Saturday, July 30, 2011

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

First, a step forward:

TEPCO finished the fortification job for the Spent Fuel Pool in Reactor 4 on July 30.

Now, according to NHK News Japanese (7/31/2011), TEPCO is going to conduct a test run of the heat exchanger that it also finished installing for the SFP. The company hopes to lower the temperature of the SFP from the current 87 degrees Celsius to about 30, just like in Reactors 2 and 3.

The carbon-based workers had to carry everything up the stairs in full radiation protection suits and full face masks and do the work in high radiation. It'd better work, and it'd better be a step forward.

Next, a step backward:

One pump stopped at Kurion's unit of the contaminated water treatment system, and TEPCO decided to stop the transfer of the contaminated water from Reactors 2 and 3, as the Central Waste Processing Facility (where the water is stored before treatment) is nearing the capacity (20 centimeters from the limit), according also to NHK News Japanese (7/29/2011).

Hitachi's desalination unit is stopped due to a water leak, although the water treatment to remove radioactive materials continues uninterrupted.

And then, an enigma:

TEPCO conducted the air sampling from inside the Containment Vessel in Reactor 1, expecting the very high density of radioactive materials, but the result, after workers got max 5 millisieverts for the work on July 29, shows the air inside the Containment Vessel is just as clean/dirty as the air outside the Containment Vessel. TEPCO was expecting the air inside the CV to be 1,000 times as contaminated as the air inside the reactor building (but outside the CV).

So, what are the possible reasons as to why the air inside the CV is no different than the air outside?

TEPCO's Matsumoto thinks it may be because cesium tends to dissolve into water.

Or it could be that all that was inside the CV blew out and was gone when the reactor building blew up.

It could also be because the corium has long gone from the Containment Vessel and deep into the concrete (I hope) that it doesn't affect the air very much any more.

Remember TEPCO hasn't done (or released) the testing of the water in the basement of Reactor 1 reactor building, and that water was gushing in steam which measured 1,000 millisieverts/hour. Something very hot (temperature and radiation) is under that water.

TEPCO has been sending in workers to Reactor 1 regardless, to install the heat exchanger for the Spent Fuel Pool.

That, by the way, is another thing that hardly any information has been released by TEPCO: the SFP of Reactor 1. What's the radiation level of the water in the pool? What happened after the explosion? What's the temperature of the water? What happened to the spent fuels?

Plants Dying in the Middle of Central Tokyo

Radiation? Who knows. One irony of the radioactive fallout from Fukushima I Nuke Plant is that people in Japan have started to pay much more attention to nature around them. So they may be noticing things that was on-going even before the accident. Or they may not.

These are the pictures taken on the sidewalk on Hakusan Dori in Bunkyo-ku in Tokyo, and uploaded on July 30. The air radiation in Bunkyo-ku has been higher than the official Tokyo number (measured in Shinjuku-ku, western central Tokyo), along with several other eastern "ku" (special wards of Tokyo).

The person who took the pictures says, "About 30% of azaleas on the side walk are completely dead. Ginkgo leaves are browning."

Dead azaleas:

Browning ginkgo leaves:

(h/t Dr. Ono)

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

Ooops. Amateur hour at the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare who thought testing one sample from the meat of one cow would be enough.

According to Mainichi Shinbun, the Japanese authorities are finding out that the different parts of the same cow have different concentration of radioactive cesium. Not only that, the same part of the meat from the same cow can yield two different test results. That means even the meat that was tested and deemed "safe" (tested below 500 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium) may not have been safe after all.

Before they actually started to measure, the prevailing opinion from the radiation experts was that radioactive cesium would get evenly distributed in the muscles throughout the body. Amateur hour at the radiation experts, too. (Now they are changing tunes.)

So, no one knew, and no one knows what they're doing. I seem to fondly recall some of the words of Japan's consumer advocates - "the experts say it's safe...", or "why should we waste taxpayers' money testing all cows?", or "if only media did the good job of providing accurate information..." Amateur hours there, too.

My message to consumers: caveat emptor.

From Mainichi Shinbun Japanese, Tokyo Morning Edition (7/31/2011):


Regarding the beef contaminated with radioactive cesium due to the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant accident, there are cases where the different levels of cesium are detected from the different parts of the same cow. Experts explain that "the level of cesium differs depending on the parts." The national government will have to come up with the guideline so that the reliability of the radiation tests to be done on all cows by the local governments.


On July 28, Miyagi Prefecture disclosed that the radioactive cesium was detected that exceeded the national provisional safety limit (500 becquerels/kg) in one part of the cow, while another part was found with cesium less than the safety limit.


This cow was processed in Sendai City [in Miyagi Prefecture] on June 21. When Yokohama City [in Kanagawa Prefecture] tested the shoulder meat, 380 becquerels/kg of cesium was detected. However, when Hokkaido tested the round of the same cow, 530 becquerels/kg of cesium was detected.


In the case of another cow shipped from Miyagi to Tokyo on June 1, the same meat yielded two different test results. When a meat dealer in Tokyo tested part of the shoulder meat voluntarily, 1,150 becquerels/kg of cesium was detected. However, when Kawasaki City tested the same shoulder meat from the same cow, it was only 618 becquerels/kg.


According to Miyagi Prefecture, they used the germanium semiconductor detectors in all 4 cases. The prefecture says "The detectors allow a thorough analysis, and there's no problem with the detectors." The problem is the lack of standard procedure for testing, and the prefecture explains "you get different results depending on the fat content, or how the meat is packed."


In preparation for the testing of all cows by the local governments, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare announced the basic plan for the testing on July 29. The plan allows the use of simpler testing devices that can test the meat in less time than the germanium semiconductor detectors, but there was no mention in the plan as to which part of the meat should be tested.


The Ministry of Health and Labor is aware of the differing numbers, but says "From the cases so far, cesium is supposed to accumulate evenly in the muscles. We will just have to find out the appropriate way to deal with the problem by carrying out more tests" (Ministry's Monitoring and Safety Section). The Ministry is asking the local government to stop the entire shipment of the meat from the cow even if only one part of the meat is found with cesium exceeding the provisional limit.

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

and radiation is leaking, the analyst says. He also mentions the high-speed train accident, and says there are 259 people dead so far.

It was reported by Mamoru Sato on his blog on July 30. I have no idea who he really is, but the bio on his blog says he was a fighter pilot in the Self Defense Air Force of Japan, and was then a high-ranking officer and the commander of the several major air force bases in Japan until he retired from the service in 1997. Checking the biography in Wiki, it looks like he is indeed what he says he is.

Mr. Sato's July 30 blogpost:


According to the information I just obtained, a nuclear submarine of the Chinese Navy had an accident in the port of Dalian on July 29, and there is a leak of radiation. The area is strictly closed off by the Chinese military, and the situation is said to be very dangerous.


I doubt that the Chinese government will announce the accident. The neighboring countries should take defensive measures, and the Japanese fishing boats in the area should be careful.


One more thing. According to a "foreign" insurance company, China's high-speed train accident has 259 people dead, 183 injured, and 154 still missing. The numbers are set to increase, according to this insurance company.


The families of the victims continue to protest, and I've wondering about "missing" people. Now I begin to see why the Chinese government hastily doubled the compensation for the victims.


China's "hiding the accident" is well beyond that of Japan.


Anyway, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Japanese media should try to obtain more information about China's "nuclear leak accident". It is inevitable that a Chinese-made nuclear power plant will have an accident, and I'm concerned about the next year's "yellow sand" season. Just to let you know the news quickly.

I don't know if China's "hiding" is any worse than that of Japan, but if I see any confirming information I'll update.

After the Fukushima I nuclear accident, it dawned on many Japanese (probably for the first time) that almost entire Japan is DOWNWIND from China, who plans to have 100 nuclear power plants. And thanks to the Fukushima accident, many Japanese now know it's not the distance that matters when it comes to a nuclear power plant accident, but wind and weather.

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

Iwaki City is about 43 kilometers south of Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant. According to the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, there has been no report of any damage at Fukushima I and Fukushima II.

The M6.4 earthquake hit at 3:54AM Japan Standard Time on July 31. It was felt throughout Hokkaido, Tohoku, Kanto, and Chubu (eastern half of Japan). Naraha-machi, where Fukushima II Nuke Plant is located, had the seismic intensity of 5+.

