Saturday, January 21, 2012

Fukushima I Nuke Plant Reactor 2: Temp Near the Bottom of Reactor Pressure Vessel Went -197.1 Degrees Celsius

Just for the record, the thermometer at the CRD Housing Upper Part of the Reactor Pressure Vessel of Reactor 2 is completely kaput (or DS, down scale), and the last measurement on January 19 was -197.1 degrees Celsius, or -322.78 degrees Fahrenheit.

An extreme cold shutdown at that particular location, for sure.

If you haven't seen the video of inside the Reactor 2 Containment Vessel that houses this extremely cold RPV, the digest version is here, and the full version is here.

From TEPCO's latest plant parameters (1/21/2012):

Job Advertisement Poster from Ministry of the Environment: "Without Decontamination, There Will Be No Recovery of Fukushima"

I took it to mean "Therefore there would be no recovery of Fukushima" but that's clearly not what the Ministry of the Environment (many on the net are calling "Ministry of the Destruction of the Environment) has in mind, in the job advertisement poster as photographed by Shuji Akagi, a Japanese twitterer:

Lush green in the shape of Fukushima Prefecture.

"Without Decontamination, There Will Be No Recovery of Fukushima", in the literary style that evokes days before the World War II.

The Ministry is looking to hire people for its effort to decontaminate the contaminated areas, particularly that in Fukushima Prefecture and to promote wide-area processing of contaminated debris .

Application deadline is Friday, February 3, 2012.

Bumper Crop of Big Oysters in Miyagi Prefecture, Oysters Grew Extremely Fast

From Asahi Shinbun Miyagi local version (1/20/2012):


On January 19, 160 kilograms of cultured oysters were shipped, as the first batch, from Higashi Mone District of Karakuwa-cho in Kesennuma City in Miyagi Prefecture. The oysters had been seeded in June last year. The shipment was scheduled for this fall, but the oysters grew so rapidly that fishermen decided to harvest and ship right away. The shipment will continue throughout the month.


4 fishermen including Tetsu Hatayama (age 40) harvested and shipped the oysters. They pulled the ropes that were in the ocean to take the oysters attached to the ropes, cleaned the oysters and put them in the baskets, and put the ropes back in the ocean. Since they are missing the baskets because of the earthquake/tsunami, they removed some oysters from the shells to ship.


According to Hatayama, there's an old saying that oysters grow fast after a tsunami. They may have grown rapidly since a number of rafts used for oyster culture [ropes are dangled from the rafters] were lost in the earthquake/tsunami and the dense planting was alleviated [as the tsunami wiped out the rafts]. Hatayama says, "We decided to harvest sooner, otherwise the rafts would have sunk from the weight of the oysters. This is a special case, shipping this early, thanks to the earthquake/tsunami."

Oysters eat phytoplankton in the ocean.

NHK did the documentary in November last year investigating the marine contamination from the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant accident, and found high levels of bioconcentration in abalones of both radioactive cesium and radioactive silver (Ag-110m), the latter particularly in the liver. Oysters are almost all internal organs as they don't need and use muscles once they attach themselves to rocks or ropes.

There is absolutely no concern for radiation in the Asahi article.

Kan Administration Declared the Fukushima Accident Worst-Case Scenario Report "Didn't Exist" After Reading It

The news of the worst-case scenario report submitted to the Kan administration by the Japan Atomic Energy Commission in March last year has already been reported, as I wrote on my January 2 post, but a little bit more information is coming from Kyodo News now.

It turns out that the Kan administration not only sat on the report detailing the worst-case scenario of the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant accident, but it declared the report wouldn't exist from then on, and didn't even officially recognize its existence as part of the government documents until December last year when the news of the report finally leaked. On the New Year's Eve.

So the core administration officials did the "three monkeys" - see no evil, say no evil, hear no evil - on the worst nuclear accident in the country, if not in the world while telling the citizens and the world everything was under control, that it was safe to play outside, that there was no meltdown at Fukushima, and attacking people who said otherwise as "fear-monger".

Kyodo News has a slightly different description of this incident in Japanese than in English. In the English version, the news agency simply says the administration kept the worst case scenario under wraps for months. But the Kyodo Japanese News reveals more.

From Kyodo News Japanese (1/21/2012):


The document that detailed the "worst-case scenario" in which radioactive materials would be released intermittently in large quantities for about a year if all the workers at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant were to be evacuated was shown to a handful of officials in the Kan administration, including Prime Minister Naoto Kan, in the Prime Minister's Office in late March. But the report, after being shown to the administration officials, was sealed as "the report did not exist", and was not even treated as part of the official government documents until the end of last year. It was revealed by the multiple government sources on January 21.


The Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission (Commissioner Koichi Kitazawa, former chief of Japan Science and Technology Agency) , a private-sector panel looking into the nuclear disaster plans to probe how the government was handling the crisis, by interviewing then-Prime Minister Naoto Kan and Goshi Hosono, who was the adviser to Kan and was in charge of handling the nuclear accident at that time.

For reference, here's what's available from Kyodo News English for non-subscribers:

The government kept a worst case scenario for the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant under wraps for months after the document was shown to a small group of policymakers in late March, government sources said Saturday.

A private-sector panel looking into the nuclear disaster plans to probe whether the government tried to manipulate information in handling the crisis, by interviewing then Prime Minister Naoto Kan and Goshi Hosono, environment minister who was then adviser to Kan, among other figures. Hosono was in charge of handling the nuclear crisis.

The document, created by Japan Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Shunsuke Kondo at Kan's request, said that in a worst case scenario, radioactive materials would intermittently be released in massive quantities for roughly a year if all workers had to be evacuated from the plant, some 220 kilometers northeast of Tokyo.

Radioactive materials have intermittently released for nearly a year, both into the atmosphere and into rivers and the Pacific Ocean.

As you see in the photo below, the report was neatly presented, with colored charts and graphs. Let's see if anyone in the media or the government cares to upload this report.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Full Video of Inside the Reactor 2 Containment Vessel

For those of you who need to see the full version, not just the digest. TEPCO for some unknown reason uploaded 4 separate videos that are available for download for about a week. The total video length is about 40 minutes, with the last video being the longest (22 minutes). File sizes are big, and I will add to this post as I upload them on Youtube.

The scenes remind me of the movie "Alien".

Again, 40 unnamed workers in 10 teams prepped the site on January 17, receiving 3 millisieverts radiation exposure, and 34 unnamed workers operated the Olympus endoscope right outside the Containment Vessel, receiving 3 millisieverts radiation. Though Reactor 2's radiation levels are tame compared to those in Reactor 1 and Reactor 3, the air radiation level at the job site was over 20 millisieverts, according to TEPCO.

By the way, TEPCO released the photographs of the endoscope that was used, as if it was the hero of the operation.

Part 1 (Oh wait, it is supposed to be 8-plus minute video... What happened? Well enjoy while I try to figure that out.)

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Japanese Government to Municipalities Against Accepting Radioactive Waste: "Shut Up"

That, in my crude paraphrasing, is what the Japanese national government is telling those municipalities in Japan that are siding with the residents who are against receiving radioactive waste - whether it is radioactive fly ashes from incineration plants or radioactive sewage sludge - to be burned, buried, or recycle in their towns, as long as the radioactivity is 8,000 becquerels/kg and less.

Or more formally according to NHK,

the Ministry of the Environment has requested the municipalities throughout Japan not to restrict the acceptance of waste without any scientific evidence and legal basis and not to instruct the private waste processing companies not to accept the waste.

