town, where the Fukushima No.1 Nuclear Power Station is located.

Evacuee mayor's community torn

===

Osaka governor vows to scrap nuclear power generation


"I will not approve the construction of another nuclear plant while preventing existing nuclear power stations from continuing to operate (after their contracts with the Osaka Prefectural Government expire), " Hashimoto said during his regular briefing on April 27.

===

Fumihiko Yoshida: Nuclear plants must not turn into radiological weapons

===

Bioaccumulation - Why Fukushima Matters

===

Greenpeace: Update from the field radiation team

India's nuke-plant construction plan rejected

Germany holds open debate on nuclear power

===

Short article with a lot of useful statistical data:

Factbox: Japan's increasing reliance on nuclear power

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

April 28

Hamaoka Reactor 3 to Restart??

Chubu Electric Power Company has announced a plan to restart reactor 3 at Hamaoka Power Station (Shizuoka Prefecture) by July, in time to help provide electrical power for the summer electrical power consumption peak. Hamaoka was thought to be the Japanese nuclear power station most likely to suffer damage in an earthquake+tsunami before Fukushima No.1 Nuclear Power Station was hit on March 11. (See articles on the problems of Hamaoka Nuclear Power Station at CNIC - search for "Hamaoka" on this page.) The restart of the reactor must be approved by the Governor of Shizuoka Prefecture Heita Kawakatsu. It will be interesting to see if he will approve the restart or if public opinion in the prefecture will force him to forgo approval. A source near the power station says the most effective thing that citizens can do to prevent the resart of the reactor is to send messages of protest to the Governor, the Crisis Management Department of the Prefecture and to the Head Office and local office of Chubu EPCO. More later if there is anything to say...

~~~

VOX POPULI: Discussion needed on future of nuclear power

According to an Asahi Shimbun public opinion poll conducted after the Fukushima accident, 5 percent supported the increase of nuclear power generation and 51 percent said it should be maintained at the current level.

Thirty percent said it should be decreased and 11 percent said it should be stopped.

While public opinion is divided, which course should we follow?

NUTS!! If you can count you can see that 95% do not want to see any NEW nuclear reactors built! If you don't agree with me you'll have to go back and redo the survey and find out what the 51% mean by "maintained at the current level." Did most of them mean "keep the current reactors running till they reach the end of their lifetime (stated when they were constructed) and then phase them out without building any new ones"? No? Prove it, please. And also remember that if only 20 percent of them say what I have just interpreted them as possibly saying then those saying that Japan should basically move towards a phase-out of nuclear power will be in a majority. Public opinion will ALWAYS be divided. That's why we have 'democracy'. In this case, though, I think it is clear what the people want. A (gradual) phase-out of nuclear power.

~~~

How did the 'nuclear village' become the 'nuclear village'? Quite instructive, but typical of elitist bureaucratic organizations everywhere. Perhaps the question we should be asking is "How was the 'nuclear village' allowed to become so arrogant?" It's the same story you hear everywhere in Japan. (No leadership) This article is worth reading and is obviously by a journalist who has learned what the 'nuclear village' is about from personal experience...

How did Japan's nuclear industry become so arrogant?

~~~

Chris Busby on news programme

1) Explosion in reactor 3 (on March 14) was a *nuclear* explosion in the spent fuel pool, not a hydrogen explosion.

2) Fukushima is worse than Chernobyl because the reactors are much lees under control than at Chernobyl. The Soviets were fast but the Japanese have been slow.

Please see the video with this from The Automatic Earth

April 26 2011: The Race to the Bottom Goes to the Playoffs

===

Water may be leaking from No. 4 reactor fuel pool

TEPCO: Water isn't leaking from No. 4 reactor pool

Now they say that water is evaporating from the pool and that there is no damage to the pool and therefore water is not leaking. Do they now deny, then that the pool exploded and burned on March 15? If it did, then how did it get that way, and how come all this is now compatible with the idea that water is not leaking but there IS highly radioactive water under reactor 4?

High concentration of radioactive water found in Fukushima's No. 4 reactor

===

Radioactive material 'down to 1/100'

Er... some contradiction here...

Radiation Readings in Fukushima Reactor Rise to Highest Since Crisis Began

High levels of radiation in areas near nuclear plant foreseen for a year

===

TEPCO unveils plan to process contaminated water

TEPCO to rid 200,000 tons of radioactive water

AREVA unveils water processing facility

High radiation levels detected at Fukushima grounds a month after explosions

Big tank may be set up under Fukushima plant to store tainted water

It's going to be quite a big engineering project...

"There is bedrock 46 meters underground. The government has found that no tainted water will seep below (the bedrock) and is considering building a tank there," Ikuhiro Hattori, who heads the National Federation of Fisheries Cooperatives Associations, quoted Kan as saying.

~~~

5,000 protest in Shibuya against nuclear power generation

Fukushima farmers protest near TEPCO headquarters

Tearful widow's plea part of 350-person protest in front of TEPCO headquarters

Japan farmers rally against nuclear plant company

Solidarity: A-bomb survivors and their relatives demonstrate against nuclear energy in Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima on Tuesday. KYODO
NGOs call for nuclear-free society

Lithuanians protest neighbors' nuke plants

Ukrainian envoy wants Japan to seek int'l help over nuke crisis

High radiation levels found at Ohio nuclear plant

Belarus leader fumes over Chernobyl anniversary

Russia, Ukraine leaders mourn Chernobyl nightmare

Berlusconi talks up nuclear on Chernobyl anniversary

Nice pic. Looks like a clown.

==

The End of Nuclear

~~~

This site continues to be useful - some of the recent posts are worrying...

Radiation Safety Philippines

~~~

Japan must reconsider its energy options

This part is worth quoting:

The truth is that there are numerous energy alternatives in Japan.

Unfortunately, there are also plenty of arguments made against their adoption — particularly by those who profit from the status quo of using fossil fuels and nuclear power.

Yes, but 1) it is now CLEAR that these are coming to an end, not 'soon' maybe, but mid-term; 2) most of the energy alternatives are 'renewables' (the author mentions solar, PV, small hydro, wind, geothermal, tidal and hydrogen, but I do not believe this last one is now a realistic option), but in my opinion these are all transition/transitory energies, the transition being that from the fossil fuel age to the age of living at the pace of the sun. The reason for this is, at least at the moment (I do not rule out innovations) none of these energies is capable of reproducing itself and producing a usable energy surplus at the same time (i.e. their EROEI - energy return on energy invested - is too small to run anything much on their own). Please take a look at this article - Solar Frontier Opens Largest Thin-film Plant in the World - and see if you can get a feel for what I'm talking about. What we can do, and what is beginning to happen now, is "bank" cheap fossil fuels into renewable energy systems that can be used after fossil energy resources become expensive/unavailable (i.e. when their EROEI falls to the point where it becomes pointless to extract them later this century). So 3) The society/economy that runs on 'renewables' is going to be very much different from the one we have now and so rather be self-congratulatory about the fact we can do it we should really be trying much harder to figure out what kind of a lifestyle it is and how we can start the long trek to getting there without a crash or dying in a nuclear wasteland.

Although a welcome move, here's another example of the same mentality...

Energy Shift Japan study group to study shift from nuclear to natural energy - SOLAR AND WIND

Wicky Wickles comments: "But the ruling Democratic Party of Japan, which pushes exports of nuclear power technology as part of the nation's economic growth strategy, is reluctant to pursue a major policy change."

Oh, no, Wicky, what an unkind thought! Look what they're saying now:

Japan reviewing policy to export nuclear technology


Meanwhile, National policy minister Koichiro Gemba said Friday regarding Japan's exports of nuclear technologies, "We have to come to a stand once. We have to start from investigating the cause of the accident" at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

Yes, such a good idea! I estimate that the final report on the Fukushima nuclear disaster will be appearing somewhere around 2030. The disaster will not be completely over by that time, though. It's already 25 years from the Chernobyl disaster, and it isn't over yet. Anyway, till the report comes out it's business as usual?

===

Putin wants to export 'world best' Russian nuclear safety

Romania seeks private money to build nuclear plant

Higher radioactivity level at Bulgarian plant: operators

~~~

Gov't, TEPCO under fire as they hold first joint news conference since disaster

So basically, in order to ensure 'accuracy' in their cover-ups the government and TEPCO are going to give joint press conferences from now on. Note that the 'experts' from the Nuclear Safety Commission did not grace the press conference with their presence. Presumably, the 'experts' are the people who understand the science of nuclear power. The top echelon of TEPCO is basically office manager personnel and they do not really understand what is going on at the site - this much has been quite clear from press conferences thus far. The government people are also mostly graduates from places like Tokyo University Faculty of Law, which is fine, but they do not have scientific backgrounds either. I do not recall seeing one 'government scientist' yet, but then maybe I do not watch enough TV. Also I think this is what was behind the criticism that raw data without interpretation was being handed out at press conferences. The significance of the raw data had to be explained to us by people like Arnie Gundersen in the USA and Europe. Why can't we just get to listen to some down-to-earth nuclear scientists or reactor engineers? Are the office managers and lawyers all afraid of the truth now?

Authorities try to get their story straight over Fukushima

~~~

Here's a bit more on the compensation scam *cough* sorry, problem

TEPCO should remain private-sector firm: finance minister

~~~

EDITORIAL: Upgrade nuclear plant safety against disasters, cyber-attacks


There is also the issue of cyber-attacks upon nuclear power plants.

The threat has become quite real with claims of Iran, suspected of developing nuclear capabilities, being hit by cyber-attacks that disrupted the control system in its nuclear facilities.

Since the Fukushima accident started, the U.S. government, among others, have been raising the alarm against the vulnerability of nuclear and other important military-industrial facilities against cyber-attacks.

The international community must respond quickly and tackle these new situations that involve nuclear power plants.

Oh? My reactions to this are 1) And who was supposed to have been behind the cyber attack on the Iranian reactors?? 2) If things are really this dangerous then perhaps ALL nuclear reactors should be shut down immediately.

===

New cybervirus found in Japan / Stuxnet designed to attack off-line servers via USB memory sticks

And a video...
Falkenrath Interview on Stuxnet Computer Virus

Falkenrath suggests that the virus originated in Israel and that it exploits four previously unknown bugs in the Windows OP, two of which have now been resolved. It was interesting (though not reassuring) to know that nuclear power stations are being operated using PCs running Windows.

The Ugly Truth Podcast Apr 26, 2011

Iranian Military Official: Siemens helped U.S. and Israel in Cyber Attack on Nuclear Program

~~~

Radioactive topsoil removed from school grounds

Malnutrition rife in quake zone

~~~

FUKUSHIMA = 2,000 Atomic Bombs
Killer Contamination Spreads Worldwide Without Opposition

Interesting calculation at the end, but you have to remember that not all the radiation at the Fukushima site has been dispersed into the environment. More than enough of it, but not all of it.

~~~

The following two links are basically the same article. I just post them here so that after reading all the happy material above you have something to balance it out with reading that you definitely will not enjoy.

RADIATION from BOMBING LIBYA poses serious HEALTH THREATS

Rothschild Globalist Killers Pour DU On Libyans In Nuclear War

~~~

NASA Technology Looks Inside Japan's Nuclear Reactor

More leaks...

Leaked Fukushima reactor's blueprint may be on Internet

~~~

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

April 27

Some things I want to talk about today...

1. About TEPCO's and the Japanese government's scheme for compensations
Yesterday's Tokyo Newspaper (p.26) ran a fairly detailed article on the current proposal for providing compensation to victims of the nuclear disaster. The government has proposed the establishment of a "Nuclear Power Compensation Organization" - let's abbreviate it to NPCO. TEPCO, the government, banks and other power companies will provide funds to NPCO. NPCO will then provide funds back to TEPCO for the compensation of victims. (The government contribution will be in the form of cashable bonds.) TEPCO will then repay loans by means of repayments from operating profits over the long term. As we have seen below (April 25), TEPCO and the other power companies are allowed by law to set their rates so that they make a certain profit over and above their costs, so this neat little arrangement basically lets TEPCO, the shareholders and their bankers off the hook and places the burden of compensation on electrical power users, the customers, whose electricity rates are certain to go up as a result of the disaster.

This proposed scheme has not, of course, been without criticism. As I have said below (also April 25) "If the current disaster ends up costing US$300, that will be about US$2,360 for every man, woman and child in Japan. Whichever way you think about it, the taxpayers or the electrical power consumers pay. The money the power companies have comes from customers paying their electrical bills, and the money the state pays out comes from taxes. There's no other way, is there?" All the criticism I have seen appears to revolve around the fact that TEPCO is allowed to continue to exist and that they, their shareholders and bankers never really take any responsibility or bear any pain (though TEPCO's share price has fallen considerably). One financial commentator in the article found the NPCO + long-term repayments by TEPCO from annual profits to be "the most reasonable" scenario.

But is there really not another way? Something I have not seen proposed (correct me, please, if I am wrong) is that compensation is paid to the victims of the disaster by selling off all of TEPCO's assets, thereby dismantling the monopoly hold of TEPCO on the generation and distribution of electricity in its area. Selling off the operable nuclear power stations to private investors might not be a very good idea, so those might have to be taken over and run by the government until they are phased out - the profits being used to repay any outstanding loans. So there we are, back with the customer footing the compensation bill again, but then at least we would have the comfort of knowing that the money paid in electricity charges was not going straight back into the pockets of the people who brought us the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

2. About whether the tsunami really was an 'unforeseen circumstance'.
The Akahata Newspaper carried an article on its back page about a report written by the Japan Nuclear Energy Safety Organization (JNES, comes under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry - METI). The report, published in December 2010, discusses a number of tsunami scenarios and their effects on nuclear reactors. Some of the scenarios envisage a loss of external electrical power followed by a tsunami (which would take out the seawater pumps and thereby lead to loss of coolant) and then calculate the risk that the reactor core might suffer damage and/or a meltdown. Looking at separate scenarios for tsunamis of heights from 3 m to 23 m (with assumptions about height of facility above sea level similar to those of Fukushima No.1 Nuclear Power Station's reactors 1-4), then factoring in possibilities for the occurrence of different heights of tsunamis and the possibility of reactor damage, it was found that the most likely (highest possibility) accident leading to reactor damage would be from a 7 m tsunami. In the case of a 13 m assumed levee, the most likely accident leading to reactor damage was a 15 m tsunami. It was found in both of these cases that the possibility of reactor damage was 1.0, i.e. certain to occur!

The height of the actual tsunami to hit Fukushima No.1 on March 11 is said to have been anywhere between 7 m and something over 14 m (the latter being TEPCO's estimates based on tsunami 'traces' around the buildings at the power station. In the event, the disaster bears an uncanny resemblance to the scenarios discussed in the report. TEPCO and the government can hardly claim they did not know about the report. It appears to have been studiously ignored, like all the similar warnings that have been sounded in the press and in court cases over the years.

3. More on the 3/11 earthquake.
A New Scientist article on 19 April relates that the M9 earthquake that occurred off Japan's northeast coast on March 11 has caused geologists and seismologists to rethink their theories of earthquake mechanism. The main problem seems to be that up to now the age of subducting plates and the rate of subduction in any area should make it possible to guesstimate the maximum magnitude of an earthquake in the area - young and fast subduction zones more likely to produce megaquakes that old and slow ones. Problem is that the subducting India plate that gave rise to the 2004 M9.2 megaquake in the Indian Ocean is 80 to 90 million years old and the ocean crust that produced the March 11 M9 megaquake of the coast of Japan is 140 million years old. According to the theory, these subduction zones should not have been capable of producing an earthquake of more than about M7. Oh. It seems that the current model will have to be abandoned. Geologists and seismologists will now have to go back to the drawing board in their search for an earthquake mechanism that helps us to understand these phenomena better and hopefully makes some degree of prediction possible.

I'm pretty sceptical about that, however. Subducting plates do not seem to me to be very amenable to mathematical analysis, but you never know... Watching NHK TV this morning, it was noted that two days before the March 11 megaquake, on March 9, an M7.3 earthquake occurred in a location not far northeast of where the M9 earthquake occurred. A very chagrined seismologist appeared and apologised for not being able to predict from the March 9 earthquake that a huge one was going to occur a few days later. Seeing the M7.3 quake, the current theory would have told him, "Oh, that was a BIG one!" and that it was OK to go back to sleep because something like that was not likely to happen again for a while. It'll be 'nice' if geologists and seismologists can come up with an earthquake mechanism that would have told them, "That was BIG. It's very likely a warning that something really SERIOUS is going to happen in the near future. Everyone needs to be on the alert for this!" when the 7.3 quake occurred. Perhaps then the managers of nuclear power stations would have done their level best to ensure that whatever happened it would not lead to reactor damage. Maybe.