The earthquake was followed by several aftershocks in the same area and Hokkaido.

For more, go to the Japan Meteorological Agency's earthquake site:

Friday, July 29, 2011

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

(If you don't see the caption, click on the "cc" on the player menu bar to turn on the caption.)

Please share the videos with your non-Japanese-speaking friends.

Original written posts are here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

There are also French translation and German translation (video subtitle), thanks to the readers of this blog.

Captioned Video Part 1 of 2

Captioned Video Part 2 of 2

(h/t Tokyo Brown Tabby for captioning)

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

in order to show to the commoners that they, too, suffer in the area served by TEPCO, speculates a journalist following Japan's imperial families.

The Crown Prince and Princess are taking their small daughter to the imperial retreat in Nasu in Tochigi Prefecture. Radioactive rice hay containing 106,000 becquerels/kg of cesium was found in nearby Nasu Shiobara.

In Professor Hayakawa's map, you can see why. The area's radiation contour is at least above 0.5 microsievert/hour. (Look for the area just outside 100 kilometer radius, southwest from Fukushima I Nuke Plant.) You can view one of his photographs and see why (picture taken on July 12 at the rice field in Nasu Shiobara, air radiation level of 1.358 microsievert/hour).

From Gendai Media magazine (7/30/2011):


Now it's a summer vacation season, and Japan's imperial families will spend the summer in imperial retreats. After the nuclear plant accident, some people have been wondering where they choose to go.


According to one journalist who follows the Japanese imperial families, "The Emperor and Empress go to the retreat in Suzaki [in Shizuoka Prefecture] and Karuizawa [in Nagano Prefecture], and the Crown Prince's family goes to the retreat in Suzaki and Nasu, in Tochigi Prefecture. It has been like that for several years now. But this year, a very high level of radiation has been detected in Nasu. So we've been wondering if they go to Nasu this year.


The Crown Princess particularly likes the Nasu retreat, and the family usually spends more than 10 days there. But there are some who voiced concern over staying in the high-radiation Nasu for an extended time, considering their daughter, Princess Aiko is only 9 years old."


The radiation level in Karuizawa is lower compared to Nasu. There were those in the Imperial Household Agency who recommended the Crown Prince's family to go to Karuizawa for the summer, but it was decided that the family would go to Nasu, just like last year.


"Officials at the Imperial Household Agency were saying, "The summer retreat will be the same as last year. It cannot be outside the area served by TEPCO."

 実は軽井沢は、中部電力管内なんです。国民が真夏に『節電』で暑さに耐えているときに、皇太子一家だけが東電の管内から逃れるというのは、国民の 理解を得にくいだろうという判断があったようです。那須は職員用の風呂を開放して被災者から好評を博したこともありますし」(前出・皇室ジャーナリスト)

Karuizawa is the area served by Chubu Electric. When the Japanese citizens are suffering the heat of the summer in order to "conserve electricity", they may not look kindly at the Crown Prince family escaping the TEPCO area. The imperial retreat in Nasu let the earthquake/tsunami evacuees use the bath for the employees and it was very popular with the evacuees", added the same journalist.


There's no way that the Crown Prince and Princess are not worried about the effect of radiation, but they [or the Imperial Household Agency] decided to portray themselves as one with the citizens of Japan.

At least some citizens of Japan would understand if they escape TEPCO, and rather have them take their young daughter to a lower radiation location and state the reason clearly - to avoid radiation.

It's not that the imperial families have much say in the matter. After all, the Kan administration sent the Emperor and Empress to Fukushima, had them eat Fukushima food and bring some as souvenirs.

#Radioactive Compost Has Been Sold in 23 Prefectures

It's attracting far less attention, but the radioactive leaf compost is getting to be like the radioactive beef.

First, it was 20,000 bags sold in Akita. Then, an unknown number of bags sold in Tottori (link in Japanese). Now it turns out 200,000 bags of the radioactive leaf compost from a retailer based in Gunma Prefecture have been sold at least in 23 prefectures, Tottori included, at the retailer's 166 outlets throughout Japan.

Home gardeners in 23 prefectures ended up irradiating their garden soil.

From Mainichi Shinbun Japanese (7/28/2011):


Tottori Prefecture announced on July 27 that 14,800 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium was detected from the leaf compost sold at a home/garden center "Cainz Home FC" in Tottori City.

 県と運営会社カインズ(本社・群馬県高崎市)によると、この腐葉土は同社のプライベートブランド商品「バーク入り腐葉土14L」。栃木県と岩手県 のほか、タイやベトナムから輸入した植物を基に、栃木県鹿沼市内の業者が生産。東日本大震災以降、23都道府県の166店で14リットル入り約13万袋、 3リットル入り約7万袋を販売したという。

According to the Prefecture and Cainz Ltd (headquartered in Takasaki City, Gunma Prefecture), the leaf compost is sold under the company's private brand. The compost is made of plants from Tochigi and Iwate Prefectures, and from Thailand and Vietnam. It is made by a manufacturer in Kanuma City in Tochigi Prefecture. Since the March 13 earthquake/tsunami, 130,000 14-liter bags and 70,000 3-liter bags have been sold at the company's 166 stores in 23 prefectures.


The radiation level at 1 centimeter from a 14-liter bag was 0.7 microsievert/hour. No radiation was detected in a 3-liter bag.

Record Torrential Rain Prompts 375,000 People to Evacuate in Niigata, Fukushima

(UPDATE 8:24PM PST: Number of people ordered or advised to evacuate in Niigata and Fukushima is now 417,000, according to NHK Kabun Blog tweet. There goes the rice crop...)


Well, you can see the surging water and pouring rain, so the government can order or recommend evacuation to this many people on a very short notice and people will oblige.

Too bad radiation cannot be seen - "invisible snake".

From House of Japan (7/29/2011):

Local governments in Niigata and Fukushima prefectures on Friday issued evacuation advisories to thousands of residents due to record rainfall in the two prefectures.

The Japan Meteorological Agency said some areas in Niigata and Fukushima prefectures saw precipitation of about 100 millimeters per hour and warned of continued torrential rain in the two prefectures through Saturday morning.

The latest number from NHK Japanese (6:25AM JST 7/30/2011) is 375,000 people (and counting) who have been either ordered or advised to evacuate:


Evacuation order and recommendation has been issued to about 320,000 residents in Niigata and Fukushima Prefectures due to the heavy rain.

このうち、新潟県では、三条市で、五十嵐川の堤防が決壊したことを受けて、1万人余りに避難指示が 出されるなど、合わせて12の市と町のおよそ36万9000人に避難の指示や勧告が出されています。また、福島県では、7つの町のおよそ6700人に避難 の指示や勧告が出されており、新潟と福島の2つの県では、合わせて12万6000世帯のおよそ37万5000人に避難の指示や勧告が出されています。

In Niigata Prefecture, the levee broke along the Igarashi River in Sanjo City, necessitating the order to evacuate for 10,000 residents. So far, 369,000 residents in 12 cities and towns in Niigata have been ordered or advised to evacuate. In Fukushima Prefecture, 6,700 residents in 7 towns are ordered or advised to evacuate. The total number of affected households in two prefectures is 126,000, or 375,000 residents.

In Fukushima, it's the Aizu region that is affected, which is the west one-third of Fukushima Prefecture.

(h/t Robbie001)

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

I saw the article at Bloomberg Japan last night in Japanese. Here's the Bloomberg English version (7/28/2011), with some missing passages (nothing major, except for the last one) from the Japanese version:

Fukushima Teacher Muzzled on Radiation Risks for School Children

By Takahiko Hyuga

As temperatures soared to 100 degrees Fahrenheit on a recent July morning, school children in Fukushima prefecture were taking off their masks and running around playgrounds in T-shirts, exposing them to a similar amount of annual radiation as a worker in a nuclear power plant.

Toshinori Shishido, a Japanese literature teacher of 25 years, had warned his students two months ago to wear surgical masks and keep their skin covered with long-sleeved shirts. His advice went unheeded, not because of the weather but because his school told him not to alarm students. Shishido quit this week.

“I want to get away from this situation where I’m not even allowed to alert children about radiation exposure,” said Shishido, a 48-year-old teacher who taught at Fukushima Nishi High School. “Now I’m free to talk about the risks.”

