Saturday, July 9, 2011

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: AREVA Chemical Leak Photo

TEPCO posted the photo of the joint that leaked. It sure doesn't look like it is meant to be connected this way. Any machinists, pipe fitters, engineers care to comment?

There are at least 6 other joints like this, according to TEPCO.

The dotted red circle near the center bottom is where the leak occurred, right before the pipe goes to the coagulation/coprecipitation unit. I added the labels indicating whose system they are.

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

(Update 7:44PM PST) TEPCO's morning presser over. It seems the quality of the reporters has gone down while I wasn't watching...

(Update) The [AREVA] system uses 6 different chemicals. There are at least 6 other similar joints, which will need to be checked.

(Update) Watching TEPCO's press conference, ongoing. The operator was a worker from TEPCO affiliate company. He was doing the remote monitoring and noticed the leak. About 50 liters of chemical leaked before the system was stopped.

Bad quality screen capture of the joint that leaked (not uploaded yet as press handout):

(UPDATE @7:22PM Pacific Standard Time) The leak is at the pipe joint. A rather vigorous leak. Cause yet unknown.


It happened before the earthquake.

Tweet from a journalist who regularly attends TEPCO's press conference:


According to the email from TEPCO, at 4:53AM today, at the coprecipitation and coagulation unit of the contaminated water treatment system at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant, a leak was found at the line that feeds the chemicals. The operation of the unit was stopped.

Earthquake at 9:57AM JST on July 10 in Tohoku, Tsunami Warning

UPDATE from NHK blog tweet:

Tsunami caution has been lifted as of 11:45AM Japan Standard Time.

UPDATE from NHK blog tweet:

The first wave of tsunami observed at 10:28AM off the coast of Miyagi Prefecture. Tsunami will reach the coast between 10:30 and 11:00AM.


A Magnitude 7 (or the Japan's seismic intensity scale of 4) earthquake off the coast of Tohoku at 9:57AM JST on July 10.

Tsunami warning issued in Fukushima, Miyagi, and Iwate. Tsunami height expected in Fukushima at 50 centimeters. By now, the tsunami (if it materializes) should have reached Fukushima.

NHK Japanese news said there is a concern over the Mega Float moored at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant. TEPCO has been moving the low contamination water from the Reactor 6 into the Mega Float.

The earthquake was reportedly felt even in Tokyo.

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

Fukushima Prefecture's announcement on May 6 "Moving the cattle from the planned evacuation zone", mentioned in my previous post about cattle evacuation:

5 家畜移動に掛かる経費について


5. Cost of moving the cattle

A fund will be created at the Fukushima Prefecture Livestock Industry Promotion Association with funds borrowed from the related private meat industry associations. The transportation cost and other costs associated with evacuating the cattle will be lent out from the fund, to be paid back later.

They will make the cattle farmers pay.

#Radiation in Japan: How Cows and Pigs Evacuated from Fukushima

You wouldn't need a so-called "conspiracy theory" when you have the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries who is eager to register the Japanese cuisine as "world intangible cultural heritage".

Several readers asked whether the cows and pigs in Fukushima Prefecture had actually been evacuated or sold. Answer is yes, and it's been happening since March, and more so after the end of April, thanks to this particular Ministry's guidance.

First, cows:

From Asahi Shinbun (4/19/2011):


On April 19, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries decided on the policy to evacuate the cows being raised inside the "planned evacuation zone" that the national government would soon designate [between 20 and 30 kilometers radius from Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant]. As Fukushima Prefecture has expressed interest in evacuating the cows inside the proposed zone, the Ministry will start the evacuation in cooperation with the prefectural government.

 農水省によると、計画的避難区域の対象になる予定の福島県葛尾村、浪江町、飯舘村などには約2万頭の肉用牛や乳用牛がいるとみられる。福島県内ではこれ らの牛をすべて受け入れきれないとみて、全国の都道府県に受け入れられるかどうかを打診し始めた。これまでに、栃木県が日光市と塩谷町にある計3カ所の県 営牧場で、肉牛と子牛最大150頭を引き取る意向を示している。

According to the Ministry, there are about 20,000 meat cows and milk cows in the planned evacuation zone that includes Katsurao-mura, Namie-machi, and Iitate-mura. Since it would be impossible to accommodate all these cows within Fukushima Prefecture, the Ministry has started to ask the other prefectures all over Japan if they can accommodate the cows. So far, Tochigi Prefecture has expressed intentions to receive up to 150 meat cows and calves at its three ranches in Nikko City and Shiotani-machi run by the prefecture.


The evacuation will be for the cows in the planned evacuation zone and in the emergency evacuation-ready zone in 20 to 30 kilometer radius from Fukushima I Nuke Plant. There's a possibility that the cows can be kept in the emergency evacuation-ready zone, the cows in the planned evacuation zone have the priority.


Prior to evacuation, all the cows will be measured for radiation. A certain safety limit will be set, and only the cows whose radiation measure lower than the limit will be evacuated. If they measure higher, then the cows will be scrubbed and washed to remove the radioactive materials on their skins and measured again. If the level is under the the limit after washing, then they will be evacuated.

So what is the standard? 100,000 cpm measured by a survey meter.

Here's the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries on April 22:


Survey and decontamination of cattle before moving from the ranch


Employees of the Cattle Health and Safety Bureau of Fukushima Prefecture (or equivalent personnel) will conduct the survey on all cows to be moved using the radiation survey meters, and only cows that measure less than 100,000 cpm will be moved. At the same time, they will confirm how the cattle have been raised, record the radiation measurement and record whether the decontamination is done.

The flow chart by the Ministry shows if the cows don't pass the radiation test the first time, they can repeat the test many times until they pass. The chart is for meat cows that will be sold for meat, but the measurement and decontamination process is the same for moving any cow out of the zone.

So where have the cows gone? There is no official word to this day. Only anecdotal news:

But 23 prefectures have responded to the Ministry that they are willing to accept Fukushima cows.

And the 14,000 pigs? Again, no official word. But here's from Miyazaki Nichi Nichi Shinbun (4/23/2011):


A cattle farmer in Aya-cho and a ranch in Miyakonojo City in Miyazaki Prefecture have received the total of 524 pigs from the earthquake-affected area. Governor Kono disclosed on April 22.


The cattle farmer in Aya-cho has received total 22 pigs from the farm run by his acquaintance in Fukushima. The pigs were evacuated from Fukushima in late March due to radiation concern, as the farm was located at 20 kilometers from Fukushima I Nuke Plant.
No official word either on 40,000 chickens that were left in Fukushima, which were going to be sold or slaughtered.

From Fukushima Prefecture's announcement on May 6 "Moving the cattle from the planned evacuation zone" [that doesn't include "emergency evacuation-ready zone"]:
  • Cows: 8,200

  • Pigs: 2,500 already moved outside the area or sold for meat, 14,000 remaining

  • Chickens: 870,000 already moved outside the area or sold for meat or disposed, 40,000 remaining.

For some reason, Fukushima Prefecture didn't seem to have included milk cows in the number above. That's probably the reason for the difference in number from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries who reported "20,000" meat cows and milk cows in the zone.

The prefecture also informs us in that document that as of April 30, none of the cows exceeded 100,000 cpm, necessitating the decontamination; the highest was 5,000 cpm.

No word in the above Fukushima Prefecture document about decontamination procedures for pigs or chickens. No news at all on where all these chickens have gone.

Friday, July 8, 2011

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

These cattle were allowed to be sold, as long as they were scrubbed clean of radioactive materials on their skin, thanks to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the same ministry that is pushing to have the Japanese cuisine recognized as UNESCO's "world intangible cultural heritage".

According to Asahi Shinbun (link below), the Tokyo Metropolitan government tested the remaining 10 meat cows from Minami-Soma City that were processed on July 8. The highest number was 3200 becquerels/kg of cesium, and even the lowest number was 1530 becquerels/kg, more than 3 times the government's provisional safety limit for cesium in foods.

