Saturday, July 23, 2011

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

While the producers, wholesalers, and retailers demand that the national government compensate them for the loss as consumers refrain from buying the domestic beef, the supposed consumer organizations basically scold consumers for succumbing to the "baseless rumor" of radiation, ignoring the advice of the government and the experts that eating the contaminated beef won't affect health.

Here's some choice words from the top women from the consumer advocate organizations, as appeared at the end of the Mainichi Shinbun article (7/23/2011) that describes the plight of producers, wholesalers, and retailers in the on-going cesium beef scandal:


How should consumers deal with the fear of radiation and respond to the industry's plight?

 消費者団体「食のコミュニケーション円卓会議」(東京)の市川まりこ代表は「専門家は今発覚している程度の汚染肉を少量食べても健康に問題ないと 言っている。全頭検査は福島では必要かもしれないが、多額の税金で肉を買い上げ焼却することが必要か、議論すべきだ」。消費科学連合会の犬伏由利子副会長 は「米国でBSEが問題になった時は国産牛の信頼が高まったことを思い出してほしい。日本の畜産業がだめになれば自分たちの首を絞めることになる」と冷静な消費行動を呼びかける。

Mariko Ichikawa, head of a consumer group "食のコミュニケーション円卓会議 (Food Communication Round Table)" says, "Experts say there is no effect on health if you eat a small amount of meat with the current [low] level of contamination. It may be necessary to check all meat cows in Fukushima Prefecture, but is it necessary for the government to use a large amount of taxpayers' money to buy the [contaminated] meat and burn it? We need more discussion." Yuriko Inubushi, vice chair of the Consumption Science Federation, calls for calm, "I want everyone to remember the BSE crisis in the US, when people trusted the domestic beef. If the domestic cattle industry goes bust [over this crisis], Japanese consumers would be kicking themselves".


Yoko Yano, head of the secretariat of the Tokyo Consumers' Cooperative Union, says, "If the government and mass media explain the numbers carefully and provide accurate information, that will remove the anxiety among consumers."

Ah. As if consumers trust the government and mass media in Japan now, like they used to. (I did think for a brief moment that she was kidding.)

So, the burden of propping up the domestic meat industry in addition to propping up the domestic nuke industry and the agricultural industry (particularly in Fukushima) is on the Japanese consumers. If they don't buy the potentially contaminated food and let the government buy up the food (as the Ministry of Agriculture is saying about the cesium beef), they get to pay for it through taxation anyway.

(Buy buy buy! as Mr. Jim Cramer would say.)

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

From someone in Japan posting a short post at this website of a TV program he just saw on July 24 morning (their time):


On TBS Television "Sunday Morning News". Radiation survey by Doshisha University and Kyoto Seika University of Fukushima City [in Fukushima Prefecture].

U-drain at an elementary school 56.9 microsieverts/hour; Fukushima Prefectural Government building 20.8 microsieverts/hour, Fukushima Railroad Station 2.4 to 22.4 microsieverts/hour. "Hot spot" everywhere. The Doshisha researcher was surprised to see these numbers. Do Fukushima City residents know about this?

I couldn't find the official radiation number for the Fukushima Prefectural Government building. The radiation at the Fukushima City Hall, about 1 kilometer away, is 0.95 microsievert/hour as of July 23, according to Fukushima Prefecture.

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

The number was 1,697 yesterday, and to that, 944 cows from Miyagi Prefecture alone were added overnight, bringing the total to at least 2,641.

Tokyo Shinbun, citing Kyodo News (7/23/2011):


Miyagi Prefecture announced on July 23 that additional 944 meat cows from Miyagi Prefecture suspected of being fed with rice hay collected after the Fukushima I Nuke Plant accident had been shipped to 6 prefectures - Tokyo, Yamagata, Miyagi, Kanagawa, Chiba and Niigata. The total number of potentially contaminated cows shipped from Miyagi is now 1,183.


According to Miyagi Prefecture, radioactive cesium exceeding the provisional safety limit for the feed [300 becquerels/kg] was found from the rice hay kept at 17 cattle farms. Total 626 cows had been shipped from 16 of those farms.


In addition, 318 cows had been shipped from 15 cattle farms whose rice hay wasn't tested because it was all used up. The prefectural government decided it is highly possible that the rice hay fed to the cows was contaminated with cesium.

Miyagi Prefecture has the detailed test results (in Japanese) on its website. The highest radioactive cesium level from the most recent test was 7,822 becquerels/kg in Shiroshi City, located near the prefectural border to Fukushima near the cities that have been found with high radiation areas (Date City, Fukushima City, etc.).

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

The system has the low throughput (37 tonnes/hour instead of 50) on top of the low operating rate (53% in the most recent week). So although not 100% sure, TEPCO thinks it's because of steel pipes clogged up with radioactive sludge. So the company is planning to bypass the particular section and see if the throughput increases.

From Jiji Tsushin via Yahoo Japan (7/23/2011):

福島第1原発事故で、東京電力は23日、高濃度の汚染水処理システムの流量が計画の毎時50トンを大幅に下回る37トン程度に減少している問題を解決する ため、内壁にのり状の汚泥が付着して流路が狭くなっている鋼鉄製配管100~200メートル分をルートから外し、ポリ塩化ビニール製ホースの「バイパス」 を設置することを明らかにした。

The contaminated water treatment system at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant has been suffering from the lower than designed throughput of 37 tonnes per hour instead of 50. On July 23, TEPCO disclosed a plan to create a 'bypass" using a PVC hose to divert the flow from going through 100 to 200 meters of steel pipes which are clogged with the sludge.


The company measured the radiation on the surface of the steel pipes in preparation of the work, and the radiation was high at 50 millisieverts/hour. TEPCO is considering how to proceed in the high radiation condition.

I think the PVC hose TEPCO is planning to use is an orange-colored hose that has been used throughout the plant, called "Kanaflex", which had an unfortunate rupture the other day.

Since TEPCO hasn't released the "survey map" (contamination map) of the plant since June 24, I don't know which pipe segment that TEPCO is talking about. The June 24 map shows the surface radiation of the pipes that transfer the contaminated water all exceeds 100 millisieverts/hour and as high as 210 millisieverts/hour.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Thus Spread Radiation All Over Japan - Through Contaminated Cows

I had expected the wide spread (other than the radioactive plume from Fukushima I Nuke Plant) of radioactive materials in Japan to occur via the radioactive debris in the Tohoku region as municipalities far away from Fukushima are asked to receive debris for burning and burying to help clean Tohoku after the earthquake/tsunami (and conveniently missing is a mention of nuke accident).

That can still happen, but it is the radioactive beef from the cows that ate radioactive rice hay that have brought radiation everywhere in Japan.

Now, in the latest tally by NHK, at least 1,698 cows may have eaten the rice hay with high level of radioactive cesium, and they have been shipped and sold in every prefecture in Japan except Okinawa.