The national government has declared it is safe, and IAEA agrees with them, says NHK.

Does IAEA really say it is safe to bury 8,000 becquerels/kg radioactive cesium in a regular dump? Somehow, I have my doubts.

"Request" is a strong word, bureaucratically speaking, but short of outright order which may yet to come.

NHK News (1/21/2012):

基準以下の廃棄物 処分を要請

The national government requests the processing of radioactive waste if within the safety limit


As municipalities continue to refuse to accept and process the ashes from garbage incineration or sewage sludge in the Tokyo metropolitan region and other locations, the Ministry of the Environment has requested the municipalities throughout Japan not to refuse.


As to the garbage ashes and sewage sludge, the Ministry of the Environment has already set the standard of 8,000 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium; if the radioactivity is 8,000 becquerels/kg and less, it is OK to bury the ashes and sewage sludge in a regular landfill. However, there are many cases in which processing of ashes and sludge from the Tokyo metropolitan region and in Tohoku region has been refused by the municipalities under contract, due to the opposition from the residents in the receiving municipalities.


To remedy the situation, the Ministry of the Environment has requested the municipalities throughout Japan not to restrict the acceptance of waste without any scientific evidence and legal basis and not to instruct the private waste processing companies not to accept the waste. According to the Ministry, not only the experts in Japan but also the IAEA agree that when the ashes and sewage sludge with 8,000 becquerels/kg and less radioactive cesium are buried in a landfill, safety of the residents living near the landfill is not a problem.


The Ministry of the Environment says, "We want them to understand that if it is within the safety standard, it is safe. We will continue to coordinate with the municipalities and explain to the residents so that the appropriate processing [of the radioactive waste] can be done."

Next, I fully expect the Ministry of the Environment to say the same thing about disaster debris in Miyagi and Iwate, which the Tokyo government has been merrily burning in the municipal incinerators and dumping the ashes into the final processing location which is a landfill in the middle of Tokyo Bay. (Liquefaction, anyone?)

In some municipalities, landfills are located near the water sources, and the landfills have been known for leaking toxic substances into the water by faulty or broken filtering systems.

Residents of east Japan including Kanto region are against receiving it because they do not want added radioactive materials on top of what they already have. Residents of west Japan do not want it because most of west Japan has been spared of serious contamination like that of east Japan, and do not want to contaminate their soil, air and water.

More ordinary people on the net are getting more knowledgeable than the government officials and politicians. They may have no problem coming up with the scientific evidence and legal basis to refuse the radioactive waste.

By the way, the ashes from burning the regular household garbage in Iwaki City in Fukushima Prefecture has been burned in the melting furnace into slags in Saitama Prefecture, which are then turned into sands to be used in the public works in Saitama. The prefecture didn't know about it until citizens told the officials, as the prefectural government is not involved in the transaction between the private business in Saitama and a municipality in other prefecture.

An increasing number of Japanese seem, finally, to think if they allow the government to get its way, nowhere in their country can remain clean (excluding the background of course from the nuclear fallout from the atmospheric testing). They'd better hurry and educate their non-net-based friends and family members.

NISA Hid Fast Breeder "Monju" Trouble for Over a Month

The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency's excuse is that the operator, Japan Atomic Energy Agency, did make an announcement of the trouble "locally" - probably meaning the municipality where the fast breeder is located.

From Yomiuri Shinbun (1/20/2012):


Trouble at Monju, cause unknown. May further spur the debate whether to continue the project


The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency under the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry instructed the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) to investigate the cause of malfunction at the driving mechanisms for the control rods at the JAEA's fastbreeder "Monju" (in Tsuruga City, Fukui Prefecture), and to come up with measures to prevent it from happening again.


According to NISA, the malfunction happened on December 12. Of the 19 driving mechanisms for the control rods, one mechanism didn't work at all when they conducted the test to verify the mechanisms were working. When tested again 2 days later, the mechanism worked. However, there is another mechanism that didn't work [and didn't work in the 2nd test]. JAEA says they will disassemble the mechanism in order to identify the cause.


As to why the disclosure was so late, NISA explained that the control rods were all in, and JAEA did announce locally. The control rods are all inserted, and the Monju reactor is safe at this time. However, the government has been reviewing its nuclear policies in the aftermath of the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant accident, including whether to continue the Monju project. The trouble this time may spur the debate.

Not just the malfunction trouble, but the fact that the regulatory agency NISA felt it was OK to wait for more than one month to announce the problem should raise alarm.

NISA's press release on January 20 states that JAEA must report back to the Agency by February 29.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

(At Least) 1,100 Tonnes of Highly Contaminated Water Found in Trenches at #Fukushima I Nuke Plant

No, this is not April 2011 when they found water whose surface radiation exceeded 1000 millisieverts/hour. (We weren't told how high it was, as their survey meter went overscale.)

TEPCO, ever since they found water leaking into the ocean from the evaporative condensation apparatus (desalination process) in December, has been checking the trenches that they know exist in the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant compound, and just about everywhere they look they are finding contaminated water of varying radioactivity in indeterminable amount.

The discovery on January 19 was rather "hot", as TEPCO's announcement shows:

Discharge valve pit of circulating water pump of Unit 2 pump room

  • Amount of "puddle": 500 cubic meters (500 tonnes)

  • Surface dose rate: 45 microsieverts/hour

  • Cesium-134: 7.1 x 10^3 Bq/cubic centimeter, or 7,100,000 Bq/liter

  • Cesium-137: 9.1 x 10^3 Bq/cubic centimeter, or 9,100,000 Bq/liter

Discharge valve pit of circulating water pump of Unit 3 pump room

  • Amount of "puddle": 600 cubic meters (600 tonnes)

  • Surface dose rate: 21 microsieverts/hour

  • Cesium-134: 3.8 x 10^2 Bq/cubic centimeter, or 380,000 Bq/liter

  • Cesium-137: 4.8 x 10^2 Bq/cubic centimeter, or 480,000 Bq/liter

They found two other trenches with contaminated water, with lower radioactivity. The locations of the above two pits are shown on this map. The only place where they didn't find any "puddle" was the Unit 2 Common Piping Duct:

Here's the summary table of discoveries of trenches with "puddles" of radioactive water:

I find it interesting that the surface dose rates do not necessarily correspond to the amount of radioactive cesium in the water. I believe they are measuring gamma rays, not beta. I wonder if TEPCO bothers testing other nuclides.

TEPCO assures us that the company doesn't think there are leaks to the ocean, because all the trenches that lead to the ocean have been plugged. They are very incurious as to where the water came (or is coming) from.

It may be good to recall what carried the water highly contaminated with strontium to the ocean in December was a regular side drain, not the concrete trenches and ducts.

Video of Inside Fukushima I Nuke Plant Reactor 2 Containment Vessel

It's raining inside the Containment Vessel, with water droplets and radiation.

TEPCO has just released the digest version, 1 minute and 14 seconds. In the evening press conference on January 19, TEPCO's Matsumoto said the video footage that they took was about 30 minutes long, but most of it is either totally dark, or white-out as a water droplet was on the camera lens. (Or so he said.)

It took 34 workers (6 TEPCO, 28 affiliate companies) 1 hour and 10 minutes for the video.

(UPDATED) 2,500 US Walmart Stores Selling "Japanese" Cuisine Pushed by Japanese Food Giant Ajinomoto

(Update 1/20/2012: According to the customer service of Ajinomoto USA, the "Simmering Samurai" line of frozen food currently uses ingredients from China, Japan, the US and other countries, depending on the seasonality and availability.)


since September 2011. There is no critical thinking behind the CNN article below; if there were, the writer would have asked questions like "Where are the ingredients coming from?"

