Fukushima Meltdown: Status Update July 8, 2011

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Fukushima Update: July 8, 2011
by Nelle
This morning's (Update 1) concentrated on the Kyuhu Electric Power Company scandal. Here's the other news from NHK today:

"Reactor restart at Ikata nuclear plant postponed http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/08_20.html The operator of the Ikata nuclear power plant in western Japan says it will postpone restarting one of the plant's reactors because of opposition from local residents.
Shikoku Electric Power Company said on Friday that it decided not to resume operations at the No.3 reactor on Sunday as originally scheduled.

The utility halted operations at the reactor for regular inspection on April 29th, but reloaded it with fuel rods in late June to prepare for the restart.

The company said it did all it could to ease the concerns of local residents in light of the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, including conducting detailed safety inspections of the reactor. But it was still unable to gain the necessary support.

The utility says it plans to continue efforts to win the understanding of local municipalities and residents so that it can restart the  
reactor as soon as possible.
"Four cities request bigger nuclear safety zone http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/08_20.html
Four municipalities around a nuclear power plant in Shizuoka Prefecture have asked the central government to expand the plant's official emergency zone, so their communities can be included in the event of a nuclear accident.

Mayors and representatives from the cities of Fujieda, Yaizu, Fukuroi and Iwata handed a petition requesting the change to nuclear crisis minister Goshi Hosono on Friday.

The mayors asked that the emergency planning zone around the Hamaoka nuclear power station be expanded from the current 10-kilometer radius to 30 kilometers.

The municipalities are all located 10 to 30 kilometers from the Hamaoka plant.

The petition notes that in the Fukushima accident, evacuation areas have now expanded beyond the zone initially mandated by the government.

The mayors said the municipalities are unable to draw up evacuation plans unless their locations are recognized within the emergency zone. They said the matter is raising concern among residents.

Hosono agreed the Fukushima accident revealed the inadequacy of a 10-kilometer radius, and said the government must promptly review the matter.

Friday, July 08, 2011 20:59 +0900 (JST)"

"Nuke plant equipment fails quake-resistance check http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/08_01.html
The Japanese government has found that electrical equipment at a nuclear power plant in eastern Japan does not meet earthquake-resistance standards.

The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency inspected nuclear power plants nationwide after the March 11th earthquake damaged equipment at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The plant was unable to cool its reactors after losing power.

The agency found that the level of quake-resistance of the electrical equipment at Tokai Daini nuclear power plant in Ibaraki Prefecture was below the standard set by power companies.

The Tokai Daini plant is currently undergoing regular inspections. The operator plans to strengthen the quake-resistance of its equipment during the inspection period.

The agency says the electrical equipment in other nuclear power plants are up to standards. Once it identifies what caused the damage to the equipment at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, the agency plans to re-examine all nuclear power plants in the country.
Friday, July 08, 2011 03:25 +0900 (JST)"

"TEPCO to boost radiation monitoring at plant http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/08_03.html
The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant will boost its monitoring of airborne radioactive substances around reactor buildings. At the plant, it is believed that dust containing radioactive substances and contaminated steam leaking from reactors continue to be released from reactor buildings into open air.

Tokyo Electric Power Company has been measuring the concentration of radioactive substances in the air at the plant regularly since mid-March. TEPCO decided to step up its monitoring and take measurements at additional locations near the No.1 to No.4 reactor buildings.

The plant operator will also use remote-controlled robots to measure the level of radioactivity inside reactor buildings.
Friday, July 08, 2011 03:25 +0900 (JST)"

"TEPCO to inject nitrogen into No. 3 reactor http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/08_35.html

The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is preparing to connect pipes to the plant's No. 3 reactor to inject  nitrogen to prevent a hydrogen explosion.

Tokyo Electric Power Company workers spent 10 minutes in the reactor building on Friday to determine whether pipes can be connected to the reactor's containment vessel. The utility says the workers confirmed that the reactor's connections are intact, and that work to lay the pipes can start on Saturday. The firm had sent a robot equipped with a camera into the building to check the situation, but the device was blocked and could not finish the work.

Stably cooling the plant's reactors and preventing hydrogen explosions are the pillars of the utility's plan to bring the facility under  

Nuclear crisis minister Goshi Hosono says that around July 17th, he hopes to begin studying whether to lift advisory designating areas where residents are required to be prepared to evacuate in case of emergency. But the work to lay the pipes has already been delayed, and the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency must confirm safety for several days before beginning the nitrogen injection.

It remains uncertain whether the injection can be carried out by July 17th as scheduled.

Friday, July 08, 2011 19:48 +0900 (JST)"

Contamination stories at NHK.