Since we do not have the powers to make such predictions, and it has now been shown that the current theory was faulty anyway, there's really no option - nuclear power stations have to be on alert 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, 60 minutes every hour, AND the best possible precautions against all possible earthquake and tsunami scenarios (see 2. above) have to be taken, regardless of cost, and in a timely manner, regardless of how much trouble that may cause managers. If that seems too expensive, then TEPCO should have thought about the jam it's got itself into right now and horrendous calamity it has brought down on millions of (generally) unsuspecting people.

In the end, if the costs of a) safety measures that give local residents (and maybe not so local ones) a real sense of safety and assurance that accidents are not going to happen, b) the possibility of clearing up after a disaster like the one we are experiencing now, c) decommissioning and dismantling/demolition costs, and d) the costs of final and safe disposal of spent/waste nuclear fuel (who can calculate that?) are too expensive (e.g. compared to generating electricity by other means such as hydro or coal), then TEPCO and other power companies should simply not be in the business. TEPCO plainly failed in its promise to run nuclear power safely. We accepted their promises (with a large pinch of salt) and so perhaps we are partly to blame. It's fine, you may say, to be clever after the incident, but with nuclear power it's compulsory to be clever *before* the incident. It's well known that TEPCO was systematically negligent. How can a company like this be allowed to continue to exist?

4. The ongoing cooling efforts at the disaster site.
NHK TV this morning noted that work to create a 'water sarcophagus' in reactor 1 had started. The idea is to fill the reactor containment (and presumably) the reactor vessel with water. TEPCO is saying that the containment is not leaking, so it looks like a good idea (if it is in fact not leaking), but one problem is that the reactor building housing the containment was not built to support the weight of the containment when it was full of water. TEPCO seems to be pretty confident that the building will support the weight, but criticism centers around the idea that the building could collapse if there is a severe aftershock. That scenario could result in a very nasty escalation of the crisis. Let's see if we can find some media news on what's going on at the site today...

TEPCO filling containment vessels; experts raise doubts

Keiji Miyazaki, professor emeritus of nuclear reactor engineering at Osaka University, said that filling the containment vessel with water would cool the pressure vessel from the bottom, which would likely prevent it from being destroyed by melting fuel.

However, he added that the method is not an effective way to cool the fuel rods.

Er... Hold on a sec... "not an effective way to cool the fuel rods"? So just what is it TEPCO is trying to achieve by creating the water sarcophagus, then? And why is water not a good way to cool fuel rods? Perhaps this is because water is a 'moderator' for neutrons. Whereas some neutrons produced in a fission reaction (in a fission reaction with U-235 two or three neutrons are produced - take a look at TEPCO's logo mark and tell me what you see) might fly away out of the reactor if no moderator (e.g. water) were present, the water acts to slow down or reflect the neutrons so that they go on to hit more U-235 atoms and cause further fission reactions - that is, they make the fission reactions more efficient. So adding water to the reactor vessel could lead to recriticality occurring - generating more heat, just the opposite of what TEPCO is supposed to be trying to achieve.

In the famous JCO incident in September 1999 (I got this from Philip White of CNIC and then later confirmed it in the book Criticality Accident at Tokai-mura by Dr. Jinzaburo Takagi and CNIC) the criticality was finally terminated by removing the cooling water from around the tank in which the inadvertent criticality had occurred. The criticality then stopped. The water had been acting as a mirror reflecting the neutrons back into the tank, where they would find more atoms to fission! So, if you had the choice, would you go for the water sarcophagus plan or not? Be honest.

A different topic, but...

Water may be leaking from No. 4 reactor fuel pool

TEPCO has poured in 140 to 210 tons of water over each of the last few days. The company found that water levels in the pool were 10 to 40 centimeters lower than expected despite the water injections.

"May be leaking." Oh, great. I think we have been saying on these pages that it IS leaking for about a month now. I find this absolutely incredible! Whatever will they tell us tomorrow?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

April 26

25 years since the Chernobyl nuclear disaster today

~~~

All ThingsNuclear

Scroll down to What Happened at Fukushima Dai-Ichi? and download a very good explanatory PowerPoint slideshow.

You can go there from the Union of Concerned Scientists website, which also has useful information.

What is a boiling water reactor, by the way?? (Useful diagram)

~~~

What!!?? This is ridiculous!!

Most reactors in Japan yet to have enough backups for stable cooling

A sample:

Among the operators that have not secured sufficient backups was the Japan Atomic Power Co, which said that it needs about 3,500 kilowatts to safely keep cooling its No.2 reactor at the Tsuruga power station in Fukui Prefecture, but only has deployed a 220-kilowatt and a 800-kilowatt power-supply vehicle.

The company is trying to secure three 1,825-kilowatt power-supply vehicles with the hope of deploying them by around March next year, the sources said.

Nuke plants' backups fall way short

~~~

Another horrifying problem emanating from the 'peaceful' use of nuclear technology is the manufacture of depleted uranium weapons. Here's a useful article on that:

Nuclear War in the Mideast - Anatomy of an Atrocity

The article cites this Wikipedia page on depleted uranium - sad but necessary reading.

===

COSTS NEVER MATTERED, RISKS DON’T MATTER

The True Cost of the Atomic Myth: "Uranium Dollars" and the Economics of Nuclear Power by Andrew McKillop

(The Nature Video embedded in the article is a good summary of the nuclear disaster)

Uranium supplies are short, and import dependence for most major consumer countries is high. As a result, uranium fuel costs could likely grow, simply due to the permanent supply shortfall of this fuel for reactors and the heavy import dependence of nearly all major users in Europe, Japan and South Korea – incidentally making a mockery of the energy security claim used to sell nuclear energy.

===

World’s largest resources of low-cost uranium?

Australia's uranium

Japan nuclear crisis won't affect exports, says Australian Uranium Association

Summary of Uranium Mining in Australia

Facts about the uranium industry

Greens question uranium exports, say Japan crisis means nuclear power debate is over

~~~

An admission that radiation pollution of the underground water at the nuclear disaster site is very serious:

'Stop radiation with underground wall'

the barrier would extend so far underground that it would reach a layer that does not absorb water. The wall would entirely surround the land on which reactors No. 1, 2, 3 and 4 stand.

Yes, but will it prevent underground water from flowing into the sea?

===

TEPCO: Highly contaminated water leaked into sea from No. 2 reactor

~~~

Can There be an End to Japan as a Nuclear State? by Gavan McCormack

The Nuclear Disaster That Could Destroy Japan ... and the World By HIROSE TAKASHI


On April 7, just one month after the 3/11 earthquake in northeastern Japan, there was a large aftershock. At the Rokkasho Reprocessing Plant the electricity was shut off. The pool containing nuclear fuel and the radioactive liquid waste were (barely) cooled down by the emergency generators, meaning that Japan was brought to the brink of destruction. But the Japanese media, as usual, paid this almost no notice.

===

Same Old Tricks From the Nuclear Gang - The People Who Brought You Fukushima

===

Measuring Radiation
What are Curies, Becquerels, Rems, Rads, Grays, Sieverts, Roentgens, Q, RBE etc.?
Here are some answers (quotes are taken from book The Code Killers (Free download).

~~~

THE SUNNY SIDE OF LIFE Sunflowers to clean up radioactive soil
Japanese researchers who study space agriculture believe growing sunflowers will remove radioactive cesium from contaminated soil around the Fukushima No.1 nuclear power plant, and are planning a project to plant as many of the yellow flowers as possible this year.

===

Japan's farm officials visit Ukraine

~~~

Suits to halt atomic plants have all failed

"Should there be a serious error in judgment made by experts on whom the state depended, then the issuing by the state of a permit for construction (of a nuclear plant) shall be deemed illegal," the court ruled.

~~~

Advancing the Debate Over Nuclear Waste Storage Locations

~~~

Nuclear energy firms reappraise overseas strategy

===

Industries left short-handed after foreign workers flee Japan following nuke accident

Anti-nuclear plant candidate Hosaka wins Setagaya Ward mayoral race

Japan nuclear plant operator slashes wages

~~~
NHK

Govt was unaware of hydrogen explosion risk

Fukushima Daiichi plant rewired
Tokyo Electric Power Company has rewired the power grid at the Fukushima Daiichi
nuclear power plant to secure a supply of electricity in case of another strong quake.

TEPCO to cut manager salaries to secure funds

SDF personnel to have mental checkups

8 domestic carmakers March output more than halved

Anti-nuclear plant rally in Vienna

Medvedev: Chernobyl taught need for transparency

===

25 years after Chernobyl

===

Russian nuclear scientist says Fukushima disaster was predictable

===

Continued radiation leaks from crippled nuke plant pose serious threat

Some experts have pointed out that the Fukushima crisis is more serious than Chernobyl. "It's graver than Chernobyl in that no one can predict how the situation will develop," said Atsushi Kasai, a former senior researcher with the Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute.

===

World marks Chernobyl under shadow of Japan

Chernobyl pilots knew risks: commander

Telling truth main lesson of Chernobyl, Fukushima: Medvedev

Chernobyl 'liquidators' lament poor treatment

Anti-nuclear protesters in France, Germany mark Chernobyl

Thousands join German anti-nuclear protests

Anti-nuclear 'die in' on Franco-German border

German nuclear exit could be costly

~~~

Since there is important English content on these pages, I will give the links here:

Nuclear and Industry Safety Agency (NISA) Even the name makes it sound like nuclear power is more dangerous than all the rest of industry put together. Anything nisa?

Nuclear Safety Commission (NSC) od Japan No particular comment.

~~~

Memory of Sellafield leak rekindled
Radioactive discharges into Irish Sea in 1970s still monitored; reassurances in Japan similar

~~~

The struggle over the proposed nuclear power station at Sakhri Nate (Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project ) is turning into a classic central government vs. local people battle. The nuclear disaster at Fukushima No1. has added a real sense of urgency to the local people's anti-nuke fight.

Protests mount against Indian nuclear plant

"Before the incident in Japan we were told how technologically advanced it was, how it was an earthquake-prone zone and yet they had nuclear plants. What's happened has completely changed the scenario," the 57-year-old added.


India's environment minister Jairam Ramesh has angered opponents by insisting that the project will go ahead, even as he conceded that additional safety measures may be required because of Fukushima.

"India cannot afford to abandon the route of nuclear power," he said on April 18. "From a greenhouse gas point of view, nuclear power is the best option."

~~~

Odd Animal Deaths, Deformities Linked to Gulf Oil Spill?

~~~

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

April 25

Good idea for creating a national park around the nuclear disaster site and restore the soil by using mycorrhizal mushrooms:

Paul Stamets On Radiation Contamination Around Fukushima

~~~

TEPCO to cautiously inject water in No.4 fuel pool

1,535 spent fuel rods are stored in the pool of the Number 4 reactor's building, the largest amount at the site.

~~~

This essay, published by the Asahi Newspaper, is by Minoru Kawakita, professor emeritus at Osaka University, who take a look at the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster from the point of view of Immanuel Wallerstein's "world-systems theory."

POINT OF VIEW/ Minoru Kawakita: 3/11 shatters modern Japan's blind faith in economic growth

Some scientists may be thinking, "We botched it this time, but nuclear power generation is basically safe." But that is not how the general public feels. I expect that all new nuclear power plant projects will remain on hold for quite a while.

This means we must abandon our conventional belief in the necessity of the economy's continued growth. I believe this will have a huge effect, not only on modern society that is supported by science and technology, but also on society's faith in economic growth itself.

Toward the end of the essay, Professor Kawakita states,

Japan may end up like Portugal, Spain or the Netherlands in the past. And it may cease to be a top Asian nation.

But that does not necessarily spell misery. Far from it. We may have to give up some luxuries and conveniences we have come to take for granted, but we certainly aren't going back to the Edo Period (1603-1867), nor are we joining the ranks of the world's underdeveloped nations. Look at Portugal today. Isn't life there stable in the good sense of the word, and aren't people living happily?

However, Professor Kawakita has failed to see a nuclear power phase-out in the context of a world that has already passed over the annual peak of oil production ('peak oil'). As 'peak oil' deepens (as the amount of oil produced annually falls each year), nuclear power will have no option but to be phased out and the world, especially the advanced industrial economies, will experience falling availabilities of energy that renewable systems will not be able to replace. This will begin to occur within the next ten years. In the 2020s, I very much doubt that either Japan or Portugal will be able to sustain their 'stable and happy' lifestyle, but IT IS TIME to think about what sort of lifestyle Japan (and other countries) will be able to maintain in the 2020s and afterwards.

~~~

Governor of Fukushima Prefecture won't allow Tepco to restart stricken reactors

~~~

The Fukushima nuclear disaster is reckoned to cost US$300bn. According to the Japanese nuclear accident compensation law, the compulsory insurance that the power companies pay into provides 120 billion yen (about US$14.5bn) in compensation per accident. Anything above this figure must be paid by the power company itself. Since the power companies have no way of paying all the costs of a nuclear accident, and the compensation insurance is far too inadequate (despite the fact that the insurance is thought to be what makes it possible to operate nuclear power in the first place), in the case of a nuclear accident actually occurring everyone pays. If the current disaster ends up costing US$300, that will be about US$2,360 for every man, woman and child in Japan. Whichever way you think about it, the taxpayers or the electrical power consumers pay. The money the power companies have comes from customers paying their electrical bills, and the money the state pays out comes from taxes. There's no other way, is there? Meanwhile, do those responsible for the disaster actually ever get to take any responsibility?

Nuke insurance said too costly - Most plants have hardly any coverage


The bottom line is that it’s a gamble: Governments are hoping to dodge a one-time disaster while they accumulate small gains over the long-term.

Right, just another turn of the roulette wheel. Sad that the ball ended up in the "accident" hole this time...

~~~

A long article in the Tokyo Newspaper yesterday (24 April) is in the form of an interview with Taro Kohno, a Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Member of Parliament. He has long been against nuclear power, but has had a hard time maintaining that stance up to now withing the LDP. Here are some excerpts from the interview.


"Fast breeder reactors (FBR) are not yet practical, and yet we have an international agreement not to stockpile plutonium. Japanese plutonium managed under contract by the UK and France totals 45 tons (though some of it is not fissionable)... At the same time there is a big fuss being made over North Korea, which has 50 kg of plutonium.

"I have claimed within the LDP that this should be reviewed, but when I tried to speak at a meeting, I was ignored by an upper house member who was formerly a TEPCO vice-president and his friends. I don't speak to this person anyway, because in the LDP Aomori Prefecture (where Rokkasho Village is) Association they tried to have me expelled from the party."

"The power companies have always told us that nuclear power is good for Japan, since Japan has very few resources, and that it is 'clean,' does not cause global warming, and is not intermittent and expensive like renewable energies. However, 100% of the uranium is imported and at current rates of extraction there is only enough for another 70 years, so if commercial FBRs cannot be built what's the idfference between this and oil? If you stand next to spent fuel, you'll die. You only have to look at Europe to see that 'expensive and intermittent' renewable energy is a lie."

"The media should bear some of the responsibility for the 'nuclear myth.' The power companies have spent huge amounts of money they have collected from electricity charges in advertising on TV, and in newspapers and magazines to prevent any kind of criticism of nuclear power being published. The media made a huge fuss over the pensions problem, but never said anything about the absurdity of the Rokkasho Village reprocessing plant going a trillion and some hundreds of billions of yen over costs. It's as if they've been brainwashed like the Aum Shinri Kyo and still can't extricate themselves from it."

The reason why they are able to pay so much money to the media is because they are very well looked after by the government. Under the Japanese electricity business law, they are allowed to fix their charges at a certain percentage above their generating, transmission and power sales costs. All costs for capital investment and accident insurance can be added on to the charges. "The claim that electricity generated by nuclear is cheap is only true because accident and reprocessing costs are not included. In addition, the transmission lines are owned by the power companies, making it impossible for new entrants into the business to get started. This has made the regional monopoly possible. Ending the monopoly and allowing renewable energy power stations in the regions would stimulate regional economies."

