Friday, October 25, 2013

Long Shadow of Chernobyl (4): Organic Blueberry Spread Imported from Italy Found with 164 Bq/Kg of Cesium-137

Japanese weekly magazine Shukan Asahi did its own checking on imported blueberry spread being sold in Tokyo and alerted the health authorities, who were reluctant to do anything at first.

Main points from from Shukan Asahi (10/23/2013) article:
  • "Fior di frutta organic fruits spread" blueberry imported from Italy

  • Place of origin: Bulgaria

  • 164Bq/kg of cesium-137 by test commissioned by Shukan Asahi

  • 140Bq/kg of cesium-137 by test by the municipal (Tokyo) health authorities

  • Shibuya-ku ordered the importer MIE PROJECT on October 18 to recall 5,184 bottles of blueberry spread with the best before date of October 17, 2015.

  • Ministry of Health and Welfare initially refused to do anything based on "private" (as opposed to "official" - i.e. by the government) test results.

  • The public health centers involved didn't want to move either on just "an article that appeared in a magazine".

  • Less than 10 percent of all imported food is tested; it is possible that people are eating contaminated food without knowing.

For articles on "Long Shadow of Chernobyl", go here.

(UPDATED: USGS Says 7.3) Magnitude 6.8 Earthquake Off #Fukushima Coast, Max 1-Meter High Tsunami Expected

(UPDATE 7) Japan's Nuclear Regulation Authority says there is no damage/problem reported at nuclear power plants in Tohoku (Higashidori, Onagawa, Fukushima I and II) and Kanto (Tokai II).

(UPDATE 6) It seems the municipalities in Miyagi, Iwate (prefectures north of Fukushima) are playing it extremely safe, in light of the March 11, 2011 earthquake/tsunami. A number of municipalities that suffered grave damages in 2011 are issuing the evacuation recommendations to the residents in coastal areas. They include: Rikuzentakata (Iwate), Ofunato (Iwate), Ishinomaki (Miyagi), Higashimatsushima (Miyagi).

(UPDATE 5) Workers at the plant are safely inside the Anti-Seismic Building on site, says NHK. (It is NOT that they were evacuated from the plant.) The workers were working near the seawall at 2 in the morning injecting water glass into the soil to build the impermeable wall in the soil to prevent the groundwater from leaking into the plant harbor. Yes, that same operation which actually caused the groundwater to rise and go over the wall. Ugh.


This, on top of heavy rain due to Typhoon No.27. It is raining in Fukushima and wide areas in Kanto and Tohoku. According to JMA, "Heavy rain and gale" advisories have been issued for Fukushima, and "heavy rain and flood" warnings have been issued in Kanto.

(UPDATE 4) 30-centimeter high tsunami in Ayukawa, Miyagi Prefecture observed at 3:07AM.

(UPDATE 3) JMA has expanded the area with tsunami advisories: Fukushima Prefecture, Miyagi Prefecture, Iwate Prefecture, Ibaraki Prefecture, Kujukuri/Sotobo (Pacific Ocean side) area of Chiba Prefecture

(UPDATE 2) USGS puts the magnitude at 7.3, significantly larger than what JMA has announced. The epicenter is 326 kilometers east of Namie-machi, in the Pacific Ocean.

So far, no report of tsunami.

(UPDATE) NHK News reports (2:29AM, 10/26/2013) that TEPCO ordered workers working at the seawall at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant to move away from the seawall.

2 in the morning and there are workers working in the area (between turbine buildings and the plant harbor) with high radiation.

The word TEPCO and so NHK used is "退避" (retreat and avoid danger, take shelter), not "撤退" (evacuate).


Japan Meteorological Agency has issued tsunami advisories for Fukushima Prefecture:

Tsunami Warnings / Tsunami Advisories

Issued at 02:14 JST 26 Oct 2013

Tsunami Advisories have been issued for the following coastal regions of Japan:

Tsunami Advisories have been issued for the following coastal regions of Japan:


***********About Tsunami Forecast************

Marine threat is in place.
Get out of the water and leave the coast immediately.
As the strong current will continue, do not get in the sea or approach coasts until the advisory is cleared.

Though there may be slight sea-level change in coastal regions, no tsunami damage is expected.

******* Earthquake Information ********
Occurred at 02:10 JST 26 Oct 2013
Latitude 37.2N
Longitude 144.6E
Depth about 10 km
Magnitude 6.8

The tsunami is expected to hit the coast at 02:40AM, Japan Standard Time (just about now as I post this)...

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

IAEA's Director General Says Radioactive leaks top priority at #Fukushima (and Sloppy Reporting by AFP)

Yukiya Amano, Director General of IAEA, says they remain the greatest challenge at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant.

(But, but, the prime minister of Japan has said the "effect" of contaminated water is "blocked" "overall", and his minister in charge of the plant decommission has said contaminated water is not leaking into "open ocean"!)