It looks Ajinomoto, of MSG fame, makes "Simmering Samurai" frozen food in its Oregon manufacturing facility, according to the article, but it's not clear from the article. So I went to Ajinomoto's site, and it is still not clear. All they say about ingredients (for pot stickers, not for "Simmering Samurai" line of frozen food) is:

Before accepting any ingredients, they are thoroughly checked for freshness & quality. If they pass Ajinomoto's strict quality standards, they are received.

Looking at the package, "Simmering Samurai" looks more Chinese than Japanese.

(What a stupid naming.)

From CNN (9/12/2011):

Walmart bringing 'real' Japanese food to the United States
Millions rejoice on discovering it's not going to be sushi rolls again

Spend any time in Japan and you’ll soon realize that the local cuisine is the Best In The World (there, we said it). But return home and the old “What next?” question arises all too soon.

Luckily, if you’re in the good ole U.S. of A, Japanese catering giant Ajinomoto is riding to the rescue and pushing its Japanese culinary expertise to the masses through a new deal with Walmart.

Country-wide deal

Later this month, Tokyo-based Ajinomoto will start selling its existing “Simmering Samurai” range at 2,500 Walmart outlets across the United States, giving it what it hopes will be a fast track to the American stomach.

The frozen lineup will include Chicken Fried Rice, Orange Chicken and Beef Broccoli, each selling for about $9, and enough to feed three or four.

Changing tastes

Ajinomoto says it’s looking to growing U.S. demand for ethnic foods to help it sell more Japanese lines. Previously, it had concentrated on mostly niche products with typically expensive price tags.

Now, however, the firm is able to team up with a big-box retailer like Walmart as it has a manufacturing base in Oregon that helps keeps costs down.

Bonus fact: Ajinomoto also holds naming rights to the 50,000-seat Ajinomoto Stadium soccer arena in Chofu, Tokyo, which is home to two pro soccer teams.

Update: Yes, we know full well the dishes aren't particularly Japanese -- one would assume Ajinomoto has done trials to see what works well in the United Stated and planned accordingly. Food has a long history of "adapting" to fit the target market, after all.

(H/T anon reader)

Reactor 2 Containment Vessel Endoscopy Photos

(UPDATE 1/19/2012: For the video digest, go to my latest post on the subject, here.)

Just released during the press conference, which you can view at this link.

At 9:13AM on January 19, the temperature inside as measured by the endoscope was 44.7 degrees Celsius.

6 TEPCO employees and 28 affiliate workers, with maximum 3.07 millisieverts radiation exposure.

The video will be uploaded tomorrow.

In the photos, white dots are gamma rays.

From TEPCO's handout for the press, January 19, 2011:

Inside the pipe (before the Containment Vessel):

Inside surface of the Containment Vessel. Paint looks peeling:

At the grating (OP. 9500): no water was seen. OP 9500 is the level of the floor. OP 5480 is the bottom of the CV. TEPCO was expecting to see water at OP 9500.

Looking up inside the CV:

Reactor 2 Containment Vessel Endoscopy Update: They Coudn't See the Water

(UPDATE: Photos inside the CV just released. See my new post.)


The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency's press conference is ongoing. TEPCO will have its evening press conference in less than an hour (at 6:00PM JST).

From NISA's press conference, on Reactor 2 Containment Vessel endoscopy carried out on January 19:

TEPCO couldn't see the surface of the water which was supposed to remain in the Containment Vessel.

The water level was probably much lower than expected (5.3 meters from the bottom of the CV).

It was highly humid inside the CV, and water was dripping.

No comment to one reporter's question of whether there is a damage on the CV as the water level was lower than expected.

Blurry image with water drops and high radiation inside.

Inside the CV, temperature was 40 degrees Celsius.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

#Radioactive Firewood Resulted in 43,780 Bq/Kg Radioactive Ashes in Nihonmatsu City

So, clearly there was a good reason why IAEA went to measure the radiation levels in Nihonmatsu City, Fukushima Prefecture when they came in March 2011 right after the March 11 nuclear accident.

From Jiji Tsushin (1/19/2012):


The Ministry of the Environment announced on January 19 that 43,780 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium was detected from the ashes in a wood stove used in a personal residence in Nihonmatsu City, Fukushima Prefecture.

Ashes are used as soil amendment.

The safety standards for firewood and charcoal were not even in place until November last year. According to the Forestry Agency, the safety limit for firewood is 40 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium, and 280 becquerels/kg for charcoal so that the resultant ashes would not contain more than 8,000 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium.

The Agency's Q&A says:

From the incineration tests, when 1 kg of firewood is burned it results in 5 grams of ashes, and 1 kg of charcoal in 30 grams of ashes, with 90% of radioactive cesium remaining in the ashes.

That means radioactive cesium density in 1 kg of ashes is 182 times as much as that of 1 kg of firewood, and 28 times as much as that of 1 kg of charcoal.

2% of radioactive cesium in firewood/charcoal, when used in cooking, was transferred to the food.

Oh wait a minute. 10% of radioactive cesium that is in the wood/charcoal is released in the air when burned?

Reading further, the Agency openly encourage the bundling of radioactive firewood/charcoal that exceed the safety limit with those without any cesium detected:

It is OK to bundle firewood or charcoal that exceed the safety standard with firewood or charcoal that does not exceed the safety standard, and sell the bundle as long as it is not shipped across the prefectural border. [What's the point of that?]

To dispose the ashes of unknown radioactive cesium density, do not use as soil amendment in gardens and farmlands. Dispose them appropriately as waste products.


The Agency does not say. I don't think ANY seller of firewood or charcoal is measuring the radioactivity, and I don't think any user of wood stove who gets the wood from the mountains in their backyard is measuring it either.

They say that's how the soil contamination after the Chernobyl accident remained high - cut the woods that were doused with radioactive materials, burn them in stoves for heat and cooking, use the ashes as soil amendment to grow food.

That's happening in Japan now, thanks partly to bureaucrats in the government ministries but also to the general public who still don't connect the March 11 Fuku I accident with radioactive materials all around them.

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant Reactor 2 CV Endoscopy Is Done

(UPDATE: Photos inside the CV just released. See my post.)


At TEPCO's morning press conference on January 19, 2012, TEPCO's Matsumoto said that the endoscope was successfully inserted through the hole created on January 17 on the Reactor 2 Containment Vessel and the survey of the interior was done.

The work started at 9AM, and was done at 10:10AM. More details of the survey will be disclosed at the evening press conference at 6:00PM.

TEPCO thinks it is a partial meltdown in Reactor 2, and there is water up to 5 meter from the bottom of the Containment Vessel.

If you understand Japanese, you can view TEPCO's press conference live at TEPCO's site, here.

The morning press conference starts at 11:00AM JST, and the evening press conference starts at 6:00PM JST. (Even if you understand Japanese, you may find it incomprehensible.)

There's no information from TEPCO about the radiation level at the location that the workers had to work, other than the company expects the radiation exposure level for the workers would be 3 millisieverts.

10 groups of workers (if the Jan 19 crew is the same size as the Jan 17 crew), 1 hour 10 minutes job, and 3 millisieverts expected exposure would indicate one group would spend 7 minutes at the site to get 3 millisieverts radiation, and the radiation level at the site would be about 25.71 millisieverts/hour.