Quite interesting insights into the connections between politics and nuclear power in Japan. It almost seems as if the law has been set up to guarantee the power companies a profit, some of which would naturally find its way back into the pockets of politicians. He also makes it clear that as far as the 'nuclear village' is concerned it makes little difference which party is in power... Taro Kohno has an English blog.

~~~

Anti-nuclear plant candidates secure some seats in local elections

~~~

Evacuation zone to be widened

"In case of emergency, people in this zone will be asked to stay indoors or evacuate by themselves," Edano said. "For those who may find it difficult to do so, it would be better to evacuate beforehand."

Before what? Are we still expecting more explosions?

===

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

April 24

Sorry, skipped a day.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

April 23

Japan's Spent Nuclear Fuel and the Shimokita Peninsula

After posting a link yesterday to an article about Aomori business people requesting that the Shimokita Peninsula nuclear facilities be started up as soon as possible, I said I would have more to say on the subject today. The Shimokita Peninsula, on the northern tip of Honshu, is home to Rokkasho Village, which has a nuclear reprocessing plant (which doesn't work), Higashidori NPP, which has one nuclear reactor (BWR 1,100MW), but three more planned (all 1,390 MW BWRs due to come online in 2017, 2020 and 2021), Ohma NPP with one 1,390 MW MOX BWR under construction and due to come online in 2014, and an 'intermediate' storage facility for spent nuclear fuel which is under construction now. The reprocessing plant and the new storage facility are the only storage facilities for spent nuclear fuel in Japan outside of the nuclear power stations themselves. As we have seen during the ongoing nuclear crisis at Fukushima No.1 Nuclear Power Station, spent fuel storage is a huge problem that is better off not being carried out at the power station site. But as you will see below, the spent fuel storage facilities at Fukushima No.1 were actually very fast approaching a crisis situation...

Tokyo Newspaper, 22 April 2011, p.24/25
An 'intermediate' storage facility for spent nuclear fuel is being built on the Shimokita Peninsula in Aomori Prefecture, right on the northern tip of Honshu Island. It will hold 3,000 tons of spent fuel. An additional building, holding a maximum of 2,000 tons is also planned. The work is funded by TEPCO and Japan Atomic Power Company (JAPC). The maximum period of storage is said to be 50 years. However, since the reprocessing plant at nearby Rokkasho Village is not functioning, it is unclear how the facility will be used in practice. The facility is about 500 m from the sea and TEPCO has assumed a 6.2 m tsunami in the design parameters; it is being constructed on land about 20 m above sea level.

The Rokkasho Village reprocessing plant was due to come online in 1997, but has been plagued by troubles and is now scheduled to start up again in October 2012. The nuclear waste produced by all of Japan's 54 reactors has been about 1,000 tons annually up to now. The reprocessing plant has a storage capacity of 3,000 tons, but is already holding 2,827 tons. If the reporcessing plant were actually working, it would have a reprocessing capacity of 800 tons/year.

Japan's total spent fuel as of September 2010 was 13,520 tons. The total spent fuel storage capacity of Fukushima No.1 NPP was 2,100 tons, and was holding 1,820 tons at the time of the accident on March 11. Once the storage facilities are full, how can the power station be run any longer? Further, there is no permanent disposal facility. This has been called 'building a mansion without toilets.' (In Japan, a 'mansion' is an apartment block - a block of flats.) Let's imagine an apartment block without toilets and with no way to dispose of any other kind of waste. Your apartment would soon become a sad place to live in. Now imagine that all the waste is radioactive. That's Japan.

Spent Fuel Storage Ratios
NPP EPCO Tons % Used Years
Fukushima 1 Tokyo EPCO

1820

87

2.0

Tokai 2 JAPC

370

84

2.3

Fukushima 2 Tokyo EPCO

1130

83

1.9

Kashiwazaki Tokyo EPCO

2210

76

3.0

Genkai Kyushu EPCO

760

71

3.4

Takahama Kansai EPCO

1160

67

5.7

Ohi Kansai EPCO

1350

67

6.1

Tsuruga JAPC

580

67

7.0

Sendai Kyushu EPCO

850

66

8.8

Hamaoka Chubu EPCO

1090

63

6.5

Shimane Chugoku EPCO

370

62

5.8

Ikata Shikoku EPCO

550

59

7.8

Mihama Kansai EPCO

360

53

6.4

Onagawa Tohoku EPCO

390

49

6.7

Tomari Hokkaido EPCO

350

35

13

Higashidori Tohoku EPCO

60

26

5.7

Shika Hokuriku EPCO

120

17

11.4

Total Spent Fuel Stored = 13,520 tons
Notes: NPP=Nuclear Power Plant; EPCO=Electric Power Company: Tons=Amount of spent fuel currently stored onsite; % Used=% of total storage capacity used; Years=Number of years of operation till storage capacity is full; JAPC=Japan Atomic Power Company


Spent fuel storage is carried out in onsite pools (both inside each reactor and in a common spent fuel storage pool) and in dry casks.

Number of years of operation till storage capacity is full is calculated by dividing the remaining storage capacity by the amount of fuel removed each time the fuel is replaced.

Note that the table is in descending order of total storage capacity used and that TEPCO and JAPC, the funders of the 'intermediate' facility, are at the top of the table. No wonder they need this facility in a hurry; their reactors (Fukushima No.1 will never run again anyway) can only run for another three years at the most before they have to stop because they have nowhere to put the spent fuel! Imagine being edged out of your apartment by the wastes!! Looking down the table, only two NPPs are able to run for more than ten years. The total amount of spent fuel is a staggering 13,520 tons. Yet there is only 3,000 tons of storage space at Rokkasho Village reprocessing plant (which is nearly full and the plant isn't functioning, anyway), and only another 5,000 tons of storage space being built or planned. This is absolutely pitiful!

Moreover, since the world has practically given up on the fast breeder reactor, in what way will the reprocessing plant be of any help? It will produce plutonium, which can be used in MOX reactors, but even if this dangerous experiment were to be extended to all of Japan's currently operational reactors, that would probably not accout for all the plutonium produced. So much of it and the extremely highly radioactive waste that exits from the far end of the reprocessing plant will still have to be stored. Since there is no permanent storage facility anywhere on the horizon (and certainly not in Japan, is there on in Finland now??), it is actually hard to see how it would be possible for any of the currently remaining reactors in Japan to be running much after 2020. There simply isn't anywhere to put the spent nuclear fuel. Even if all of Japan's nuclear reactors were to be stopped this year, it is still unclear how the remaining nuclear waste would be finally disposed of...

~~~

On page 27 of yesterday' s Tokyo Newspaper (22 April 2011) there was an article in the form of an interview with a former judge, Mr. Ken'ichi Ido. Mr. Ido is well known as the only judge in Japan that has ever upheld an injunction to suspend the operation of a nuclear reactor. He did so in 2006 with reference to the Shika NPP in Ishikawa Prefecture. Unfortunately the ruling was overturned by a higher court in 2009. (You can see articles about these court cases in English on the Citizen's Nuclear Information Center's website - just look down the page for articles on 'Shika-2')

Mr. Ido has now retired from the judiciary and works as a lawyer. In the interview, he states that he upheld the injuction because the local residents claimed that a fault line represented an unacceptable danger to the area should a severe earthquake occur and the power company failed to show sufficient counterevidence. It is felt that this ruling prompted the government and the power companies to review safety standards and that certain improvements did occur. However, as shown by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, this was not enough. Had TEPCO been really serious about earthquake and tsunami preparedness, there were plenty of things they could have done at the Fukushima No.1 power station, but did not. In any case, with the penny-pinching way TEPCO was running the power station, it was practically an accident waiting to happen, with or without and earthquake or tsunami. Perhaps if the other judges had been a little bit more harsh...

~~~

Epidemiologist, Dr. Steven Wing, Discusses Global Radiation Exposures and Consequences with Gundersen

~~~

Japan Nuclear Disaster: Health Watch

~~~

Ene News

The fact that nobody in Japan seems to know basics of reactor accident progression that I learned at Sandia Labs in early 1980s is truly scary, because it suggests they are playing with these broken/leaking reactors and SNF pools inside at least three buildings totally destroyed by steam explosions … as if the reactors and their SNF pools are broken toys that they’re using trial and error to try fixing.

See the complete article... After 5 Halflives, I-131 Higher than Cs-134/137 Suggests Ongoing Criticalities

~~~

Reading of environmental radioactivity level by prefecture, Time series data?Graph??English version?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

April 22

As efforts to cool the reactors continue at the disaster site, much attention is now being focused on just how much radiation has been thrown out from the reactors and just exactly how severely polluted the environment has become. The government appears to want to play down the severity of radioactive pollution, but there is a certain amount of evidence suggesting that it is far worse that the government wishes to admit. The 30 km evacuation zone has been criticised as being far too small (and some areas outside that zone have been evacuated), but how large should the zone be? Of course, large enough to evacuate any areas in which local residents, especially pregnant women and children, might be in danger of serious health risks.

However, there are also other considerations. Given the severity of the disaster in the northeast, would the government and the country now be able to cope with another 1 or 2 million evacuees, both in financial and logistical terms? The main train lines (Tohoku Main Line and Tohoku Shinkansen Line) and the main roads (the Tohoku Do Expressway and National Route 4) linking Tokyo with the northeast lie just over 50 km inland from the disaster site. Any evacuation zone over 50 km will effectively cut off the direct link between Tokyo and the northeast, possibly causing great delays in recovery activities in the areas hit hardest by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. (One other route to Sendai from Tokyo is the Joban Line train service and National Route 6, but these pass along the Fukushima coastline and are now impassible due to the nuclear disaster.)

This following article is an excellent review of all the issues and is complete with revealing photos:

Fukushima: Review of an INES Class 7 Accident by Stoneleigh


If the evacuation zone be enlarged to 80 km as recommended by the IAEA, it is estimated that they need to evacuate another 1.8 million people or making the total of 2 million residents out from the danger zone. Where are they going to put those 2 million refugees?

===

Here's a page with lots of informative tables and diagrams...

FUKUSHIMA MELTDOWN

There's also a Japanese page with some explanations....

http://www.asahi-net.or.jp/~pu4i-aok/cooldata2/politics/politics27.htm">JAPANESE FUKUSHIMA MELTDOWN

Pity all the Japanese here isn't on the English page, but it would take a few weeks to translate....

===

An International Disgrace

Why Naoto Kan Should Resign

By RUSSELL D. HOFFMAN

Scientists agree that radiation is a "Linear, No Threshold" poison, so spreading the doses out among many people doesn't stop a single death (though it makes those deaths much harder to prove statistically, a phenomenon which the nuclear industry finds very useful). Lest you think LNT is fringe science, you should know that the US National Academy of Sciences has accepted the LNT threshold "theory" of radiation damage for many decades.

===

Japan: A Nation Consigned To Nuclear Armageddon
Posted on March 17, 2011 by concernedcitizensofflorida
An Open Letter to the People of Japan

===

This is a PDF file...

In Depth Scientific Study of Chernobyl Disaster

Are you looking forward to seeing the equivalent study that will be eventually be produced for the "Fukushima Nuclear Disaster"? Personally, I don't expect to live that long. (I mean... 2035??)

===

This article is not new, but relevant:

Aftershocks rock Fukushima Daiichi, stopping cooling temporarily, as evacuation zone expands.

~~~

IAEA update for April 21 of the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Update Log
(Unless there are significant developments, no update log will be issued until Tuesday 26 April.)

~~~

Is America Getting Radiation TODAY?

According to the article, North America was receiving radiation a few weeks ago, but not very much now.

~~~

Japan: Small Amounts of Radioactive Iodine Found in the Breast Milk of Four Women

This information is also given on this site mentioned in the update for 19th April:

Radiation Safety Philippines

===

Informative blog...

Ace Hoffman: Nuclear power reports.

More by the same author
Downloadable book - The Code Killers - available here.

~~~

No-go zone trespassers face fines, arrest

Government vows to clear holdouts from evacuation area.

"We realize this is extremely inconvenient for residents, but we urge you to be patient," Edano told reporters in Tokyo.

"Inconvenient"??? Er... Why doesn't he just say that the radiation level is so high there that it is effectively uninhabitable and therefore the government does not want to allow people to live there - for their own good? Dying of radiation sickness is quite a bit more serious than 'inconvenient,' I would have thought. Is it that for some reason they do not want to admit that the radiation level is high? I cannot imagine why not, having come so far. Oh, well, maybe just the proverbial Japanese understatement. No big problem. Go back to sleep.

===

However, the tone and content of this article is a little different....

Evacuation area officially expanded

~~~

The Trillion Dollar Costs of A Nuclear Catastrophe

Enough to Bankrupt an Entire National Economy...

Stimulating article with links to other articles and information, so there is a lot of material to read! The overall tone of the article is sombre and suggests that we would be better off without nuclear power, but begins by suggesting that nuclear reactors *could* be run safely (in and ideal world, perhaps, but that isn't the one we live in) or that Thorium reactors might be a better alternative. However, before you slap your forehead and exclaim 'safe nuclear!' at least read this article about the Thorium fuel cycle and remember that however you cook it, a nuclear reactor is, after all, a nuclear reactor even if some want to spell it 'noclear' or 'unlear' or whatever...

===

U.N. chief: More nuclear accidents are likely


"To many, nuclear energy looks to be a relatively clean and logical choice in an era of increasing resource scarcity. Yet the record requires us to ask painful questions: have we correctly calculated its risks and costs? Are we doing all we can to keep the world's people safe?" Ban said. "The unfortunate truth is that we are likely to see more such disasters."

An 'unfortunate truth' that 'we' just have to put up with? That 'we' just can't do anything about? How many 'more such disasters' are 'we ... likely to see' before people either come to their senses or everyone is quite horribly polluted with radiation? Is this really the Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon saying this? If he is 'brave' enough to stand up and make an anti-nuclear statement like this (despite the influence of multinational corporations at the UN), why not just say 'we should ENSURE that no accident like this EVER HAPPENS AGAIN by initiating a world phase-out of nuclear power starting from today! All those in favor raise your hands, please!' (Let's observe carefully those of our elected leaders who do not raise their hands...)

===

25 years after Chernobyl, we don't know how many died

And 25 years in the future will we know how many people died in the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster??
===

An article about the Shimokita Peninsula in Aomori Pref. and its pending nuclear facilities...

Biz chiefs: Don't halt nuke plants


Apart from Tepco, which suspended the construction in the village of Higashidori following radiation leaks at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, Electric Power Development Co., known as J-Power, has built another nuclear plant in the town of Oma and Recyclable-Fuel Storage Co., a Tepco arm, a storage facility for spent nuclear fuel rods in the city of Mutsu.

"We are anxious to see construction work commence speedily," the six business and industrial bodies said, while urging the entities to make sure the facilities are safe.

Oh, yes, sir. Certainly, sir. Perfectly safe, sir. Absolutely no problem at all, sir. And all make a fantastic profit so we can flit to Ouagadougu if it all blows up, sir.

Honestly, I ask you - monkeys learn, parrots learn, horses learn, even my dog has learned that it does not get its din-dins till it sits politely and waits for 5 seconds! Mankind (some of us?) apparently are not capable of learning...

I will have some more to say about this one tomorrow...

===

Nuke authorities vague about radiation exposure limits for emergency workers

Workers at nuke plant complain about handling of radiation exposure data

U.S. warns radiation near crippled plant could exceed upper limit

New entity to help Tepco pay damages

~~~

TEPCO removes polluted water, debris at nuke plant

TEPCO said at 7 AM on Friday, the level in the tunnel had dropped by 5 centimeters. It said no more leaks had been detected so far.

The headline makes it sound like the water _has been_ removed, but it's clear that not much has changed. The water level in the tunnel linked to reactor 2 dropped by 5 cm, but is likely to go back up again if/when pumping stops. Surely they are still pumping water into reactors 1-4 to keep them cool (that includes spent fuel pools)? When the article says 'no more leaks,' they mean leaks of highly radioactive water into the sea (and not 'leaks' from the reactors into the groundwater and the tunnels under the turbine buildings and so on)? This is a mess. It's going to go on forever and looks like dumping highly radioactive water in the sea is going to be necessary again...

===

Radioactive water likely to hamper cooling effort

Wooops! Still in denial about the leaky reactors and containments. Saying "Radioactive water likely to hamper cooling effort" is a bit like saying, "Wouldn't it be more convenient if all that radioactive material wasn't there." But it is, and it needs to have water pumped through it or dumped on it to keep it cool to prevent a disastrous meltdown (which in fact may have already happened in reactor 2). If the reactors and containments weren't leaking, would all that radioactive water be appearing in the tunnels under the turbine buildings. I think not. What do you think? In a sense the radioactive water *IS* the cooling effort...

==

Not again...

Radioactive level up at reactor water intake

The operator of the troubled Fukushima nuclear power plant says it has detected higher levels of radioactive material in sea water samples near the water intake of one of the reactors.

The Nuclear Safety and Industry Agency says, however, there are no traces of highly radioactive water leaking into the sea from the plant.

Well, are there or aren't there? If they are there, where are they coming from? What can NISA (the NHK has the name wrong?) see from Tokyo that people on the site can't? How come none of them realize that if radioactive water being pumped in to cool reactor 2 is leaking into the groundwater (they've admitted that much) some of it may end up in the sea? Amazing...