From AFP (10/22/2013):

Radioactive leaks top priority at Fukushima: nuclear watchdog

Bratislava — Contaminated water remains the greatest challenge at Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant after the 2011 meltdown, the worst atomic disaster in a generation, the UN's nuclear watchdog said Tuesday.

"The crippled reactors are in a stable condition generally," International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) head Yukiya Amano told AFP while in the Slovak capital Bratislava.

"The most urgent priority is handling of the contaminated water," he said, after heavy rains caused a leak of radioactive water containing a cancer-causing isotope, possibly into the sea.

"It is also important to address the issue of decontamination of the off-site" so tens of thousands of evacuees can return home.

He spoke a day after Fukushima operator Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) said water contaminated with strontium-90 -- at 70 times the legal limit for safe disposal -- breached a barrier meant to contain radioactive overflow.

Strontium-90 is produced during nuclear reactions. It accumulates in bones and remains potent for many years, causing several types of cancer in humans.

On October 14, IAEA experts began a mission to assess clean-up efforts at the crippled Fukushima plant.

Amano said there will be another mission to Japan later this year to advise authorities on how to handle contaminated water.

TEPCO has poured thousands of tonnes of water onto badly-damaged reactors at Fukushima to keep them cool and prevent repeat meltdowns.

This huge volume of water must be stored in large tanks until it is clear of the radioactive substances picked up in the cooling process.

Threats of further contamination remain, Amano said, which include extreme weather, as Japan braces for a typhoon meteorologists say is likely hit later this week, bringing further rain to the country.

Uh... "a leak of radioactive water containing a cancer-causing isotope"? This level after more than two years and seven months after the start of the nuclear accident at Fukushima I NPP? It looks the AFP writer needs to obtain some basic knowledge about things nuclear.

"70 times the legal limit for safe disposal"? No it is not. It was 70 times the internal (TEPCO's) provisional limit (which is one-third of the legal limit for strontium-90) to release the rainwater from the dam (barrier) around a group of storage tanks.

(UPDATED) (OT) Obama's Press Secretary Does "Sir Humphrey Appleby" Over ABC Reporter's Question Over Disasterous Launch of ObamaCare

(UPDATE) Washington Post reported on October 21, 2013 that the pre-launch test by the government officials and contractors resulted in the system crash with only a few hundred people trying to log on simultaneously. That's gotta be far worse than "10-year-old technology". More like 15, if not 20.

Days before the launch of President Obama’s online health ­insurance marketplace, government officials and contractors tested a key part of the Web site to see whether it could handle tens of thousands of consumers at the same time. It crashed after a simulation in which just a few hundred people tried to log on simultaneously.

Despite the failed test, federal health officials plowed ahead.

When the Web site went live Oct. 1, it locked up shortly after midnight as about 2,000 users attempted to complete the first step, according to two people familiar with the project.


Finally, someone from the mainstream media (aside from Jon Stewart's half-hearted attempt to "grill" Secretary Sebelius the other day) asks the Obama administration official directly:

"How can you tax people for Obamacare when the website doesn't even work?"

In "answering", Obama's press secretary Jay Carney does Sir Humphrey Appleby by:

  • Launching into long, meandering, mostly irrelevant monologue; and when asked the question again,

  • Thanking the questioner ("I appreciate what you're saying...") and never answering the question

"Tax" Mr. Jonathan Karl of ABC News is referring to is the penalty assessed by Internal Revenue Service on citizens and residents who fail to obtain health insurance coverage as specified by the Obama administration and fail to declare that coverage information in their tax returns.

From Real Clear Politics (10/21/2013):

JONATHAN KARL, ABC NEWS: Let me make sure I got that last part right. Given all the problems that we have seen with people trying to enroll in this program, is the White House going to be delaying the mandate?

JAY CARNEY: No. Listen, that is not all what I was saying.

KARL: Well why not?


KARL: Why not delay? You are going to charge people a fine for not enrolling, why not --

CARNEY: We're three weeks into a six-month enrollment period. As I said, the law itself as written makes clear that Americans with access to affordable insurance would need to have insurance by March 31. But people that do not have access to affordable care, due to a state not expanding Medicaid -- and there are states out there who are depriving their own residents of access to expanded Medicaid because they made that choice -- or due to other factors, will not be penalized. That is number one. When it comes to the issue I was just talking to Brianna about, with the February 15 marker period, I would refer you to HHS for more details, but they are looking to align the policies, the disconnect between open enrollment period and the individual responsibility timeframes, which exists in the first year only.

The point that I'm trying to make, Jon, and addressing the question at the end of your question, is we're focused on providing quality health insurance to millions of Americans. We are three weeks into a six-month enrollment period. If you enrolled last week or you enroll next week, your insurance does not kick in until January 1st. And ample prior experience shows that in programs like these, most people do not enroll until towards the end. If you are able to shop for an extended period of time before you have to buy, you are likely to shop.