After the March 11 earthquake and tsunami devastated the Tohoku region in Japan’s northeast, the central government evacuated as many as 470,000 residents, including 160,000 because of radiation risks from the crippled Dai-Ichi nuclear plant. More than 2 million residents including 271,000 children remain in Fukushima, Japan’s third-biggest prefecture by size.

The government is closely monitoring radiation levels, said Yoshiaki Ishida, an official at the Ministry of Education.

“We don’t think we are at a stage to tell Fukushima people to evacuate at this moment,” Ishida said.

Kiyoharu Furukawa, 57, assistant principal at Fukushima Nishi High, said the school told Shishido not to spend too much time talking about radiation during his classes as some students and parents complained. He confirmed Shishido resigned.
‘Invisible Snakes’

Radiation can damage human cells and DNA, with prolonged exposure causing leukemia and other forms of cancer, according to the World Nuclear Association. Children are more susceptible as their cells grow at a faster rate.

“It’s all invisible. The trees are still trees, people are shopping, the birds are singing and dogs are walking in the street,” said Chris Busby, a visiting professor at the University of Ulster’s school of biomedical sciences, who visited Fukushima prefecture last week to provide information on health risks. “When you bring out the (Geiger) machines, you can see everything is sparkling and everyone is being bitten by invisible snakes that will eventually kill them.”

Shishido will leave Fukushima for Sapporo, on the northern island of Hokkaido, on Aug. 8 to join his wife and two children aged 13 and 10, he said. The teacher aims to create a network there to help the 3,000 evacuees from Fukushima find jobs.
Rent-Free Housing

Hokkaido is offering 2,140 apartments in public housing, some rent-free, to evacuees from Fukushima, Miyagi, Iwate and other prefectures affected by the quake and tsunami, said Toshifumi Imai, a Hokkaido housing official. The government also offers loans of as much as 500,000 yen ($6,400) without interest, he said.

“People in Hokkaido were supposed to take the public housing,” said Imai. “Most of them are still available.”

Shishido said he was instructed by school officials not to tell his students that they should wear masks or about how radiation would affect their health. He deleted some comments from his blog after receiving those orders in May.

“I saw little boys playing baseball in a cloud of dust, and I wondered who can protect their future,” said Kanako Nishikata, a 33-year-old housewife with a son, aged 11, and daughter, aged 8. “It’s shocking to learn a teacher is quitting because he can’t protect the students.”

A group of parents and children from Fukushima plan to visit Education Minister Yoshiaki Takaki in Tokyo on Aug. 17 to ask him to evacuate children from the prefecture, she said.
Within Limits

Fukushima Nishi High, which has 873 students, had readings of 0.07 microsieverts per hour in the school building and 1.5 microsieverts per hour in the playground on July 14, still within the safety limits set by the prefecture and government, Furukawa, the assistant principal said. The school continues to hold gym classes and sports club activities outside, he said.

“I don’t think the children are safe either, and I know the radiation level is still high,” Furukawa said. “These days, they are wearing short sleeves and no masks.”

An official at the Fukushima Prefectural Board of Education, who didn’t want to be identified, said he was surprised that Fukushima Nishi High clamped down on Shishido’s views. The board has sent counselors to the 301 schools it oversees to ensure that children are not suffering from mental problems, the official said. The board also asks students and teachers to wash their hands and gargle after playing outside, the official said.

Radiation Exposure

About a fifth of the 1,600 schools in Fukushima are exposed to at least 20 millisieverts of radiation a year, the Network to Protect Fukushima Children from Radiation said, citing the most recent government readings in April. That’s the limit for an atomic plant worker set by the International Commission on Radiological Protection.

More than three-quarters of the schools receive radiation readings of 0.6 microsievert per hour, said the network, a group comprising 700 parents. That’s 10 times more than the readings in Shinjuku, central Tokyo, on average.

Miyuki Sato, a 36-year-old housewife who evacuated to Kyoto this week with her two children, attended a town hall with government officials in Fukushima on July 19. She said that even after leaving her home, she still has a 120,000 yen monthly mortgage to pay off.

“You may say we should keep children at home if we think it’s dangerous, but kids need to play outside if they want to pick flowers or collect beetles,” said the mother of a 9-year- old son and a year-old daughter. “Please get all the children out of Fukushima. Please offer financial aid for us.”

Now, on to those missing passages:

- The teacher, Mr. Shishido, had been warning his students about radiation danger UP TILL the end of May, when he was told to stop.

- An official at the Board of Education has an amusing comment about radiation. Asked by the Bloomberg reporter why he was not wearing long-sleeve shirt and a mask ("Aren't you afraid of radiation effect on health?"), he answered:

"It's just too hot to be afraid of radiation."

Fukushima is very hot during summer, that's for sure.

- Toward the end, the article quotes Miyuki Sato who evacuated to Kyoto with her children. In the English version, her words end with asking for financial help for the evacuees. Not so in the Japanese version. She does ask for all Fukushima children to be temporarily relocated and the families given financial support, but she's not specifically asking for money for her family. More importantly, she says this:


"Let me say something to people who say the radiation risk is just the matter of probabilities. Are you willing to let your children participate in a game of Russian roulette?"

That's how the Japanese version of the article ends. Mrs. Sato must have gotten a lot of flak from her neighbors for daring to move out of Fukushima. (See my post on Fukushima brainwashing.)

Also sad is the assistant principal at the high school where Mr. Shishido has taught for 25 years. He knows the radiation is high in the school yard, he knows that children should be taking precautions like wearing long-sleeve shirts and masks. But he doesn't stop the outdoor activities because the Ministry of Education says it's safe below 3.8 microsieverts/hour. Instead of telling students to take precautions the school pressured Mr. Shishido to resign, citing parents' complaints.

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

(Part 1, Part 2; there are also the video in 2 parts with English subtitle, French text translation, and the video in 2 parts with German subtitle. Go to this post for the links.)

Testimony by Professor Tatsuhiko Kodama of Tokyo University continues. He goes back to Minami Soma City where his Radioisotope Center has been helping to decontaminate.

We at the Radioisotope Center of Tokyo University have been helping to decontaminate Minami-Soma City, sending about 4 people at a time and doing decontamination work for the length of 700km per week.

Again, what's happening to Minami-Soma clearly shows that 20 or 30 kilometer radius [from the nuke plant] doesn't make any sense at all. You have to measure in more detail like measuring each nursery school.

Right now, from the 20 to 30 kilometer radius area, 1,700 school children are put on the buses to go to school. Actually in Minami-Soma, the center of the city is located near the ocean, and 70% of the schools have relatively low level of radiation. Yet, children are forced to get on the school buses to go all the way to schools near Iitate-mura [where radiation is higher], spending 1 million yen everyday for the busing.

I strongly demand that this situation be terminated as soon as possible.

What's most problematic is the government's policy that they will compensate the residents for the moving cost only if their areas are designated as official evacuation zones. In a recent committee held at the House of Councilors [Upper House], President Shimizu of TEPCO and Mr. Kaieda, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry answered that way. I ask you to separate the two immediately - compensation criteria issue and children's safety issue.

I strongly ask you to do whatever you can to protect the children.

Another thing is, what I strongly feel when I'm doing the decontamination work in Fukushima is that emergency decontamination and permanent decontamination should be dealt with separately.

We've been doing a lot of emergency decontamination work. For example, if you look at this diagram, you will notice that the bottom of this slide is where small children put their hands on. Every time the rain streams down the slide, more radioactive materials accumulate. There can be a difference in radiation level between the right side and the left side. If such difference occurs and if the average radiation of the slide is 1 microsievert, then one side can measure as high as 10 microsieverts. We should do more emergency decontamination work in such places.

The ground right under the roof gutter is also where children frequently put their hands on. If you use high pressure washer you can reduce the radiation level from 2 microsieverts to 0.5 microsievert.

However, it is extremely difficult to lower the level to less than 0.5microsievert, because everything is contaminated. Buildings, trees, whole areas. You can lower radiation dose of one place, but very difficult to do that for the whole area.

Then, how much will it cost when you seriously do the decontamination work? In case of "Itai-Itai Disease" caused by cadmium poisoning, to decontaminate half of cadmium-contaminated area of roughly 3,000 hectare, the government has spent 800 billion yen so far.