~~~

Silver lining in sight for makers of solar panels

"It's become clear we can't keep relying on nuclear power or fossil fuels," said Koji Toda, chief fund manager at Resona Bank Ltd. in Tokyo.

Ahem! So how are you going to make solar panels (and batteries, now, don't forget that...) without fossil fuels??? It's OK to use fairly cheap fossil fuels to make solar panels, wind turbines and hydroelectric turbines now (and use them for a few decades to come), but after fossil energy resources become scarce and expensive, will people still be able to make these things? Yes or no? Come on now, be honest with yourself...

More renewables might mean less reliance on nuclear power, though...

Lawmakers to explore alternative energy

Well, they're only about three decades behind everyone else. By the time they've figured it out fossil energy resources will be too expensive and it will be too late to do much about it. (More expensive fossil energy resources will make nuclear power more difficult to operate too, by the way...)

~~~

Protesting Against Nuclear Radiation

Nuke protester murdered in India as police open fire on peaceful crowd... Look down to the final paragraph.

~~~

US Radiation Network

~~~

More news... Off topic, but worth mentioning here...

Short Life Expectancy for BP Whistleblowers?

Chinese Put Cancer of the Parotid Gland on Center Stage

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

April 21

What are the Reasons for the Massive Inadequacy of the International Response to the Humanitarian and Technological Crisis in Japan?

Anthony J. Hall: Racism, Cover-Up and Corporate Fraud in the Fukushima Nuclear Catastrophe

Is racism a factor in the international failure– but especially the failure of the US military– to do due diligence in affording the Japanese some reasonable chance of healthy futures for their posterity? What is to be said of the decision of so many European and North American nations to withdraw their citizens from Tokyo while leaving the Japanese behind?

Yesterday, I suggested you read this by Dr. Anthony Hall:

From Hiroshima to Fukushima, 1945-2011: A Nuclear Narrative of Hubris and Tragedy

If you haven't yet, I still suggest you do. Here's a quote:

Richard Falk, international jurist and special UN rapporteur on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, has reflected on the horrors of the Faustian bargains put on offer after the conclusion of the Second World War with two mushroom clouds of death. The fuller meanings of those deals with the devil have now become incarnate in the disaster at the Fukushima #1. In drawing the connections, Falk refers to the US targeting of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as “the greatest single act of state terror in human history.” Perhaps an ascent up the chain of command towards the highest level of executive accountability for the Fukushima debacle will help set in motion the long overdue process of addressing the unaddressed criminality entailed in the US decision to obliterate two densely populated and defenseless Japanese cities.

~~~

IAEA update for April 20 of the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Update Log

~~~

In the Tokyo Newspaper this morning (p.24) there is an article saying that many Japanese people were upset because a page of videos (link given in April 19 blog below) and still photos of the disaster was available on the English pages of the TEPCO website but not on the Japanese site (and there was no link to the English page from the Japanese side of the site). TEPCO gave a few lame excuses (the foreign press asked for them, we thought if we put them on the Japanese side we would get so many hits that the server would be adversely affected...) but it was hard to escape the impression that TEPCO didn't want the domestic audience to see the content, but could not hide it from the rest of the world. It's almost too stupid to talk about. I'm not sure if these are the pages below, but it looks as if the Japanese page (if anything now has more content than the English side?) is up now. See for yourself...

TEPCO Photos for Press (English)

TEPCO Photos for Press (Japanese)

~~~

Money for politicians (and the media) but not for safety and the people who actually work at the plant...

Donations by TEPCO execs show close ties to Liberal Democratic Party

===

Depression, stress, poor sanitation, diet: doctor

Nuke workers at risk of overwork death

===

Workers battle to remove radioactive water from troubled nuclear reactor

===

Levels of radioactive water rising despite efforts

~~~

Japan to enforce evacuation zone around plant: report

===

Script not up to much, but the video is worth seeing. My friend in Kyushu says, "Fancy a visit from these 'suits'?"

SDF may transfer people out of no-entry zone

~~~

*Maximum* not minimum...

Radiation exposure standard for Fukushima students set at international maximum

~~~

Agency admits 'melting' of N-fuel

"We can't say for sure about how much has melted until the rods are actually taken out," Nishiyama (spokesman for NISA) said.

"Flap, flap" - sound of one hand clapping. And when, pray, will the rods be taken out? Somewhere between 2016 and 2020 if memory serves... Can't wait to hear what the answer will be.

===

TEPCO estimates 520-ton radioactive water into sea

~~~

Ivor Paul says...

Dangerously unstable technology


I recently entered one of those gigantic electrical appliance stores. I seemed to be the only customer, yet all the escalators were running, the ceiling solid with blazing light tubes, and all the display TVs blaring. Below, a vast bank of vending machines. It is the farmers and fishermen of Tohoku who are now paying the price for this profligate waste.

~~~

Leaders pledge aid to complete Chernobyl shelter

~~~

Speaking of compensation, what does this tell us...?

Fishermen fight for compensation a year after BP spill

~~~

Second day of violent protests over India atomic plant

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

April 20

IAEA update for April 19/20 of the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Update Log

~~~

Dr. Anthony J. Hall: From Hiroshima to Fukushima, 1945-2011

Daring and outrageous special correspondent Willy Wickles says, "This is the most important and in-depth article I have read about the history of how we got to this nightmare in Japan, and how it is rooted in the nuclear weapons arms race." If he says so, it must be worth reading. Long, though, so I will read it and maybe comment later.

You can hear an interview with Dr. Anthony Hall by Kevin Barret on American Free Radio (Just look down to the link for 04/11/2011)

~~~

As I live only about 20 km from Tokai Village Nuclear Power Station we found folded into our newspapers this morning a B4-size pamphlet from the company that operates the one reactor there, Japan Atomic Power Company, explaining the situation at the power station. On one side they explain what happened on March 11 (two of the three backup diesel generators worked to keep the cooling water circulating so they had little trouble achieving a cold shutdown), and on the other side they explain the new safety measures they are taking. These include backup generators on trucks, backup pumps, extra tsunami precautions and reinforcing cooling measures in the fuel pool. Somewhat reassuring. The pamphlet is, of course in Japanese, but if you want to see it I'll try to post photos of it somewhere....

~~~

Nuke plant meltdown warning went unheeded

Tadashi Yoshida, a professor of reactor engineering at Tokyo City University, said, "No one, including myself, ever imagined all emergency power generators would be wiped out. We could not imagine this worse-case scenario. We should radically review the design guidelines and the state's screening process."

So, a simple lack of imagination then? A radical review the design guidelines and the state's screening process sounds like a nice idea, but I'd rather hope that new nuclear reactors are not going to be built in Japan, making the review meaningless except where it might have some connection with reactors that are still running or operable.

===

Nuclear plant operators did not plan for long-term loss of power supply

Hideyuki Ban, secretary general of the Citizens' Nuclear Information Center, said, "It was thought that power supply would be restored quickly. The potential loss of power supply was not seriously taken into consideration. If we think that earthquakes and tsunami have the potential to cause widespread damage, there was a high probability that power supply trouble could happen simultaneously at multiple reactors, and we must say that the utility companies were very optimistic in their plans for countermeasures. The state is also responsible for condoning them."

===

Radiation, aftershocks could slow Fukushima stabilization

Challenges abound to control crippled reactors

Asia nuclear reactors face deadly tsunami risk

~~~

Global confidence in nuclear energy falls after Japan quake

Interesting to know that 39% of the Japanese population are still in favor of nuclear power. I'm sure that there is a 5-10% of the population who will back nuclear power for one reason or another whatever happens, but what about the 30% or so that are in favor for reasons like 'global warming' or 'as an alternative to oil'? Perhaps now that TEPCO and the other power companies have or will have to relinquish their strong hold over the media it will be possible to see the media 'democratize' itself a little and allow well-reasoned and informed opposition discussion to nuclear power and other potentially unpopular technologies to appear in print (as we have seen over the last month or so) or on TV. It is then possible that this 39% will shrink down to about 20%, at which point nuclear power will become politically dangerous territory. Maybe.

The WIN-Gallup poll mentioned in this article says that 47% oppose nuclear power and 39% favor it. 14% don't know, but that's not unusual in any survey. The Tokyo Newspaper today (p.24) also has an article on similar polls. It shows results from seven polls conducted in Japan between March 26 and April 18. The percentage of respondents opposing nuclear power (saying that nuclear power should be abolished or reduced in Japan) was around 40%. The highest percentage opposing nuclear power was found by the Mainichi Shinbun poll, which separated "abolish" and "reduce" into two separate answers and received 13% and 41% scores for these, respectively. 54% against. The next highest was a Kyodo News Service poll completed on March 27 which gave those opposed to nuclear power 46.7% and those in favour 46.5% with only 6.8% don't knows. The lowest percentage of nuclear opponents was found by an Asahi TV poll which gave 38% for "reduce" and 52% for "increase or maintain current level".

The WIN-Gallup poll therefore seems to have somehow skewed a little towards nuclear power opposition. If you look at the update for April 16 below, you will see that the Mainichi Shinbun ran editorials containing somewhat anti-nuclear power content on April 15 and 16, and their poll was also conducted on those two days, which might explain why their readers (who were the respondents to the poll??) polled high against nuclear power. Power of the press maybe. But if that is the case, it would simply suggest that the money spent on the media by TEPCO and the other power companies had a substantial positive PR effect for them. Perhaps if they had spent that money (and effort) on safety measures at their power stations the 'accident' would not have happened. And if we can now achieve a little democratization of the press, perhaps that is what will happen in the future.

===

Italy freezes nuclear plant construction Just freezing for a while until public opinion quietens down again?

US power company abandons reactor construction

'Life is good" in shadow of California atomic plant

~~~

Scandal: Japan Forces Top Official To Retract Prime Minister’s Revelation Fukushima Permanently Uninhabitable

Radioactive Fish in the USA?
FDA Refuses to Test Fish for Radioactivity ... Government Pretends Radioactive Fish Is Safe

The final part of this article is quite surprising.

~~~

NHK

Highly contaminated water level falls slightly

Under this headline, the article states:


TEPCO says contaminated water levels are also rising in the basements of reactors No.5 and 6, and in tunnels connected to reactors No.3 and 4.

Yesterday we saw that underground water had been contaminated with radioactivity. NOW we see that contaminated water levels are also rising in the basements of reactors No.5 and 6! Since these two reactors are some distance away, that really does mean serious groundwater contamination. "...and in tunnels connected to reactors No.3 and 4" means that the problem is in reactor 2, as we have seen before. This is a serious hint that the core of reactor 2 has melted through the reactor vessel and the containment.

===

Robots face difficulties at Fukushima plant

French company to decontaminate Daiichi water (in June!)

Gov't to set up study group on tap water safety

~~~

25 Years After - Chernobyl

April 26, 1:23 am: the minute Chernobyl shook the world

Chernobyl nightmare haunts world 25 years on

25 years after Chernobyl, Japan faces the 'unthinkable'

Nuclear workers patrol Chernobyl's ruined reactor

~~~

TEPCO to sell KDDI stake for nuclear payout: report

~~~

Powder to remove radiation developed

~~~

Another 'interesting' radiation map

Radiation Effects Research Foundation

~~~

Another horrific video of the tsunami on March 11

~~~

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

April 19

The whole picture is very complex and I'm a bit short of time. I will try to put up what I think are important or useful (or 'interesting') links (almost all sent in by my usual 'researcher' friends) and as much comment as I have time for. Please comment below if you have any questions or opinions about content.

~~~

Must See: TEPCO Releases Video From Unmanned Helicopter Drones Above Fukushima As Robots Are Finally Used In Restoration Effort

Some of the comments are insightful. E.g., please look at #1178885

===

Gundersen Discusses Current Condition of Reactors, TEPCO Claim of "No Fission" in Fuel Pool, and Lack of Radiation Monitoring in Fish

~~~

This is the main story on the actual Fukushima disaster site yesterday and today. I think we will be hearing more about this in the weeks to come, provided the situation doesn't get suddenly much worse.

TEPCO issues 6-9 month containment plan

===

Here's an English translation of the diagram explaining the road map to safe cold shutdown of the reactors in 6 to 9 months' time.

Success no given in Tepco road map

===

TEPCO criticized over timetable to bring crippled nuke plant under control

It has been revealed that the spent nuclear fuel pool in the No. 4 reactor, which was confirmed through an investigation on April 15 to have been severely damaged by an explosion, needs reinforcement work to prevent its bottom from falling out due to potential aftershocks. Since the pool contains more nuclear fuel whose residual heat is higher than that in the spent fuel pool in the other reactors, it is imperative to continue to cool down the fuel pool by water injection.

===

Workers cannot approach reactor buildings

This is a mess...

At the Number 2 reactor, the level of highly contaminated water in the tunnel is still rising. To prevent overflow, TEPCO is stepping up the inspection of the nuclear waste processing facility, to which it aims to transfer contaminated water.

Underground water at the plant is also contaminated.
On Wednesday, the level of radioactive substances sharply increased at facilities where underground water from the Number 1 and 2 reactors is collected.

On Friday, workers kept on monitoring the situation.
They say the level of radioactive substances has stabilized or decreased in every reactor from 1 to 6.

So they say it's unlikely that highly radioactive water is still seeping into underground water.

??? Underground water has been contaminated? Is this a suggestion that the meltdown in one of the reactors has burned through the reactor vessel and containment? After that, its so garbled I cannot understand it. Does the last sentence mean they have stopped pumping cooling water into reactors 1, 2 and 3? Many more questions than answers here...

===

Robots detect dangerous spike in reactor 3 radiation

===

A few days old, but you can compare the above with this. (Dr Michio Kaku appears on the programme. If you don't like him, don't bother.)

Expert: Despite Japanese Gov’t Claims of Decreasing Radiation, Fukushima a "Ticking Time Bomb"

And let’s be blunt about this: would you buy food that says "Made in Chernobyl"?

~~~

On April 10, I posted an appeal for a network of the world's scientists and engineers to be formed to solve the crisis at the Fukushima nuclear disaster site. The author of the appeal, Mr. Toshio Yanagihara, has now put up a quite substantial English page (mainly on radiation problems). Please take a look. Thanks.

~~~

How reassuring...

Dosimeters to be distributed to public schools

TEPCO to check if plutonium leaked to seabed

~~~

Tepco compensation irks evacuees - Offer in no way covers living costs, damage

"There is no way they can compensate us for what happened here. What they are offering isn't enough. I have a mortgage to pay. And besides, it's not all about money," he said.

Fukushima Gov. Yuhei Sato: "This is just a beginning. The accident has not ended. We will continue to ask the government and Tepco to fully compensate evacuees"

===

Open letter to PM Naoto Kan from Brian A. Victoria

Who pays for nuclear nightmare?

If it is determined that there were indeed serious design flaws in these reactors, then the next question is whether Tepco was aware of them or not. If they were aware, then why was no remedial action taken before the recent disaster? If they were unaware of relevant publicly available information, what does this say about their professionalism and devotion to the public welfare? And what of GE's responsibility in having sold Japan inherently dangerous reactors. Can GE claim to have no financial responsibility?

===

Government considering plan to dismantle TEPCO

~~~

Merkel: Nuclear exit 'as soon as possible'

Is this for real, or is it an election stunt? Or is it both? Do we really care what it is as long as it happens?

"If you want to drop nuclear power quickly, then you had to begin yesterday to have a new power line ready in 2018," Merkel said. "That's why we need to hurry."

===

Andrew McKillop on the myths of nuclear power

Japan's Exploding Reactors and Myths of the Atom

~~~

Very good overall blogsite:

Radiation Safety Philippines

===

Radiation map RDTN.ORG

===

Absolutely amazing animated earthquake map.