An increasing number of Japanese don't believe it's just about the rice hay and the cows, although the government has been trying its best to focus people's attention to them.

(And where there's cesium, there's strontium, as the Nuclear Safety Commission said in early June, when the Ministry of Education announced the discovery of strontium 62 kilometers from Fukushima I Nuke Plant in April and May.)

From NHK News Japanese (4:55AM JST 7/23/2011):

NHKのまとめによりますと、放射性セシウムを含んだ疑いのある稲わらを肉牛に与えていた畜産農家は、▽宮城県で36戸、▽福島県で25戸、▽新潟県で 15戸、▽岩手県で12戸、▽山形県、秋田県、岐阜県でそれぞれ6戸、▽群馬県と埼玉県でそれぞれ2戸、それに▽北海道と茨城県、栃木県、静岡県、三重 県、島根県でそれぞれ1戸で、15の県の合わせて116戸に上っています。また、こうした農家から出荷された肉牛は、少なくとも1697頭に上り、流通先 は沖縄県を除く46都道府県に広がっています。

According to NHK's tally, the number of cattle farms: 36 in Miyagi; 25 in Fukushima; 15 in Niigata; 12 in Iwate; 6 in Yamagata; 6 in Akita; 6 in Gifu; 2 in Gunma; 2 in Saitama; and 1 each in Hokkaido, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Shizuoka, Mie, and Shimane. Total of 116 cattle farms in 15 prefectures shipped at least 1,697 cows to 46 prefectures, expect to Okinawa.

By the way, Okinawa Prefecture does not have a nuclear power plant, and has received hardly any radioactive plume from Fukushima I Nuke Plant as far as I've seen in the radiation dispersion forecasts by European meteorological institutes. Clean air, clean water, good food. (Well, until those nuclear reactors in Taiwan start to break down in a big earthquake there...)

Melt-Through Simulation Created by Japan's METI Well Before #Fukushima

This animation was created by the Japan Nuclear Energy Safety Organization, a government corporation under the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (which regulates the nuclear industry), to train Senior Specialists for Nuclear Emergency Preparedness on the severe accident of loss of cooling, using a Mark-1 Boiling Water Reactor.

It was created before the Fukushima I Nuke Plant accident, though there is no information as to when it was created. (The Japan Nuclear Energy Safety Organization itself was created in 2003.)

The accident sequence in the animation:

  1. Control rods are inserted, and the reactor stops.

  2. A big pipe connected to the Reactor Pressure Vessel breaks, and all methods of cooling the reactor fails.

  3. Water starts to leak. Water level in the RPV gets low, exposing the fuel core.

That's exactly what happened at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant.

They must have known all along that it was not even a meltdown but melt-through.

Core melts 30 minutes after the loss of coolant accident.

Corium drops to the bottom of the RPV after 1 hour of loss of coolant.

Corium melts through the 15-centimeter RPV bottom after 3 hours, drops to the concrete floor of the pedestal that supports the RPV.

Corium melts through the concrete floor of the pedestal and drops to the floor of the Containment Vessel.

Gas is generated by the corium melting the concrete, and the gas fills the Containment Vessel raising the pressure and the temperature.

Gas starts to leak at the franges of the Containment Vessel and fill the reactor building, necessitating the venting.

The animation has this reassuring message at the end:

"Even if it gets to the worst case scenario (that you've just seen), we are trying our best to learn and upgrade our skills in dealing with nuclear emergencies by training the nuclear emergency specialists, so that the residents near the nuclear power plants can feel safe and secure."

A Senior Specialists for Nuclear Emergency Preparedness is a METI (NISA) official stationed full-time in the area where a nuclear power plant is located.

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

From NHK Kabun (science and culture division) Blog's tweet on July 22:


In response to the radioactive rice hay that's been fed to the meat cows, the council that manages the Yonezawa-gyu (cow) brand in Yamagata Prefecture has decided to halt the auction for the remainder of this month and stop the shipment of cows voluntarily. This voluntary halt of shipment is spreading in the beef producing areas outside Fukushima Prefecture.

Matsusaka-gyu in Mie Prefecture has been detected with radioactive cesium, though well below the provisional safety limit of 500 becquerels/kg, which by the way allows for the radiation from radioactive cesium up to 5 millisieverts per year.

Last to be affected by this radioactive beef/hay scandal: Kobe-gyu anyone?

#Radioactive Beef from Tochigi Prefecture - Discovery Follows Hayakawa Map

Prefectures surrounding Fukushima have reported the detection of radioactive cesium exceeding the provisional safety limit from the beef from the cows.

From Yomiuri Shinbun (1:57AM JST 7/23/2011):


On July 22, Tochigi, Iwate, Miyagi, and Akita Prefectures [separately] announced that radioactive cesium exceeding the provisional safety limit (500 becquerels/kg) was detected from the meat from 6 cows shipped from their prefectures.


According to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare and other government agencies, all 30 cows whose meat exceeded the provisional safety limit for cesium had been from Fukushima Prefectures. Now it is 36 cows from 5 prefectures.

 6頭のうち3頭は、栃木県那須塩原市の農家が7月10日に出荷した。都内で食肉処理され、22日に肉を検査した結果、同560~760ベクレルの セシウムが検出された。流通はしていない。飼料の稲わらは市内の近隣酪農家らが生産し、東京電力福島第一原発事故後も田に置かれていた。

Of the 6 cows, 3 were shipped from a cattle farm in Nasu Shiobara City in Tochigi Prefecture on July 10, and were processed into meat in Tokyo. The meat was tested on July 22, and 560 to 760 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium was detected. The meat hasn't been sold in the market. The rice hay used as the feed was from nearby dairy farms in the same city, and the hay was left on the rice field even after the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant accident.


Iwate Prefecture investigated 80 cows suspected of being fed with the contaminated rice hay, and found the meat from one cow to contain 1,210 becquerels/kg of cesium. The cow was processed on June 30 in Tokyo, and the meat was sold in Kyoto City.

I, and many who have been looking at the radiation contour map created by Professor Yukio Hayakawa (volcanologist at Gunma University), shouldn't be surprised at the discovery of contaminated beef from Nasu Shiobara City in Gunma Prefecture, more than 100 kilometers away from the nuke plant. I circled the location in red in the map:

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Radioactive Cesium from World-Famous Super Premium Matsusaka Beef

The Matsusaka cows ate the rice hay from Miyagi Prefecture that was contaminated with radioactive cesium far exceeding the provisional safety limit for the cattle feed (300 becquerels/kg).

Matsusaka beef is from cows grown exclusively in Matsusaka in Mie Prefecture, and it commands high premium for its marvelous taste and texture due to high fat content rivaling Kobe beef, or so I hear. I've never eaten any of the premium "wagyu" Japanese beef in my life because they are so expensive. Maybe now there's a chance to get them at a reasonable price, if I don't mind cesium.