The one that was tested on July 8 had 2300 becquerels/kg radioactive cesium.

Asahi Shinbun (7/9/2011) also says:

芝浦と場では、農水省の指示で、福島第一原発から20~30キロ圏内から出荷された牛でも、他地域の牛と同様、放射性物質についての特別な調査はしていな い。ただし、厚労省からの指示が今回をのぞいてこれまでに5回あり、その際に行った検査ではいずれも基準値を下回っていたという。

Following the instruction from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the Metropolitan Shibaura Slaughterhouse doesn't conduct radiation testing at all, whether the cattle come from the 20-30 kilometer radius from Fukushima I Nuke Plant or from other areas. However, there have been 5 instances where the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare instructed them to test for radiation, and in those instances the radioactive materials detected were less than the provisional limit.

Yomiuri Shinbun (7/9/2011) says something more disturbing:


According to the investigation by Fukushima Prefecture, 2924 meat cows have been shipped from the same area since the end of April.


At the end of April, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries issued its guidance that would allow the shipment of meat cows from this area as long as Fukushima Prefecture conducted the radiation testing on the body surface of the cows and took other measures [i.e. questionnaires]. Accordingly, the shipment resumed which had been halted after the Fukushima I Nuke Plant accident.

I sort of know what will be coming shortly: a noise from the government's Nuclear Safety Commission that the current provisional safety limit is too strict, and there won't be anything that can be sold if the limit remains 500 becquerels/kg for cesium...

Many cows from Fukushima have been "evacuated" from Fukushima Prefecture, with only surface radiation testing and information on how they were raised, even to far-away places like Miyazaki Prefecture in Kyushu.

(For more details on how these cows - and pigs and chickens - moved out of Fukushima, thanks to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, please read my new post.)

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

(Not that I'm faulting those hard-working bots, mind you.)

6 TEPCO employees and 4 TEPCO affiliate company employees went to the reactor building of the Reactor 3 on July 8 afternoon. 2 TEPCO employees entered the building, measured the radiation at the location where the nitrogen injection hose would be installed (55 millisieverts/hour), and put a temporary coupler on the metal pipe that would be used for nitrogen injection.

For that 9-minute job, they received 5.34 millisieverts radiation.

Here's TEPCO's handout for the press on July 9. The English explanation reads like a Google translation (maybe it is) but you get the idea. (I looked at the Japanese handout.)

TEPCO seems to be in a great hurry to start the nitrogen injection into the Containment Vessel of the Reactor 3. At first I thought it was just a window-dressing effort for the national government who had decided, on some inexplicable reason or unreason, it would be safe enough for people to come back to their homes in the planned evacuation zone as long as the nitrogen gas was pumped into the Reactor 3 Containment Vessel, just so that the government could tell the citizens "See what we've done for you? It's now so much safer you can go back!"

Or, the Reactor 3 is actually in danger of blowing up in a hydrogen explosion.

They have hardly done any work on other reactors. The Reactor 1's basement water, last seen as gushing out 4 sieverts/hour steam through to the 1st floor, hasn't been touched. That water doesn't even go to the water treatment system. I haven't heard any news of TEPCO sampling the water for analysis. There's hardly any news on the Reactor 2, after they opened the double door and supposedly drove out the radioactive materials and moisture inside. They still don't know the water level (if any) inside the Reactor 2's Pressure Vessel, because the pressure gauge and water gauge don't work. As for the Reactor 4, they've been injecting water into the Reactor well and the equipment pool from the bottom of the Reactor Pressure Vessel, which seems peculiar. Other than that, and the photo of a hot-spring-like Spent Fuel Pool on the 5th floor, there's not much information coming out.

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

It's the first detection of radioactive cesium from beef since the Fukushima I Nuke Plant accident.

From Sankei Shinbun (7/8/2011):


The Tokyo Metropolitan government announced on July 8 that 2,300 becquerels/kg radioactive cesium was detected from the beef from Minami-Soma City in Fukushima Prefecture. The amount detected was nearly 5 times as much as the provisional safety limit (500 becquerels/kg). It was the first time that radioactive cesium was detected that exceeded the provisional safety limit.


Fukushima Prefecture has requested Minami-Soma City to voluntarily refrain from further shipping. The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare has asked Fukushima Prefecture and the neighboring prefectures to strengthen their inspection of the beef.


Radioactive cesium was detected from the meat from one of the 11 meat cattle from a farm located in the part of Minami-Soma City designated as emergency evacuation-ready zone. The 11 meat cattle were brought to the Metropolitan Shibaura Slaughterhouse.


Since Fukushima Prefecture is unable to inspect all food items in Fukushima, the Ministry of Health asked the Tokyo Metropolitan government to do the inspection instead. The result of the analysis of the meat from the remaining 10 cattle will be known in the afternoon on July 9.


The meat is being kept at a facility owned by the Tokyo Metropolitan government, and there is no chance that this meat will be sold in the market. So far, the similar tests have been conducted by other municipalities, and it is considered that the meat is not currently being sold in the open market.


However, according to the Tokyo Metropolitan government and others, the cattle passed the inspection based on the guidelines from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries at the time of shipment. The inspection consisted of the radiation measurement on the body surface, and a questionnaire about how the cattle were raised. The guideline may be reviewed in light of the incident [of radioactive cesium detection from the meat].


One municipal source said, "We were just doing the monitoring survey because we were told there was no problem with the pre-shipment inspection. From now on, the Ministry of Agriculture and other agencies may need to review the inspection methodology."

Whatever the "monitoring survey" was, this anonymous source's words would mean that no beef was checked for radiation before this incident, and presumably the meat has already been sold in the market without radiation inspection.

According to Yomiuri Shinbun on the same subject, this particular farm had shipped 6 cows between May 30 and June 30. The meat from these cows have presumably been long sold in the market. The Ministry of Health is trying to track it down. Yomiuri also says this farm is located in the 20-30 kilometer radius zone which is designated as "emergency evacuation-ready zone". Evacuation on demand.

Poor cows.

#Radiation in Japan: Dr. Shunichi Yamashita Will Become Vice President of Fukushima Medical University

The diabolical country on the western edge of the Pacific Ocean (no it's not North Korea) that is what Japan seems to have morphed into will have Dr. Shunichi "100 microsieverts/hour radiation is safe" Yamashita of Nagasaki University as the vice president of the Fukushima Medical University in charge of setting up an organization to conduct research on effects of radiation on the Fukushima residents.

Well, those in Fukushima and elsewhere who wanted to remove the professor from the Fukushima radiation advisor sort of got their wish. He just made a lateral move. Or maybe he will continue to be the advisor. Criticism? What criticism?

Note the article below is the Western Japan Edition. I do not know if the Eastern Japan Edition, which covers Kanto and Toku regions including Fukushima Prefecture, has the same article. Herr Professor is not very popular over in the Eastern Japan.

(UPDATE: the same news appeared on Mainichi's National Edition, one day later, 7/9/2011. For the National Edition, they added a mention to citizen's group movement to remove the professor from the Fukushima's radiation advisor position, noting the sentiment in the eastern part of Japan.)

From Mainichi Shinbun Japanese, Western Japan Edition (7/8/2011; link added):

東京電力福島第1原発事故を受け、福島県の放射線健康管理リスクアドバイザーを務めている長崎大大学院の山下俊一教授(59)が11日付で長崎大を 休職し、今月中旬にも福島県立医科大に出向し副学長に就任する見通しになった。6日、長崎大大学院医歯薬学総合研究科の教授会で内定した。

Professor Shunichi Yamashita (age 59) of Nagasaki University, who has been the advisor for the Fukushima Prefecture on radiation health risks in response to the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant accident, will take a leave of absence from Nagasaki University as of July 11 and become the vice president of the Fukushima Medical University sometime in mid July. It was decided on July 6 in the faculty meeting at Nagasaki University Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. [Professor Yamashita is the dean of the school.]