===

TOKYO RADIATION LEVELS

===

Horrific. The wave itself is not visible at first (?) but you can see the dust it kicks up as it advances...

Video of the tsunami hitting Minami Sanriku Town on March 11

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

April 18

Sorry, skipped a day.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

April 17

To be Japanese is to bumble?

TEPCO's bumbling president: a very Japanese leader

He promised to make "every effort" to resolve the problem and said he was "examining" how he could help those forced out of their homes "soon".

"I don't quite see why you held this press conference. I don't see what you want to say to whom," one reporter blasted. "You keep saying 'as soon as possible', but that's what a noodle delivery driver would say."

===

Similar topic...

Lack of Data Heightens Japan’s Nuclear Crisis

Quotes from p.2

"Masashi Goto, a former Toshiba nuclear power plant designer, said that Japanese officials appeared to have decided that they gained nothing but panic from predicting outcomes. “They will never speak about the worst-case scenario,” he said. “They will never predict.”"

Don't say something that 'might be,' because if you do and it isn't then you may be accused of 'thinking too much.'

"The Japanese also seem to prefer presenting raw data without explaining what they think it means, said Takashi Inoue, a professor of public relations at Waseda University. Every day, Tokyo Electric, the nuclear agency, the chief cabinet secretary and others hold news conferences at which they present a blizzard of facts and numbers but rarely make broader declarations about the conditions at Fukushima Daiichi."

Lack of ability to interpret, lack of self-confidence to say what might be happening, fear of panic, fear of criticism... See "AHA!" below

~~~

This is a bit old, but shows just how long this leaky radioactive water problem has been going on!

Michio Kaku: Did TEPCO Leave Homer Simpson in Charge of Fukushima?

===

AHA! So TEPCO IS reading this blog! TEPCO discovers principle of water going out = water going in!

TEPCO finalizes plan to cool down reactors

The first part of the article reiterates the situation with the highly radioactive water that we have been talking about here for a few days. Then...

To best deal with the present circumstances, TEPCO plans to first pump contaminated wastewater outside the turbine buildings where it can be more safely cooled and filtered. Radioactive substances and salt are removed and a continuous supply of treated water is circulated to gradually cool down the reactors.

TEPCO is scheduled to start operating the new cooling system by summer.

So the plan is to recycle the water coming out back around to the reactors to replace the water that is now being pumped in from outside sources! (So they now admit that the water that was coming out was the water that they were pumping into the reactors...) And "...by summer." May or September?

===

BBC says:

Japan nuclear crisis 'over in nine months'

Ah... so September + three months to cool the fuel/reactors properly. You can almost hear them say, "Bring the boys home for Christmas!"

Our correspondent says Japan's recovery bill has been estimated at $300bn (£184bn) - already the most expensive disaster in history.

But the government said last week that figure might be an underestimate.

Ooops! Always was bad at sums. Below I said US$36 billion, meaning 3 trillion yen. Someone is a factor of ten out here, but is it me or the Beeb? 25 trillion yen, and that's an underestimate???

===

Fears of more radioactive water spilling into ocean as waste tank full at nuke plant

===

Samples 6,500 times over limit; Zeolite dumped in sea

Spike in iodine levels may signal new leak

This is potentially very serious, so I'll quote at length:

Hidehiko Nishiyama of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said the level of radioactive iodine-131 spiked to 6,500 times the legal limit, up from 1,100 times over the limit the day before. Levels of cesium-134 and cesium-137 rose nearly fourfold.

The rise could have been caused by the installation Thursday of steel panels intended to contain the radiation, which may have stirred up stagnant waste in the area, Nishiyama said, adding the increase in iodine, which has a relatively short eight-day half-life, could signal a possible new leak.

"We want to determine the origin and contain the leak, but I must admit that tracking it down is difficult," he said.

As people like Arnie Gunderson and Michio Kaku have been saying all along, if you see sudden spikes in short-lived isotopes like Iodine-131 and whatever else they are not telling us about, then there is some degree of recurring, intermittent, 'inadvertant recriticality' going on somewhere in at least one of the reactor cores or possibly one or more of the spent fuel pools, including the one in reactor 4. I'm very sceptical of the 'stirred up stagnant waste' theory, kind of assuring as it may or may not be, and I'm also disappointed by the statement, "I must admit that tracking it down is difficult," because it means the person speaking may be a terrible liar given what I have just said above. (I know... he's Japanese, so he's not watching Arnie Gunderson.)

Now, it's nice, as shown above, that TEPCO has decided that they are going to circulate the water coming out under the turbine building(s), because that means they are not planning on stopping the current cooling of the reactors. (Still several months before the highly radioactive water is recirculated, so what are they going to do with it? Do I sense a new round of dumping radioactive water in the sea coming up in the coming weeks and months??) Despite this, 'inadvertant recriticality' is still taking place, so we cannot say that the situation in the reactors and spent fuel pools has been 'stabilized' yet. I think TEPCO is just about keeping its head above water. Perhaps the water level problem is making it difficult for TEPCO (and the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency) to maintain the credibility level...

~~~

The sad thing about nuclear disasters: the human tragedies...

Fukuyama apologizes to Iitate over evac order

A personal comment: Kawamata Town is mentioned in this article. It's right next to and on the inland side of Iitate Village. In December last year I visited Kawauchi Village, further south and also partly in the 30 km zone, with a group of people. We were there to discuss future food and energy problems with local people; farmers, educators, activists and so on. One of the farmers who spoke about his life for about 15 minutes was a Mr. S. from Kawamata Town. Talking with him and a few other people later, he was interested to know that I had been studying the Karen people in northern Thailand. He asked me if I would go to his town to talk to a group of people there about the Karen people's culture and lifestyle. I agreed and said I would like to do it when the weather warms up in the spring. We exchanged phone numbers and I said I would call him. I had not forgotten about the promise, but after March 11 I have been too busy to give it much thought. I had noticed that the most radioactively polluted areas were in the direction of Kawamata town, but it did not really hit me until I saw Mr. Fukuyama (see above article) apologising to the people in Iitate Village on TV last night that Mr. S might be in serious trouble. I decided to call him today (he had given me a cell phone number). He answered quite quickly and seemed fairly cheerful. It took him a while to recall who I was, but eventually recalled the trip to Kawauchi Village and the promise about going to his town to talk about the Karen.

Mr. S had already evacuated and was living near Sendai. His children had evacuated to Yamagata. I said I was very sorry to know that he had had to evacuate and that it would probably be a long time before things got back to 'normal' and I could keep my promise to him. He said that it would now probably never happen as he had decided to start anew elsewhere. I wished him well and encouraged him to call me if there was anything I could do for him. I told him that where I live is about 120 km south of the nuclear disaster site and that we do not really have a very good idea about how much radiation we are being exposed to. He laughed and said, "No, you don't want to, either!"

A lot of people around here seem to feel the same way. Despite our wonderful society, floating on an ocean of oil, as it does, and despite the wonders of medical science, space travel and nuclear power, life is still the same old gamble that it ever was. Roll the dice...

One other thing about the trip to Kawauchi Village is worth mentioning. It was a two-day trip, and on the second morning we visited some people we know who are living off-grid in the mountains. There are two households on the site (the unpaved road to the site reminded me of the roads into Karen villages in northern Thailand) - one a family with three small children and one a single man of about 60. Both houses had large solar panels set up on the ground outside. We visited the family for a few hours. They had almost as many electrical appliances in their house as I do! (We don't have air conditioning.) We went around the back to look at the batteries and inverters. Quite an impressive array of equipment! The owner told us that the most important part about the whole setup was the batteries. They need to be checked frequently and maintained in as good a condition as possible. In the autumn, when the front had sat over Japan for two weeks and the sun had hardly broken through the clouds at all, the batteries had almost 'died'. He had since been able to nurse them back to a reasonable condition, but anyway they were expendable and would have to be replaced sometime (at considerable expense).

This is what I was talking about yesterday in response to the Mainichi Shinbun editorial that mentioned Japan becoming "a model advanced low-energy society based on renewable energy systems." In what way exactly is my off-grid friend's PV system "renewable"? In the sense that the sun will not 'run out' for the next few billion years? Anything else?

During that trip, we stayed and had all our meals in a very nice macrobiotic mountain 'pension' (I suppose you might call it). The food was great! We even had some organic wine. Good food and drink, good companionship, stimulating discussion, a cheery log fire to keep out the December Fukushima cold, a large Japanese spa bath to lounge around in, what more could you want? All those people, including the off-grid family have now evacuated away. They went early on, being sensitive to what is happening in the world.

Hey, TEPCO! Listen up! You've got to put it all back together again!!

~~~

More human tragedy...

Anxiety, grim determination rule Fukushima nuke crisis base camp

...many of the workers here do go to the stricken plant, their names and companies written on their white suits in felt pen. Some also have slogans like "hang on, nuclear power" written on the backs of the disposable suits -- evidence of pride in their jobs at the power station.

~~~

The weather forecast just changed...

Wind Distribution of Radioactive Particles over Japan for April 16-19

===

This is also very 'good'...

Japan Radiation Fallout

~~~

To be in Japan is to wobble?

In Japan, Aftershocks Are Also Felt From Within

Over all, there have been 400 aftershocks of magnitude 5.0 or greater in northeastern Japan since March 11. That is as many sizable quakes in one month as Japan typically experiences in two and a half years, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.

Dr. Kazuhiro Soeda, an ear, nose and throat specialist in Utsunomiya, outside Tokyo, who also treats patients having trouble dealing with the aftershocks, said: “People are getting too sensitive. This is something we’ve never experienced before.”

===

It could take a year or more for the aftershocks to fade away

Japan Aftershocks: How Long Will They Go On?

~~~

Accumulated radiation latest worry for towns

Government considering plan to dismantle TEPCO

TEPCO to sell 100 bil. yen in assets

Toshiba head remains upbeat on growth of nuclear power

Pressure grows on Kan to quit / Alleged remark on Fukushima draws fire from both sides

~~~

A lot of people, apparently not afraid to live near nuclear power stations in the USA

Nuclear neighbors: Population rises near US reactors

~~~

A little off topic, perhaps, but if you like conspiracy theories...

1 of 7 What in the world are they spraying? (Chemtrails)
A certain amount of explanation

Chemtrails and Weather Warfare - History Channel - Part 1 of 4
Source says, "Good documentary, mentions how sonic vibrations could be used to cause an earthquake..."

===

I believe our future depends powerfully
On how well we understand this cosmos
In which we float like a mote of dust
In the morning sky

Carl Sagan singing A Glorious Dawn

Sorry we are never going to make it there, Carl. Nice song, though.

Question for Carl and anyone who wants to reply: Did you ever look at a flowering plant and suddenly realize what it really is?

There are free mp3s of this (and other techie-future songs) if you search around on the web. Look for Colorpulse.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

April 16

I'd like to start by thanking those who have sent in comments and especially Dave Kimble for his explanation of the spent fuel rod pools. That does, to some extent, explain how the fuel in the pools could catch fire and explode. However, as I said in the blog for April 8 (below), one of the designers (I believe) of the spent fuel rod pools at the TEPCO Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Station (NHK news now always adds 'TEPCO' to the name so you are quite sure who the operator is/was and since I'm British I call them power stations, though I hear Brits saying 'plants' too - don't think plants like it, though) said quite clearly that the pools are 'safe' even if there is no water in them. Apparently, the distance between the rods in these pools is greater than in the US (that is probably an overgeneralization) and therefore 'safer'. Thus even if cooling water circulation was lost due to loss of (external) power, and even if the water had boiled off, wouldn't the pools have required some other external jolt, like an explosion in the containment, or in the case of reactor 4 an explosion in the adjacent reactor 3 to knock some of the rods sideways so that they came into close contacted and then overheated that way? In the case of the reactor 4 fuel pool, that's what I heard on an NHK TV news programme at the time, but that fact seems to have been conveniently forgotten now. Or maybe it will come up when they finally produce the official report of the 'accident' in around 2025. So many unanswered questions - for which the answers may never be known since they will point the finger of blame.

~~~

Merkel does a 180 degree flip for the better!

Germany to end reliance on nuclear power

Although not as clear as this, and certainly not in government or business circles, there is a distinct, movement towards a nuclear phase-out in Japan. I was urged this morning to read the Mainichi Shinbun's editorials for today and yesterday. Here are the links (careful, this is Japanese...)

Mainichi Shinbun Editorial (Japanese) for April 15, 2011 ... English version

Mainichi Shinbun Editorial (Japanese) for April 16, 2011

The first, under the title "After the earthquake disaster, policy change required for nuclear power in earthquake nation Japan" covered the usual safety problems in a country with many earthquakes and then criticised the government and regulatory commission for being ineffective and slow off the mark when the crisis began, but then we get:

"From now on, the starting up of new nuclear power stations will be effectively impossible."

"In the long run, a breakaway from nuclear power should be promoted."

"Although it is not realistic to shut down all existing nuclear power stations at once, an order of priority for shutdowns should be made in accordance with the level of danger of the power stations, and reliance upon nuclear power reduced."

The second, today's editorial, ran under the title "After the earthquake disaster, a Japanese model for the low-energy society is possible" - some quotes:

"Japan can no longer depend on nuclear power... In earthquake nation Japan, co-existence with nuclear power is impossible."

"However, if the level of the debate on where we should be going is simply to find new power sources, the historical significance of March 11 will be belittled. The great disaster is nature forcing us to fundamentally reflect upon our way of life, and is therefore requiring us to rethink the nature of our civilisation."

The article then goes on to make a parallel between the Deep Horizon accident in the Bay of Mexico last year and the ongoing nuclear disaster at Fukushima No.1. The parallel is that as fossil fuels become scarce, instead of changing lifestyles to live withing the limits of available resources, mankind is rushing to use more and more dangerous technologies in the attempt to fulfill rising energy demands. The Japanese government's basic energy plan calls for 14 new nuclear reactors to come online by 2030, by which time nuclear power will provide 50% of Japan's electrical power, but "it is thought that new reactors have now become a political impossibility." Thus, at least in the mid-term, a switch to natural gas and high-efficiency coal thermal generation is necessary, as well as the revival of some existing oil thermal plants which have been mothballed.

The editorial finally states that Japan should turn the energy limitations around the other way and become a model advanced low-energy society based on renewable energy systems, and explains how this need not result in lower "welfare". This, concludes the editorial would be the best way to lay the soul of March 11 to rest.

I basically agree, but have (at least) two comments on this.

1) Unfortunately, the end of cheap fossil fuels (we're already quite a long way along that path) is not going to be that simple. The "renewable" energy systems, as does nuclear power, rely on cheap fossil fuels for the manufacture of all their equipment. No cheap fossil fuels, and no fossil fuel-based mining and industry, will make all of these electricity generating systems impossible. And if equipment that runs on electricity cannot be made, then why would we need the electricity? EVs may be OK, but without fossil fuels how will we manufacture them?

2) Japan imports 60% of its food, based on a calorie calculation. Fossil fuel scarcity will eventually mean the end of modern agricultural methods, the end of most food exports and/or the transport that make mass food imports possible. Feeding 127 million people on less than five million hectares (Japan's current situation) is not possible. Scarcity of fossil fuels will make it impossible to produce even the 40% of the food that is produced here. It will probably drop to 15 to 20%. Eventually, starvation. Tell me the solution, please, because I do not have one.

Perhaps some degree of "welfare" can be maintained for a time. I'm sure at this time of national crisis the Mainichi Newspaper editors do not wish to paint a gloomy future for Japan, but for me, I find their analysis a little too superficial. There are hard choices to make and hard times ahead for Japan. A little optimism in this time of crisis is good, but, given that "Japan is now required to rethink the nature of its civilisation" (I think that's true), when are 'we' (I live here too) going to get down to doing some serious thinking about the future of Japan's society?

~~~

More about the cooling problem mentioned yesterday...

Fuel rod fragments at bottom of vessels

...radioactive substances have been detected in groundwater and soil on the plant's premises, giving Tepco even more problems..

...As for the storage pool for spent fuel rods in reactor 4, radioactive iodine and cesium were detected in a water sample extracted Tuesday, but the amount indicated damage to the rods was "not big," NISA said.