From NHK Japanese (1:16PM JST 7/22/2011):

肉牛の餌の稲わらから国の目安を超える放射性セシウムが相次いで検出されている問題で、新たに三重県の松阪 牛の飼育農家の稲わらからも国の目安のおよそ20倍に当たる放射性セシウムが検出されました。すでに出荷された牛のうち、11頭分の肉からは国の暫定基準 値を超える放射性セシウムは検出されていないということで、三重県は、ほかの牛の肉の流通経路などを調べています。

Radioactive cesium 20 times the safety limit for the feed [300 becquerels/kg] has been detected from the rice hay at a cattle farm that raises Matsusaka-ushi (cow) in Mie Prefecture. Of all the cows that have already been shipped, 11 of them did not have radioactive cesium that exceeded the provisional safety limit for the meat [500 becquerels/kg]. Mie Prefecture is tracing the shipment of the rest of the cows.

三重県によりますと、放射性セシウムが検出されたのは、三重県大紀町の松阪牛の飼育農家にあった餌 の稲わらです。この稲わらには、宮城県登米市で刈り取られ、原発事故があった3月11日以降にこの農家に納入されたものも含まれていたということで、三重 県が調べたところ、国の目安のおよそ20倍に当たる放射性セシウムが検出されました。この農家からは、稲わらを食べた可能性のある牛が70頭出荷されまし たが、このうち、販売店に保管されていた11頭分の肉からは、国の暫定基準値を超える放射性セシウムは検出されず、最大でも5分の1程度だったということ で、三重県は「この11頭分については食べても問題ない」としています。そのうえで三重県は、この農家に対し、残っている稲わらを牛に与えないことと牛の 出荷を当面控えるよう求めるとともに、この農家から出荷されたほかの牛の肉の流通経路などを調べています。

According to Mie Prefecture, radioactive cesium was detected from the rice hay kept at a cattle farm in Taiki-cho in Mie Prefecture. The rice hay included the hay harvested in Tome City in Miyagi Prefecture and shipped to the farm after the nuclear plant accident on March 11. The level of cesium was 20 times the safety limit set by the national government for the feed. 70 cows have been shipped from this farm. Radioactive cesium in the meat of 11 of them did not exceed the provisional safety limit [500 becquerels/kg], with maximum of about one-fifth of the safety limit [i.e. 100 becquerels/kg]. Mie Prefecture says "There's no problem if one eats the meat from these 11 cows." Mie Prefecture has asked the farm not to feed cows with the remaining rice hay and to stop shipping the cows for now, while it traces the rest of the cows shipped from the farm.

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

(UPDATE: OK It's back on again, but TEPCO still doesn't know what happened, according to their tweet at about 1:10PM their time on July 22. Looks like two power lines out of three that feed the plant went off. The contaminated water treatment system is still down.)

The contaminated water treatment system, which stopped on July 21 (again) when a worker shut off the water gauge of the tank that stores the treated water (what a strange design, shutting off the water gauge shuts down the entire system..), continues to stop because power is off at the plant.

According to NHK Japanese (9:16AM JST 7/22/2011) and Yomiuri Shinbun (11:05AM JST 7/22/2011):

  • Power to Reactor 3 and 4 was interrupted at about 7:10AM, due to the sudden power surge that tripped the circuit breaker at the temporary transformer. The cause for the sudden power surge is unknown.

  • The cooling of the Spent Fuel Pool of Reactor 3 has stopped. No discernible change in the pool water temperature so far (30 degrees Celsius).

  • Monitoring instruments for the reactor pressure are down.

  • The headquarter building at Fukushima I Nuke Plant is operating on a backup generator.

  • The cooling of the reactors and nitrogen gas injection continue uninterrupted, using the other power line.

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

How much more meaningless can it get?

The Japanese government is about to set 100 millisieverts as lifetime, cumulative acceptable radiation exposure standard, counting both internal and external radiation exposure, and this is on top of the average 1.5 millisievert/year natural radiation exposure.

Up till now, the acceptable radiation exposure has been 1 millisievert per year, in addition to the natural radiation exposure in Japan which is about 1.5 millisievert per year. There has been no standard for lifetime cumulative radiation exposure.

I read the following Asahi Shinbun article, translated it, and realized how utterly meaningless the whole exercise was. No one knows how much extra radiation that the Japanese (and the rest of the northern hemisphere) have gotten thanks to the broken reactors and spent fuel pools at Fukushima I Nuke Plant. In parts of Fukushima Prefecture, the cumulative air radiation level already exceeded 100 millisieverts.

And how many people, other than the nuke plant workers, have been tested with the whole body counters? Answer: not many. Reasons often cited are: background radiation too high in Fukushima for proper testing; there are not many whole body counters in Japan, 100 at most. Then, I read that a man from Iitate-mura in Fukushima demanded he be tested for radiation using the whole body counter. He finally got his wish several months after the start of the accident, and they refused to tell him the number. He still doesn't know how much radiation he's received.

So, my conclusion is that this new so-called standard or the article like Asahi that discusses the standard is to imprint the number in people's mind: "100 millisieverts, 100 millisieverts, it's safe up to that number." Yes, they'll also tell you it's the lifetime cumulative number, but that doesn't mean a thing when you don't know how much of it you have had to spend already since March.

Soon, as Dr. Yamashita already said in a slip of a tongue, it will be safe up to 100 millisieverts per year.

From Asahi Shinbun (1:25AM JST 7/22/2011):

放射性物質が人体に与える影響を検討していた食品安全委員会の作業部会で21日、「発がん影響が明らかになるのは、生涯の累積線量で100ミリシー ベルト以上」とする事務局案が示された。食品だけでなく、外部環境からの被曝(ひばく)を含む。平時から浴びている自然由来の放射線量は除いた。この案を 軸に来週にも最終結論を出し、厚生労働省に答申する。ただ厚労省からは「基準づくりは難航しそうだ」と、戸惑いの声があがっている。

The working group of the Food Safety Commission that has been considering the effect of radioactive materials on humans disclosed the plan of the secretariat that would say "The cancer-causing effect of radiation becomes only noticeable at and above 100 millisieverts of lifetime cumulative radiation." The number includes not just the internal radiation from food but also external radiation exposure from the environment. It does not count the natural radiation exposure. Based on this secretariat's plan the Commission will come up with its final plan and submit it to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare next week. However, there are those at the Ministry who worry that it won't be easy to create a new standard.


In response to the Fukushima I Nuke Plant accident, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare set the provisional safety standards on March 17 to regulate the sale of food items contaminated with radioactive materials. Then, it asked the Commission to evaluate the effect of internal radiation exposure from food on human health, in order to scientifically justify the provisional safety standards.