Professor Yamashita is from Nagasaki City, a "Hibaku Nisei" (2nd generation sufferer of atomic bomb radiation). He was active in medical support when the Chernobyl Nuclear Plant accident took place in 1986. He was also the head of the research center for emergency radiation exposure under the WHO.

 原発事故直後の3月18日に福島県知事に請われ現地に入り、放射線について「正しく怖がる」大切さを講演して回っている。同県が県民約202万人 を対象に実施する被ばく線量調査にも参加。同県立大では調査を継続的に行う他、放射線の影響を研究する組織の設立に携わる予定。

He was invited to Fukushima by the governor of Fukushima on March 18 right after the plant accident, and has been giving lectures on the importance of "being properly afraid" of radiation. He will participate in the radiation exposure survey of all 2.02 million residents of Fukushima. At the Fukushima Medical University, he will continue the radiation surveys and will be involved in setting up an organization to study the effect of radiation.

The media (and Professor Yamashita) never fails to mention that he is a "Hibaku Nisei" (second-generation of the people who were exposed to radiation from atomic bombs). There are many others who go about their lives without advertising it or wearing it as some kind of credential for their work (like Professor Yamashita does all the time).

An anonymous reader of my Japanese blog sent the link to this article, along with his comment:


"He will be all smiles with such a great number of research subjects right in front of him, I suppose."

To review Professor Yamashita's remarks in front of a worried Fukushima City audience, go to my post. There's a youtube video with English subtitles, linked below. Just look at his mannerism as he blatantly lies to the audience when he assures "internal radiation is far less damaging than external radiation".

The funny and immensely sad thing about the video is not so much of the video itself, but the comments left on the site that has this video. Instead of attacking the professor, they attack the persons who created and uploaded the video for being an America's agent (because English is used, supposedly) or for using a junior high school level English and speculate the creator probably can't even read the Times. (I don't know which Times they mean - NYT or the British paper - but they probably don't even know the difference.)

(What's wrong with a junior high school English? That's all I use...)

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

Here's the dimension of the steel sheets that TEPCO laid on the floor of the high-radiation area in the reactor building for the Reactor 3 (information from Mainichi Japanese):

  • Dimension: 3 meters x 1.5 meters x 2 centimeters (or 9.84 feet x 4.92 feet x 0.79 inch)

  • Total number of sheets: 51

Workers also filled the gap between the sheets with thin steel sheets.

So, as the sheets are doubled, 4 centimeters of steel to protect the workers (organic and inorganic) from the very high radiation supposedly coming from the water in the basement.

No news yet on the radiation levels that the organic workers measured on July 8.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

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

The Kyuden (Kyushu Electric) saga over the restart of Genkai Nuclear Power Plant in Saga Prefecture continues.

First, it was a "kacho", section manager who sent emails to 4 people. Then there was a "bucho", division manager, who instructed the "kacho" to do so, and the 4 people who received the email from the "kacho" forwarded the mail to everyone in their company, and one even posted it on a company bulletin board.

Now, it turns out that there were "fukushacho", the vice president and other managing directors who were directly involved in trying to stuff the hearing with pro-nuke "anonymous" messages. The chairman of the company, Shingo Matsuo, who said that his company's loss was the loss for the nation, shortened the overseas trip and flew back, presumably to discuss whether the resignation of the president is warranted, according to Kyodo News Japanese (7/8/2011).

The industry people and nuclear experts and former employees at electric companies all say "Oh it's been done this way for a very long time, and no one had said a thing. Why is this even the news right now?" The only people who didn't know (or didn't care to know) were the ordinary Japanese.

Politicians feign indignation as if they also heard about it for the first time ever and as if they didn't have any hand in it.

Is it only the hearings and meetings after the nuke plants are built that these electric companies try to rig, I wonder?

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

TEPCO announced on July 8 that the human workers will enter the reactor building of the Reactor 3 in preparation for the nitrogen injection. The humans will go in the afternoon on July 8 to the high radiation area (50 millisieverts/hour) of the reactor building to survey the condition of the location where TEPCO wants to use for nitrogen injection. The work is expected to last about 10 minutes.

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant Reactor 3: Warrior and Packbot Couln't Complete Their Mission

The "Warrior" robot did measure some air radiation levels at 2.5 meters off the floor, but it couldn't get to the place where TEPCO wants to connect the pipe for nitrogen injection because some work benches and other equipment were in its way.

TEPCO released the diagram showing the radiation level on July 6 when the bots went inside the Reactor 3 building, and the measurements are lower than July 2 data. However, July 6 measurements were taken at 2.5 meters off the floor whereas July 2 measurements were done at 1 meter off the floor. On June 9 it was humans who measured the radiation, without the benefit of the double steel sheets. (I wonder what kind of boots they were wearing. I sure hope their boots had lead or tungsten soles.)

According to Asahi Shinbun, the Warrior robot tried to measure the radiation at the candidate location for the nitrogen injection pipe installation, but it couldn't get there. It took the measurement at 5 meters above the floor near the location, and the radiation there was 50 millisieverts/hour, almost double the radiation at 2.5 meters.

The radiation level at 5 meters is not noted in the TEPCO's diagram below.

TEPCO is considering sending the humans again on July 8. All this in order to comply with the government-mandated July 17 deadline for "stable cooling of the reactors" so that the Kan Administration can proudly announce "Now it's safe for the residents in the planned evacuation zone to come home!"

TEPCO that cannot say "No" to the government; instead, it will send the anonymous human workers in the high-radiation zone.

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

More on Kyushu Electric Power Company busted (thanks to the Internet) for urging its employees and the employees at its subsidiaries to stuff the hearing for the re-start of Genkai Nuke Plant in Saga Prefecture with "anonymous, pro-nuke" emails.

According to Kyodo News Japanese (7/8/2011), A "Bucho" (general manager of a division) at Kyushu Electric ordered a "Kacho" (junior manager who work under "Bucho") to send emails urging the subsidiaries to participate in the hearing as anonymous pro-nuke citizens. 4 managers at the 4 subsidiaries dutifully forwarded the email to everyone at their respective companies, total 2,300 emails to 2,300 employees.

4 managers at the subsidiaries are all from Kyushu Electric. The "bucho" who ordered the "kacho" to create this email didn't say whether he also specified the details.

As the result of this scandal, even the pro-nuke gung-ho mayor of Genkai-cho (where the nuke plant sits) has grudgingly withdrawn his consent for the re-start, trashing both Kyushu Electric and the national government, who out of the blue has come up with the brilliant idea of nuke plant "stress test" that will not only delay the re-start at best, and at worst may reveal the aging Genkai plant to be very unsafe (if they really test).

But would anyone who believe the test, when the test parameters are set by the NISA and the nuclear industry?

Well, sadly it may well work. Just like the "stress test" for Wall Street banks devised by the US regulators (Turbo Tax Timmy and Helicopter Ben) and the banks themselves seems to have worked. Not that anyone believed the result, but more like "OK it's done, they cheated again, what's next? Anything changed? No. So what? Let's move on. Oh American Idol is on!" And the declaration by the banks and the regulators that "the US banks are safe".

Another minor victory for no-nuke people in Japan is that Banri Kaieda, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry who amassed a fortune selling books on how to invest in risky assets right before the Japan's asset bubble collapsed, may be resigning over this Kyushu Electric scandal.

He feigned surprise and indignation, but hardly anyone believes he didn't have a hand in it. But just like his boss PM Kan, resignation "when the time comes" may mean he will never resign because no one knows "when" the time will come and what he means by "the time".

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Japan's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to Seek Recognition of Japanese Cuisine as World Intangible Cultural Heritage

No, it's not a joke.