1) Great. Radioactive substances in groundwater is evidence that water that is being pumped into the reactors to keep them cool is escaping into the ground, and from there to the tunnels and trenches under and to the seaward side of the turbine building(s). That water is supposed to be pumped out before 'normal' cooling water circulation can be restored, but it cannot be pumped out while water is still being pumped into the reactors to cool them. The injection of water into the reactors cannot be stopped because the damaged rods and fuel at the bottom of the reactor vessels might get hot enough to burn through the steel of the reactor vessel. That's what the article is saying, but not directly, because they definitely want to avoid saying something like that... I might be wrong, too. Or this might mean that the disaster is not winding down, but approaching a very critical phase. And yet the Japanese newspapers today have started to focus elsewhere. On the future, as above, or on the first round of compensation from TEPCO to the people in the 30 km zone. One million yen for households, but 750,000 yen for single-person households. (About US$12,000 and US$9,000) Since about 50,000 households are estimated to have been affected, this will then cost up to 50 billion yen- about US$600 million. This is just to tide people over for the time being. The real compensation for loss of income an property is going to take years and is estimated to amount to three trillion yen - about US$36 billion.

Wastewater level at No.2 reactor again rises

2. ..."the amount indicated damage to the rods was 'not big'" But not small. How much is "big"? 70%? How much is small? 20%? So, are we talking about 30-50%? Not big, but quite substantial. If it's 50%, it's serious. Is 50% "big"? This is disinformation... or maybe misinformation... well, it's not bad information... but not good information, either... how bad is 'bad information'?... etc., etc.

TEPCO: Fuel rod damage limited in No. 4 reactor

~~~

We all should learn from this tragic accident that human beings cannot co-exist with nuclear power, whether in the form of weapons or electricity.

The Atomic Bomb and "Peaceful Use of Nuclear Energy"

The Earthquake in Japanese Energy Policy

Nuclear weapons in Japan? Not now

Experts: Store nuke workers' blood as precaution

Former Fukushima Governor Sato Eisaku Blasts METI –TEPCO Alliance: “Government must accept responsibility for defrauding the people”

Japan Quake Shakes TV: The Media Response to Catastrophe

Fukushima Residents Seek Answers Amid Mixed Signals From Media, TEPCO and Government. Report from the Radiation Exclusion Zone

Geiger counters ineffective for checking food, water

Killing the Unborn ... With Radiation

Fukushima Fallout Monitoring Needed

"Science" and "Nature" on Fukushima

Mineral used to absorb radioactive materials

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

April 15

IAEA update for April 14 of the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Update Log

Damned if you cool and damned if you don't

One of the keys to solving the crisis at Fukushima No.1 Nuclear Power Station appears to be removal of the highly radioactive water in the turbine building(s) and trenches. This is necessary in order to restore a cooling water circulation system...

More time needed to build tanks to hold wastewater

Stabilizing nuclear fuel could take long

Japanese nuclear scientists say if a cooling system can be put in place at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, stabilizing its nuclear fuel could take another 3 months.

*IF*. What I am seeing on NHK TV news programmes here today is that they are pumping water out the trenches (under or to the seaward side of the turbine buildings), then stopping to see if the level remains down, and... GUESS WHAT? It rises again! Now, that means that the trench(es) must be connected to some incoming source of water. What could that be? Oh, yes! They are pumping water into the reactors to cool them! So that would account for the *increase* in the level of highly radioactive water in the trenches, right? And the the reactors are connected by pipes to the turbines, right? (By definition, otherwise this would not be much of a power station.) Now, the IAEA's updates (link above) are quite informative...


In Unit 1 fresh water is being continuously injected into the RPV through the feed-water line at an indicated flow rate of 6 m3/h using a temporary electric pump with off-site power. In Units 2 and 3 fresh water is being continuously injected through the fire extinguisher lines at an indicated rate of 7 m3/h using temporary electric pumps with off-site power.

OK. Nitrogen gas is being injected into the reactor pressure vessel (RPV) of reactor 1, so the pressure is above atmospheric pressure. OK, so it's probably not leaking.


In Units 2 and 3 Reactor Pressure Vessel and Drywell pressures remain at atmospheric pressure.

Oh. is that because they have cracks in them? I remember that the original idea with the nitrogen gas was to inject it into the reactor 2 and 3 RPVs as well, but has this now been conveniently forgotten? Because the RPVs (and containments) have cracks and are leaking water?

In the NHK article linked above, the deputy head of the Atomic Energy Society of Japan, Takashi Sawada said:

... if the ongoing water injections continue, the current situation can be maintained.

He said Tepco's most important task is to remove all the contaminated water and rebuild a cooling water circulation system.

So, to summarize the situation: Water is being injected at one end to cool the reactor cores and then highly radioactive water is being pumped out the other end (a kind of circulation system). But in order to rebuild a cooling water circulation system the water must be pumped out, while at the same time the current situation can only be maintained if water is injected in to the reactor cores??? So, guys, come clean. Look at both ends (cores and turbines) and try to figure out if we do not have a problem here. Anyone with any idea about how to solve this one, please leave a comment below. Thank you.

~~~

Chernobyl on Steroids... Arnie Gunderson on RT

The worst case is the reactor 4 fuel pool... if this catches fire. They don't have power to the fuel pool cooling systems in any of the reactors. In addition, No.4's got a crack in the side of it (the fuel pool), so even if they have water to cool it, it's going to run out the crack. That's the toughest problem on the site right now.

===

This is a little old, but still has some 'interesting' points...

Physicist Michio Kaku Demands Entombment Of Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant

==

Confirmation of what I said yesterday about removing the nuclear fuel...

Reactor makers draft 10-year decommission plan

The proposal is divided into 3 phases. The short-term plan, likely to take several months, involves cooling and stabilizing reactors and spent fuel pools, while preventing radioactive water from increasing.

Toshiba will then move toward the medium-term plan, involving the safe removal of nuclear fuel rods from the pools and pressure vessels, using special cranes to be set up near the reactor buildings. Toshiba says this work will take 5 years.

The final phase, dismantling the reactors and clearing the land, will take another 5 years. Toshiba says that radioactive substances released in the process must be removed during this phase.

~~~

Fukushima Uni. to check high-altitude radiation

"The university says the balloon survey will help make predictions about how toxic particles will spread across the globe."

~~~

Fisheries hit by safety fears

Fish near Fukushima have cesium

~~~

Extremely High Radiation Levels in Japan: University Researchers Challenge Official Data

Includes two photos of the demonstration April 10.

~~~

Useful basic stats on the state of world nuclear power

Nuclear power by country

_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/

I intend to keep on updating this page, but it may not happen every day. Sometimes I have to go to Tokyo to talk to people rather than sit here watching the screen. Also I want to thank my two very able researchers who supply most of the links and some of the comment on this page - the daring Willie Wickles in Tokyo and 'my friend in Kyushu' (yes he really exists, I'm not inventing him just because I want to make outrageous comments that I do not have to take responsibility for... well the ultimate responsibility is mine, of course... but... er...) and I do not know if I can continue to count on their generosity in spending several hours each day searching for relevant material on the Internet, not for the 50 years or more it will take before we can say the 'accident' is over, anyway. But stay tuned. The government and TEPCO are certain to make many more 'interesting' statements that we can share with the world here...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

April 14

IAEA update for April 13 of the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Update Log

Fukushima Accident Severity Level Raised to '7': Gundersen Discusses Lack of US Radiation Monitoring Data

~~~

Earthquake and Nuke Fatigue" - Time for the Rich to Leave Tokyo" By RICHARD WILCOX

It has been long been rumored that the Japanese nuke industry uses homeless and other desperate workers to carry out dangerous cleaning operations in their aging reactors. A 1995 British television documentary entitled "Nuclear Ginza" revealed this astonishing practice. Photo journalist Kenji Higuchi presented stunning interviews with workers who had suffered radiation exposure in the plants. Higuchi once told me the film was blocked from being shown on NHK, the government TV news station.

~~~

Radiation surges above 4's fuel pool

Tepco said it is planning to move the spent fuel rods out of the storage pools at reactors 1 through 4 so they can be moved to a safer location, although details on when and how haven't been decided yet.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan said Tuesday that the situation of the troubled reactors is "improving step by step" and that the release of radioactive particles from the plant is declining.

It will be interesting to see just how and when the fuel rods are removed from the spent fuel pool at reactor 4. Given that, as noted elsewhere, it appears that there is a core meltdown happening in fresh air, it will be a little piece at a time using a robot and maybe around 2015 or 2016, perhaps. I thought "improving step by step" was a bit upbeat. Looks more like TEPCO are just about keeping their heads above water at Fukushima No.1, very radioactive step by very radioactive step.

===

On the other hand, Mr. Kan is not always so optimistic:

Japan's Prime Minister Kan: "Evacuation Zone Will Be Uninhabitable"

Talking about the evacuation zone around the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant, Kan said "It will be uninhabitable for a while. For 10 years, maybe 20 years," Matsumoto disclosed to the press.

===

No, Japan's Nuclear Reactors Are Not "Stable"

When thew utility says that things are stable, it’s only stable in the sense that you’re dangling from a cliff hanging by your fingernails. And as the time goes by, each fingernail starts to crack. That’s the situation now.
***
TEPCO is like the little Dutch boy. All of a sudden we have cracks in the dike. You put a finger here, you put a finger there. And all of a sudden, new leaks start to occur, and they’re overwhelmed.

===

Kobe University professor Katsuhiko Ishibashi says:

World right to slam nuke program mismanagement: expert

Because of the unprecedented 9.0-magnitude quake, active fault lines all around the archipelago could be affected, he said. Under such circumstances, the greatest threat is a major earthquake in the Tokai region that seismologists predict is likely to take place soon.

"Such a scenario will definitely have an impact on the Hamaoka nuclear power plant," Ishibashi said. A catastrophe there is predicted to affect not only the central region of Japan but could also have an impact on Tokyo. "The U.S. military will also be affected - a disaster at Hamaoka will mean bases in Yokosuka, Yokota, Zama and Atsugi will all be of no use," he said.

===

In Rolling Update 2 I posted an article from the Mainichi Newspaper about Mr. Kikuchi, who formerly worked at both Fukushima No.1 Nuclear Power Station and Tokai Nuclear Power Station. The Tokyo Newspaper today (p.24 to 25) also carried a long article in the form of an interview with Mr. Kikuchi.

He recalls that during the construction of reactor 6 at Fukushima No.1 some of the construction workers would pee at the bottom of the containment vessel, causing corrosion and rusting. This was very persistent and the workers found it too bothersome to go up to the toilet at the top of the containment. "I made it a rule to paint over the area very thickly, but I was not able to tell anyone that the reason was that it was rusting because of the pee."

He also recalls that during maintenance the inside walls of the reactor pressure vessels (RPV, reactor core) were cleaned. After the fuel had been removed from the RPV workers would be lowered down into it in a steel gondola and would wash the radioactive grime off the RPV wato be removal of the highly radizzle. The inside of the RPV is about six metres in diameter, and the gondola would swing about from the pressure of the water coming out of the hose. Mr. Kikuchi says he once ventured into just the top part of the RPV. "That was scary enough for me. I think the workers were in a frightening position. The realities of worker exposure to radiation are not generally well known."

~~~

East Fukushima shiitake banned

A test Sunday found 12,000 becquerels per kg of radioactive iodine and 13,000 becquerels per kg of cesium in shiitake harvested in Iitate. The figure is well above the legal limit of 2,000 becquerels for radioactive iodine and 500 becquerels for cesium.

Shiitake in Iwaki was found to have 3,100 becquerels of radioactive iodine and 890 becquerels of cesium.

===

Only takes four weeks now to reveal radiation hazards....

Fukushima: Strontium-90 detected outside 30 km zone

Japan's science ministry says small amounts of radioactive strontium have been detected in soil and plants outside the 30-kilometer zone around the Fukushima plant ... The samples were taken between March 16 and 19.

~~~

Japanese government scientists had become fixated by the risk of a big quake on Japan's southern Pacific coast.

Japan's seismologists blinded to March 11 quake: journal

~~~

Radioprotective Measures for the People of Japan and Others Exposed to Fukushima Radiation

~~~

Jolly good idea! (But a little late.)

Japan Orders Nuclear Plant Operators to Obtain More Emergency Generators

~~~

Downloadable data on the Fukushima No.1 Nuclear Power Station...

Fukushima nuclear power plant: GET ALL THE DATA (Japanese government sources)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

April 13

IAEA update for April 13 of the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Update Log (Still April 12 as I update this, but I assume the update for April 13 will be there later.)

This seems appropriate for today: THE LOW LEVEL RADIATION CAMPAIGN

Large areas of Japan are contaminated to measured levels around 1 microsievert per hour. This figure is just for Caesium 137; it does not measure the alpha-emitting radionuclides Plutonium and Uranium. These contaminants are the real threat to health. No official sources are saying anything about this hazard although hundreds of tonnes of Uranium and Plutonium are missing from the spent fuel ponds. It's known that up to 1760 tonnes of spent fuel was stored on site. Some of it was in pools in the roofs of reactor containments which these high resolution aerial photos show to be absent, following explosions.

Absolutely required reading from Dr. Helen Caldicott, possibly THE world authority on the medical problems of radiation. Dangerously Wrong on Nuclear Radiation: Attack of the Nuclear Apologists

Reading a book by Dr. Caldicott in the mid-80s was one of the factors that opened my eyes to the dangers of nuclear power even when it is being run 'safely'.

Other articles in Counterpunch:

A Slow Agonizing Death - Fukushima, Nearly a Month In

Glow Boys and Gamma Sponges - Fukushima's Suicide Squads

Playing Russian Roulette at Davis-Besse - Nuclear Nightmare on the Great Lakes

~~~

Fukushima crisis now at Chernobyl level shows a picture of a battery box burning near the sea at Fukushima No.1. What does the fact that it caught fire mean, if anything? The article does not explain, but gives the following information:

NISA said Tuesday it estimated that radioactive materials measuring 370,000 terabecquerels have been released from the Fukushima plant.

The Nuclear Safety Commission of Japan, another government panel of experts, separately estimated the amount at 630,000 terabecquerels.

Either way, the amount far exceeds the INES level 7 standard of tens of thousands of terabecquerels.

In Chernobyl, radioactive materials released into the environment reportedly totaled some 5.2 million terabecquerels.

Why are the two calculations so different? Are the respective organizations incapable of using the phone and/or email to talk to each other about it? This is a national crisis, after all. And how come it has taken them so long to figure it out? Apparently, Greenpeace does its sums much more quickly:

Nuclear Catastrophe in Japan “Not Equal to Chernobyl, But Way Worse (Watch the video, please.)

This contrasts nicely with the NHK's IAEA calmly reacts to Fukushima plant's level 7, which does not even bother to quote the figures. Daring special correspondent Willy Wickles comments, "You are safe, go back to sleep!"

NHK also tells us: Radioactive strontium detected outside 30km zone. Strontium 90.

NHK also mentions that even if the nuclear disaster is not apparently affecting the Japanese people all that much, it is having an effect elsewhere. Rally in US demands nuclear plant shutdown

~~~

Interesting pdf files in English:

Trend of Radiation in the Environment around Fukushima Daiichi NPS

Monitoring in Seawater

~~~

A lot of nuclear-related articles at Nuclear Power Daily

~~~

Nuke crisis 'static' but not stable: U.S.

The top U.S. nuclear regulator said Monday he will not change a recommendation that U.S. citizens stay at least 80 km away from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, even as he declared that the crisis remains "static."

~~~

Although this (Nuclear disaster's impact) is essentially a pro-nuke view, the info on the final(?) disposal of spent nuclear fuel is interesting -- i.e. even if all nuclear power were to be stopped tomorrow, we would still have to deal with the thorny problem of how to 'dispose' of the spent fuel. This article, though, suggests that nuclear power will continue to expand despite this current nuclear disaster.

~~~

Tokyo Newspaper

A few relevant points from the Japanese newspaper that do not seem to be coming out in the English press (though, of course, I'm not seeing all of it).

p.22

Nuclear plant export despite the accident

An agreement with Jordan that would permit the export by Japan of nuclear plants to Jordan was approved by the foreign affairs committee of the Japanese lower house yesterday. It has already passed in the upper house and only needs lower house approval to be concluded. Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare, Mr. Ritsuo Hosokawa appeared in the committee room dressed in "disaster fatigues," prompting the newspaper to comment that it was like a scene out of a black joke.

p.22-23

Tokyo: Major Shareholder Silent

It is quite well known that the Tokyo Metropolitan Government (so the people of Tokyo), for historical reasons, is a major holder of TEPCO shares. It actually holds around 42,670,000 shares, 3.15% of the total number of TEPCO shares. TEPCO's shares have plummeted on the market since March 11, falling from 2153 yen to about 450 yen now. This has resulted to a loss for the Tokyo Metropolitan Government of 72.6 billion yen. This is nothing very unusual, though, since Osaka City holds an 8.92% share in Kansai Electric Power Company and a Yamaguchi Prefectural foundation holds a 13.34 share in Chugoku Electric Power Company. Not surprising, anyway, that the recently re-elected governor of Tokyo, Shintarou Ishihara, does not have a great deal to say about the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, despite the fact that it is Tokyo that was receiving the almost the total benefit of the electricity that was being generated there.