 同委は当初、食品だけからの被曝レベルを検討。国際放射線防護委員会(ICRP)勧告の元になった論文を含め、様々な国際的な研究を精査した。だが食品 とその他の被曝を分けて論じた論文は少なく、「健康影響を内部と外部の被曝に分けては示せない」と判断。外部被曝も含め、生涯受ける放射線の総量を示す方 向を打ち出した。宇宙からの放射線など平時から浴びている自然放射線量(日本で平均、年間約1.5ミリシーベルト)は除く。

The Commission at first tried to come up with the radiation limit from food only, and carefully studied various international research papers including the paper which became the basis for the ICRP recommendation. However, there were few papers that discussed the radiation from food separately from all the other radiation, and the Commission decided it was not possible to show the effect of radiation on health by separating internal and external exposures. Instead, the Commission will set the lifetime cumulative amount of radiation allowable, which includes external radiation exposure. It will exclude the natural radiation exposure from cosmic rays, etc., which is about 1.5 millisievert per year average in Japan.


In considering the lifetime cumulative radiation, if one is exposed to 20 millisieverts of radiation in a short time in an emergency, then it will be desirable if the radiation exposure is under 80 millisieverts for the rest of one's life.


There are studies that show children and fetuses are more susceptible to radiation exposure, and the secretariat's plan calls for "an attention".


According to the ICRP, "The cancer risk goes up by 0.5% with 100 millisieverts exposure."


As to deciding on a new standard that includes external exposure, one commissioner said "It should be done by other government organization like the Nuclear Safety Commission, but no one is doing it. So we have to do it."


The current provisional safety standards for foods is for an emergency situation. A safety limit is decided per different nuclide (iodine, cesium, etc) so that and the combined total radiation exposure from food does not exceed 17 millisieverts per year.


Once the conclusion by the Food Safety Commission is submitted, then the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare will have to reconsider the safety limit per food. The person in charge of the process said, "We thought they would give us the number as annual radiation exposure limit. If it is going to be the lifetime cumulative radiation exposure limit, it may take a long time as we will have to consider different food intake amount for different age groups, from young to old."

The government-funded researchers and scholars are already busy imprinting this number "100 millisieverts" in the minds of the populace. The reference to X-rays and CT-scans are back. No need to worry up till 100 millisieverts!

Now, does anyone know how much radiation that the residents in Fukushima, Tohoku or Kanto have gotten since March 11? No one does. Are all vegetables in the market tested? No. They only sample one item from one plot from one farm in one city, and if that passes the test the entire crop from the entire city is considered safe.

Radioactive beef? What radioactive beef? The government will buy the meat and burn it, satisfied? Schoolyards with radiation exceeding 1 microsieverts/hour? So? Don't come complaining unless it's above 3.6 microsieverts/hour. All our experts say there's no danger below 100 millisieverts! If you are exposed to 20 millisieverts this year, well you will have 80 millisieverts for the rest of your life (we don't know how long) to spend, so don't worry.

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

On a lighter note, Chinese tourists are back in Japan, particularly young couples, according to an article that appeared in Shukan Post, a Japanese weekly magazine. Chinese were among the first to depart en masse from Japan after the earthquake/tsunami/nuke plant disaster, and they avoided Japan altogether in April.

Why are they back now? Because they WANT to get exposed to radiation. Why? Because they believe that would get them a baby boy. It's got to be another "baseless rumor"; high-IQ and rich Chinese wouldn't do such a silly thing as trying to be intentionally exposed to artificial radiation hoping that would get them a boy, would they?

From Shukan Post article (July 22/29 issue) as appeared in Iza:


We hear that tours to Japan are becoming very popular among young Chinese couples.


We still remember the local airports crowded with Chinese citizens returning home upon the recommendation from their government. Why would the Chinese, who fled in a radiation panic, come back? There seems to be a reason behind it which we cannot totally be happy about.


"It's because a German study was reported in a Chinese paper that radiation exposure increase the chance of conceiving a baby boy", says a China-based Japanese journalist.


On June 8, Beijing Evening News carried the article titled "Radiation increases male babies". The article cited a dubious study that the ratio of male babies increased in Europe and the US during 1960s and 1970s when nuclear testing was done frequently, in Beralus 2 years after the Chernobyl accident, and in Germany and Switzerland in areas near nuclear power plants.


Net-savvy Chinese immediately responded to the article. The Chinese version of Twitter [I suppose it has nothing to do with Twitter but a Twitter-like service in China] was flooded with messages like "If you want a boy, go to Japan", "I'm going to buy a airline ticket to Japan right now", "Travel agencies should arrange "Boy Conception Tours"." And conspiracy theories like "It must be the false information concocted by "small" Japanese to revive the tourism from China."


We inquired the Japanese Consul in Shenyang. There was no issuance of visitor's visa to Japan, and only 23 in May. But in June the number exploded to 1,900.


A tour guide at a Japanese travel agency that cater to group tours from China says with a wry smile, "When I guided the Mount Aso in Kyushu, a newly wed Chinese couple asked me, 'How high is the radiation level?" When I told them there was nothing to worry about there, they were very disappointed. They said they wanted to have a baby boy."

This particular couple probably didn't bother to look at the map of "small Japan". The island of Kyushu is as far away as you can get from Fukushima I Nuke Plant. They should be enjoying the hot spring resort near the plant with the "Genpatsu Gypsy" workers (read the Guardian report).

The Japanese version of the same "baseless rumor" about radiation and conception is that if you work in a nuclear power plant you are more likely to get a baby girl, not boy. Maybe it's different with Chinese.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Arnie Gundersen: Japanese Should Limit the Radiation, Not the Information

Arnie Gundersen's latest video on Fukushima.

Ex Japanese Nuclear Regulator Blames Radioactive Animal Feed on "Black Rain" from Fairewinds Associates on Vimeo.

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

The shipment ban on meat cows in Fukushima was finally put in place on July 19, but on July 20 they already outlined the conditions for lifting the ban.

Fukushima Prefecture hopes to lift the shipment ban placed on the cows in the prefecture by the end of July, according to Fukushima Minyu Shinbun (7/21/2011), a local paper in Fukushima Prefecture.

From what Fukushima Minyu Shinbun describes, the conditions for lifting the ban have been already agreed upon between the parties involved (the national government, the Fukushima prefectural government, and the cattle industry groups).

So what is the plan? Fukushima Minyu is rather vague on that, so we'll go to Asahi Shinbun that has a bit more details. The plan, as it is right now, will serve to obfuscate, give sense of "security" where there's hardly any, and most of all, doesn't cost much because they won't be doing things much differently from what they are doing right now. All parties involved - the national government, the Fukushima prefectural government, the industry groups - are eager to resume shipment, so it will resume as soon as people forget about it. (And stuff those blogs with safety message about cesium!)