How much money will be needed if we have to decontaminate the area 1,000 times as big?

Finally, Professor Kodama has 4 demands, although probably due to the time constraint he was able to elaborate only three:

So, I'd like to make four urgent requests.

First, I request that the Japanese government, as a national policy, innovate the way to measure radiation of food, soil, and water, through using the Japan's state-of-the-art technology such as semiconductor imaging detectors. This is absolutely within Japan's current technological capability.

Second, I request that the government enact a new law as soon as possible in order to reduce children's radiation exposure. Right now, what I'm doing is all illegal.
The current "Radiation Damage Prevention Law" specifies the amount of radiation and the types of radionuclides that each institution can handle. Now Tokyo University is mobilizing its workforce in its twenty-seven Radioisotope Centers to help decontaminate Minami-Soma City, but many of the centers don't have a permission to handle cesium. It's illegal to transport it by cars. However, we cannot leave highly radioactive materials to mothers and teachers there, so we put them all in drums and bring them back to Tokyo. To receive them is illegal. Everything is illegal.

The Diet is to blame for leaving such situations as they are. There are many institutions in Japan, such as Radioisotope Centers at national universities, which have germanium detectors and other state-of-the-art detectors. But how can we, as the nation, protect our children if these institutions' hands are tied? This is the result of the gross negligence by the Diet.

Third, I request that the government as a national policy mobilize technological power of the private sector in order to decontaminate the soil. There are many companies with expertise of radiation decontamination; chemical companies such as Toray and Kurita, decontamination companies such as Chiyoda Technol and Atox, and
construction companies such as Takenaka Corporation. Please mobilize their power to create a decontamination research center in Fukushima as soon as possible.

It will take tens of trillions of yen to do the decontamination work. I'm gravely concerned that it might become public works project involving concessions. [In other words, business as usual in Japan where only the businesses and politicians benefit.]

We don't have the luxury to spare a single second considering the financial condition of the Japanese government. We must figure out how we really do the decontamination work.

What on earth is the Diet doing, when 70,000 people are forced out of their homes and wandering?

That's all. Thank you.

(h/t Tokyo Brown Tabby for translating Part 3.)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

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

(Here's Part 1, in case you missed. And Part 3. There are also the video in 2 parts with English subtitle, French text translation, and the video in 2 parts with German subtitle. Go to this post for the links.)

Part 2 of Professor Tatsuhiko Kodama's testimony on July 27 to the Committee on Welfare and Labor in Japan's Lower House in the Diet.

Professor Kodama is the head of the Radioisotope Center at the University of Tokyo.

Professor Kodama's anger is now directed toward the government's non-action to protect people, especially children and young mothers, from internal radiation exposure. His specialty is internal medicine using radioisotope, so he says he has done the intense research on internal radiation:

I have been in charge of antibody drugs at the Cabinet Office since Mr. Obuchi was the prime minister [1998-]. We put radioisotopes to antibody drugs to treat cancer. In other words, my job is to inject radioisotopes into human bodies, so my utmost concern is the internal radiation exposure and that is what I have been studying intensely.

The biggest problem of internal radiation is cancer. How does cancer happen? Because radiation cuts DNA strands. As you know, DNA is in a double helix. When it is in a double helix it is extremely stable. However, when a cell divides, the double helix becomes single strands, doubles and becomes 4 strands. This stage is the most vulnerable.

Therefore, the fetuses and small children, with cells that rapidly divide, are most susceptible to radiation danger. Even for adults, there are cells that rapidly divide such as hair, blood cells and intestinal epitheria, and they can be damaged by radiation.

Let me give you an example of what we know about internal radiation.

One genetic mutation does not cause cancer. After the initial hit by radiation, it needs a different trigger for a cell to mutate into a cancer cell, which is called "driver mutation" or "passenger mutation". (For details please refer to the attached document about the cases in Chernobyl and cesium.)

Alpha radiation is most famous. I was startled when I learned of a professor at Tokyo University who said it was safe to drink plutonium.

Alpha radiation is the most dangerous radiation. It causes thorotrast liver damage, as we, liver specialists, know very well.

Internal radiation is referred to as such-and-such millisieverts, but it is utterly meaningless. Iodine-131 goes to thyroid gland, and thorotrast goes to liver, and cesium goes to urothelium and urinary bladder. Whole body scan is utterly meaningless unless you look at these parts in the body where radiation accumulates.

Thorotrast was a contrast medium used in Germany since 1890. It was used in Japan since 1930, but it was found that 25 to 30% of people developed liver cancer 20 to 30 years later.

Why does it take so long before cancer develops? Thorotrast is an alpha-radiation nuclide. Alpha radiation injures nearby cells, and the DNA that is harmed most is P53. We now know, thanks to genome science, the entire sequence of human DNA. However, there are 3 million locations on the DNA that are different from person to person. So today, it doesn't make sense at all to proceed as if all humans are the same. The basic principle should be the "personal life medicine" when we look at internal radiation - which DNA is damaged, and what kind of change is taking place.

In case of thorotrast, it is proven that P53 is damaged in the first stage, and it takes 20 to 30 years for the 2nd, 3rd mutations to occur, causing liver cancer and leukemia.

About iodine-131. As you know, iodine accumulates in thyroid gland, and that is most noticeable during the formative phase of thyroid gland, i.e. in small children.

However, when the first researcher in Ukraine was saying in 1991 "There are an increasing number of thyroid cancer", researchers in Japan and the US were publishing articles in Nature magazine saying "There is no causal relationship between the radiation and thyroid cancer." Why did they say that? Because there was no data prior to 1986, there was no statistical significance.

The statistical significance was finally noted 20 years later. Why? Because the peak that started in 1986 disappeared. So even without the data prior to 1986, the occurrence of thyroid cancer and radiation exposure from Chernobyl had the causal relationship. Epidemiological proof is very difficult. It is impossible to prove until all the cases are done.

Therefore, from the viewpoint of "protecting our children" a completely different approach is required.

Dr. Shoji Fukushima from a national institution called Japan Bioassay Research Center, which researches health effects of chemical compounds, has been studying diseases involving urinary tract since the Chernobyl accident.

Dr. Fukushima and doctors in Ukraine studied parts of bladders removed during more than 500 cases of prostatic hypertrophy surgery. They found out that in the highly contaminated area where 6Bq/liter was detected in urine, there was a high frequency of mutation of p53 though 6Bq may sound minuscule.

They also noticed many cases of proliferative precancerous conditions, which we assume was due to the activation of p38 MAP kinase and the signal called "NF-kappa B," leading inevitably to proliferative cystitis, with carcinoma in situ occurring with considerable frequency.

Knowing this, I was astounded to hear the report that 2 to 13Bq/liter [of radioactive cesium] was detected from the breast milk of seven mothers in Fukushima.

(to be continued in Part 3.)

When radioactive materials were detected from the breast milk, what did the government and government researchers say? "No need to worry. No immediate effect on health of the babies."

Professor Kodama is saying that by the time we have proof that there is a causal relationship between internal radiation exposure (however small) and cancer, it may be too late.

Thorotrast is a suspension containing the radioactive particles of thorium dioxide.

Again, here's the video (the same one as in Part 1).

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

(Part 2, Part 3; there are also the video in 2 parts with English subtitle, French text translation, and the video in 2 parts with German subtitle. Go to this post for the links.)

Professor Tatsuhiko Kodama is the head of the Radioisotope Center at the University of Tokyo. On July 27, he appeared as a witness to give testimony to the Committee on Welfare and Labor in Japan's Lower House in the Diet.

Remember Professor Kosako, also from the University of Tokyo, who resigned in protest as special advisor to the prime minister over the 20 millisievert/year radiation limit for school children? There are more gutsy researchers at Todai (Tokyo University) - the supreme school for the "establishment" - than I thought. Professor Kodama literally shouted at the politicians in the committee, "What the hell are you doing?"

He was of course referring to the pathetic response by the national government in dealing with the nuclear crisis, particularly when it comes to protecting children.

Even if you don't understand the language, take a look and listen. He sounds sincere, and his voice is literally shaking with anger.