~~~

For that special person in your life, and affordable at 184 bucks.
This GC DOES measure Cesium 137 which is the real nasty that we can at least measure.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

April 12

Since just after 5pm last night we have been experiencing a large number of large and small aftershocks - all probably related to some degree to the original big earthquake on March 11. The epicenters of most of the shocks in the area where I am, northern Ibaraki Prefecture, about 120 km north of Tokyo, close to the Pacific Ocean, seem to have been in the southern Fukushima (Iwaki City) area or in the northern part of this prefecture. Sometimes we get 30 minutes of so of quiet, but generally there is some kind of movement every five to ten minutes or so, or only about a minute between perceptible tremors. Every few hours there is quite a serious shake. Not so bad once you get used to it, but I can't help thinking that the next one is going to be really big. (The Japanese, sensibly, say that lots of small ones is better than a really big one. True. The really big ones only happen once or twice a century, but they happen.)

The 'big' news today is that some time yesterday "the Japanese Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) issued a new provisional rating for the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on the IAEA International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES)."

The nuclear disaster at Fukushima No.1 is now rated as a level 7 "Major Accident," the most serious level on INES.

E.g. Fukushima Accident Assessment Officially Raised To Maximum, Level 7

IAEA update for April 12 of the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Update Log

The report says:

The new provisional rating considers the accidents that occurred at Units 1, 2 and 3 as a single event on INES. Previously, separate INES Level 5 ratings had been applied for Units 1, 2 and 3. The provisional INES Level 3 rating assigned for Unit 4 still applies.

Strange. If you look down to the update I wrote on April 8 you'll see that I mentioned that "... in the video, Arnie reports that in the AREVA presentation they had said that reactor 4 was a "core meltdown in fresh air." As I said before, I think it was triggered by the hydrogen explosion in reactor 3 on March 14. This may have resulted in spent fuel rods jolting against each other, causing damage and the release of fuel from the rods, and may even have caused a crack to appear in the wall of the pool, leading to the water draining out. That would explain the presence of very radioactive water somewhere below. On March 15, the spent fuel pool in reactor 4 exploded and was on fire until at least the following day, and then water was pumped in over it on March 17. (I am taking this from a simple chronology of events given in the Akahata newspaper on April 11, p.4.) More radioactive water appearing below, and zircalloy fuel rods cracking, splitting and releasing their fuel, as we saw in Arnie Gunderson's video yesterday. IN THE OPEN AIR!

Here's the link from the video on the crane at reactor 4 that I pasted originally on April 8:

(Er... is this Original Ustream Video from Crane Camera at Reactor Building 4 LIVE??)

Well, it's clearly not live, but it is A MESS! You can see the green crane that should have been over the spent fuel pool. I think I heard Arnie say it's lying on its side. So if we have more fuel than is usually in one reactor on fire in the open air, what is it about this that is not as bad as Chernobyl? To me, it looks like there are strong resemblances here to what happened at Chernobyl. What does NISA think it's trying to hide by leaving the level 3 rating of reactor 4 as it is?

Meanwhile, it was interesting to see Arnie's video about the fuel rods yesterday. Very educational. So a fuel rod is about one to two cms in diameter and about 12 feet (just under two metres) long. Let's revisit the hi-res photos of the disaster site taken on March 24 (posted on a previous update - April 4). As you go down the page, some of the photos show the roof of the turbine building. Are some (at least) of the thin rod-like objects there fuel rods that have been ejected from reactors 1 and 3 when they experienced hydrogen explosions? (The idea of fuel rods on roofs comes from the news video of Prof. Chris Busby on March 30, who says "a huge number of spent fuel rods sitting right on top of the reactor," about 2 min 30 secs into the clip, but it's not exactly clear what he means.) Photo 2 shows reactor 3 on the left and reactor 4 on the right. Despite the fact that the fuel pool of reactor 4 blew up, the left-hand side wall is buckled inwards. There's not much rod-like debris to be seen on the roof of the turbine building just behind reactor 4, so perhaps rods were no ejected in the explosion. There's a difference in the turbine roof between photo 3 and photo 6. In photo 3, in the bottom left, I think I can see three bent and blackened rod-like objects. Burned fuel rods? I can't see them in photo 6. The white one on the seaward side is in all the photos. Looking at photo 6, the red crane vehicle is there on the right, presumably pumping water into the reactor building through the pipe that runs out of the picture on the bottom right. The road into the side of the reactor building and in front of the building has been cleared to allow access. If there were ejected fuel rods there, they must have been hell to clear away. (Maybe that's what they want the remote controlled bulldozer for.) There's a bunch of rod-like objects pushed up against a box-like structure in front of the reactor building, but surely those are not fuel rods?? Or perhaps the steel roof structure prevented rods being ejected in the explosion... It's still a "core meltdown in fresh air.".

ANOTHER funny thing: Much of radiation leaked on Mar.15,16... BUT, I have just said above that that was when the spent fuel pool of reactor 4 exploded and was on fire! Is this a coverup or just stupidity? Send answers to Mr Edano, please.

~~~

If you're a little bit concerned about the radiation (radioactive material) coming out of the disaster site, then please read this article by Claudia Cragg: Helen Caldicott, Fukushima UPDATE. "NO such thing as SAFE radiation levels. NO SAFE levels of radionuclides in food" because it will confirm your worst fears and prove definitively that people who are saying that there is no human health risk are lying or ignorant. (If they are government spokesmen, they cannot be considered to be ignorant since they have government scientists advising them. Also we, and about 99% of the Japanese population, note very well that the pronouncements by Mr Edano and others usually say "no immediate health effects," as if they are parroting something they have been trained to say [by the government scientists?].) If you don't know Dr. Helen Caldicott, then please look her up on Amazon and perhaps buy one of her books for bedtime reading.

~~~

Yes, but how about the people who work in nuclear power stations or who are taking part in the operations now at the disaster site?

Heroes and realists found among the brave "Fukushima 700" -- "When the crisis began in mid-March, many workers stayed in the plant's compound for more than 10 days in a row. At present, they are working in alternate shifts, taking two days off at a time."

Japanese Workers Braved Radiation for a Temp Job “This is the hidden world of nuclear power,” said Yuko Fujita, a former physics professor at Keio University in Tokyo and a longtime campaigner for improved labor conditions in the nuclear industry. “Wherever there are hazardous conditions, these laborers are told to go. It is dangerous for them, and it is dangerous for nuclear safety.”

Russian Chernobyl Expert Warns of Dire Consequences for Health Around Fukushima

High radiation well past no-go zone: Greenpeace

FUKUSHIMA - Cesium 137 CONTAMINATION HIGHER than CHERNOBYL? Already 3x EPA Evacuation Trigger...why no MANDATORY Evacuation? Good question. (You might find the videos here interesting. The Japanese government have done a wonderful job of dithering around on this one. NOW they have declared an area OUTSIDE the 30 km zone to be a "Planned Evacuation Zone" (Iitate Village and some other adjacent areas) which are northwest of the Fukushima No.1 nuclear disaster site, and which received heavy dosages of radiation in the early days (15-17 March?) of the disaster.

~~~

Local elections (April 10) - The brief summary I gave yesterday was broadly correct. I think it's fair to day that at present the vast majority of Japanese people are either not interested in the problems of nuclear energy (despite the "worst disaster in modern times" occurring right under their noses) or are more interested in the financial (= money) or lifestyle (eventually comes down to money, anyway) aspects of nuclear power than they fear nuclear accidents. Or perhaps it is the carrot and stick media strategy of the power companies that has been hugely successful in persuading the population that nuclear power is 'safe' and OK, or at least not to oppose nuclear power. Throwing money around, as we saw yesterday. Everywhere you look, pretty bad information, pretty distorted democracy. If information is the oxygen of democracy, then perhaps money is its Zyklon B...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

April 11

Now just one month since the earthquake of March 11. In the north, the people are still trying to get their lives back to some kind of normality or are having to live with the anxiety of the ongoing nuclear disaster. Meanwhile the rest of Japan seems to be in some kind of sleepwalk...

I was about to update this page a little just after 5 pm when it happened again! 17;16, M7.1 earthquake. The shaking felt nearly as bad as March 11, but not nearly as long. However, we were getting various strengths of tremors almost continually for two hours after that (I have never experienced that before) AND as a thunderstorm passed overhead for about an hour (it's shaking again! 20:13). This looks like going on for some time. Months, maybe a year...

Now, you MUST watch this:

Nuclear Engineer Arnie Gundersen demonstrates How Fukushima's Fuel Rods Melted and Shattered ... Interesting enough, but the conclusion is that the fuel pellets that have fallen out of the shattered zircalloy fuel rods have formed a hot, molten mass at the bottom of the reactor vessel in reactor one and perhaps two of Fukushima No.1, and are now eating through (or have already eaten their way through) the bottom of the vessel. The government, TEPCO, and NISA is not saying this...

NHK
Anti-nuclear activists hold rally in Tokyo This is one (the one that started from Shiba Park) of the two demonstrations that took place in Tokyo yesterday. The other is described in the Photo Essay on another page.

17,500 rally against nuke plants -- About 2,000 at the Shiba Park demo and about 15,000 at the Koenji demo. Really unusual for demos to gather this number of people. I have attended any number of demos and rallies in Tokyo that have attracted 50 - 100 people...

IAEA update for April 10 of the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Update Log (Not much has changed, though.)

Crews 'facing 100-year battle' at Fukushima

I was going to report on the local elections that took place in many areas of Japan yesterday (but not in areas affected by the disasters). I will not see the complete results until the papers come tomorrow morning, but here are my impressions of what I've seen today. 1) All major, traditional, conventional parties have lost seats. Seats were gained by Yoshimi Watanabe's Minna no Tou (Everyone's Party), but it's still quite a small party and Watanabe is a recent 'escapee' from the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP, the dinosaur that ruled Japan from the mid-50s till the Japan Democratic Party (JDP) won the general election two years ago. Seats were also won by the local party (Osaka Ishin no Kai - Association for the Restoration of Osaka) headed by the Governor of Osaka, the young Toru Hashimoto (born June 1969). They did so well that they now hold a majority in the Prefectural ("Fu") council and are the largest single party in the Osaka City Council (I think that's right, but I'll amend it later if it turns out to be wrong.)

[20:38 - another BIG earthquake here!]

2) Anti-nuclear candidates did not fare well. Even in Kashiwazaki-Kariwa (Niigata Prefecture, a big TEPCO nuclear power station) three candidates ran for two seats in the Prefectural Council - one anti-nuke campaigner and two LDP-related candidates. The campaigner lost badly, the other two get seats in the council. Similar pattern in Fukui Prefecture, where 13 of Japan's 54 nuclear reactors sit on the shore, the incumbent LDP 'recommended' governor was returned. Although people are frightened of accidents, it seems they are more frightened of not having a job, the economy not going well, or not being able to live the lifestyle that electricity makes possible...

3) Voter turnout: In the 12 prefectural governor elections - highest 60.00% (Hokkaido, previous election 64.13%), lowest 41.26% (Fukuoka, previous election 49.04%). Only two areas had higher turnouts than the previous election: Tokyo 57.00% this time, 54.35% last time, and Kanagawa (just south of Tokyo) 49.90% this time, 47.04% last time. All others were between a point to 13 pints lower this time than last time. The average is probably around 54 or 55%. Perhaps the message of the disasters hasn't quite hit home yet...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

April 10

Actually, today is quite a special day in Japan. It's just about a month (four weeks yesterday and its April 11 tomorrow) since the earthquake of March 11, there are local elections today AND some anti-nuclear demonstrations and events happening in different places.

Elections: Local elections happening today were originally due to take place nationwide, but the triple (earthquake, tsunami, nuclear) disaster has led to the postponement of the elections in many areas, so the elections today are the 'first half' and are taking place mainly in Tokyo and areas west and south. I will try to report on the results here tomorrow, as that will make it clear where they are being held (the newspapers haven't been very helpful on this, but in the areas where there are elections today, the people there know about it. The nuclear power station problem is one issue in the election. It will be interesting to see a) if voter turnout improves, and b) if there is any tendency for overtly anti-nuclear candidates to win.

Anti-nuclear demonstrations and events: Philip White of CNIC (who has been unable to get much sleep over the last month) says --

An event in Shiba Park in Tokyo focuses on the Hamaoka Nuclear Power Plant.
Time: Public meeting from 1 pm. Protest march from 2 pm.
Venue: Shiba Koen (Shiba Park, Lot 23).
Access: 5 minutes walk from Onarimon Station on the Mita Line.

A demonstration will also be held in Koenji, Tokyo. See this Japanese (also with several other languages) page. PLEASE SEE THE PHOTO ESSAY FROM THIS DEMONSTRATION TODAY!

Further afield, an International Symposium focusing on the ecological destruction from the planned Kaminoseki Nuclear Power Plant will be held at the International Conference Center in Hiroshima Peace Park from 10am to 5pm. See this Japanese program.

There are probably lots of other events, but I am unable to keep up with them all!

~~~

Linux-like network of the world’s scientists and engineers needed to resolve nuclear crisis!

Yesterday I received an open letter from a Japanese man who lives near Tokyo:


Hello, I am Toshio Yanagihara

I am sure you are all aware that Japan is now right in the middle of the worst accident ever to happen here.

As we assumed, the government, the Nuclear Safety Commission and TEPCO are completely at a loss as to how to deal with the nuclear accident and are practically in a state of collapse. The only remaining path is that the citizens of the world mobilize their collective wisdom to overcome this crisis. A linux-like network of the world’s scientists and engineers is indispensible for this purpose, but do you know of any place or organization in the world that is playing this specific role now? If not, I would like to ask that such an organization be set up immediately.

Is it possible to put out a call for this? (Or at least is there someone who can be consulted about this?)

I have recently set up the following website, which includes at the top an appeal for the necessity to bring together the wisdom of the world’s engineers. Nuclear accident countermeasures of the citizens, by the citizens and for the citizens (http://1am.sakura.ne.jp/DEW/Fukushima/info1.htm) (In Japanese. There is now a simple English page.)

If you are part of an international network of scientists and engineers, I ask you most urgently to consider this.

Toshio Yanagihara

Toshio Yanmagihara is a lawyer in his late-fifties who for six years has been involved in the court case to have outdoor trials of genetically engineered rice suspended. Although he is usually working in the center of Tokyo on weekdays, on March 11 (the day of the earthquake) he was at home with his wife and elderly father. When the earthquake struck, the three of them rushed out of the house, Mr. Yanagihara carrying his father on his back. He says, "Our wooden house made a awful racket as it shook in the earthquake, and my father laughed out loud as if he had gone crazy!"

Like many, many, Japanese, he has been deeply shocked by the nuclear disaster and extremely disappointed with the way in which the disaster has been handled by the government and TEPCO.

CAN ANYONE HELP HIM IN HIS CALL FOR A NETWORK OF THE WORLD'S SCIENTISTS AND ENGINEERS TO WORK ON RESOLVING THE DISASTER AT FUKUSHIMA NO.1 NUCLEAR POWER STATION?

If you have any ideas about this, please post them in the 'comments' section below - thank you!

(Mr. Yanagihara is co-author of a recently-published book [in Japanese] entitled "The Mechanism of Safety and Danger".)

~~~

Nice to know that someone agrees with me!!

Association of German utility companies calls for abolishing nuclear power by 2020

Germany’s utility companies want “swift and complete” abolishment of nuclear power in the wake of the disaster at Japan’s Fukushima reactors, says their umbrella organization.

Please see Green Action for more!

~~~

IAEA update for April 9 of the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Update Log

~~~

Tokyo Newspaper

p.2
Apparently a 'special force' of 150 US Marines is now in training to go into Fukushima No.1 Nuclear Power Station if things suddenly take a turn for the worse there. Let's hope they won't be needed.