Asahi Shinbun (12:33AM JST 7/21/2011):


The Headquarters for the Nuclear Disaster Countermeasures (headed by Prime Minister Naoto Kan) ordered the governor of Fukushima Prefecture to halt shipment of meat cows in all areas of Fukushima. At the same time, the procedure by which the shipment ban would be lifted was also announced. First, Fukushima Prefecture would submit the management plan for the meat cows to the Headquarters, which would approve the submitted plan. Then the each cattle farm would undergo the testing as specified in the plan, and the cows would be shipped.


The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare disclosed the outline of the management plan as contemplated by the Headquarters and Fukushima Prefecture. In the planned evacuation zone and the emergency evacuation-ready zone where the high levels of radioactive materials have been detected, the prefectural government will conduct testing on all cows after they are processed into meat.


In other areas, all cattle farmers will be surveyed to make sure if the contaminated rice hay is not used, among other things. The survey will be repeated every 2 months. After the shipment ban is lifted, at least one cow will be selected from one cattle farm, and the prefectural government will test the meat for radioactive materials [cesium]. If the amount of radioactive materials is less than the provisional safety limit, all the meat cows at that particular cattle farm will be allowed to be shipped for a time. The farm will be allowed to ship outside Fukushima Prefecture. After a certain period of time, at least one cow from the farm will be tested again.


Fukushima Prefecture has only one meat processing facility in Koriyama City. However, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare thinks it is possible for this facility to process and test the meat, as it has the capacity to process maximum 9,000 cows per year.


The meat cows have been found outside Fukushima Prefecture that were fed with contaminated rice hay. However, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare would only consider the shipment ban if the rice hay in the region where the cows are raised is contaminated. Even if cattle farms in a particular region use contaminated rice hay purchased from distant locations [like Miyagi Prefecture], as long as the rice hay in that region is not contaminated the cows would not be considered for the shipment ban.

Well, needless to say, the "health, labor and welfare" that the Ministry worries about is not of the rest of the Japanese who are not in the cattle business.

Koriyama City, where the rice hay was found to contain 500,000 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium, or Motomiya City, where the rice hay was found with 690,000 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium, are OUTSIDE ANY evacuation zone.

On reading the article, I have little doubt that the radioactive beef will be sold just as it has been sold, without much added control at all. There will be less recourse to the consumers, because the beef will be considered "safe" because it will be sold in the marketplace after "vigorous test" approved by the national government and conducted by the Fukushima government.

Next to come? Maybe fine consumers for refusing to eat Fukushima produce, be it beef or vegetables.

#Contaminated Water Treatment System: 53% Operating Rate for the Week

It's the lowest operating rate ever, since the system went into full operation with highly contaminated water about a month ago.

The news was released one day after the announcement of the successful completion of the "step 1" in TEPCO/Japanese government's "roadmap" to somewhere (over the rainbow, way up high... it is not reality-based any more, if ever).

From Yomiuri Shinbun (7/20/2011):


TEPCO announced on July 20 that the operating rate of the contaminated water treatment system at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant for the week ended on July 19 was 53%, the lowest ever since the system started the full operation.


TEPCO's target operating rate for July was 80%.


The company calculates the operating rate every week. The reasons for the low operating rate are: low flow rate of 37 cubic meters (tonnes) per hour, instead of 50 cubic meters per hour as the system is designed, and stoppage due to various problems. At the current flow rate, even if there was no problem and the system could be run continuously, the operating rate would only be 74%. TEPCO says it is possible that the target for water treatment may be revised.


The low flow rate may be caused by the sludge in the pipes, but at this point TEPCO hasn't been able to identify the cause. The company will try to improve the system somehow, and hopes to raise the operating rate to 70% during the week starting July 20, and to 90% in August.

Highly radioactive sludge that no one can touch. Or it could be rotten fish bits.

TEPCO must be counting on Toshiba's SARRY, which is supposed to come online in early August. TEPCO had better hope SARRY will deliver.

Radioactive Beef Bento Was Sold on Shinkansen Bullet Trains

Internal radiation spreads far and wide in Japan, as if external one is not enough. Or I should say, "Now they are telling us", when it is too late. Many people already ate the meat from the meat cows that have been only discovered recently to have been fed with radioactive rice hay.

Even the Shinkansen bullet trains were instrumental in spreading the contamination.

JR Tokai announced that the beef from Asakawa-machi in Fukushima Prefecture was used in bento (lunch box) sold on Shinkansen (bullet train). Nothing left of the meat, so no way to test it.

The rice hay from Asakawa-machi has been found to contain the maximum of 97,000 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium.

By the way, the highest level of radioactive cesium in the rice hay was found in Motomiya City in Fukushima Prefecture, and it was 690,000 becquerels/kg. Motomiya City is located about 57 kilometers west of Fukushima I Nuke Plant. No word yet on what happened to the meat cows that ate the rice hay there.

The government and government-sponsored scholars say there is no need to overly concerned even if you eat the beef that contains radioactive cesium far exceeding the hastily-set provisional safety limit. Just remember, they have no proof. Research on internal radiation is sketchy at best, and was outright prohibited particularly in Japan after the two nuclear bombs at the end of the World War II and after the Dai-Go Fukuryu Maru incident (Bikini Atoll Operation Castle Bravo).

(Well, that would be whole another post.)

From Asahi Shinbun (12:53AM JST 7/21/2011):

 ジェイアール東海パッセンジャーズ(本社・東京都)は20日、東海道新幹線の車内などで販売した弁当に高濃度の放射性セシウムが検出された稲わらを食べ た牛の肉を使っていたと発表した。使用した肉は34キロ(約387食分)で、いずれも福島県浅川町産。弁当は販売済みだという。

JR Tokai Passengers (headquartered in Tokyo) announced on July 20 that the meat from the cow fed with the rice hay found with high radioactive cesium was used in bento (lunch box) sold on the Shinkansen bullet trains. 34 kilograms of beef from Asakawa-machi, Fukushima Prefecture was used in about 387 bento boxes, which were all sold.


The bento menus for which the beef in question were used are "Beef Sukiyaki" and "Beef Sukiyaki Onigiri (rice ball)". They were prepared in the company's factories in Tokyo and Nagoya, and were sold from June 17 till July 1 on the Tokaido Shinkansen, at JR stations (Tokyo, Shinagawa, Shin-Yokohama, Nagoya) and at a kiosk at the SCMAGLEV and Railway Park in Nagoya City.


No test was conducted on the cow, and there is no way of knowing whether the beef contained radioactive cesium that exceeded the provisional safety limit.

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

Now the case of radioactive rice hay and radioactive beef has blown wide open. First it was only a couple, then a few hundreds, then many hundreds, now it is way over thousand and counting.

It looks more and more like the Minamata mercury poisoning, except this time, it's nationwide.