From Mainichi Shinbun English, citing Kyodo News (7/6/2011):

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- A government-appointed panel held its first meeting Tuesday to consider a proposal to seek UNESCO registration for Japanese food culture as an intangible cultural heritage with a view to promoting food exports and Japan's tourism industry.

Many of those present at the meeting were positive about the idea, saying Japanese food is valued around the world because it is healthy and also because of the esthetics of the way a dish is presented, the farm ministry said.

The panel, assembled by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, will submit its report by October with an eye toward winning registration from the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization by November 2013.

The ministry hopes the initiative will help restore trust in the safety of Japanese food now that some 40 countries have toughened regulations on food imports from Japan following the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

So far, French, Mexican and Mediterranean foods have been designated by UNESCO, and Korean imperial cuisine is expected to be added to the lists in November.

Mainichi Japanese (7/5/2011) has a bit more detail. The government panel consists of food industry big shots including the honorary chairman of Kikkoman and the head of a famous cooking school.

If the Japanese government wants to "restore trust in the safety of Japanese food", the best thing it could do is to stop the radioactive material leak from Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant, and embark on decontaminating the entire Tohoku and Kanto at whatever cost.

The Japanese government always wanted to create "inflation". Here's their chance. Just print money and spend to carry out the necessary work of restoring trust.

Instead, they operate on the cheap, calling radioactivity as "rumor" and pushing, of all things, Japanese food as a World Heritage, as if being recognized as such would somehow decontaminate the food in Japan.

Or they may be promoting a unique blend of 2,000-year Japanese cultural tradition and radioactive cesium and strontium, with a dash of plutonium and cobalt-60. Just like that nutty Fukushima doctor says, "Food with a bit of radiation will fetch premium!"

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

TEPCO's target was at least 80%, and they were hoping to ramp it up to 90% quickly. Now the company says it will focus on achieving the steady 80% for now.

At least part of the reason for the less than desired operating rate looks to be Kurion's system.

Kurion's system has a decontamination factor (DF) of about 17, instead of 1,000 that was hoped for when the system started. In other words, instead of reducing 2 million becquerels/cubic centimeter of radioactive cesium in the water to 2,000 becquerels/cubic meters (DF of 1,000), Kurion's system reduces 2 million becquerels/cubic centimeter of cesium to 120,000 becquerels/cubic centimeter (DF of about 17).

TEPCO has found out that the Kurion's vessels that contain different types of zeolite for removing different nuclides need to be exchanged far more frequently than planned (which was one a day). In addition, the system needs "flushing" (cleaning out the system with water) every time a vessel is changed, and that results in several hours of downtime for the entire system.

From TEPCO's handout for the press on July 6, "flushing" operations since June 23 (link goes to the Japanese handout, as English handout is missing some info):

June 23: 1:00PM to 2:44PM
June 24: 10:00AM to 12:50PM
June 25: 10:00AM to 3:00PM
June 26: 10:00AM to 18:10PM
June 28: 10:06AM to 12:24PM
June 29: 10:45AM to 2:13PM
June 30: 10:46AM to 1:35PM
July 2: 10:30AM to 1:45PM
July 3: 10:39AM to 12:50PM
July 5: 10:30AM to 12:55PM

According to the tweets from a Fukushima I Nuke Plant worker, the system seems to stop at other times for other undisclosed reasons.

TEPCO changes a vessel when the surface radiation of the vessel reaches 4 millisieverts/hour. Since June 17 when the entire system started to operate, TEPCO has changed 43 vessels as of July 5. In 7 more days TEPCO estimates there will be additional 20 used vessels. TEPCO has the storage capacity of this highly radioactive vessels up to 192. At 20 vessels per week, the storage will reach capacity in less than 8 weeks.

For more on the contaminated water treatment system operation, TEPCO has a detailed report it submitted to the NISA on July 6.

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

Katsuo (shipjack tuna) is in season, and in a normal year the port of Onahama, Fukushima Prefecture should be bustling with activities, with fishing boats hauling katsuo they caught into the port, noisy auctioning by the wholesalers.

This year is anything but normal, and the amount of the haul at the Onahama port is zero. Zero.

Where are the fishing boats loaded with katsuo going? Other ports, so that the katsuo that they catch off the coast of Fukushima and all along the Pacific North can be sold as coming anywhere but from Fukushima.

(In other words, watch out, consumers.)

From Yomiuri Shinbun (7/7/2011):


The Onahama Port in Iwaki City, Fukushima Prefecture, the biggest port in Fukushima Prefecture and one of the best known port for hauling katsuo (shipjack tuna) in the Tohoku region, finds itself in difficult times.

 カツオ漁が最盛期を迎えた中、津波で被害を受けて3週間前に再開した魚市場への漁船によるカツオの水揚げはゼロ。東京電力福島第一原発事故の影響 で「福島産」とみなされるのを心配して、漁船が同港での水揚げを避けて他県に向かうためだ。「漁場は同じなのに……」。地元漁業関係者の苦悩が続く。

It's the prime season for katsuo fishing right now, but the katsuo hauling at the port, which reopened three weeks ago for the first time since the March 11 tsunami, is zero. It's because fishing boats head for other ports in other prefectures, fearful that their catch will be considered "caught in Fukushima Prefecture", a big negative in the aftermath of the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant accident. The local fishery people lament, "katsuo all come from the same fishery...."


Katsuo fishing, which chases katsuo as the fish migrate north along the Pacific coast from spring to summer, started in earnest in May. Now it's in the prime season. However, at the wholesale fish market at the Onahama Port, all is quiet, and fish baskets remain empty.


"In a normal year, the place is chaotic with wholesalers and fish market personnel, bustling with activities," Mr. Satoshi Nakano, 35-year-old worker at the market, sighs.


According to Japan's Fisheries Agency, 2,420 tonnes of fresh katsuo were hauled at the port in 2009, No. 5 in the whole country. The local fishing co-op says 70% of the haul was from the out-of-Fukushima fish boats.

There have been anecdotal but credible "rumors" for about two months that there are unusual increases of unusual kind of fish in ports outside Fukushima - Tokyo's Tsukiji Port, and a port in Mie Prefecture for example. The rumors say the boats are catching fish off the coast of Fukushima and hauling them at a distant port, and the fish are being sold as "caught in the ocean near that port", which is perfectly legal.

And what about the remaining 30% of the fishing boats that are from Fukushima Prefecture? A group of fishing boats left the Onahama Port for katsuo fishing last month, but they've given up on hauling to the Onahama Port due to the "baseless rumor" of radiation contamination, according to Tokyo Shinbun.

The authorities seem to want to keep it "baseless rumor" by not testing. At this point, even if they start to test, no consumer will readily believe the official numbers.

#Fukushima: Drawings of AREVA's Decontamination System Written in Italian and French, Details Unavailable due to National or Corporate Security

says an anonymous worker at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant. There are many who think it's almost a miracle that the entire system works at all.

The contaminated water treatment system at the plant has been in operation since June 17, and it has been plagued with problems, most of which are blamed on the workers.

When they blame "worker's mistake" as the reason for system malfunction or breakage, suspect some other reasons that they want to hide. This seems to be the case for the troubles at the contaminated water treatment system.

The author of the following tweets seems to be one of the workers at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant, and his tweets are considered very credible by many, though a few suspect him to be a TEPCO's shill (which I doubt).

His tweets from July 1, and he talks about the contaminated water treatment system, AREVA's in particular:


The system was stopped during the day today [July 1]. It was reported as "due to a worker's mistake", but I think it's the management mistake. In particular, AREVA's system [that was built] in the 1st phase of construction came from the active processing plant somewhere, which they dismantled and brought to Fukushima. But it was set up here by the Japanese.


AREVA's system was made in Italy. The drawings are in Italian and French, so it's hard to understand. When we ask questions on the structure in detail, they don't answer, because of national security or corporate security or whatever. TEPCO, who paid for the system, doesn't seem to know much either.