~~~

p.2
Quite a large article appeared today about decommissioning the four reactors at the Fukushima No.1 Nuclear Power Station once the disaster crisis is over. I've already mentioned that it took 14 years to get the nuclear fuel out of Three Mile Island after the accident in 1979. This article tries to compare the possible situation at Fukushima No.1 with the situation near me at Tokai Nuclear Power Station (about 110 km south of the current disaster site), where Japan's first commercial nuclear reactor was shut down for the last time in 1998. It's a small 170 MW reactor. It will take about 22 to 23 years to decommission this reactor and is calculated to cost 88 billion yen (so about US$1 billion at current exchange rates)! The damaged reactors at Fukushima No.1 are one 460 MW and three 780 MW reactors, so it's going to take at least 20 to 30 years to cool down and get the nuclear fuel out, and will cost a lot more money than you can shake a stick at! Of course, that's after they've compensated everyone for the totally horrific mess that this disaster has caused. Trillions of yen. AND that's only if the disaster ends nice and quietly without anymore ghastly surprises...

~~~

p.3

A small article in the middle of p.3, but this one's brilliant; I almost choked on my muesli when reading it this morning. If you scroll down this page a little you will see the report from Higashidori Nuclear Power Station (in the far north of Honshu Island) after the largish earthquake late on the evening of April 7, Thursday. External power was lost and a diesel generator was used to provide cooling and so on. External power was restored the following morning. It now turns out that of the three such diesel generators on hand at the power station, two were down for regular maintenance. It's lucky the third one was running OK or we might be looking at a new nuclear crisis. In the morning, they noticed that the diesel generator that had been running during the night was leaking oil. When the external power returned they checked the generator over and piece of "packing" (a gasket?) was found to have been inserted the wrong way around when the machine was last put together (after regular maintenance). What does this tell you about safety at Japan's nuclear power stations?

~~~

This is the last item for today: I was sent this link to a Japanese news programme that had been archived on YouTube. Please don't bother watching it unless your Japanese is very good. The clip is only about eight minutes long, but the man speaking (a journalist) talks 16 to the dozen about how TEPCO and the other power companies use the "carrot and stick" approach with the Japanese media to control what they say. Two examples. a) A TV channel in Osaka ran a very serious documentary about nuclear power which had anti-nuclear overtones. The local power company immediately put massive pressure on the TV channel and withdrew all of its programme sponsorships. b) A well-known journalist was asked by a power company to write a pro-nuke article. The fee he was offered? Five million yen. (Just under US$60,000.) What?! Just about everyone who's awake in Japan knows this is going on, but it's nice to see a journalist actually come on TV and say this, even if it was only two days ago (April 8) and TEPCO-bashing is all the rage in Japan. You can just imagine how angry average Japanese people are about the power companies who throw their money around to whitewash nuclear power when they know how dangerous it is, and yet cut corners on safety.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

April 9

IAEA update for April 8 of the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Update Log

TEPCO steps up effort to remove contaminated water

Japanese Plants' Power Is Restored - Good summary of what happened as a result of the earthquake on Thursday night and how vulnerable the reactors are to loss of external power.

The Tokyo Newspaper (p.2) notes that as a result of the earthquake (north to south):

1. Higashidori Nuclear Power Station (one reactor, currently down for regular inspection): External power was lost and the emergency diesel generator was used to maintain electrical functions. External power was restored the following morning.

2. Rokkasho Reprocessing Plant: External power was lost and the emergency diesel generator was used to maintain electrical functions. External power was restored the following morning.

3. Onagawa Nuclear Power Station: (Three reactors, one MOX, down since March 11) - Three of the four external power systems were lost. Cooling of spent fuel pool was lost temporarily. Water from spent fuel pools in all three reactors spilled over onto the floor (a matter of a few - 3 to 4 - litres, I have heard).

4. No serious problems at Fukushima No.1 and No.2 Nuclear Power Stations except the suggestion that radioactivity in the containment of reactor 1 at Fukushima No.1 may have risen for a while.

~~~

Another article on p.2 of the Tokyo Newspaper says that about 1,075 workers are now working on the problems at the Fukushima No.1 Nuclear Power Station. These workers are from eight different companies, TEPCO, two TEPCO affiliated companies, Hitachi, Toshiba, Taisei Construction, Kashima Construction, and Kandenko (an electrical construction company). There are fears concerning the exposure of these workers to the high levels of radioactivity at the disaster site.

An article on p.3 has the headline: "Care Necessary for Ten Years as Strong Earthquakes may be Induced" - "Crustal Movements have Caused Distortion in Many Areas" The huge March 11 earthquake appears to have resulted in distortions in the earth's crust in surrounding areas, and this could lead to strong earthquakes occurring in the near future, especially in the areas south and east of the March 11 earthquake zone. The article gives a useful map:



The large X in the northeast is the location of the March 11 earthquake. Other "x"s show the location of other strong earthquakes, sometimes with dates. Red shaded areas going southeast down Japan's Pacific coastline are the most problematic areas where strong earthquakes can be expected in the next few years. Black lines and arrows show Japan's complex tectonic plate structure and the direction of the plate movements.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

April 8

Closing Ranks: The NRC, the Nuclear Industry, and TEPCO are limiting the flow of information

Please go to http://www.fairewinds.com/ to see Arnie Gunderson's latest video report.

See the AREVA presentation -- Conclusion on radiological releases on p.29. There is an unpleasant statement on p.32. Arnie Gunderson says even this damning report, which is being sugar-coated even more by the Japanese government and media, is covering up even worse damning info (to be covered in his next report).

Also see the RST ASSESSMENT here for 'interesting' reading; but hurry, it may get pulled any minute.

(Er... is this Original Ustream Video from Crane Camera at Reactor Building 4 LIVE??)

In the video, Arnie Gunderson reports that an AREVA Executive VP stated on March 21, 2011 that "Clearly we're witnessing one of the greatest disasters of modern time."

That is NOT the way the Japanese press have been reporting the ongoing nuclear disaster here!!

Also in the video, Arnie reports that in the AREVA presentation they had said that reactor 4 was a "core meltdown in fresh air." This is because the water in the spent fuel pool has drained out, leaving the fuel rods containing spent fuel exposed to the air, and this is NOT inside the containment. However, Arnie, and apparently the AREVA presenter seem to believe that the crack in the fuel pool that has allowed the water to drain away was caused by the earthquake. That's not the way I remember it. I remember seeing on a NHK TV news programme that reactor 4 was affected by a hydrogen explosion that took place in reactor 3, right next to it. (On the TV news programme, looking at reactors 3 and 4 from the land side, after the explosion in reactor 3 there seemed to be at least a decolouration, or a hole, in the wall of the reactor 4 building, about halfway up, just around where the spent fuel pool is located.) I recall thinking, "Why did they build the reactors so close together that an explosion in one could affect those adjacent to it?!" It's my assumption that the explosion also jolted the fuel rods in the pool so that they fell over or ended up leaning against each other, possibly damaged, and therefore began to heat up due to a renewed chain reaction taking place.

Tetsuya Iida of the Institute for Sustainable Energy Policies (ISEP) has stated in a press conference at the Japan National Press Club a few days ago that he was personally involved in the design of the spent fuel pools at Fukushima No.1 Nuclear Power Station and that they they were safe without any water in them. That would probably be true if all the rods were standing vertically in their intended positions, but that does not seem to be the case now. Again, we come back to the same old story of large amounts of spent fuel building up at the power stations - much more than is in the reactor cores - and the fact that this is dangerous! Now we have a "core meltdown in fresh air" - what could be worse than that?!

However, PLEASE watch the video because it is full of information that we should be aware of, but are not being told. Why not? Please post your answers and comments in the comments section below. Thank you.

~~~

Please take a look at the inside report from Fukushima nuclear reactor evacuation zone -- This is a video showing the view from a car approaching the Fukushima No.1 Nuclear Power Station. Gives a good idea of what the area looks like and the damage to roads, buildings, etc. from the earthquake and tsunami.

~~~

IAEA update for April 7 of the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Update Log

~~~

Tokyo Newspaper, p.1

"Water Sarcophagus" Cooling being Considered

Nitrogen is now being pumped into the containment vessel of reactor 1 in order to prevent a hydrogen explosion that could take place if hydrogen and oxygen concentrations reach above 4% and 5%, respectively. Hopefully this will go well and an explosion(s) will be prevented. This is due to be repeated for reactors 2 and 3. When this task has been completed, it appears that the next option might be to fill the entire containment vessel(s) with water to cool everything down, including the reactor core. The idea is that if the materials and structures inside the containment are hot and water is boiled off, then more water will be pumped in to replace it. There are several problems associated with this. Are the containment vessels themselves intact? That is not well understood, so there may be leaks again. If the reactor pressure vessel itself is damaged and meltdown has occurred to some extent in the core (we know roughly how much it has from yesterday's news) then the steam coming off will be highly radioactive. The US NRC has also pointed out that filling the containments with water will make them very heavy, and if they have been damaged by the earthquake then they could collapse, or could collapse if there is renewed earthquake activity, as there was last night. Further, steam may react with the zirconium alloy (zircalloy) cladding around the fuel rods, generating hydrogen again. All in all, it looks to be a very dangerous option, but do they/we have any choice??

~~~

Last night (April 7) at 23:32 Japan time we experienced a strong earthquake, M7.4, with an epicenter somewhere just off the coast of Sendai. Where I am, quite a long way south, it was big, but nowhere near the earthquake we had on March 11. Nothing fell off any shelves and so on (though things are now placed so that they don't fall off/over easily). The media reports that there was a blackout in Sendai.

My friend in Kyushu sent me this:

"Yesterday's M7.4 quake has affected the emergency cooling of those reactors in Onagawa Nuclear Power Station..."

From the Japan Times:

Tohoku Electric said operations of five units at three thermal plants in Aomori and Akita prefectures were suspended.

At the Onagawa nuclear plant in Miyagi Prefecture, which has been suspended, two external power supply units among three have failed, according to the nuclear regulator.

Tohoku Electric said external power supply was disrupted at the No. 1 reactor of the Higashidori nuclear station. The emergency generator is being used to cool the spent fuel pool.

A Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency official said Friday that it appears that the reactor systems are basically working "as designed" because emergency diesel generators are operating in reactors that lost external power.

"Regardless, this is more evidence that even a smaller quake can clobber the nuclear industry when they should be on FULL ALERT with backup plans for backup plans. Can you imagine 'cascading' nuclear meltdowns and the resultant misery without electricity up there?" I agree I'd rather not.

"Having a quick look at the BBC for info on the latest quake last night I found this gem:"

All seven of the workers at Fukushima Daiichi (Japanese for No.1) were safe, a spokesman for plant operator Tepco told a news conference in Tokyo.

"They have not been injured and they have all taken shelter in our seismic-resistant building," he said.

The workers are trying to keep the damaged reactors cool to stop further releases of radioactive material.

"4 nuclear reactors out of control and 7 workers! Good luck! Then they have the gall to talk about building more? This is better than comedy!" I wish it were comedy. Seven workers trying to cool four damaged reactors? I feel incredibly, incredibly sorry for them.

"Perhaps half, or a good segment, of the country has moved into another Jidai (era)? it certainly looks like that at times." Yes, I think things are very tough for the people in the northeast region who have been affected by the earthquake+tsunami.

"Also today's TV pictures of Fukushima Prefecture in the advisory exclusion zone looked so bloody awful/scary. Searching for the dead in white suits and gas masks. And only NOW are they getting out the pregnant and young mothers from Iitate?? The govt should have forcibly moved EVERYONE instead of peddling their lies and obfustaction IMO."

True. We were 'treated' to an hour or so last night (on NHK's Channel 1) of the situation in the 30 km exclusion zone around Fukushima No.1 Nuclear Power Station. The problem is that the compulsory exclusion zone is 20 km and a further 10 km exclusion zone is merely 'advisory.' The programme showed police (I think) in white suits and (very simple) gas masks combing through the debris for bodies at a point about 18 km from Fukushima No.1. Just like a lot of futuristic horror movies that I remember seeing about 20 years ago. The future is here, now! The programme then went on to report on the situation between 20 and 30 km from Fukushima No.1, mostly in South Soma City (just to the north of the nuclear power station). About 20,000 people have returned! They are living there quite normally; the supermarkets are open, they have water and electricity. Some people were interviewed. Most of them moved back after about two weeks in evacuation centers. The reasons they gave for moving back were 'I was called back by my company,' 'I got very tired (of) living in the evacuation center,' 'I was worried about thieves entering my house,' and so on. On TV, the government spokesman, Mr Edano mumbled a few sentences about maybe having to move ALL the people out of the 30 km zone, depending on how events at the site of the crisis develop.

~~~

Nuclear power is a monster. They were caught off guard, saying nuclear power is safe

Tokai mayor slams Tepco, government

This place 'Tokai Village' is about 20 km from where I live, so I know it fairly well. It is my impression that the mayor, Tatsuya Murakami, has played quite a 'clever' game over the years of balancing the problems of the nuclear power station and other facilities there with the 'local development' advantages of revenue that comes in due to hosting the nuclear power station and the employment 'benefits' from the power station and related infrastructure. Despite being surrounded now by 'cities' and having a population large enough to rename the village to a city, he has resisted both amalgamation with other administrative areas (who perhaps don't want to be associated with the nuclear power station anyway) and any move to change the "village" to a "city" because of the perception that 'Tokai Village' is a well-known name. However, the recent earthquake could easily have ended up with a disaster instead of, or as well as, Fukushima No.1. Should a large proportion of his constituency now consider nuclear power to be too dangerous, they may well decide to elect another mayor...

~~~

You have got to be kidding me... or maybe...

Is Japan's Elite Hiding a Weapons Program Inside Nuclear Plants?

The smoke and mirrors at Fukushima 1 seem to obscure a steady purpose, an iron will and a grim task unknown to outsiders. The most logical explanation: The nuclear industry and government agencies are scrambling to prevent the discovery of atomic-bomb research facilities hidden inside Japan's civilian nuclear power plants.

Kindly take this article with a very large pinch of salt. Although the political and historical analysis are largely correct, that does not necessarily mean that "the most logical explanation" is the right one.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I'd like to review the 'campaign' and it's aim here so that it is clear to everyone (all three of you involved - laughter) what it is:

To see that no new nuclear power stations (or reactors) are built in Japan (or any other country) and that all reactors now running are phased out when their lifetime (statede damning info (to be covered in up – or by some relatively close date, say 2020. In the meantime, nuclear power stations should be run as safely and as humanely as possible.

Here’s the small print:

1. In principle, all other nuclear facilities and research centers [for medical applications, fast-breeders, reprocessing plants, nuclear fission research and so on] should also be phased out under the same time schedule as the commercial nuclear reactors. However, it may be felt that some of this should be maintained. That will be something for people at the time to decide.

2. Some Japanese people feel that "all nuclear power in Japan should be stopped NOW!" I am very sympathetic to this idea and would push it strongly if it were realistic given the current electricity situation in Japan. (It has been stated that actually thermal and hydroelectric generation can provide sufficient energy for Japan's needs without the use of nuclear power, and I intend to look into that in the near future.) Secondly, some people are also saying that while it may be possible to run some of the current nuclear power stations or reactors 'safely,' there are at least two problems with this (besides the problems that exist when reactors are being run 'safely' anyway; spent fuel, health risks to local residents, and health risks and so on to workers who carry out maintenance and repair in nuclear reactors). a) Some reactors in current use are already operating beyond their originally stated lifetime. They should now be shut down and decommissioned. b) Devastating earthquakes and tsunamis can still occur anywhere, anytime. All nuclear reactors now running should be at least temporarily stopped while the resilience of these reactors to earthquakes and tsunamis (and any event that could lead to loss of external power) is checked, and these reactors should not be restarted until local people, the government and the Nuclear Safety Commission (which needs to become a fully independent third-party nuclear watchdog) is satisfied that the reactors are 'safe' to run. I agree with these two statements, a) and b), and would like to see this happen. I also agree that the (at least) three problems that occur when nuclear reactors are being run 'safely' are sufficiently damning to warrant cessation of all nuclear generation of electricity anywhere in the world.

The main aim and the 'small print' 1. are quoted directly from the original article and are unchanged. 'Small print' 2. was added on 8 April 2011.