Yomiuri Shinbun (1:33AM JST 7/21/2011):


6 prefectures announced on July 20 that the cattle farmers in their prefectures had shipped the total of 637 meat cows fed with the rice hay suspected of containing radioactive cesium in high concentration. The prefectures are: Iwate, Akita, Niigata, Gunma, Shizuoka, and Gifu.


850 meat cows in Yamagata, Miyagi, Fukushima, and Niigata have already been found to have eaten the contaminated rice hay. The total number of meat cows in 9 prefectures that were fed with the contaminated rice hay is now 1,485. The prefectures will track the shipment of the cows, and will conduct the test on the unsold meat.


The rice hay used in Akita, Gunma, and Shizuoka was harvested in Miyagi Prefecture. In Iwate, it was harvested within the prefecture, making Iwate the third prefecture to have been found with the rice hay with high radioactive cesium. 3 cattle farmers in Ichinoseki City and 2 cattle farmers in adjacent Fujisawa-machi in Iwate Prefecture shipped 19 meat cows to Tokyo. The rice hay in Iwate was found to contain the maximum of 57,000 becquerels/kg. If the hay is reconstituted with water, the amount of radioactive cesium is 43 times as much as the national safety limit (300 becquerels/kg).

Again, the cows didn't eat "reconstituted" rice hay. They ate the dry rice hay.

If Iwate's hay came from Ichinoseki City and its surrounding area, again it matches the radiation contour map made by Yukio Hayakawa, volcanologist at Gunma University. (For his chart, see my post on July 17).

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

240 Children in 3 Nursery Schools in Yamagata Prefecture Ate Cesium Beef

This must be the first confirmed case of small children having been fed with the beef contaminated with radioactive cesium.

These small children ate beef from a meat cow in Asakawa-machi in Fukushima Prefecture, and the cow had been fed with the rice hay that contained the maximum 97,000 becuerels/kg of radioactive cesium.

Yamagata Shinbun (7/20/2011) reports:


Concerning the beef from the cows from Asakawa-machi in Fukushima Prefecture that were fed with the rice hay that contained the high level of radioactive cesium, Sakata City (in Yamagata Prefecture) announced on July 19 that 3 nursery schools in the city purchased the beef in late April, and total 290 children and teachers ate the meat in school lunches.


According to Sakata City, the three nursery schools purchased the meat from the same food grocer in the city. The meat was cooked into "hashed beef" dish and served as lunch. 240 children and 50 teachers and administrators ate 20 to 40 grams per person.


The food grocer alerted the nursery schools [after the news of contaminated rice hay in Asakawa-machi broke]. Sakata City traced the history of the meat, and confirmed that the meat that was delivered to the three nursery schools came from the Yokohama City Central Wholesale Meat Market, and the cow had come from Asakawa-machi in Fukushima Prefecture.


The city notified the parents of children at these nursery schools on July 19, and decided not to use beef in school lunches until the safety is assured.


The food safety division of the Yamagata prefectural government says "There is no way to test for radioactive materials in the beef that was served in the nursery schools, because there is no inventory left." But it also says, "It is not very likely that the meat from Asakawa-machi was highly contaminated. Even if you eat 40 grams of beef that contains radioactive cesium twice the national safety limit (of 500 becquerels/kg), it would be only 0.76 microsievert in human body. There is no need to worry excessively."

I hope parents in Yamagata remember their words. The meat can't even be tested and the Yamagata prefectural government tells these kids and parents there's no need to worry because there can't be much cesium in that meat.

By the way, the national government formally ban the shipment of cows out of Fukushima. That means the cattle farmers are now entitled to government (aka taxpayers-funded) compensation for lost business.

What would consumers who already ate the meat get? Some supermarkets say they will refund the purchase money.

Ah. Health and life are both cheap in Japan.

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

That's an amazing reduction from the maximum emission of 2,000 terabecquerels per hour on March 15, it is actually one-2 millionth of the maximum, says TEPCO in the Reference No. 2 of the progress report on the "roadmap" to God knows where.

Is this number, 1 billion becquerels per hour emission, good? TEPCO's Matsumoto, in the press conference on July 19, avoided the judgment, and said he didn't know, but it was one-2 millionth of what it had been on March 15.

On closer reading of the document, though, I noticed one strange thing about this emission number. TEPCO is talking about the radiation emission measured in cesium (cesium-134 and -137), not in iodine equivalence.

To come up with the iodine-131 equivalence, you have to multiply cesium-134 by 3, and cesium-137 by 40 (according to INES handbook). TEPCO doesn't even give the breakdown of cesium 134 and -137 in its calculation of 1 billion becquerels/hour number. Other nuclides have even higher multiplier: americium-241 is 8,000, plutonium-239 is 10,000.

If half of 1 billion becquerels is cesium-134 and the other half is cesium-137, then in iodine-131 equivalence like in the previous calculations, the emission would be:

(0.5*3)+(0.5*40)=1.5+20=21.5 billion becquerels/hour

Instead of 1 billion becquerels/hour, it would be 21.4 billion becquerels/hour in iodine equivalence, or 516 billion becquerels in one day. In less than 2 days, we would be talking about over 1 terabecquerels.

Why TEPCO would do the calculation in cesium instead of iodine equivalent? To make a ready comparison with the previous emission calculations difficult and to give the impression that the number is low?

And what about iodine? They may not be detecting radioactive iodine at Fukushima I Nuke Plant, but iodine-131 is still being detected in sewage sludge in Tokyo and other parts of Kanto.

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

Just for the record, here's the English (unofficial) version of TEPCO's progress report on the "Roadmap":

And the official Japanese version:

Did someone ask what the "Step 1" was? It was supposed to be "stable cooling of the reactors", and which TEPCO and the government (from PM Kan on down) claim to have been achieved by the full operation (at 70% operating rate) of the contaminated water treatment system and the injection of nitrogen gas into the Containment Vessels of Reactors 1, 2 and 3.

Particularly the latter looks like an effort to just tick off the box in the "roadmap", not necessarily out of real concern of recriticality. For this effort carbon workers were exposed to very high radiation levels inside the reactor buildings of Reactors 2 and 3, not to mention the bots who had to vacuum clean the floor or go measure the radiation.

Just wait for the government's declaration that now it's safe for the residents in 20-30 kilometer radius to go home to the highly contaminated soil that no one will decontaminate and high air radiation, now that the plant is "stable".

To make sure the residents have little choice but to go home, the Fukushima prefectural government is shutting down the evacuation shelters within Fukushima. Temporary housing arrangements in other prefectures for the evacuees from Fukushima are expiring, and are not likely to be renewed because of the cost.

Dr. Shunichi "100 millisieverts are safe" Yamashita is now installed as the vice president of Fukushima Medical University, and must be anxious to help Fukushima residents in any way he can. Fukushima Prefecture is so ready to receive all the residents back inside the prefecture, and the successful completion of the "step 1" is just the news they want to hear.