Not bad, compared to other reactors that has locations whose radiation is one to two digits higher.

Slow and Rude Awakening of Japanese Citizens Over the Nuclear Crisis

They are nowhere near the majority ( who eat any food and go anywhere without a single worry about radiation contamination), probably not even 10% of the population. But thanks to the net and particularly the social media like Twitter, the Japanese people now have a direct tool to observe how the officialdom works, firsthand.

The most recent case in point happened yesterday, over the so-called "public hearing" held by the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency under the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. The public hearing was about the approval of the result of the so-called stress test of one of the nuclear power plants operated by Kansai Electric Power Company (Ooi Nuclear Power Plant in Fukui Prefecture, in the so-called "Nuclear Ginza").

NISA and the Ministry clearly thought it was conducting a routine "public hearing" where the experts would rubber-stamp the conclusion already reached by the Agency which is staffed with employees from companies in the nuclear industry on temporary assignments and where the public, if any were there, were supposed to sit there quietly to observe the proceedings. Yesterday, NISA was to ascertain the safety of the Ooi Nuke Plant, paving the way for the re-start, and was expecting a smooth sailing. It did ascertain, but it was decidedly not a smooth sailing.

The citizens who went to the public hearing didn't want to just sit and listen, and sensing trouble the NISA quickly moved to close off the meeting, telling the citizens to watch the proceedings on a monitor in a separate room. When the citizens said no, and didn't obey NISA's order to stay in the separate room and entered the conference room, the Agency called in the police.

Then the order apparently quickly went to the media to report the incident as it was happening and paint the protesters as lawless and rude. Here's one typical report by Nippon Television News (1/18/2012); just about every sentence is incorrect:


An anti-nuclear group has forced its way into a meeting held at the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency under METI, and the police has been called in.


The NISA was expected on January 18 to discuss the appropriateness of the stress test that would be used to determine whether to re-start the Reactors 3 and 4 at Ooi Nuclear Power Plant (Ooi, Fukui Prefecture) and to declare it would be "appropriate" to re-start the plant. However, the citizens' groups who were against nuclear power plants barged in to the conference room from the separate room set aside for the public [to monitor the proceedings] and disrupted the proceedings, so the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry called the police.


According to the police, the citizens' groups are doing the sit-in inside the building.

The reality was:

  • It was not an organized "group" of anti-nuke protesters but a bunch of citizens, including people from Fukushima Prefecture who were exercising their right as citizens to participate in a "public hearing";

  • They lined up and obtained the tickets to participate in the hearing;

  • The meeting was open to public, but the NISA decided to move the public to a separate location to avoid interruption;

  • They didn't barge in violently as portrayed by the MSM, didn't interrupt the proceedings, but they were asking questions as concerned citizens.

And how do we know that? Because an independent media (IWJ) was net-casting the whole thing live, and people were tweeting, watching the netcast live.

Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Yukio Edano, whose refrain as the chief cabinet secretary was "There is no immediate effect from radiation" (he now says he only meant for a couple of days or weeks at most), called the citizen's behavior "unacceptable" and said that "some of the commissioners are being forced to remain in the room". How dare the lowly citizens interrupt the government scientific proceedings beyond their comprehension?

Two commissioners left the meeting in protest when the NISA did hold the meeting 4 hours later in a separate room shutting out the citizens entirely.

As Sankei Shinbun (1/18/2011) reports:


Two commissioners on the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency's expert panel to assess the stress test conducted on Ooi Nuclear Power Plant operated by Kansai Electric Power Company left the meeting in protest. Hiromitsu Ino, professor emeritus at Tokyo University and another commissioner protested against the NISA's decision to hold the meeting without the public attending.


Ino emphatically said, "The reason for NISA not to allow the public to attend the meeting was supposedly some irregular remarks [from the public] in the previous meeting. But that only delayed the proceedings by a few minutes. It is absurd to exclude the public for such a flimsy reason."


Commissioner Masashi Goto, a former nuclear power plant engineer, said "You get heckled in the Diet. If NISA cannot tolerate such a minor thing, the agency will further lose credibility. I cannot participate in a meeting behind closed doors where the public is shut out."


Ino also criticized the decision by NISA that the stress test for Ooi Nuke Plant was appropriate. "They say it was a comprehensible safety evaluation, when in reality only a small portion was evaluated."

Professor Ino is the one who said the other day that a Containment Vessel at Fukushima II (Daini) Nuclear Power Plant was broken from the March 11 earthquake.

Some on Twitter are still incredulous that the police was on the government's side, not on the citizens' side. Other long-held beliefs in a trust-based society that have been shattered, at least for a portion of the population, since March 11, 2011 include:

  • The government of all levels, from national to municipal to an unofficial unit of "self-governing" neighborhood association, exist to protect citizens;

  • The government officials don't lie, for the most part;

  • Producers and distributors are honest, caring about the safety and quality of the products that they produce and sell;

  • Food in Japan is safe, and the government will make sure it remains that way;

  • The police is there to protect citizens;

  • Public hearing means the public get to voice their opinions;

  • They can trust the experts because they are from prominent academic institutions in the country;

  • They can trust the politicians because they are from prominent academic institutions in the country;

  • They can trust school teachers because they are from prominent academic institutions in the country;

  • If it is reported in the mass media, it must be true;

  • Nuclear power plants are safe.

  • and on and on and on...

The list is endless and still growing. Too bad it took one of the worst nuclear accidents in history for the citizens to realize they've been had.

#Radioactive Construction Sites: 1,000 Sites May Have Used "Contaminated" Crushed Stones in Fukushima

From Kyodo News (1/18/2012):

汚染石の使用現場は千カ所か 経産省、流通の特定難航

1,000 sites may have used the contaminated crushed stones. The Ministry of Economy having trouble identifying the buyers


Concerning the crushed stones from the stone pit in Namie-machi in Fukushima suspected to have been contaminated by radioactive materials and which were used in the construction of the apartment [in Nihonmatsu City] and other buildings, it was revealed on January 18 in the interview with the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry officials that 1,000 construction sites in Fukushima Prefecture may have used the crushed stones or the concrete with the crush stones from this stone pit.


The Ministry is investigating the sales channels, but having trouble identifying the buyers. If the sales were in small lots, there may not be any receipt left for the transactions between the construction companies.


It has been newly discovered that the crushed stones have been used as gravels in the front yard of a personal residence in Nihonmatsu City, and that they have been shipped to a golf course.

As I wrote in yesterday's post, it may not be just the crushed stones from this particular stone pit but all construction materials that were stored outside that may have turned radioactive from the fallout.

"Beyond expectation" for the elite at the Ministry, and the not-so-elite at the prefectural government, and the construction companies in Fukushima. Or so they say.

I suspect it was another "help the producers at the expense of the consumers" scheme during the period right after the March 11 nuclear accident and before the designation of the "planned evacuation zone" between the 20 and 30 kilometer radius. The national government and the Fukushima prefectural government was doing their best to encourage cattle farmers in the soon-to-be designated planned evacuation zone including Namie-machi and Iitate-mura to sell their cows and pigs to farmers outside Fukushima Prefecture. Many were sold and were processed at the meat processing centers in big cities throughout Japan, which were later found with radioactive cesium.

It may be that the government turned the blind eye, while the producers rushed to sell their inventory. And they all say, "Who could have known?"

Any and everybody but them, perhaps?