The second phase of construction has started, but the reality is that we are very confused because the jobs are not being assigned properly.

He says the system is not working as well as they thought, and that it should have been set up by the French or Italians who are the most familiar with the system.

The last I heard about the contract between TEPCO and AREVA (I also read somewhere later that there is no signed contract), even TEPCO didn't know what nuclides that AREVA's system would remove. Matsumoto of TEPCO said it was a corporate secret at AREVA and not to be disclosed.

Kyushu Electric Power Busted for Using Shills to Promote Pro Nuke Views at Genkai Hearing

Things may be slowly changing, even in Japan.

The Japanese national government and Kyushu Electric Power Company, both of whom are eager to restart the Reactors 2 and 3 (3 is MOX-fuel) at the aging nuclear power plant Genkai in Saga Prefecture, held a hearing back in June to discuss the matter with the 7 "concerned residents" handpicked by the national government (Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry).

The hearing was broadcast via cable TV and on the Internet. Even before the hearing (June 26), Japanese tweets were abuzz with allegations that Kyushu Electric employees were told to participate via emails and messages as anonymous, concerned private citizens and speak in favor of nuclear power and restarting Genkai.

It took about 2 weeks for the MSM to catch up with the alternative media, but now the news broke even on Yomiuri Shinbun, a traditionally pro-nuke news outlet.

From Yomiuri Shinbun (3:27AM 7/7/2011):

 九州電力玄海原子力発電所(佐賀県玄海町)2、3号機の再稼働問題で、九電の真部利応社長は6日記者会見し、経済産業省が6月に県民向け説明会を 開いた際、九電が子会社や一部社員に対し、一般市民を装い、再稼働に賛成する意見を電子メールで説明会に送るよう指示していたと発表した。

Toshio Manabe, president of Kyushu Electric Power Company, held a press conference on July 6 and admitted that when a hearing organized by the METI took place in June regarding the restart of the Reactors 2 and 3 at Genkai Nuclear Power Plant (in Genkai-cho, Saga Prefecture), his company had instructed the subsidiaries and part of its own employees to send email messages during the hearing expressing support for re-starting the plant.


President Manabe apologized, saying "It eroded the confidence in the hearing. I apologize wholeheartedly." In response to the Yomiuri reporting, he indicated that he may consider resigning over the issue.


The hearing was held on June 26 in Saga City, attended by 7 "representatives" of the Saga residents handpicked by the national government. The questions and answers session was broadcast live on the cable TV and on the Internet. Opinions and questions were sought via emails and faxes, and part of the emails and faxes were discussed in the program.

 九電によると、指示は同22日、九電本社原子力発電本部に在籍する課長級の男性社員のメールアドレスから、子会社4社と九電の3事業所(玄海原 発、川内原発、川内原子力総合事務所)の社員各1人にメールで出された。発電再開を容認する立場から、県民の共感を得るような意見や質問を発信するよう求 め、自宅からネットに接続するよう指示した。

According to Kyushu Electric, the instruction was sent out via email from a manager-class employee at the Nuclear Power Generation Division of Kyushu Electric headquarters to one employee at each of the 4 subsidiaries and Kyushu Electric's 3 nuclear operations (Genkai Nuke Plant, Sendai Nuke Plant [in Kagoshima Prefecture], and Sendai Nuclear Plant Office). It required the recipients to send in opinions and questions from the pro-restart point of view that would elicit sympathy from the Saga residents, and to connect on the net from their private homes.

I really don't know what the national government was thinking when they announced the hearing with 7 handpicked so-called "concerned citizens" which would be broadcast on cable TV and the Internet. Who did they think they were fooling? The conclusion of the hearing, not surprisingly, was that though the "residents" (7 of them) were somewhat concerned about the safety issues, they were assured they would be addressed adequately enough to allow the safe operation of the plant, and that reflected the opinion of the residents of Saga Prefecture.


Yomiuri even has a photo of the said email instruction. And it says, in part:


Regarding this subject [re-start of Genkai], it should be of grave concern not only to us at Kyushu Electric but our affiliate companies. We believe it is very important to deal with the issue by doing everything we can.


So, we would like you to be well informed about the upcoming hearing, and we would like you to ask [your employees] to participate in the hearing via the Internet, as much as possible.


They should access the website for the live net broadcasting, and as the hearing progresses, take the stance of a private citizen who approves of re-starting the [Genkai] reactors, and send in the sincere opinions and questions that will elicit the sympathy from the residents in Saga Prefecture.


Since the company's personal computers have low processing capacity and for other reasons, we urge you [and your employees] to access via your home computers.

Note "for other reasons". Such as the company's IP address being revealed if they use the company PC...

According to Asahi, 4 subsidiaries were Nishi Nippon Plant Engineering and Construction, Kyuden Sangyo (industrial), West Japan Engineering Consultants, Nishimu Electronic Industries, which have 2,300 employees in total.

It's not known how many employees complied and sent pro-nuke, pro-restart opinions and questions.

I wonder if any of them, as an anonymous, private citizen, voiced concern and opposition to nuclear power and the re-start of the aging Genkai Nuclear Power Plant.

By the way, I hear that the governor of Saga Prefecture is hiding in the prefectural government office, instructing the government workers to block both protesters and supporters of the plant.

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant Now Has a Temporary Tide Barrier

From "Photos for Press" page at TEPCO:

Somehow I get the feeling that it may not work after all, because it's not so much of the height of the tsunami wave but the elevated level of huge mass of water behind it.

Well, it still looks slightly better than the sand berm that Hamaoka Nuke Plant has as the protection...

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Update on Steel Sheets on Reactor 3 Bldg Floor at #Fukushima I Nuke Plant: They Are to Block Radiation from Basement Water

It seems those steel sheets that have been laid down are to block the high radiation that may be coming from the water in the basement, according to Kyodo News Japanese.

It was indicated as much by a tweet on July 3 from a worker currently at Fukushima I Nuke Plant.

No information on how high the radiation of the contaminated water in the basement may be. 

The Reactor 3 used MOX-fuel, and the contaminated water that accumulated in the basement got there after it went over the melted (or partially melted) MOX-fuel. The temperature inside the Reactor Pressure Vessel remains high.

High radiation or not, TEPCO seems determined to start the injection of nitrogen into the Reactor 3 Containment Vessel by July 17, which is the deadline by which the step 1 in TEPCO's roadmap, "stable cooling" of the reactors is to be completed. The date has also been indicated by the government to be the day when the government will announce the "reduction" (believe it or not) of the planned evacuation zone.

Extend and pretend. And the bots and carbons alike will have to brave the unknown amount of high radiation at the plant so that the government can "extend and pretend".

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

"Warrior" the vacuuming robot is now a photographer, using a gamma camera to take photos of the location where TEPCO wants to fit the pipe for the nitrogen injection system (in the dotted circle in the diagram below) for the Containment Vessel in the reactor building for the Reactor 3.

The bot, accompanied by a Packbot who will monitor and record "Warrior", will enter the high-radiation reactor building on July 6.

TEPCO's press handout on July 6:

No information yet from TEPCO as to WHY the area is so radioactive.

17,020 Becquerels/Kg Cesium in Dirt Cleaned Out from Elementary School Swimming Pool in Ibaraki Prefecture

And who did the cleaning? Children.

Now on to one of the favorite topics of this blog: Swimming pools in Japan.

Well they did it again, this time the Board of Education in Joso City in Ibaraki Prefecture. Back in May, as one of the annual, educational events of the schools, public elementary schools and junior high schools in Joso City had their pupils clean out the school swimming pools in preparation for the school swimming classes during summer. The teachers also helped out. Together, they cleaned the pools and scooped out the dirt that had accumulated at the bottom of the pools.

5 schools kept the dirt in a corner of the schoolyards. At one elementary school, a concerned PTA member decided to measure the radiation of the dirt. The result? 17,020 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium.