OT: Dell Desktop Has Died on Me

Switching to the backup notebook (Toshiba) but slow and troublesome.. Unable to work for a long time for a post. Hoping to post toward the evening.

Iodine-131 Still Detected in Sewage Sludge in Tokyo

The chart below is created by me from the data provided by the Tokyo Metropolitan Bureau of Sewerage regarding radioactive iodine and cesium at the 12 sewage treatment plants in Tokyo. The chart only shows iodine-131, in the dehydrated sewage sludge. The unit is becquerels/kg.

After nearly 4 months since the last known large discharge of radioactive materials from Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant (March 21), you would think radioactive iodine would be undetectable by now.

On checking Japanese Twitter on the subject, I've found an interesting theory. Some people think that maybe there are hospitals in those areas where iodine-131 increased, and they are dumping radioactive iodine in the sewage that they use for treatment for thyroid problems; or that it's from the urine of the patients treated for thyroid problems.

Anything's possible. Probable though would be a continuing discharge from Fukushima I Nuke Plant, but who knows?

Monday, July 18, 2011

#Radioactive Beef Exceeding Safety Limit Sold in 18 Prefectures

Of 648 meat cows (as of July 18, and counting) that were fed the radioactive rice hay, some are found to contain radioactive cesium far exceeding the provisional safety limit of 500 becquerels/kg.

Yomiuri Shinbun (7/19/2011) reports:


Yomiuri Shinbun's survey has revealed that radioactive cesium exceeding the provisional safety limit (500 becquerels/kg) has been detected from the beef sold in 18 Prefectures. The beef came from the meat cows suspected of having been fed with the rice hay contaminated with high level of radioactive cesium.


The 18 Prefectures are: Aomori, Yamagata, Fukushima, Tochigi, Saitama, Yamanashi, Tokyo, Kanagawa, Shizuoka, Toyama, Gifu, Mie, Osaka, Hyogo, Tokushima, Kagawa, Ehime, and Kochi.


In Osaka where 2 meat cows were sold that had eaten radioactive rice hay, 4,350 becquerels/kg of cesium was detected from the meat from one of the cows. The meat was stored at a wholesaler in Osaka City.


Some of the meat that exceeded the safety limit has already been sold to customers. In Kochi City (in Kochi Prefecture), maximum 2,710 becquerels/kg of cesium was detected from the 3 meat packs stored in home freezers.

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

Another "why are they doing this?" moment for me. TEPCO is repairing the roof of Reactor 3's turbine building in preparation for the Typhoon No.6 so that the rainwater wouldn't go inside the turbine building.

Well, Reactors 1, 3, and 4 don't even have roofs on the reactor building. What difference would plugging the holes in the Reactor 3 turbine building make?

For this meaningless effort, 2 of the 4 human workers who installed the metal plate over the large, oblong hole on the roof received radiation exceeding 10 millisieverts. That's extremely high, considering the work was done outside, not inside the building, though there's no information as to how long the workers took to complete the task.

Now why would the rooftop be so radioactive for this particular turbine building? The holes look as if something heavy fell through the roof.

Only regional newspapers like Hokkaido Shinbun even had the radiation numbers for the workers. No such information in the national papers like Yomiuri and Asahi.

From Hokkaido Shinbun (7/18/2011):


TEPCO continued the work on July 18 to cover the holes on the roof of Reactor 3's turbine building with metal plates in preparation for the approaching Typhoon No.6. The workers finished covering the 14-meter diameter oblong hole, and will plug a 5-meter diameter hole and vents that lost the lids in the accident by July 19.


Of the 4 workers who did the work on the roof, two received radiation exceeding the planned 10 millisieverts. One received 12 millisieverts, the other 11 millisieverts. TEPCO explained the reason as "the work taking longer than expected".


In Reactor 3's turbine building, TEPCO plans to plug two holes with sandbags. (The holes used to have pipes that collected rainwater from the roof.)

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

As the cattle farmers despair over radioactive hay and cattle, and more locations found with very high radiation (hot spots and hot areas), the Japanese government plans to shrink the planned evacuation zone as it pushes a nuclear power plant in Lithuania.

The Hitachi-GE joint venture has won the right to negotiate with the Lithuanian government to build a nuclear power plant in the country, beating Toshiba/Westinghouse. Another successful government-industry joint effort to push super-large "infrastructure" projects in developing countries throughout the world.

Nuclear accident? What accident? Have you heard of a nuclear accident recently, which happened on Hitachi-GE reactors? Lithuanians?

Chief Cabinet Secretary Edano commented on the success of Hitachi-GE during the press conference on July 15 as follows (according to J-Cast News, 7/15/2011):


"Despite the Fukushima accident, the Japanese technology is still highly valued by other countries. It is very positive."

Asked about PM Kan's remark that the nuclear technology is an "uncontrollable technology", Edano said:

"I don't remember the context of his remark, so I cannot comment."

Edano, Kaieda (Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry) and Hosono (PM's assistant and Minister in charge of the Fukushima accident) have been very close these days as if they were identical triplets (just look at this great shot from NHK the other day; from left, Edano, Kaieda, Hosono), planning for the "stress test" for the nuclear power plants so that they can be re-started ASAP and seemingly going around the prime minister if not avoiding him.

The Mitsubishi-AREVA JV has won the right to negotiate with the Jordanian government for their first nuke plant in the country. Toshiba, who owns 100% of Westinghouse Electric, has been pushing for the Mongolian fuel processing plant.

Business as usual for the world's nuke industry.

#Radioactive Hay Spreads to Niigata Prefecture

Two cattle farmers in Nagaoka City in Niigata Prefecture bought rice hay for their cows from a seller in Miyagi Prefecture and fed their cows. 24 cows were later sold in Niigata and Tokyo. Now the rice hay has been found to contain 10,500 to 20,600 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium.

Niigata Prefecture is on the Japan Sea side, and is most noted for its excellent premium rice brand, "Koshihikari".

Many Japanese thought Niigata was relatively safe from radioactive fallout from Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant. Unfortunately there are more than one way to get the fallout, and buying rice hay from Miyagi (not even Fukushima) was one of them.

(Radioactive cesium of Fukushima-origin was indeed detected from the raw milk in Niigata.)

By the way, it turns out that the rice hay that cattle farmers in Tohoku fed their cows with was not due to the shortage or unavailability of other types of feed. Rice hay is an integral part of the cows' diet, as it nicely blend fat with the red meat ("Shimofuri") when ingested. So the cattle farmers feed their meat cows with rice hay before the cows are sent to be processed.

If that's the case, it looks like the bureaucrats in the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries didn't know how the cattle farming was done, but the farmers must have assumed that these government bureaucrats knew what they were doing and issued orders to the farmers accordingly.