(The original video that was embedded in this post was removed at Youtube. Too many views for TPTB, maybe. It was approaching 300K views. This one is missing the first few minutes, and starts when he talks about 5 microsieverts/hour in Tokai-mura.)

Aside from his anger, he also gave some very interesting and disturbing information, which I try to summarize below:

He starts out with the radiation fallout in Tokyo:

"We detected 5 microsieverts/hour radiation in Tokai-mura in Ibaraki Prefecture about 9AM on March 15, and notified the Ministry of Education and Science as the "Article 10 notification" [as specified in the Nuclear Disaster Countermeasures Law]. Later, the radiation exceeding 0.5 microsievert/hour was detected in Tokyo. Then on March 22 it rained in Tokyo, and with the rain came 0.2 microsievert/hour radiation, and this I believe is the reason for the elevated radiation level to this day.

"Chief Cabinet Secretary Edano said at that time, "There is no immediate effect on health". I actually thought this was going to be a big, big problem."

It was indeed in the news that 5 microsieverts/hour radiation was detected at Tokai-mura in Ibaraki Prefecture on March 15 morning, but hardly anyone, other than nuclear experts like him, connected that news with the elevated radiation level in Tokyo. The residents of Tokyo didn't even know about it. What happened in the morning of March 15? Well, Reactor 4 at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant had a "big noise" which blew out the roof at 6AM, and Reactor 2 had an explosion in the Suppression Pool at 6:14AM. Or it could be from the Reactor 3 explosion in the previous day, at 11:01AM on March 14.

The professor goes on to explain his concern at that time:

"Why was I concerned? Because the current radiation injury prevention method is based on dealing with a small amount of radioactive materials that emit very high radiation. In this case, the total amount of radioactive materials is not much of an issue. What matters is how high the radiation is.

"However, in the case of the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant accident, 5 microsieverts within 100-kilometer radius [he is referring to Tokai-mura], 0.5 microsievert within 200-kilometer radius [referring to Tokyo area], and the radiation extended far beyond, even to teas in Ashigara and Shizuoka, as everybody now knows."

So, instead of a small amount of highly radioactive materials in a confined area, what we have is a huge amount of radioactive materials spread wide.

He continues:

"When we research the radiation injury/sickness, we look at the total amount of radioactive materials. But there is no definite report from TEPCO or the Japanese government as to exactly how much radioactive materials have been released from Fukushima.

"So, using our knowledge base at the Radioisotope Center, we calculated. Based on the thermal output, it is 29.6 times the amount released by the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima. In uranium equivalent, it is 20 Hiroshima bombs.

"What is more frightening is that whereas the radiation from a nuclear bomb will decrease to one-thousandth in one year, the radiation from a nuclear power plant will only decrease to one-tenth.

"In other words, we should recognize from the start that just like Chernobyl, Fukushima I Nuke Plant has released radioactive materials equivalent in the amount to tens of nuclear bombs, and the resulting contamination is far worse than the contamination by a nuclear bomb."

So what's the implication of the huge amount of radioactive materials released and dispersed wide? It's much harder to predict the behavior of the particles, as they behave in a non-linear manner:

"When a vast amount of radioactive materials is released, they are in particles. Dispersion of particles is non-linear, and it's one of the most difficult calculations in the fluid dynamics. The nuclear fuel is like sands buried in synthetic resin, but once the fuel melts down, a large amount of super-fine particles is released.

"What happens then? The problem like the contaminated rice hay happens. The pattern of contamination does not follow concentric circles. It depends on the weather. It also depends on where the particles landed - on the material that absorbs water, for example."

His Radioisotope Center has been helping Minami Soma City, and he describes the situation in the city in details concerning the radioactive rice hay:

"We at the Radioisotope Center have been helping Minami Soma City in the decontamination effort. We've done seven decontaminations so far. When we went to Minami Soma for the first time, there was only one geiger counter. On March 19 when the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries supposedly issued the notice [on the cattle feed], food, water, and gasoline were about to be depleted in the city. The mayor of Minami Soma made a plea for help on the Internet, which was widely viewed.

"In that kind of situation, no one would look at a piece of paper from the Ministry, no one would know. Farmers didn't know that rice hay was in danger. Still, they bought the feed from abroad, paying hundreds of thousands of yen, and started to feed the cows with the same groundwater that they drank.

"So, what should we do now? We have to guarantee that the thorough radiation measurement is done in the contaminated area. As I said before, there was only one geiger counter in Minami Soma City when we went there in May. In fact, there were 20 personal survey meters provided by the US military. But no one at the city's Board of Education could understand the English manual until we went there and told them how to use them. That's how it is there.

"As to the food inspection, there are more advanced survey meters than germanium counters, such as semiconductor detectors. Why doesn't the Japanese government spend money in supporting [the development of these advanced detectors?]?

"After 3 months, the government has done no such thing, and I am shaking with anger."

(... to be continued in Part 2.)

#Radioactive High School Baseball Games in Fukushima

I still remember the bizarre photograph of residents of Tokyo listening to the speech by a candidate during the local elections back in April. With radioactive fallout falling on them with rain, they were listening to the candidate with masks on. The determination of the authorities to carry on what had been planned before the Fukushima I's reactor buildings blew up, and the citizens' willingness to go along with it, as if nothing had happened. Extend and pretend.

Here's the most recent example of "Extend and Pretend", in the annual high school baseball summer tournament. I saw the news when that happened, but was too appalled to post. I am still appalled, but here it is:

This is the measurement of radiation before the ballgame in Fukushima Prefecture on July 13.

Batter box: 0.3 microsievert/hour
Center field: 2.2 microsieverts/hour
3rd base dugout: 0.7 microsievert/hour
3rd base stand: 0.8 microsievert/hour
Back net stand: 0.2 microsievert/hour

NHK, who broadcast the game live, showed this during the game.

Since the highest was less than the "safety" limit of 3.8 microsieverts/hour that the Ministry of Education decided, the game was on. None of the games anywhere has been canceled due to the radiation concern. In fact, the final game to decide the Fukushima representative to the national tournament was played in the rain on July 28. A Christian school located in the high radiation Date City won, and will represent Fukushima Prefecture in the national tournament held in Osaka.

The Japanese did the spring tournament also, right after the Fukushima accident. They didn't even measure the radiation back then.

Big money at stake in the high school baseball. Many top players come from outside the prefecture to play for the schools with strong baseball programs. Radiation be damned.

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

11 TEPCO employees entered the Reactor 3 reactor building on July 27 to measure radiation in locations where they would need to work in order to switch the water injection point to the ECCS pipe for more efficient "cooling" of the "fuel in the RPV".

Looking at the survey map that they did, those locations have particularly high radiation. One particular spot measured 280 millisieverts/hour, and that's where they hope to use for water injection. (See page 3 of TEPCO handout below.)

They also managed to measure the radiation level on the stairs leading up to the 3rd floor, and it was even higher than on the stairs to the 2nd floor, almost twice as high.

TEPCO's July 28 English handout of the survey is full of interesting misspellings, but when they say "bulb", I do believe they meant "valve". To Japanese ears, the difference between "b" and "v" is close to zero, and the difference between "u" in bulb and "a" in valve is non-existent:

(Page 1)

(Page 2)

(Page 3)

One of Fukushima workers who tweets is worried about plutonium in the reactor building. He also said some time ago that the emergency radiation limit for the workers at the plant of 250 millisieverts was applied only to TEPCO employees in practice, while most of the subcontractors were limiting their workers' cumulative radiation below 100 millisieverts. TEPCO has been sending its own employees to the areas with very high radiation.

But when it comes to actually installing pipes and equipment, it will likely be the subcontractors who will have to do the job. It will be people like Mr. Watanabe who was interviewed by The Independent. I don't think TEPCO employees know much about plumbing. 1 minute of work at that highest radiation location, and you will get 2.8 millisieverts.

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

after more than 4 months of radioactive fallout, because the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has finally issued a notice that it would be better not to use leaf compost.

It has been in the news from early on that the level of radiation is higher under the rain gutters, in the shrubs and trees, on the dead leaves and twigs on the ground. (Ding ding ding ding......hello?)

Another lesson in importance of thinking on your own and not depending on the authorities in Japan and elsewhere.