There are 14 public elementary schools, 5 junior high schools in Joso City. The city's Board of Education runs both elementary schools and junior high schools.

From Mainichi Shinbun (7/5/2011):

常総市の市立小学校が5月にプール清掃を教員と児童で行った際にかき集めた泥土から、1キロ当たり1万7020ベクレルの放射性セシウムが検出されたこと が分かった。環境省が放射性物質汚染がれきについて定めた埋め立て許容基準の2倍に当たり、この学校は泥土を隔離。これを受けて市教育委員会が4日、全小 中学校のプール泥土の残存状況を調査したところ、同校の他に4小学校が敷地内に泥土を置いていることが明らかになった。

It was disclosed that 17,020 becquerels per kilogram of radioactive cesium was detected from the dirt that were scooped out from the swimming pool when the teachers and pupils of one public elementary schools in Joso City did the cleaning of the pool in May. The amount is more than twice the safety limit set by the Ministry of the Environment for the radioactive debris that could be buried. The school moved the dirt in a separate area. Upon this news, the city's Board of Education surveyed the situation of the pool dirt in city's elementary schools and junior high schools on July 4, and found out there were 4 other elementary schools who had kept the dirt on the school premises.


A member of the school's PTA collected a bucketful of this dirt on June 11, and sent 3 kilograms of it to a laboratory specializing in radiation measurement. The result, which was delivered on June 29, showed the sample contained 7,700 becquerels/kg of cesium-134 and 9,320 becquerels/kg of cesium-137.


The safety limit for disposal of radioactive debris, as announced by the Ministry of the Environment last month, is 8,000 becquerels/kg. If it is below that limit, you can bury the debris. If it exceeds, then the measures will be necessary to shield the radiation. The Ministry of Education and Science says the dirt from the pool would be treated in the same manner.


The vice principal of the elementary school said, "As an activity to promote love for the school, 5th and 6th graders participated in the cleaning." The school didn't think of the radiation contamination then. The city's Board of Education instructed the principals of the city's schools on May 25 to pay attention to the health of pupils when cleaning the swimming pools, but by that time 4 schools including this elementary school had already had pupils clean the pools.


The city's Board of Education has decided to have a company that specializes in disposal of industrial waste to dispose the pool dirt from the school. As to the dirt at 4 other schools, the radiation will be measured on July 5. If the numbers are higher than those for the schoolyards, the dirt will be disposed as industrial waste. Koichi Sakamaki, manager for education [at the Board of Education] said, "Cleaning the swimming pools is part of the school instruction. But we should have been a bit more careful."


The member of the school's PTA says, "That the children did the cleanup of radioactive dirt should be recorded as such , for the future health monitoring. The city's Board of Education should provide appropriate countermeasures, and disclose information fully." The Board of Education of Ibaraki Prefecture, on the other hand, says "While it's true there is no standard for evaluating the pool dirt, but there is no need to be nervous as long as you wash your hands after cleaning the pool."

How could the school not think of radiation contamination, when the radioactive plume from Fukushima I Nuke Plant was constantly blowing over Ibaraki Prefecture and the air radiation level remains elevated? (I guess the vice principal didn't have access to the Internet to take a look at those foreign meteorological agencies' simulations...)

No matter. Cleaning is over now anyway, and the rest of the schools didn't even keep the dirt. But the pool water is clean, I'm sure.

But since when the dirt that contains that much radioactive cesium can be disposed as "industrial waste", instead of nuclear waste?

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

(The original post is here.)

Tokyo Brown Tabby found a one-page document (no detailed data) that Japan's Nuclear Safety Commission created on May 12 and last modified on May 13 that simply says:

"Yes, we tested 1,080 children aged 0 to 15, and no one exceeded the threshold of dose equivalent of 100 millisieverts."

According to Tabby, the NSC person said:

"It's not that we withheld this information, but nobody asked us about this already-uploaded-data until a reporter from Tokyo Shinbun did at the press conference on July 4. "

So, I decided to look up three additional documents: the transcript of the press conference on July 4, and the NSC minutes of the meeting on May 12 and the transcript of the press conference on May 12.

First, the transcript of the July 4 press conference. It's in Japanese only, but I can assure you (and you can verify it if you read the language) that there is NO TOKYO SHINBUN reporter asking the question of thyroid radiation of Fukushima children. The NSC person that Tabby talked to did say there was a reporter from Tokyo Shinbun who asked that question.

Conclusion: the NSC edited out the reference from the transcript.

Second, the NSC minutes of May 12 meeting, to see how this information was handled by the Commissioners in the meeting.

The segment where the Commissioners discussed the radiation exposure survey for children in Fukushima reads as if the the survey was done as an exercise to see if SPEEDI simulations had been accurate and if they had indeed predicted the radioactive fallout as would be revealed by the survey. And since no child exceeded 100 millisievert dose equivalent, nothing needed to be done further:

班目委員長: どうもありがとうございました。他に。そうしたらもう1件、SPEEDIを活用したというか、この結果を活用した例といった方がよろしいのかもしれません。資料第4-3号がございます。これは、事務局の丸山安全調査管理官から、ご説明をよろしくお願いいたします。

Madarame: Thank you very much. Is there anything else [to add]? [Seeing there was none] In that case, here's another example of using SPEEDI, or I should say using the [simulation] results of SPEEDI, as the Reference No. 4-3 [that's the one-page document]. Mr. Maruyama will explain.

○説明者(丸山安全調査管理官) 資料第4-3号に基づきご説明を申し上げます。「福島県における小児甲状腺被ばく調査結果について」ということでございます。平成23年3月23日のSPEEDIの試算を踏まえ、原子力安全委員会緊急技術助言組織より、特に、感受性の高い小児への健康影響をより正確に把握するため、屋内退避区域あるいはSPEEDIを用いた試算(3月23日公表分)で甲状腺の評価線量が高いと評価された地域の小児の甲状腺線量の実測を原子力災害対策本部事務局あてに依頼した。その結果、原子力災害現地対策本部において、いわき市、川俣町、飯舘村において、小児甲状腺被ばく調査を実施した。

Maruyama: Allow me to explain the data, the Reference No.4-3 titled "The survey result of the thyroid gland radiation in children in Fukushima Prefecture". Based on the SPEEDI simulation on March 23, 2011, the NSC advised the Headquarters for the Nuclear Disaster Countermeasures [which was set up by the national government] to conduct the actual survey of children in the areas which the SPEEDI simulation showed potentially high levels of dose equivalent radiation on thyroid gland and in "stay indoors" areas. The Headquarters for the Nuclear Disaster Countermeasures did the survey accordingly in Iwaki City, Kawamata-machi, and Iitate-mura.


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.

2)測定方法、でございます。「緊急被ばく医療ポケットブック」(平成17年3月 財団法人原子力安全研究協会)の「頸部甲状腺に沈着した放射線ヨウ素の測定」に基づき、NaIシンチレーション式サーベイメータを用いて実施したということでございます。

No.2, method of measurement. It was done using the NaI scintillation survey meter based on the manual issued by the Nuclear Safety Research Association [which was set up as a government association in 1964] in 2006.


No.3, the result. The subjects were aged zero to 15. Among 1,080 children tested for thyroid gland radiation, there was no one who exceeded the screening level of 0.2 microsievert/hour (dose equivalent of 100 millisieverts at thyroid gland for 1 year old). That's all.

○班目委員長 どうもありがとうございました。それではこれにつきまして、何かご質問、ご意見はございますでしょうか。よろしゅうございますか。これは実は、こういう形で、紙で出すのは初めてかもしれませんけれども、実際には4月の時点で既にこのような調査が行われ、特に問題のある結果は出ていない、ということは公表済みだということでございます。改めて、こういうきちんとした形で発表しておきたいということで、今日の日付になっているというものでございます。よろしゅうございますでしょうか。それでは大変ありがとうございました

Madarame: Thank you very much. Is there any question on this issue? No? About this survey, this may be the first time it was published on paper, but I've been told that it was announced in April that there was such a survey, and there was no problem. But we wanted to publish in a more formal way, so it was published with today's date. Is there any comment or questions? Thank you very much.