While not strictly a contamination story, I can only ask, would you eat these oysters considering the proximately to Fukushima, especially considering the rest of the stories in this section. "Oyster farmers receive equipment from France http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/08_22.html

Oyster growers hit by the March 11th earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan have received oyster farming equipment from their French colleagues.

The more than 5 tons of buoys and ropes 0arrived in Kesennuma City, Miyagi Prefecture, on Friday. [Kesennuma City City is 215 km (134 miles) north of Fukushima City–Nelle]

The equipment was sent to repay Miyagi farmers for sending larvae to French oyster growers when their farms were hit by an epidemic about 40 years ago. The support helped France overcome the crisis and rebuild the industry.

In Kesennuma, most oyster farming equipment was swept away by the tsunami, but farmers there partially resumed operations last week.

Oyster farmer Masanori Hatakeyama said he's thankful for the precious gift as it has not been easy to get such equipment since the disaster.  He added that he will do his best to help rebuild the industry in Kesennuma.
Friday, July 08, 2011 15:59 +0900 (JST)"

"Radioactive cesium detected from Tochigi tea http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/08_06.html

Radioactive cesium exceeding the government limit was detected in processed tea made in Tochigi City, about 160 kilometers from the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

The Tochigi Prefectural Government says 1,810 becquerels per kilogram of radioactive cesium was detected in tea processed from leaves harvested in the city in early July.

The level is more than 3 times the provisional government limit. On Thursday, the prefecture requested that tea farmers in the city  
voluntarily stop shipments of their products. Radioactive cesium has also been detected in other areas in the prefecture.

After the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, tea leaves and processed teas contaminated by radioactive substances have been found over wide areas near Tokyo. These include the prefectures of Chiba, Kanagawa and the country's largest tea production center, Shizuoka.

Friday, July 08, 2011 08:43 +0900 (JST)"

"Radiation detected in beef from Fukushima http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/09_05.html

Beef from Fukushima Prefecture has been found to contain levels of radiation that exceed Japan's safety standards.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government announced on Friday that it had detected 2,300 becquerels per kilogram of radioactive cesium in beef from a cow raised in a Minami Souma. The national limit is 500 becquerels per kilogram.

The Tokyo Government says the beef was not made available to consumers.

Japan's Health Ministry says this is the first time that beef has been found with such high levels of radioactivity following the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The ministry has requested 6 prefectures near Fukushima to step up checks on beef.
Saturday, July 09, 2011 06:14 +0900 (JST)"

"Survey: radioactive materials found in plankton http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/09_02.html

A scientific survey has found radioactive substances in plankton collected from the seafloor off Fukushima Prefecture.

A group of researchers from the Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology ended its 8-day survey on Friday. The goal was to study the spread of radioactive materials into the Pacific Ocean from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The group collected samples from the seabed along a 120-kilometer stretch off the coast of Fukushima.

Radioactive cesium was found in animal plankton collected 35 kilometers off Iwaki City. The level was measured at 6 becquerels per  

The researchers say this level does not exceed the national safety standard. They added that the level would still be under the limit  
even if the cesium were to enter the bodies of larger fish that eat the contaminated plankton. [Hmmm, wouldn't that depend on how much they ate?–Nelle]

Professor Takashi Ishimaru, a member of the research group, says he and his colleagues will continue the survey to check the effects of radioactivity on the local ecosystem.

Saturday, July 09, 2011 06:14 +0900 (JST)"

And in the "Nothing Ever Really Changes" department, this video came through my email from Brasscheck TV this morning. More than 50 years ago, a nuclear accident occurred in Simi Valley in southern California in a research facility run by the federal government's Atomic Energy Commission (AEC). It was completely downplayed by the agency, which lied in press releases regarding the amount of radioactive contamination for both workers and released into the atmosphere to contaminate local populations.

I actually remember  incident from when I was in high school. My Dad was a consultant for the AEC on groundwater contamination from underground nuke testing in Nevada. So he was sorta on the "inside" and heard the real news. He was exposed to radioactivity in the underground sites and subsequently died of a brain aneurism (blood clot) at the age of 59 in the 1970's. I always wondered about the connection with his AEC work. There is a break in the audio file on the video when the contamination of workers is being discussed. A comment on the youtube site says the cut included "A quick list of health issues…Blood clot , Pineal tumor, vision loss, twitches, brain cysts, kidney tumor, bones literally hurt, pre-diabetic, high blood pressure, migraines etc."

The biggest nuclear disaster in American history "Simi Valley California, about 45 minutes from Los Angeles by car, was the site of the worst nuclear disaster in U.S. history in 1959, and the amounts of radiation leaked to the environment and atmosphere were more than 240 times that of the accident at 3-Mile Island." http://www.brasschecktv.com/page/4295.html or here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jAHmaEs5cYU&feature=player_embedded"

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