From Tokyo Shinbun Kanagawa version (7/28/2011):


After radioactive cesium was detected from the leaf compost, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries issued a notice to withhold use and shipment of compost on a voluntary basis. Accordingly on July 27, City of Kamakura stopped the distribution of free compost to the residents.


The city collects yard waste - pruned twigs and branches from the residents and commercial gardeners - in order to reduce and recycle waste. The yard waste is shipped to Yamanashi Prefecture and is composted there.

 剪定枝は年間で約一万千トン。できた堆肥の一部を市役所や行政センター、ごみ処理施設など市内八カ所で、市民に無料配布している。配布は昨年度で 約二千百トンに上っている。市は、国が堆肥の扱い基準を出すまでの間、配布の中止を決めた。中止は市のホームページで知らせている。

Such pruned twigs and branches amount to 11,000 tonnes per year. The compost is distributed free of charge to the residents at 8 locations in the city. Last year, 2,100 tonnes of compost were distributed. The city decided to stop the distribution until the national government comes up with a standard for compost, and notified the residents on the city's homepage.


For the time being, the city still collects the yard waste from the residents, but will decide what to do with the composting. The city is also doing its own analysis of the compost to see if radioactive cesium is detected.

#Radiation in Japan: How the Brainwashing Was Done in Fukushima

An article appeared in the local (Ishikawa Prefecture) version of Mainichi Shinbun on July 25. The article was about the anti-nuke demonstration in Kanazawa City in Ishikawa on July 24, and it contained this passage:

県内の参加者に交じって、国が計画的避難区域に指定した福島県飯舘村の村立草野小学校職員、愛澤卓見さんも発言。愛澤さんは「震災直後は情報がなく、国が 派遣した大学教授が『村で採れた野菜は、洗えば食べられる』と説明したことなどを機に、避難先から子どもらが村に戻り、被ばくした」と語った。

Among the participants was Mr. Takumi Aizawa, a school worker at Kusano Elementary School in Iitate-mura in Fukushima Prefecture, which has been designated as "planned evacuation zone" by the national government. Mr. Aizawa told the demonstrators, "After the earthquake there was no information. Then a university professor sent by the government came to the village and said, "You can eat vegetables harvested in the village if you wash them". Children, who had been evacuated, then started to come back [on that reassuring word] and they got irradiated."

What? And who was this professor? I suspected Dr. "100 millisieverts" Yamashita, but it turned out to be his younger sidekick, Dr. Noboru Takamura of Nagasaki University. The powerful duo was all over Fukushima Prefecture in March and early April, preaching "safety" of radiation and radioactive fallout to the worried residents of Fukushima as the official radiation advisors for the prefecture.

Dr. Takamura went to Iitate-mura on March 25, and told the concerned villagers these soothing words (from Iitate-mura flyer on March 30, in Japanese):

Thyroid cancer from radioactive iodine only affects children and young mothers. People over 40 do not need to worry. Wear a mask outside, and wash your hands when you come home, and you'll be OK. There will be no ill effect on health living in the village as long as you observe basic hygiene.

Then, he went back to Iitate-mura on April 6, and apparently told the villagers this (from a tweet by @rainbow3342):


Nagasaki University Graduate School Professor Noboru Takamura said during the April 6 meeting in Iitate-mura to explain the risk of radiation, "Rain and typhoon will quickly wash away the radioactive materials. If the radiation is below 10 microsieverts/hour, it's safe even for children."

So what else this good doctor and his boss Dr. Yamashita were saying back in March? The collection of tweets were found on this Japanese blog, and they paint a propaganda effort by the Japanese government that would make Goebbels and Edward Bernays proud.

震災後すぐに、福島市で行われた、県の発注で呼ばれたらしい大学教授は講演会で「100mSVまで安全」と言い、福島人は、皆安堵の表情を浮かべた。誰も それを疑わず、ラジオ、ビルの中、街中エンドレスでその録音が流されていた。情報の少ない田舎街では未だそれを信じている人間も、多数いるはず。

Right after the disaster, the professor who was probably asked by the Fukushima prefectural government said in the lecture in Fukushima City, "it's safe up to 100 millisieverts". People in Fukushima were relieved. No one doubted the professor. The recording of the lecture was played everywhere endlessly - radio, inside the buildings, on the street. There must be many in the countryside who still believe him. They don't have enough information.


I returned to Fukushima on March 21, the day of that lecture. I spoke with friends on the phone, and they had gone to that lecture, looking for any information. He spoke in a reassuring manner, and the lecture was dotted with loud applause. The recording was played every single day at the building where our recovery support group is located.


Outside Fukushima City, after Professor Yamashita's safety lecture, the content of the lecture was re-printed in the local PR pamphlet. There were also handouts distributed in the neighborhood, in schools..


The message was played by USTREAM 24 hours a day during March. Just like Professor Yamashita's lecture, it's safe and secure. Also, you can eat vegetables if you wash them. There are many people who still believe the message and eat vegetables after washing them. I worry about internal radiation for them.

昨夜NHKに出演した山下俊一長崎大大学院教授は『チェルノブイリでの教訓が活きようとしている』と飯舘村が自分の研究の実証の場であるかのような主張を した。村民はモルモットではない!

Professor Shunichi Yamashita of Nagasaki University appeared on an NHK program last night and said "Now the lessons from Chernobyl are about to be applied", as if Iitate-mura is his experiment. We're not his guinea pigs!


Iitate villagers are tired. Increasing number of them now only listen to the words of the scholars who insists it's safe and secure. The villagers are weak. They want to find comfort in the words of the national government and the prefectural government that pushes safety. The price to pay for the safety without fact [truth] will be high.

24/7 streaming message of the duo that it's safe, it's safe, it's safe, trust us, just wash your hands and vegetables. Repeat the same message over and over again, and never mind that the message is not based on reality. Tell them what they want to hear. The subjects will get tired anyway and won't remember the details, but they will remember the message.

Well, it has worked.

(h/t Tokyo Brown Tabby)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

#Contaminated Water Treatment System: 58% Operating Rate, Amount of Water Increased by 3000 Tonnes in a Week

The rate is a slight improvement in the latest week, up from 53% in the previous week.

57% operating rate in one week from the system that is designed to process 1,200 tonnes per day means TEPCO managed to treat:

1200 x 7 x 58% = 4872 tonnes

But then, the pipes are clogged somewhere, and the throughput is only 37 tonnes per hour instead of 50:

37/50 x 4872 = 3605 tonnes

The amount of water injected into the RPVs (outside the core shrouds, mind you) in Reactors 1, 2 and 3 in a week is:

(3.8 + 3.5 + 8.9) x 24 x 7 = 2722 tonnes

Therefore, the contaminated water should have been decreased by:

3605 - 2722 = 883 tonnes

Wrong. According to TEPCO, as reported by Asahi Shinbun, the contaminated water INCREASED by 3000 tonnes in the latest week.

From Asahi Shinbun (7/28/2011):

東京電力は27日、福島第一原子力発電所で、高濃度の放射能汚染水を浄化する処理施設の稼働率が2週続けて50%台になったと発表した。浄化した水 を原子炉に戻して燃料を冷やす「循環注水冷却」システムが動き出して27日で1カ月だが、トラブルが相次いで停止が重なり稼働率が目標の90%に達する見 込みはまだない。低迷が続けば、年末までに汚染水をゼロにする計画は難しくなる。

TEPCO announced on July 27 that the operating rate of the water treatment system at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant that treats highly contaminated water remained at less than 60% for two weeks in a row. It's been a month since the "circulation injection cooling system" which uses the treated water to cool the fuel in the reactors, but a series of troubles has caused the operating rate to be far below the target rate of 90%. If the rate remains low, the plan to reduce the amount of contaminated water to zero by the year end will be in jeopardy.


According to TEPCO, the operating rate for the week ended on July 26 was 58%, not much improvement from 53% of the previous week. The operating rate since the start of full operation is 63%, and the cumulative amount of treated water is about 30,000 tonnes. TEPCO had initially planned the operating rate in July to be 80%, but later lowered it to be 70%. The lowered target is not likely to be achieved.


The company planned to raise the target to 90% in August, but has decided to keep it at 70%.