In Massachusetts, for example, where similar health-care initiatives was passed into law, the average consumer explored his or her options six to eight times, I believe the figure was, before actually making a decision. So, again, we're acknowledging, clearly as the president did, problems that have existed on the website. That we are focused on making the consumer experience better, providing clear information to Americans about the variety of ways they can get the information about plans, as well as the variety of ways that they can enroll to them.

And our focus is on making the Affordable Care Act work and making sure that Americans have access to these plans. Not on figuring out who is to blame for a problem that clearly exists and we need to fix.

KARL: You can't really charge people a fine for not getting health insurance if don't fix this mess. You can't make the website work, can you?

CARNEY: I appreciate what you're saying and I have answered now and will answer again that people who --

KARL: So if the website is not fixed, will people still have to pay the fine?

CARNEY: First of all, we're way still early in the process. You're talking about February 15 and a March 31st deadline, it is October 21st today. We are three weeks into this.

The Obama administration, from the president on down, is trying its best to pass it off as some technical glitches of the expensive and so far useless government website created by a Canadian company using 10-year-old technology, but it goes far beyond "glitches.

Many Americans, who did not follow what was unfolding when this disaster of a so-called healthcare reform was being discussed back in 2010, do not even know that they will be penalized for not having the health insurance AS SPECIFIED BY THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION.

People who "lack" coverage in areas deemed "essential" by the Obama administration - maternity care for EVERYONE, psychological care, pediatrics care for EVERYONE, etc. - will be forced to get that coverage with potential huge increase in premiums. Many doctors have been dropping out of the insurance system altogether ever since ObamaCare (aka Affordable Care Act, even if it is not "affordable" and there will be less "care") passed as a law thanks entirely to the Democratic Congressmen and Senators in the Congress.

People who can't afford to have health insurance will either be forced into the already highly dysfunctional Medicaid whether they like it or not (if they are low-income as defined by the administration) or will be penalized with fines that they could ill-afford.

One thing for sure that ObamaCare will successfully achieve is to cause incredible bureaucracy to grow and prosper on its own (chart courtesy of Joint Economic Committee of the Congressional Republicans):

and this, I believe, has been the main purpose of ObamaCare all along - self-generating, parasitic federal and state bureaucracies.

When any politician anywhere in the world say he/she is doing it for "the people", laugh, and then be very afraid. They are doing it for them and their buddies, and make "the people" responsible for negative, so-called "unintended" outcomes.

"Who could have known?" they will be saying, while asking us to pay for their mistakes.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Japan's Minister of Economy Motegi Says "Contaminated Water from #Fukushima I NPP Isn't Leaking into Open Ocean"

The ex-McKinsey management consultant never ceases to entertain (albeit in a bad way).

The last I heard Mr. Toshimitsu Motegi was when he said there would be more space to install storage tanks for contaminated water once Reactors 5 and 6 at Fukushima I NPP were decommissioned, casting doubt about his intelligence level. He was also pontificating over the talk between TEPCO and the governor of Niigata regarding Kashiwazaki-Kariwa NPP's application for safety review, as if it were none of his problem (it was, and is, and will be).

Now, according to the short and sweet two-line article from Jiji Tsushin (10/22/2013), Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Toshimitsu Motegi, who is also in charge, unfortunately, of the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant accident management and plant decommissioning, thinks the contaminated water from the plant is not leaking into the open ocean:


In the Lower House Budget Committee meeting in the morning of October 22, Toshimitsu Motegi, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, said about the contaminated water from Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant, "It's not that it is leaking into the open ocean." It was in response to the question by Yorihisa Matsuno of Japan Restoration Party.

Implication is that therefore it's sort of OK, as no international entities are injured by the contaminated water from Fukushima I Nuke Plant.

Now, what's the definition of the word "外洋" Motegi used?

It literally means "outer ocean". But consulting an online dictionary for the usage of the word, "外洋" could mean in Japanese:

  1. ocean: a large body of water constituting a principal part of the hydrosphere

  2. international (open) waters: the open seas of the world outside the territorial waters of any nation

"Territorial waters" could mean any of the following:
  1. Territorial waters: 12 nautical miles (22.2 kilometers) from the baseline;

  2. Contiguous waters: 12 nautical miles outside the territorial waters;

  3. Exclusive Economic Zone: 200 nautical miles (370.4 kilometers) from the baseline.

"International waters" could mean just outside the territorial waters, or contiguous waters, or exclusive economic zone. I am pretty sure Mr. Motegi wants the international water to start as far away from the Fukushima coastline as possible.

Just like the French minister who famously declared the radioactive plume from the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant accident stopped at the French border, Mr. Motegi perhaps thinks radioactive materials know territorial boundaries and behave accordingly.