So they tested children in Kawamata-machi on March 24, one day after the SPEEDI simulation showed high radiation levels. If they were high levels, they weren't reported as such on March 25. Asahi Shinbun that day said 0.24 microsievert/hour was detected from one boy in Kawamata-machi, and the number was much lower than 2 microsieverts/hour (?), so it was safe, no problem. I have no idea where Asahi came up with the "2 microsieverts/hour" number as the threshold number.

If I remember right, Kawamata-machi had been receiving the evacuees from the areas closer to the plant since March 12. So had Iitate-mura.

Also, Maruyama or Madarame didn't mention 45% of children had the radiation exposure at thyroid gland in the May 12 meeting. That information clearly didn't come out until the Tokyo Shinbun reporter asked on July 4.

Third, the transcript of the May 12 press conference. This one's easy. IT DOES NOT EXIST. The NSC started to publish the transcript of the press conference from May 19. Prior to May 19, there was no transcript, there was no recording of the press conference. How convenient. We would never know whether the Commissioners even mentioned anything about the survey in the press conference, or whether there was any reporter who did ask.

Radiation at Thyroid Gland Found in 45% of 1,000 Children Tested in Fukushima

(More information in the new post.)

The Nuclear Safety Commission headed by Haruki "Detarame" Madarame disclosed on July 4 that the test conducted in late March had found 45% of 1,080 children tested in Fukushima Prefecture had internal radiation exposure at thyroid gland, according to Tokyo Shinbun.

3 months, that seems to be the amount of time that these government people must feel safe to disclose what they had known all along. After 3 months, people may forget, and/or people will give up because the disclosure is too late.

The NSC says the levels were low, and there was no need for more detailed evaluation.

If you look at the numbers, though, you may wonder how they came to the conclusion. To them, 100 millisieverts per year body dose equivalent for 1 year old (or 0.2 microsievert/hour) was acceptable because the ICRP says so. Since the highest they found was 50 millisieverts per year body dose equivalent, they concluded there was no need for further testing.

From Tokyo Shinbun (7/5/2011):

東京電力福島第一原発の事故で、国の原子力安全委員会は四日、三月下旬に福島県内の第一原発周辺の市町村に住 む子供約千人を対象に行った放射線被ばく調査で、45%の子供が甲状腺に被ばくしていたことを明らかにした。安全委の加藤重治審議官は「精密検査の必要は ないレベル」と話している。

Japan's Nuclear Safety Commission disclosed on July 4 that the survey done in late March on 1,000 children living near Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant had revealed that 45% of the children were exposed to radiation at the thyroid gland. Commissioner Shigeharu Kato says "The radiation level was not the level that would require more detailed examination."


The survey was conducted by the national government and the Fukushima prefectural government from March 26 to 30 in Iwaki City, Kawamata-machi, and Iitate-mura, where the authorities expected the high probability of internal radiation exposure at the thyroid gland. 1,080 children aged zero to 15 were tested, and 45% had the internal radiation exposure.

 安全委によると、最高値は毎時〇・一マイクロシーベルト(一歳児の甲状腺被ばく量に換算すると年五〇ミリシーベルト相当)に上ったが、99%は毎 時〇・〇四マイクロシーベルト以下。同様の換算で年二〇ミリシーベルトに相当するが、加藤審議官は四日の記者会見で「換算するには(調査の)精度が粗い。 精密測定が必要な子供はいなかった」と述べた。

According to the NSC, the highest dose was 0.1 microsievert/hour (body dose equivalent of 50 millisieverts per year at thyroid gland for 1 year old). For 99% of the children tested, the dose was 0.04 microsievert/hour or less, which is the dose equivalent of 20 millisieverts per year at thyroid gland for 1 year old. However, Commissioner Kato said in the press conference on July 4, "To consider body dose equivalent, the survey was too coarse. There was no child who need further detailed examination."

  国際放射線防護委員会(ICRP)勧告では、年間一〇〇ミリシーベルトの被ばくで発がんリスクが0・5%高まるとして、同量を緊急時の年間被ばく 限度としている。今回の調査でも一〇〇ミリシーベルトを基準とし、一歳児の甲状腺被ばくの年換算でこれに相当する毎時〇・二マイクロシーベルトを超えた場 合、精密検査をする予定だった。

According to the ICRP recommendation, 100 millisieverts per year will increase the risk of cancer by 0.5%, and that amount is set as the maximum annual exposure limit in a nuclear emergency. In the survey this time, the standard was set at 100 millisieverts, and the detailed examination was to be done if 0.2 microsievert/hour dose was found, which would be the dose equivalent of 100 millisieverts per year at thyroid gland for 1 year old.


The Japanese government submitted the report to the IAEA which mentioned the survey done on 1,080 children for radiation at the thyroid gland, but the government did not disclose what percentage of the children were actually affected.

So the Japanese government was secretly testing the children in Iitate-mura, as it scoffed at the suggestion by IAEA that the radiation level in the village was very high and evacuation should be considered. All back in late March when it could have made a difference.

According to Tokyo Brown Tabby who read the Japanese post and called up the NSC, the NSC says the data was uploaded in May to the NSC website. So far I haven't managed to locate it. The NSC also says they informed the parents. I hope so.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Matsumoto Lasted 8 Days as Minister of Recovery and Reconstruction

Ryu Matsumoto, of Type-B blood and "Taurus", resigned on July 5.

Eight days as the Minister of Recovery and Reconstruction, all he did was to insult the governors of Iwate and Miyagi.

Thanks to Tohoku Broadcasting Co. who wasn't intimidated by this Minister's words and broadcast the news segment and thanks to the Internet users who spread the news video, he's gone. For now.

From Bloomberg (7/4/2011):

Japan’s disaster reconstruction minister quit a week into his job after publicly scolding the governor of a tsunami-devastated region, in the latest blow to embattled Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s administration.

Ryu Matsumoto told reporters today in Tokyo that he had submitted his resignation to Kan, adding that he also quit as disaster prevention minister.

In a July 3 meeting with Miyagi Governor Yoshihiro Murai, Matsumoto rebuked him for arriving late, then told him that unless there was a consensus in the prefecture regarding a rebuilding plan, “we won’t do anything.” Matsumoto then told the assembled press not to report the conversation. Video of the meeting has been posted on the Internet.

Opposition lawmakers called on Matsumoto, 60, to quit and criticized Kan’s judgment in appointing him to the newly created post. Kan is already under pressure from both the opposition and his own Democratic Party of Japan to step down over his handling of the March earthquake and tsunami that caused the biggest nuclear disaster in 25 years.

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

After "Warrior" the vacuum robot swept up "sand and dust" on the floor (whatever it was) which TEPCO said was causing the high radiation in the area (right below the Spent Fuel Pool) and the radiation level didn't go down, TEPCO is laying down the steel sheets on the floor to help shield the radiation.

So the very high radiation is from the floor, and it measures over 100 millisieverts/hour 1 meter above the floor.

In June when the workers entered the Reactor 3's reactor building for the first time since the March 11 start of the accident at the plant, they were seen swiping the floor and collecting samples (see the video). The result of the sample analysis has never been disclosed.

TEPCO's press handout on July 4:

Matsumoto's Excuse: "I Am from Kyushu and I have Type-B Blood"

Being criticized for his manner when he visited Tohoku, Ryu Matsumoto, Minister in charge of recovery and reconstruction for the Kan Administration, apologized to Tohoku people if "his words had hurt the feelings of people in the disaster area in Tohoku", and defended himself by saying:

"I'm from Kyushu. People from Kyushu talk tough."