The amount of contaminated water hasn't decreased as planned. With the rain from the typhoons and fresh water from the dam to supplement the treated water when the water treatment system was down, the total amount of contaminated water increased by 3,000 tonnes to 120,650 tonnes. The Central Waste Treatment Facility where the contaminated water is being stored is also reaching the capacity.

At this point, TEPCO must be hoping and praying that Toshiba's SARRY (photo below) will deliver, once operational in early August. With the lack of workers and the high radiation level inside the Central Waste Processing Facility, TEPCO may not be able to unclog the pipes in AREVA's system.

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Robot "Quince" Video Inside Reactor 3

TEPCO released the video of the robot "Quince" going inside the Reactor 3's reactor building on July 26.

No information released yet on the effort by human workers on July 27.

According to tweets by a worker at Fukushima I Nuke Plant, TEPCO seems quickly running out of workers with low enough cumulative radiation, as the work these days has to be done inside the reactor buildings with very high radiation. He says TEPCO and the government are not involved in hiring of the workers at all, and it is left to the subcontractors to find workers. But they are having a hard time finding workers willing to work in an environment where they will reach the annual radiation limit in 2 weeks (I hope he's not talking about 250 millisieverts/year emergency limit) for an increasingly lower pay as the middlemen take cuts.

He seems to have been doing the indoor work himself, carrying equipment, pipes and lead shields up the stairs in the reactor building (Reactor 4, probably). He says:

"Robots may be able to go in and measure radiation, but the actual work has to be done by humans."

"Since all the elevators inside the reactor buildings have been destroyed, we have to carry everything up the stairs on foot. If I climb slow, I'll get more radiation. But if I climb fast, I'll be tired out quickly. It's difficult to pace myself..."

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

The National Association of Chairpersons of Prefectural Assemblies held its regular meeting on July 27 and passed the resolution demanding Prime Minister Naoto Kan to resign so that the trust in the government is restored.

Uh huh.

From Jiji Tsushin (7/27/2011):


The National Association of Chairpersons of Prefectural Assemblies held its regular meeting on July 27 and passed the resolution by majority demanding Prime Minister Naoto Kan to resign. The resolution was jointly proposed by the chairpersons of the prefectural assemblies in Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima which have been hit hard by the March 11 earthquake/tsunami disaster.


The resolution criticizes the prime minister over his remarks on the earthquake/tsunami disaster and the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant accident for his "haphazard response, series of remarks and actions which have greatly impaired the trust of Japanese people in their government" and calls for his early resignation.

Prime Minister Kan shows no sign of resigning any time soon, once he duped the super-naive ex-prime minister Hatoyama and used him to destroy the momentum for the vote of no confidence (which was really set to pass with bi-partisan support). On the contrary, Mr. Kan says he's been so inspired by the win by the Japanese women's soccer team in the World Cup, and that he learned from the team "never to give up".

What's interesting about this mostly ceremonial resolution is that it was jointly proposed by the three prefectures where the national government's money (i.e. Japanese taxpayers' money) will rain in the government's effort to "recover and reconstruct" after the earthquake/tsunami/nuke accident. Fukushima is to become the radiation research capital of the world. Miyagi and Iwate are to become the "food factory" for the rest of Japan, with farming and fishing organized into some corporate structure, with people living in "ecotowns" created by shaving off the top of the mountains so that they are safe from tsunami. A grand vision, and the governors there, particularly the Miyagi governor, are thinking in the similar vein.

But their assembly chairpersons want PM Kan to go. That does not add up, does it? It looks more like another pressure tactic to get more of what they want, which is more money from the national government and sooner.

And if they really think PM Kan and the national government are alone in causing the trust in the government to erode fast in Japan, I don't know what to say.

#Radioactive Compost Has Already Spread Wide

From the press release by Akita prefectural government on July 25:

A resident in Akita Prefecture alerted the authorities when the bag of leaf compost that he purchased from a local garden/home center measured high in radiation with his portable survey meter. The authorities tested the content of the bag, and it had 11,000 becquerels/kg of cesium.

At the garden/home center (2 locations) the air radiation 1 meter from the pile of the leaf compost bags measured as high as 0.48 microsievert/hr.

The press release is somewhat misleading, as it says the air radiation 1 meter from one bag of the leaf compost is 0.06 microsievert/hr. If you measure in front of the pile of the same bags, the radiation is as high as 0.48 microsievert/hr. Akita's air radiation level (which the prefectural government measures only at 2 locations) is between 0.04 and 0.06 microsievert/hr.

According to Yomiuri Shinbun (7/27/2011), these bags were packed in Tochigi Prefecture, and 20,000 bags have already been sold in Akita Prefecture alone.

Shimotsuke Shinbun (local Tochigi paper; 7/27/2011) reports that 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. The Tochigi prefectural government ordered the two sellers of leaf compost in Tochigi to recall what's been sold and refrain from shipping "voluntarily" (i.e. at the sellers' own cost, with no support from the government).

Leaf composts are mainly used by the home gardeners. There may be many who hoped to grow their own, radiation-free vegetables and bought these bags to amend the soil for better growth of the seedlings. Well, that hope is dashed. The home gardeners may have ended up contaminating their own soil which may not have been contaminated before they put in the compost.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries couldn't even figure out that cattle farmers feed their cows with rice hay. What the individual home gardeners use for their small gardens was probably none of their concern, as the Ministry is there for the producers.

#Radiation in Japan: 60 Becquerels/Kg Cesium from Eggs in Fukushima (Video-clip added)

From TV Asahi's "Hodo Station" on July 26, in the segment that discusses the lifetime limit of 100 millisieverts radiation.

A chicken farmer in Kawamata-machi in Fukushima Prefecture has brought his eggs to a volunteer testing station in Fukushima City. After 20 minutes of testing, 60 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium is detected from the eggs.

Disappointed, the farmer says, "I don't know what to say to my customers. It's much lower than the provisional safety limit in Japan, but if I compare the number to the safety limit in Ukraine it is extraordinary..."

The reporter asks the farmer, "What is the safety limit in Ukraine?"

6 becquerels/kg, he tells the reporter.

The man who runs the station says, "For these farmers, the provisional safety limit in Japan is just too loose."

Kawamata-machi is 47 kilometers northwest of Fukushima I Nuke Plant.

The Japanese government's mishandling and concealing the radioactive fallout information has resulted in radioactive water, vegetables, fish, mushroom, beef, hay, pork, manure, compost, and now eggs. And the farmers like this chicken farmer who clearly wants to sell only "safe" eggs to his customers are at a loss. To the chicken farmer, 60 becquerels/kg was just too high to sell his eggs in good conscience.

20110726 食品安全基準 生涯で100mSv以上は‥ by PMG5

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

so that TEPCO can conserve water that is being injected into the RPVs.

The robot "Quince" went to the 2nd floor of Reactor 3's reactor building at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant on July 26 and measured the radiation. It was as high as 75 millisieverts/hour on the 2nd floor. To help "Quince", 6 TEPCO employees went to the reactor building (I don't think they were inside the building), and received maximum 2.22 millisieverts of radiation.

TEPCO's handout for the press on July 27, radiation measurement by Quince:

No radiation level is too high for carbon-based workers in the time of crisis, and TEPCO is sending 6 of them up the stairs to the 2nd and 3rd floors of Reactor 3 on July 27. However, the amount of time the workers spend inside the reactor building will be limited, according to TEPCO. The workers are to conduct the survey to determine whether it is possible to hook up the water injection system to the ECCS (emergency core cooling system) pipe, so that the water could be poured directly over the melted fuel (if there's melted fuel left in the RPV, that is) and thus more efficient (i.e. using less water) in cooling the fuel.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Post-Nuke Reconstruction Plan for Fukushima Prefecture: World-Class Radiation Medicine, Radiation Contamination Removal, Renewable Energy

When the governor of Fukushima started to say "post-nuke", I thought "OK, he must have found a new way to benefit from the close ties with the national government, other than nuke, or in addition to nuke."

According to Yomiuri Shinbun, the latest and final version of the Kan administration's plan for recovery and reconstruction after the March 11 earthquake/tsunami for Fukushima Prefecture will include a host of government research institutions going to Fukushima, with the related industries - heavy electric, utilities, pharmaceutical, etc. - tagging along.