Government regulations crafted by the desk-bound bureaucrats serve to dull the keen sense of the farmers on the fields. For that matter, of anybody. The answer isn't "more regulations" (just look at the current sets of regulations have done so far) but sadly that's what people will be calling for.

From Jiji Tsushin (7/18/2011):

新潟県は18日、同県長岡市の畜産農家2戸が保管していた宮城県産稲わらから、国の暫定規制値(1キロ当たり300ベクレル)を超える1万500~2万 600ベクレルの放射性セシウムを検出したと発表した。乾燥する前の水分を含んだ状態に換算すると、規制値の8~15倍に相当する。うち1戸の農家からは 新潟県内と東京都のと畜場に肉牛計24頭が出荷されたことも分かった。これらの農家はいずれも宮城県内の業者から稲わらを購入したという。

Niigata Prefecture announced on July 18 that 10,500 to 20,600 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium was detected from the rice hay at two cattle farms in Nagaoka City in Niigata. The rice hay was harvested in Miyagi Prefecture. The provisional safety limit for cattle feed is 300 becquerels/kg for cesium. If the rice hay is reconstituted with water, the above numbers are 8 to 15 times the limit of the provisional safety limit. It has been revealed that one of the two farms shipped 24 meat cows in Niigata and Tokyo. Both farms purchased the rice hay from a dealer in Miyagi Prefecture.


Niigata Prefecture has requested the two cattle farms not to ship or move the cows that have been fed with the contaminated rice hay, and started to trace the movement of the cows already shipped. The prefectural government will also test for cesium in the rice hay at other cattle farms in the prefecture who use the rice hay from Miyagi Prefecture.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

PM Kan: "Step 2 Will Be Brought Forward So That You Can Go Home"

"Extend and Pretend" continues in Japan, getting beyond delusional particularly in light of more evidence of widespread radiation contamination.

Prime Minister Kan, who survived the vote of no confidence and is determined more than ever to stay on (or dissolve the lower house and hold a general election with "beyond nuke" message, as some analysts have suggested, to appeal to the Japanese who are increasingly anti-nuke), now promises the 12 heads of the municipalities around Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant that completion of the "step 2" of the so-called "roadmap" will be expedited so that their people can go home.

What is the "step 2"? It is to bring the reactors to a "cold shutdown".

Don't laugh. And don't ask how they can bring three broken reactors which may not even have the fuel (or corium) inside to a "cold shutdown". Technically, a "cold shutdown" assumes a sound RPV and containment, not a RPV with a hole or two, Containment Vessel with a hole or two, and the reactor building top blown to smithereens. They will probably have to change the very definition of "cold shutdown" to claim they will have achieved the "cold shutdown".

Let's see, according to TEPCO, the Reactor Pressure Vessel's temperature for Reactor 1 is 102 degrees Celsius at the bottom of the RPV, the temperature for Reactor 2's RPV at the same place is 127 degrees Celsius. Reactor 3's RPV is hotter at 141 degrees Celsius at the water feeder. But just wait another 3, 4 months or so till the corium completely falls out of the RPVs and hopefully out of the Containment Vessel and deep into the concrete or substrate, so that the RPV's temperature drops down below 100. Call that a cold shutdown, and they're all set.

Yomiuri Shinbun (7/17/2011) reports:


Prime Minister Kan attended a meeting on July 16 at a hotel in Koriyama City, Fukushima Prefecture to exchange opinions with the heads of the 12 municipalities surrounding Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant.

首相は、原発事故の収束までの道筋を示した「工程表」に関し、来年1月中旬までに原子炉を冷温停止状態とする「ステップ2」を前倒しで実現する考えを示した。 出席者によると、同席した細野原発相が、17日が期限の「ステップ1」を「ほぼ達成できた」と報告し、首相は「多くの皆さんが故郷に帰れるように『ステップ2』を前倒しさせたい」と語った。

Regarding the "roadmap" to winding down the plant accident, the prime minister expressed his hope that the "step 2" will be achieved ahead of schedule. The "step 2" is to bring the reactors to a "cold shutdown" by the middle of January next year. According to the participants in the meeting, Minister in charge of the nuke accident Hosono reported that the "step 1", whose deadline was July 17, had been almost all successfully completed. The prime minister said "we want to achieve the "step 2" ahead of schedule so that many of you can go back to your homes."


Some expressed a huge disappointment at the prime ministers explanation in the cabinet meeting and in the Diet that his "beyond-nuke" stance was only his personal opinion. In response, the prime minister said his administration's unified view on the issue would be decided soon.

Christopher Busby's Talk in Japan, July 17: From Air Filters, Plutonium in Fukushima, Uranium in Tokyo

It is ongoing right now, netcast live on USTREAM here.

I will watch the recording tomorrow (it's way past midnight here) and report to you in detail, but here's some of the things I caught in the beginning:

Shukan Gendai (Japanese weekly magazine) sent (I think) the air filters of the cars from Japan, one from Fukushima, the other from Tokyo. From the air filter from Fukushima, plutonium-239 was detected. From the air filter from Tokyo, uranium-235, tellurium-129.

#Radioactive Rice Hay Found in Miyagi Prefecture

in three locations in two cities that are150 kilometers north of Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant.

In response to the radioactive rice hay found in Fukushima Prefecture that contained up to 500,000 becquerels/kg of cesium, Miyagi Prefecture did the survey of rice hay in three locations in two cities, Kurihara City and Tome City, north of Sendai City. Maximum 3,600 becquerels/kg of cesium was found in the rice hay, which had been used by the cattle farmers to feed their cows.

Sankei Shinbun (7/15/2011) reported the comment of the cattle farmers:

「大変憤慨している」-。宮城県登米市の肉用牛農家の男性(58)は声を荒らげた。「稲わらは秋に田んぼから収集したものだけを牛に食べさせているが、経 営への打撃は大きい」と話す。「まさかここまで(放射能が)飛んでくるとは夢にも思わなかった。...」

"I am very upset", says a cattle farmer in Tome City in Miyagi Prefecture. "I've been feeding the cows with the rice hay collected from the rice fields last fall. This is a big blow to my farm. I never imagined that the radioactive materials would fly this far. "

The Miyagi prefectural government's instruction to cattle farmers were: "Do not use the rice hay collected after the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant accident." So, following the instruction, the cattle farmers were feeding their cows with the rice hay collected last fall.

This is the radiation contour map created by Professor Yukio Hayakawa, the volcanologist at Gunma University. Notice the arm that goes north from the Fukushima I Nuke Plant and curl left. Kurihara and Tome are right below the curl. If only someone had shown the map to the cattle farmers there ...

Or if only someone had shown the cattle farmers the radioactive materials dispersion forecast by ZAMG, German Weather Bureau, or Norwegian Weather Bureau early in the accident, they would have seen that Miyagi Prefecture was almost constantly under the radioactive plume from the nuke plant.