"I have the Type-B blood, so I may be short-tempered."

And it looks some people in Kyusu and from Kyushu and some people in Japan with the Type-B blood are highly offended by the association. Japanese are 39% Type-A, 29% Type-O, 22% Type-B, and 10% Type-AB.

And no, he has no plan nor intention to resign.

If you read Japanese, go to this link to read his excuse.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

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

Naoto Kan, after surviving the vote of no confidence thanks to Hatoyama's deluded decision to play "kingmaker", just does as he pleases these days without fear or worry. And that includes appointing this man as the minister in charge of recovery and reconstruction in the Tohoku region.

From Tohoku Broadcasting Company's news report:

(Announcer): Ryu Matsumoto, newly-appointed Minister in charge of recovery and reconstruction from the March 11 earthquake/tsunami, visited Miyagi Prefecture for the first time since the appointment. When he didn't see the governor waiting for him in the meeting room, the Minister got angry, and strongly rebuked the governor.

(Announcer): Here's Minister Ryu Matsumoto visiting the Miyagi prefectural government office. When he did not see Governor Murai in the room waiting for him, his countenance became severe.

(Matsumoto): He [the governor] should be here before me, and that's the proper way, isn't it?

(Announcer): A few minutes later, Governor Murai came in smiling, and offered his hand to the Minister for a handshake. The Minister refused. The atmosphere in the room immediately turned tense. After receiving the documents that detailed the requests [from Miyagi Prefecture], Minister Matsumoto told the governor in harsh words.

松本:(水産特区は)県でそれはコンセンサスを得ろよ。そうしないとわれわれ、何にもしないぞ。だからちゃんとやれ。今あとから自分は入ってきたけど、お客さんが来るときは、自分が入ってからお客さんを呼べ。いいか? 長幼の序がわかっている自衛隊ならそんなことやるぞ。わかった? はい。しっかりやれよ。今の最後の言葉はオフレコです。いいですか? 皆さん。いいですか? はい。書いたらもうその社は終わりだから。

(Matsumoto): [Regarding the special fishery zone, which the government is pushing and many local fishermen oppose] Get the consensus. Otherwise we won't do anything. Just do it. You came in after me, but when you greet a guest, be in here first and call in the guest. Understand? The Self Defense Force would do it because they have the sense of seniority. Got it? Do better than this. [Speaking to the news reporters in the room] Oh my last remark is off the record, understand? Everyone. Understand? If any of you dare write it, that will be end of your company.

(Announcer): This remark by Minister Matsumoto is likely to create a stir.

There is no way to convey the sense of what he said to the governor of Miyagi. Japanese language has several modes of speech from super-vulgar to super-polite. While there are English equivalents in more polite forms of speech, the base language used by him cannot be fully translated without adding extremely rude and vulgar interjections. For example, his first word to the governor would be more like "Get the consensus, you piece of sh-t."

Matsumoto's grandfather was the founder of the Buraku Liberation League, and Matsumoto still serves as the vice chairman of the organization. He is a multi-millionaire from the family business (general contractor in construction) and from, as some allege, the Buraku Liberation League money. The League by the way is mired in financial scandals.

During the early days of crisis after the March 11 earthquake, Matsumoto, who was (and still is) the Minister in charge of disaster countermeasures, allegedly hid in the Prime Minister's Residence, shaking in his boots. The initial delay and confusion in delivering aid to the Tohoku area (where he visited on July 3) was due to his panic and indecision. (from Japanese wiki entry)

Chief Cabinet Secretary Edano defended Matsumoto, saying "It was from his strong sense of duty and responsibility that he spoke that way." (from NHK Japanese)

The governor of Miyagi said "I'm sure Prime Minister Kan has appointed the best person for the job." (from NHK Japanese) The governor is a graduate of the National Defense Academy, and was an officer in the Self Defense Force before he ran for office.

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant Reactor 3 SFP (not SPF) Has At Least One Fuel Bundle Left, Near Water Surface

(I'm trying to be positive here.)

Arnie Gundersen commenting on Ian Goddard's discovery of a single fuel bundle in the Reactor 3 Spent Fuel Pool:

"Warrior" the vacuuming robot may not have been vacuuming just "sand and dust" after all.

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

The facility belongs to Chisso Petrochemical, and it contained 765 kilograms of depleted uranium at 0.3% concentration. It caught fire when the adjacent Cosmo Oil LPG tank caught fire and exploded. Not a problem, the Chiba government now says, and Chisso hasn't said anything about the facility.

There was a "baseless rumor"(link in Japanese) that circulated on the Internet on March 12 that said "Harmful substance will come down with the rain after the Cosmo Oil fire. Do not expose your skin." Cosmo Oil and the government dismissed the rumor vehemently. Maybe the "baseless rumor" was not about Cosmo Oil's tank but about Chisso's depleted uranium...

From Chiba Nippo (7/1/2011):


Depleted Uranium Storage Facility Also Burned when Cosmo Oil's Gas Tank Exploded


On June 30 Chiba Prefectural Assembly held meetings of 2 standing committees, "general affairs and disaster countermeasures" and "planning and water". In the general affairs and disaster countermeasures committee, it was revealed that the LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) tank fire and explosion at Cosmo Oil Refinery in Ichihara City, Chiba also burned the adjacent depleted uranium storage facility. There was no leak of radioactive materials, according to the committee.


The Chiba prefectural fire department disclosed that the depleted uranium storage facility's roof was burned down because of the fire and explosion of the LPG tank at Cosmo Oil. The depleted uranium storage facility belongs to Chisso Petrochemical [subsidiary of Chisso Corporation].


According to the fire department, the storage facility is licensed by the national government as "nuclear fuel usage location", and had 765 kilograms of depleted uranium that contained 0.3% of radioactive material [uranium]. The depleted uranium is used as catalyst for gas production.

Looking at Chisso's press releases, there is no mention of the depleted uranium storage facility at this plant location. The explosion and fire at Cosmo Oil Refinery was finally put out on March 21, at which point Chisso was able to go inside their plant to assess the fire damage.

Ichihara City is on the west side of Chiba Prefecture, facing the Tokyo Bay, and there are many industrial plants and petrochemical facilities on the reclaimed land on the Tokyo Bay. Chisso Petrochemical is marked with a Yellow balloon with a dot:

View Tokyo bay in a larger map

A minor detail, but Chisso Petrochemical is NOT adjacent to Cosmo Oil, by the way. There is Maruzen Oil in between the two. Hmmm. How would Chisso's facility catch fire when Maruzen's did not?

Here are some video of Cosmo Oil explosion on March 11, in case you missed: (Asahi Shinbun footage) (explosion that darkens the sky after 1:40 into the video)

By the way, Chisso is the same company that caused extensive mercury poisoning in the Minamata Bay in Kyushu by dumping methylmercury in the wastewater from the company's chemical plant, and the company has been kept "alive" so that it makes profit to pay compensations to the victims. TEPCO's likely future.

(By the way, turning gossipy, Japan's crown princess is the granddaughter of the Chisso president who fought and fought the "allegation" in the 1960s that his company's plant caused mercury poisoning.)

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

A worker doing the routine inspection of the site in the morning of July 3 noticed the seawater gushing from the pipe that connects to one of the two temporary RHRS (residual heat removal system) pumps for the Reactor 5. The rupture on the pipe was 30 centimeters long and 7 centimeters wide.

During the 3.5 hours while the cooling was stopped to replace the pipe, the temperature of the water in the Reactor Pressure Vessel went from 43 degrees Celsius to 48 degrees Celsius, according to Kyodo News Japanese.

So it would take about 40 hours of no cooling till the water inside the RPV starts to boil. (The RPV of the Reactor 5 is at atmospheric pressure.)

TEPCO called it "leakage", just like a "puddle" that turns out to fill the turbine basement or reactor building basement. An understatement.