TEPCO's Endoscopic Probe of Reactor 2 CV: Mockup Was Done on Novmeber 30, 2011

The picture was released on January 18, 2012. They did the mockup using Reactor 5, and the photo is that of inside the Reactor 5 Containment Vessel.

From TEPCO's handout for the press (1/18/2012), Japanese only for now. The photo on the right side is what you would expect to see in Reactor 2's Containment Vessel. Not.

"Colonoscopy" of Reactor 2's CV using the endoscope from Olympus will be on January 19 in Japan. I don't know the time, and TEPCO is not saying.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

OT: Google Homepage "Blackout" in Protest of SOPA and PIPA

Google's pages "End Piracy, Not Lilberty", "More about SOPA and PIPA"

(Well, Google, is this what you get in return for donating heavily to Candidate Obama in 2008 election...? The image is from a Zero Hedge post here.)

(Duh...) Ministry of Economy to Investigate Other Bldg Materials for Radiation

It has finally occurred to the elite bureaucrats at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry that maybe, just maybe, all the building materials that were stored outdoors since the March 11 Fukushima I Nuke Plant accident may have been contaminated with radioactive fallout from the broken reactors, and not just the crushed stone from the stone pit in Namie-machi, Fukushima Prefecture.

Good, now you're thinking. The problem is that their approach is just the same as their counterparts in the Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Health: pick areas of what they (say they) think may have more contamination than others, and go ask the companies, and test if possible.

The similar method used radioactive beef, radioactive rice hay, radioactive rice has served the country well, having practically destroyed the credibility of the government of any form .

If beef, rice hay, leaf compost are any indication, the contaminated building materials may have spread far and wide already, outside Fukushima Prefecture. And what about the building materials stored outside in places like Tochigi, Ibaraki, and Gunma Prefectures? Or southern Miyagi where the high level of radioactive cesium was detected from the rice hay, and where radioactive cesium in raw milk has seen a spike recently?

For now, those are none of the concerns for the Ministry for now.

From Fukushima Minpo (1/18/2012):


Regarding the concrete used for the apartment in Nihonmatsu with the crushed stone suspected of having been contaminated with radioactive materials, the Fukushima prefectural government and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry decided on January 17 to investigate the building and construction materials such as gravel and sawing lumber that were stored outside when the Fukushima I Nuclear Plant accident happened. They will target the civil engineering and construction companies in and around the planned evacuation zone and the special evacuation recommendation spots (aka hot spots) to find out where the construction materials have been sold. As for the crushed stones, the Ministry has decided to investigate 16 companies in Hamadori (coastal 1/3 of Fukushima Prefecture) and the northern Fukushima, and will try to identify the buyers.


The prefectural government and the Ministry of Economy will conduct investigation on building materials like gravel, sand, and sawing lumber that were kept outside, just like the crushed stones that may have been contaminated with radioactive materials.


They will interview the construction companies, lumber yards, etc around the planned evacuation zone and special evacuation recommendation spots in northern Hamadori (coastal Fukushima) and the northern part of Fukushima Prefecture [where Fukushima City is located]. If they find the materials that were stored outside without the roof, they will identify the buyers and measure radiation levels.


However, due to the sheer number of subjects, the investigation may take a long time. There may be companies that didn't keep records, and some point out that it may be difficult to accurately track the distribution channels.


As to the distribution channels for the crushed stone, they will target 16 companies in the areas with relatively high radiation. They will identify the buyers, measure the radiation levels in order to assess the effect on the environment.


The senior officials in the prefectural government say, "We need to apply the problem of the crushed stone to the other building materials and investigate as soon as possible."


Whoever says that the Japanese people are smart should know they are smart at test-taking skills so that they can go to good schools to become a good worker in peacetime, not the real-life problem-solving skills in a crisis.

CBS News: Decontamination Work in Minami Soma

This "decontamination" is just plain lunacy.

CBS News with Scott Pelley, January 16, 2012:

(Birds of a Feather...) Endoscope TEPCO Will Use for Reactor 2 CV Is Made by Olympuss

It was announced on January 17 that boring a hole in the Containment Vessel of Reactor 2 at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant was successful.

According to NHK News, it took 10 teams of workers, 4 in each team, who had been trained on Reactor 5 as a "mock-up". They received maximum 3 millisieverts radiation for their effort. No information of how long the work lasted.

Some people in Japan watching the NHK News reporting the event wondered, "Whose endoscope is it?" It turns out, most likely, that it is made by Olympus, of "cooking the books" fame.

First, NHK News (1/17/2012). The video clip of the news is at the link for now. (NHK News links are one of the shortest-lived among the Japanese media, on par with Yahoo Japan News.)


On January 17, workers at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant bored a hole for the endoscope that would be inserted inside the Containment Vessel of Reactor 2 to survey the condition inside the Containment Vessel for the first time since the accident.


At Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant, the condition of melted fuels in Reactors 1, 2 and 3 and the condition inside the Containment Vessels are not yet known. The information is vital to the future decommissioning work and to the stable cooling of the reactors.


TEPCO has decided to use an industrial-grade endoscope that can operate under the high radiation and survey the condition inside the Containment Vessel of Reactor 2 and measure the temperature. On January 17, as a preparation for the survey on January 19, workers entered the northwest corner of the 1st floor of the reactor building and bored a hole at a location on the Containment Vessel where pipes would be inserted [as necessary?].


The work was done by 40 workers in 10 teams, with each team consisting of 4 workers. According to TEPCO, they had been training on Reactor 5 as a mock-up exercise in order to complete the work in a short period of time. Reactor 5 is the same type as Reactor 2. The radiation exposure for the workers for the January 17 work was maximum 3 millisieverts. Now that the work has been successfully completed, TEPCO will proceed as scheduled, inserting the endoscope on January 19. If successful, Reactor 2's Containment Vessel interior will be viewed for the first time [since the accident].

(The following images are taken from this blog site.)

Here's the screen shot from the NHK News:

Here's at the Olympus site:

Japan's NISA Was Asking for NRC Legal Info and Advice in April 2011 Regarding TMI

An interesting titbit from Enformable, going through the NRC document.

From: Bloom, Steven
Sent: Wednesday, April 20, 2011 8:04 AM
Cc: Foggie, Kirk; Emche, Danielle
Subject: NISA Request

Dear Bannai-san,

Below is the response I have gotten from our legal staff regarding your request on legal issues related to TMI:
Strictly speaking, as far as we know, the NRC did not take any action by rule which would deem legal and justified any responsive action taken by the TMI licensee at the time of and immediately following the 1979 accident.

However, the NRC did adopt new regulations in 10 CFR 50.54(x) and (y) to ensure that licensees would be able to take timely and necessary action even though such action would be in violation of the plant’s technical specifications, license conditions or other regulatory requirements. The final rule for these provisions is 48 FR 13966 (April 1, 1983). A copy of the SOC for the final rule is attached. Our legal view is that this regulation may be applied only when the licensee action is needed to avoid imminent radiological harm the general public, i.e., in quickly emerging situations where fast action is needed to avoid radiological harm to the general public. The staff’s practice has been more lenient, however, despite OGC’s interpretation.

If you have any questions, please let me know.

Thank you,

Steven Bloom, International Relations Specialist
International Cooperation and Assistance Branch (ICA)
M/S 0-4E21

The original emails (scanned) is at the Enformable site.

Another Decon Worker Dies in Hirono-Machi, Fukushima in a Government Decon Project

No effect of radiation at all, says the government agency in charge of "decontaminating" the former "planned evacuation zone" in which Hirono-machi is located, between 20 and 30 kilometer radius from Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant.