Dr. Shunichi "100 millisieverts are no problem" Yamashita is already in Fukushima, salivating at the unique, world-first opportunity to study the long-term effect of radiation on children. Also, Fukushima University and the Japan Atomic Energy Agency, of Monju fame, have signed an agreement to cooperate in research and development of the world-class decontamination technology, among others. (Links are in Japanese.)

That the government research institutions rushing to Fukushima makes me wonder if the whole plan is one gigantic experiment using the land, water, air, people, animals, crops, forests and mountains in Fukushima to develop world-class technologies in radiation medicine and decontamination, and renewable energy that the government and the industries can later capitalize on.

Yomiuri Shinbun (3:03AM JST 7/27/2011)


The final version of the recovery and reconstruction plan that the government was to submit by the end of this month was revealed on July 26.

原 発被害に苦しむ福島県に、医療や再生可能エネルギーにかかわる研究開発の拠点を整備し、政府系研究機関の関連部門の進出を進めることで復興を後押しする考 えを打ち出した。住宅の再建が難しい被災者には、低家賃の「災害公営住宅」を提供することも盛り込んだ。政府は29日にも復興対策本部を開き、方針を正式 決定する。

The plan will include the research and development centers for health care and renewable energy in Fukushima Prefecture, which suffers damages from the nuclear plant accident. The government will support the recovery by sending the government research institutions to Fukushima. For residents who cannot rebuild their homes easily, the government will provide the "disaster public housing". The government will set up the headquarters for recovery and reconstruction on July 29, and formally decide on the plan.

 最終案では、原子力災害の復旧・復興について「国が責任を持って対応する」と明記。放射性物質に汚染された土壌の除染や災害 廃棄物の最終処分については、「必要な措置を講じる」とした。また、福島県に「世界をリードする医薬品・医療機器の研究開発拠点」や「再生可能エネルギー の世界最先端の研究拠点」を整備し、関連産業の集積を目指す考えを示した。自宅を失った被災者には「災害公営住宅」を提供し、希望する入居者には将来的に 売却する構想も盛り込んだ。

In the final version of the plan, it is clearly stated that "the national government will be responsible" in recovery and reconstruction from a nuclear disaster. As to the decontamination of the soil and the disposal of disaster debris, the plan says [the government] will "take necessary measures". It also mentions the creation of facilities for the "world-class pharmaceutical and medical equipment research and development" and the "world-class renewable energy research" in Fukushima Prefecture, which are to attract the related industries. For the residents who have lost their homes, the government will provide the "disaster public housing", which will be sold later to those who want to purchase the homes under the scheme.

So here's one answer to the question posed by a resident in the youtube video below that captured the confrontation between the Fukushima residents and the national government officials over evacuation:

"People in Fukushima have a right to avoid the radiation and live a healthy life, too. Don't you think so?"

Well, the government needs them inside Fukushima for all these grand projects. Besides, the government doesn't care about that right for anyone outside Fukushima either.

(h/t for the video, @FukushimaAppeal,)

"Now They Tell Us" Series: #Fukushima Reactor Cooling Was From Outside the Shroud

Here I thought they'd been injecting water directly above the melted fuel or where the fuel had once been.

TEPCO in its daily press conference on July 26 said the cooling of the three reactors at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant has been done by cooling the core shrouds from outside. The shroud is a cylinder inside the Reactor Pressure Vessel (RPV) that surrounds the reactor core. (The image is from Toshiba.)

Either they tell us now, or it occurred to no one to ask in detail how the fuel was cooled.

Mainichi Shinbun Japanese (7/26/2011):


TEPCO announced on July 26 that the company started the work to change the method of water injection in order to cool the fuel inside the Reactor 3 more effectively. The Japanese-made robot "Quince" went inside the reactor building to investigate whether it was possible to use the pipe that could feed water closer to the nuclear fuel.


In Reactors 1, 2 and 3, the cooling water is being poured outside the core shroud to lower the temperature of the fuel. The method is adequate in Reactor 1 and 2 with about 4 tonnes/hour water injection, but in Reactor 3 this method of cooling is not efficient enough, and it requires 9 tonnes/hour water.

 しかし、その分、汚染水が大量発生しやすく、新たな対応が必要になってきた。そこで、東電は核燃料の真上から注水する緊急炉心冷却装置 (ECCS)の配管などを使うことを検討。同日、建屋1、2階にクインスを入れ配管を撮影したほか、作業員が入れるかどうか周辺の放射線量の測定を始め た。

As the result, more contaminated water is being produced, and the company was looking for an alternative method of cooling. TEPCO is considering using the ECCS (emergency core cooling system) pipe which can pour water from above the fuel. On July 26, the company sent the robot "Quince" to the 1st and 2nd floors of Reactor 3 building to take pictures of the pipe, and started measuring the radiation levels to see if workers could enter the building.

As far as TEPCO is concerned, the melted core is still inside the RPV in Reactor 3.

IAEA's Chief Amano Does #Fukushima I Nuke Plant Tour

The video of his July 25 tour of the crippled plant has been uploaded by the IAEA.

As they approach Reactor 3, the survey meter keeps beeping, alerting them to a high radiation level even at that distance (about 1:32 into the video).

Devastation from tsunami looks just as bad as in the earlier videos (about 2 minutes into the video).

Toward the end of the video, the survey meter shows "88.3". I suppose it is in microsievert per hour.

Nuke Plant Politics: METI Sent Energy Agency Chief to Pursuade Governor of Fukui to Re-Start Nuke Plants

The head of the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy, under the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), met with the chairman of the Chamber of Commerce in Fukui Prefecture to plot the strategy to press the governor of Fukui to agree to re-starting nuclear power plants in Fukui. The Chamber of Commerce chairman is one of the biggest supporters of the governor.

From Asahi Shinbun (7/25/2011):


The Agency for Natural Resources and Energy disclosed on July 25 that it was the Director General of the Agency, Tetsuhiro Hosono, who met with the head of the Fukui Prefecture Chamber of Commerce Tatsuo Kawada. But the Agency said it didn't know whether the director general had solicited Kawada's help in persuading the governor of Fukui, Kazumi (Issei) Nishikawa, who has refused to re-start the nuclear power plants [in his prefecture].


Mr. Kawada revealed on July 24 in a general meeting in Fukui City for Hokuriku Shinkansen (bullet train) promotion for Fukui Prefecture that he met with a high-ranking METI official on June 24, right after Banri Kaieda, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry issued the "safety declaration" for the re-start of the nuclear power plants. Kawada said he was asked during the meeting to cooperate in re-starting the nuke plants [in Fukui Prefecture], with the official saying "we will make sure your request [for the re-start] will be expedited". Mr. Kawada didn't disclose the name of the official.


The public relations department of the Agency admits there was a meeting between the two, that "Mr. Kawada pressed Director General Hosono for the Hokuriku Shinkansen project during the meeting".


Mr. Kawada also serves as the chairman of the Fukui Prefecture Keidanren (Japan Business Federation), and is the largest supporter of Fukui Governor Nishikawa.

Governor Nishikawa, a career bureaucrat from the Ministry of Home Affairs (now the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications) before becoming the governor of Fukui in 2003, may be against the re-start without concrete assurance from the national government as to the safety of the nuclear plants, but he has been pushing hard for the Hokuriku Shinkansen project (to extend the line at least to Tsuruga City in Fukui) which would greatly benefit his prefecture.

Give and take. Will the governor be persuaded by the Hokuriku Shinkansen?

In the meantime, in the meeting of the Nuclear Safety Commission on July 25, the Mayor of Tsuruga City in Fukui Prefecture was newly appointed as a commissioner in the nuclear disaster counter-measures subcommittee of the NSC. He and another bureaucrat from the Aomori prefectural government (also newly appointed on July 25; Aomori is where the Rokkasho Reprocessing Plant is located) are the only two government people appointed to the subcommittee; the rest are the researchers at government and private nuclear research institutions.

The area along the Wakasa Bay in Fukui Prefecture is called "Genpatsu Ginza (nuke plant high street)" with total of 15 nuclear reactors in 5 nuclear power plants.

4 reactors are located in Tsuruga City alone at Tsuruga Nuclear Power Plant (with 2 reactors), the Fast Breeder Reactor Monju and the Advanced Thermal Reactor (ATR) Fugen (being decommissioned).