The 59-year-old worker from Iwaki City, Fukushima Prefecture started to work in the decon project in December, and his cumulative radiation exposure until January 16, 2012 was 102 microsieverts.

Decontamination work in Hirono-machi officially started in mid December. The annual radiation exposure limit for decontamination workers is 50 millisieverts under the new law on decontamination effective as of January 1, 2012.

Ms. Emiko Numauchi of Minami Soma City, Fukushima, aka "Numayu", has commented in her blog that she sees and hears about people living in the temporary housing after the earthquake/tsunami/nuke accident in cities and towns in Fukushima being recruited for the decontamination work, as there aren't many jobs available for the displaced people. I suspect this 59-year-old worker from Iwaki City may be one of those people.

From Sankei Shinbun (1/17/2012):


The Japan Atomic Energy Agency announced on January 17 that a 59-year-old worker from Iwaki City, Fukushima collapsed during the decontamination model work being carried out in Hirono-machi and died at the hospital. The cause of death is under examination.


According to the JAEA, the worker was scraping the surface soil with 6 other workers in Shimokitaba District of Hirono-machi since 9AM on January 17. He was found collapsed, snoring heavily, by the co-worker at 11:50AM.


The worker had been doing the decontamination work in Hirono-machi since December last year. His cumulative radiation exposure till January 16, 2012 was 102 microsieverts, and there was no declaration from the worker of any existing illness, says JAEA.

From Jiji Tsushin (1/17/2011):


The Japan Atomic Energy Agency Fukushima Headquarters announced on January 17 that a worker, age 59, died during work that day. According to the Agency, the possibility is extremely low that the radiation exposure played a role in any way. It is the 2nd death in the decontamination work operated by the Agency.

A worker died in the decon work in Date City in December last year. The death had "nothing to do with radiation", because he died in a car during the lunch break. This second worker may have collapsed during the decon work, but he died at the hospital. Therefore, the death has "nothing to do with radiation".

That's the "Newspeak" a la the Japanese government and TEPCO. You would have to die on the spot. But then, as TEPCO did for the worker at Fukushima I Nuke Plant who clearly died at the plant on January 12, you would still get transported to the hospital, only to be pronounced dead on arrival; technically you still die at the hospital, not at Fuku I, so radiation has nothing to do with it...

Just In: Voltage Dropped in Wide Area in Fukushima, Some Systems at Fukushima I and II Nuke Plants Stopped

(UPDATE: The systems are getting back online.)


It happened around 4:10PM on January 17, 2012.

The systems that are working at Fukushima I:

  • Cooling systems for Reactors 1, 2 and 3

  • SARRY (cesium absorption system by Toshiba)

  • Monitoring posts

What's not working at Fukushima I:

  • Spent fuel pool cooling systems for Reactors 2, 3, 6

  • Gas management system for Reactor 2

  • Kurion

  • Nitrogen injection system (since restarted)

Press conference is ongoing (it started at 6PM on January 17), but TEPCO's Matsumoto is showing a video of Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant's emergency response training. (WTF?)

Now Q&A:

TEPCO's switching station in Minami Iwaki had a problem that caused the voltage to drop momentarily. They turned the switch off for a few milliseconds to clear the system.

TEPCO doesn't know what caused the problem at the switching station.

The systems are getting back online. Kurion is still stopped. None of the systems needs to be continuously operated.

(There is absolutely no urgency in either question or answer, so I think everything is dandy now. I'm signing off.)

Monday, January 16, 2012

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant Reactor 2 RPV Bottom is Now Very Cold at - 6.3 Degrees Celsius

It looks the thermometer at the "CRD Housing Upper Part" is finally broken. Can you think of other reasons why it would register minus 6.3 degrees Celsius? (I mean other than "malfunction".)

From TEPCO's latest plant parameter on January 17, 2012:

By the way, TEPCO is supposed to drill a hole in the Containment Vessel of Reactor 2 on January 17 in preparation for inserting an endoscope on January 19, unless the schedule has changed. I'm sure TEPCO got a good piece of advice from the experts from the US DOE and NRC who visited the plant on January 16 with Ambassador Roos.

(H/T Yosaku)

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant Trenches Are Full of Contaminated Water, TEPCO Is Finding Out 10 Months After the Accident

Remember the "puddle" of highly contaminated water in a trench discovered in Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant right after Prime Minister Noda declared a "cold shutdown state" to the derision of the world in December?

Without the press reporting on it further, TEPCO has been checking the trenches at the plant, and finding that the contaminated water is "puddled" just about every trench that they look.

Here's the latest update on trench water from TEPCO (1/16/2012). Note the unit of measurement. It is "becquerels per cubic centimeter". Also note that TEPCO is not saying how many tonnes of water there may be. They are "under evaluation".

"Radioactive" Crushed Stones Used over 400 Job Sites in at Least 4 Cities in Fukushima

I put the word radioactive in parenthesis in the title because I'm not fully convinced that the crushed stones from the stone pit in the planned evacuation zone in Namie-machi are the only cause of the elevated radiation in the apartment in Nihonmatsu City in Fukushima.

Nevertheless, the latest news on the "radioactive" crushed stones is:

  • The stones were sold and widely used in construction of apartments, houses, and roads in at least 4 municipalities including Fukushima City in Fukushima Prefecture;

  • The Nihonmatsu city government knew about the high radiation exposure of the residents in the apartment back in December but didn't tell the residents.

  • The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry knew about it on December 28, 2011 when the city emailed the Ministry asking for guidance, but didn't do anything until January 10, 2012 because it was New Year's Day holiday and then a long weekend on January 7, 8 and 9.

  • The residents in the apartment weren't informed at all, until the news finally broke in the media.

Oh and one typically Japanese bit of information: the concrete company in Nihonmatsu City who delivered the concrete with these crushed stones in it for the apartment foundation has since closed business, and they already destroyed all the documents detailing how much concrete was sold to which job site. Probably only to emerge as a new company under a new name, as often happens in Japan.

Many residents of the apartment are evacuees from Minami Soma City and Namie-machi, having escaped the radiation from the Fukushima I Nuclear Plant accident, only to receive added extra by settling in Nihonmatsu City in this apartment.

First from Sankei Shinbun archived at a message board, as Sankei's news links may not last long (1/17/2012):


Concerning the detection of radiation inside an apartment in Nihonmatsu City in Fukushima Prefecture that was higher than outside, the same concrete mix was also used in the construction of single-family houses, according to the concrete company. Relatively high level of radiation has also been detected at an irrigation channel. It has also been revealed that the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry had received the first report at the end of last year.


According to the stone pit operator Futaba Saiseki Kogyo, the company shipped about 5,280 tonnes of stones from March 11 to April 22 last year to 19 companies in Fukushima Prefecture. The radiation levels of 1.62 to 1.97 microsievert/hour have been detected at the concrete foundation of the apartment and at an irrigation channel in Nihonmatsu City.


According to the concrete company, the same concrete mix was used for foundations of single family houses around Nihonmatsu City. The other concrete company also delivered the concrete mix to build single family houses in Fukushima Prefecture. The crushed stones were also used [as substrate] for the road next to an elementary school in Nihonmatsu City.


According to the Ministry of Economy, the Ministry received an email from Nihonmatsu City regarding the high radiation exposure level of a resident who lived on the first floor of the apartment [a girl wearing the glass badge]. Since the radiation levels were not high on the 2nd floor, the Ministry didn't think it was the concrete that was the problem.

[Wait a minute... If the 1st floor had high radiation and the 2nd floor didn't, wouldn't it be logical to conclude the radiation could be coming from the floor and below?]


Around January 5, 2012, the city's investigation identified the crushed stones as a possible culprit, and the city contacted the Ministry again on January 6. The Ministry started its investigation on January 10, after the long weekend.



In the newly built apartment where the high levels of radiation have been detected, the residents on the 1st floor have started to look for a new place to live. Some of the residents in the apartment are families from Namie-machi and Minami Soma City; part of Namie and Minami Soma is inside the no-entry zone. "We've just had enough." "Complete surprise." They are confused and angry.


According to the rental management company, there are 12 families living in the apartment. Hiroko Yamazaki, 63-year-old housewife, evacuated from Namie-machi with two granddaughters, 9th grader and 5th grader. She has made them wear masks when they go outside.


Yamazaki cannot hide her agitation, and says, "I wish they told us when they found out the radiation level was high. I'm worried for the health of my granddaughters."


A 33-year-old office worker who has evacuated also from Namie-machi with his family says, "For all that trouble to evacuate, we still have to suffer radiation. We've had enough."


The management company says one family on the 1st floor with small children has decided to move out. The company will cooperate with Nihonmatsu City to find the substitute housing, and the family hopes to move in a few days.


There are others who want to move out, but it may be hard to find the substitute housing. Nihonmatsu City has a large number of evacuees fleeing the Fukushima I Nuke Plant accident, and there is hardly any vacancy in rental housing.

Fukushima Minpo (1/17/2012) reports that the stone pit operator Futaba Saiseki Kogyo sold to 2 concrete companies, one in Nihonmatsu who's gone out of business, and one in Motomiya City. They sold concrete mix to 300 companies at over 400 job sites. The stone pit operator also sold to 17 construction companies. The concrete was sold at least in Nimonmatsu City, Motomiya City, Fukushima City, and Ootama-mura.

And counting.

Hiroki Otani, associate professor at Tokyo Metropolitan University who became famous (or infamous, depending on how you view radiation exposure) last year for declaring "it's safe" on TV for just about every single discovery of radiation contamination, says "1 microsievert/hour radiation will not immediately affect health, so no need to worry. But they'd better not live on a yearly basis", meaning there may be health effect if they continue to live there for more than one year. That's good to know that he now qualifies his remark after 11 months.

Well, unfortunately, these people moved from Minami Soma or Namie with the plume from the broken nuclear power plant, first in a northwest direction via Iitate-mura (of all places) and then south. And they stayed in Nihonmatsu City where the IAEA back in March 2011 was measuring 4.2 microsieverts/hour radiation (link in Japanese).

It's just too bad that Professor Hayakawa's map didn't reach any of these people when it may have mattered.

US Ambassador to Japan John Roos Visited Fukushima I Nuke Plant with NRC, DOE Experts

The visit was part of the ambassador's visit to Fukushima Prefecture on January 16. It was his first visit to Fukushima Prefecture ever.

The visit to the nuclear power plant was not open to the press, and details are unknown.

From Kyodo News (1/16/2012):

ルース米大使、福島を初視察 「住民の危機去ってない」

Us Ambassador to Japan Roos visited Fukushima for the first time, says "Danger to the residents are not over"


US Ambassador to Japan John Roos visited Fukushima Prefecture for the first time on January 16 and visited Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant (located in Futaba-machi and Okuma-machi) ten months after the start of the accident. At temporary housing in Iwaki City, he spent more than one hour talking to 6 residents from Okuma-machi. He later told the press, "The danger to the people who live here is not over. The US government, in collaboration with the Japanese government, will do all it can to support them."


The ambassador's visit to Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant was closed to the public. The ambassador is said to have surveyed the progress for restoration work with experts from the US Department of Energy and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.


After the visit to the plant, he visited Hisanohama District of Iwaki City where 409 homes were flooded by the tsunami. He dedicated flowers and stood in silence for a few moments on the coastal embankment.

Well, spending more than 1 hours with the evacuees is much more than what the Japanese politicians have done.

The news of Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant has almost totally dried up ever since PM Noda's silly declaration of "cold shutdown state". What I suspect though is that the silly declaration was a signal to the Japanese media to stop reporting on the plant regularly (which they did) and the real work at the plant could start, away from the media's eyes. (Not that they were seeing much to begin with.)

In that regard, the fact that the experts from the US DOE and the NRC accompanying the ambassador is very interesting. After all, they may know more about the plant than the Japanese, having received SPEEDI information since March 14, 2011 (Japanese people were told at that time SPEEDI was not working) and other technical information from the Japanese government and TEPCO which haven't been disclosed to the Japanese public.

TEPCO is supposed to start the effort to probe inside the Containment Vessel of Reactor 2 with an endoscope on January 17, first by drilling into the CV. They will insert the endoscope on January 19.

Hilarity of the Day: Japan's PM Noda "Japan Must Heed Lessons of Europe"

According to Bloomberg News, that's what Noda said on January 14 after reshuffling his increasingly unpopular cabinet.

Mr. Noda, it is Europe and the rest of the world trying their best to avoid being like Japan, after having heeded the lessons of Japan, the one and only country in the whole world whose deficit to GDP ratio well exceeds 200%.

Noda's lessons learned from Europe? Raise taxes.

From Bloomberg (1/15/2012):

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said containing Japan’s public debt load, the world’s largest, is critical after Standard & Poor’s downgraded credit ratings on France, Austria and seven other European nations.

Europe’s fiscal situation “isn’t a house burning on the other side of the river,” Noda said on TV Tokyo Holdings Corp.’s program on Jan. 14. “We must have a great sense of crisis.”

Noda reshuffled his cabinet last week, aiming to win support for doubling Japan’s 5 percent national sales tax by 2015 to trim the soaring debt. S&P said in November Noda’s administration hadn’t made progress in tackling the public debt burden, an indication the credit-rating company may be preparing to lower the nation’s sovereign grade.

Japan’s government, which has enjoyed borrowing costs that are around 1 percent, wouldn’t be able to manage its finances if bond yields surged to 3 percent, Noda said last week. The country risks seeing a spike in government bond yields unless it controls a debt load set to approach 230 percent of gross domestic product in 2013, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said on Nov. 28.

(The article continues.)

If the bond yields increase 200 basis points to 3%, Japan's debt servicing would consume all of the government tax revenue, according to Kyle Bass.

Bloomberg's article has IMF suggestion to Noda, which he may be very happy to oblige - raising sales tax to 15%. That should totally finish off the struggling Japanese, because it won't be accompanied by the reduction in income tax:

The International Monetary Fund has said a gradual increase of Japan’s sales tax to 15 percent “could provide roughly half of the fiscal adjustment needed to put the public-debt ratio on a downward path.”

PM Noda and his gang are very eager to do the bidding of the international community at the expense of the citizens of Japan. That much has been known to many in Japan since he took office last September.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Temperature Remains High at Reactor 2 Pressure Vessel at #Fukushima I Nuke Plant

It went as high as 142 degrees Celsius on January 14 before it came down to 138 degrees Celsius on January 15 at "CRD Housing Upper Part" of the Reactor Pressure Vessel of Reactor 2 at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant.

Looking at the numbers, erratic movement started on January 12 when the temperature at the location jumped from 48.4 degrees Celsius at 5PM to 102.3 degrees Celsius at 11PM. TEPCO says it's just malfunctioning, but the temperature had been stable up to that point.

From TEPCO's latest (1/16/2012) plant parameters, "temperature of Reactor 2":

#Radioactive Apartment Update: Was Radiation from Crushed Stone Used in Foundation?

(Update: The stone pit operator, Futaba Saiseki Kogyo, sold the crushed stones to the concrete company in Nihonmatsu City in Fukushima which has since closed down. There is no record kept at the concrete company of where the concrete was sold and how much. The stone pit operator sold about 1000 tonnes to the concrete company, and the remaining 4000 tonnes or so to 20 construction companies inside Fukushima Prefecture.

The stone pit operator executive says he didn't know much about radiation, and that he would have stopped selling if the government had told him to. Information in Japanese, here and here.)


For now, the media has decided to focus on the aggregate in the concrete used in the foundation of the apartment in Nihonmatsu City, Fukushima. The crushed stones from a stone pit in Namie-machi in the planned evacuation zone just outside the no-entry zone were freely shipped and sold until April 22, and several hundred job sites in Fukushima Prefecture may have used the stones.

Asahi reports slightly different numbers for radiation than reported in Fukushima TV news.

Nihonmatsu City may have known about the high radiation at the apartment since December last year, when the city had the result of the cumulative radiation exposure for children wearing glass badges.

Well, the city couldn't cast any shadow over the prime minister's declaration of "cold shutdown state" of Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant, could it?

From Asahi Shinbun (1/16/2012):


The concrete contaminated with radioactive materials from the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant accident was used in the construction of an apartment in Nihonmatsu City in Fukushima Prefecture. The radiation from the floor of the 1st floor of the apartment was higher than that of outside. The city and the national government announced on January 15, 2012.


The high radiation is thought to be coming from the stones used in the concrete mix; the stones came from a stone pit inside the planned evacuation zone. The same stones have been used in several hundred job sites, and the national government is investigating the distribution routes of the stones and the concrete.


According to the announcement, the contaminated concrete was used in the foundation of the 3-story apartment made of ferro-concrete in Wakamiya District of Nihonmatsu City. The apartment was finished construction in July last year. At 1 meter off the floor in a room on the 1st floor, the radiation level is 1.16 to 1.24 microsievert/hour. The radiation level outside is 0.7 to 1.0 microsievert/hour. On the 2nd and 3rd floors, the radiation level inside rooms is 0.1 to 0.38 microsievert/hour.


The crushed stones used in the concrete were transported from a stone pit in Minami Tsushima in Namie-machi, inside the planned evacuation zone. 57.5 cubic meters of concrete was used in the foundation of the apartment building on April 11 last year.


At the stone pit, they crushed the stones that had been picked before the nuclear accident, and the crushed stones were kept outdoors and continued to be sold until the area was designated as evacuation zone on April 22. According to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the stone pit operator sold 5200 tonnes of stones to 19 companies in Fukushima Prefecture. The concrete company in Nihonmatsu City who delivered concrete to the apartment site has sold concrete to over 100 companies in Fukushima Prefecture, and the concrete was used at several hundred job sites.


Nihonmatsu City measured the cumulative external radiation exposure of children from September through November last year. A female junior high school student who lives in the apartment was found with 1.62 millisievert cumulative radiation for the 3 months, and the city conducted the investigation. There are 12 families living in the apartment.


If you stay inside a room on the 1st floor of the apartment for 24 hours, the cumulative radiation in one year would be about 10 millisieverts.

NHK runs a similar story, quoting the Ministry of Economy saying it must be the crushed stones from that particular stone pit in Namie-machi. That's the official story.

It's a bit hard to believe hard crushed stones has that much radiation on the surface considering the surface-to-volume ratio. On the other hand, small particles like ashes may. But the official story is set, and the net citizens on blogs and Twitter are left wondering "What about cement? What about additives in concrete? What about steel mesh or rebar?"

It is also convenient to blame everything on one stone pit operator than to have to check every bag of cement from the cement companies.

Another thing that strikes me as odd is the amount of crushed stones sold from this stone pit operator in such a short period of time between the March 11 accident and April 22. I suspect the situation may be similar to the cattle farmers in the planned evacuation zone who managed to sell their cows which were later found with high levels of radioactive cesium, before any rigorous testing started.

Hmmm. This is starting to feel like the radioactive beef and radioactive rice debacles from last year where first denying the problem and then insisting the problem was an exception, and doing perfunctory sample testing totally backfired on the government. We'll see if this story goes quiet very quickly.

Canadian Government Hid Data of Radioactive Iodine in Rainwater in March 2011

From Montreal Gazette (1/14/2012):

After the Fukushima nuclear accident, Canadian health officials assured a nervous public that virtually no radioactive fallout had drifted to Canada.

But last March, a Health Canada monitoring station in Calgary detected an average of 8.18 becquerels per litre of radioactive iodine (an isotope released by the nuclear accident) in rainwater, the data shows.

The level easily exceeded the Canadian guideline of six becquerels of iodine per litre for drinking water, acknowledged Eric Pellerin, chief of Health Canada's radiation-surveillance division.

"It's above the recommended level (for drinking water)," he said in an interview. "At any time you sample it, it should not exceed the guideline."

Canadian authorities didn't disclose the high radiation reading at the time.

In contrast, the state of Virginia issued a don't-drink-rainwater advisory in late March after iodine levels in rain in a nearby city spiked to 3.4 becquerels per litre on a single day. That was less than half of the level seen in Calgary during the entire month of March.

Radioactive iodine also appeared in smaller amounts in March in Vancouver (which saw an average of 0.69 becquerels per litre in rainwater, up from zero before Fukushima), Winnipeg (which got 0.64 becquerels per litre) and Ottawa (which had 1.67 becquerels per litre), the data shows.

These other levels didn't exceed the Canadian limit for drinking water. But the level in Ottawa did surpass the more stringent ceiling for drinking water used by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The data still isn't posted on Health Canada's web page devoted to the impacts of Fukushima.

Pellerin said he doesn't know why Health Canada didn't make the data public. "I can't answer that. The communication aspect could be improved."

The rainwater data also raises questions about how Ottawa monitors radiation after a nuclear crisis:

Some of Health Canada's numbers are much lower than those reported by other radiation researchers. Simon Fraser University nuclear chemist Krzysztof Starosta found iodine levels in rainwater in Burnaby, B.C., spiked to 13 becquerels per litre in March - many times higher than the levels Health Canada detected in nearby Vancouver.

Rain was tested only at the end of each month, after a network of monitoring stations sent samples to Ottawa. This meant the radiation spikes last March were only discovered in early April, after rainwater samples were sent to Ottawa for testing - too late to alert the public, including those who collect rain for drinking and gardening.

In contrast, the EPA tested the rain for radiation every day and immediately reported the data on its website.

The paper's praise of the US EPA is ill-placed. The EPA's RADNET, at least in California, depends on volunteers collecting air filters twice a week and mail them to Montgomery, Alabama to have them tested because it fits their lifestyle. Some of monitors in southern California were broken at the time of the Fukushima accident.

From my post on March 27, 2011 quoting the AP article:

"It sounds sort of loosey goosey, but we already operate our network on a very rigid schedule so we just sort of fit it into our lifestyle," said Eric Stevenson, a director of technical services who oversees operation of the monitor from his office at the Bay Area Air Quality Management District near San Francisco's domed city hall. "We've been operating this thing for years and no one has really said boo about it. Something like this comes along and all of us realize `Hey, gee, that's a relatively smart program.'"