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Tremors continue in northeast Japan

February 14, 2021

People in northeastern Japan remain vigilant as several tremors have followed the magnitude 7.3 earthquake that struck late on Saturday night.

The Meteorological Agency warns that jolts as strong as the initial one could occur over the next week or so.

The initial quake registered six-plus on the Japanese scale of zero to seven in Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures.

The agency estimates that the focus was off the coast of Fukushima Prefecture, at a depth of 55 kilometers. The quake did not trigger any tsunami.

Jolts are continuing off the coast of the prefecture.

As of 6 p.m. on Sunday, the agency had reported one quake with an intensity of four, two with an intensity of three, 10 with an intensity of two, and 22 with an intensity of one.

There are reports of landslides and damaged buildings.

The agency says people in Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures should be on the alert for more landslides, as an approaching low-pressure system off the coast may bring strong winds and heavy rain.

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20210214_53/

February 14, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , , | Leave a comment

Powerful magnitude 7.3 earthquake jolts Fukushima area

(Slight) leak from the spent fuel pool of the reactor #1 of Fukushima Daini, nothing said about Fukushima Daiichi yet. But as usual Tepco is never very trustworthy to forward vital information.

February 13, 2021

A powerful magnitude 7.3 earthquake, which measured a strong 6 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale — the second-highest level — jolted Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures in the Tohoku region late Saturday night. No tsunami warning was issued.

Local authorities in Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures reported a total of at least 20 people injured.

Nationwide, at least 950,000 homes were without power as of midnight, top government spokesman Katsunobu Kato said at a news conference. Kato added later that several power plants were offline.

The quake, which was also felt in Tokyo, where it registered a 4 on the Japanese scale, struck at around 11:08 p.m., according to the Meteorological Agency. The epicenter was off the coast of Fukushima, about 220 kilometers (135 miles) north of Tokyo. Its focus was estimated to be at a depth of about 60 kilometers.

At a news conference early Sunday morning, a Meteorological Agency official said aftershocks of up to a strong 6 on the Japanese scale could occur for at least a week. The official said Saturday’s quake was believed to be an aftershock of the Great East Japan Earthquake that struck the same region on March 11, 2011.

“Because (the 2011 quake) was an enormous one with a magnitude of 9.0, it’s not surprising to have an aftershock of this scale 10 years later,” said Kenji Satake, a professor at the University of Tokyo’s Earthquake Research Institute.

The quake registered a strong 6 in the southern part of Miyagi, and in the Nakadori central and Hamadori coastal regions of Fukushima, the agency said.

Power outages were reported in parts of Fukushima, Miyagi, Iwate, and Tochigi prefectures, according to media reports. Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings reported blackouts across several prefectures as of early Sunday morning.

No abnormalities have been found at the Fukushima Nos. 1 and 2 nuclear power plants, according to Tokyo Electric Power. The same was true for Japan Atomic Power Co.’s inactive Tokai No. 2 nuclear power plant in the village of Tokai in Ibaraki Prefecture and Tohoku Electric Power Co.’s Onagawa nuclear plant in Miyagi Prefecture, according to their operators.

Following the quake, JR East temporarily halted operations of its Tohoku, Joetsu and Hokuriku shinkansen lines. Power outages occurred on some sections. A landslide had covered a section of the Joban Expressway in Soma, Fukushima Prefecture, officials said, but no vehicles were found to be trapped.

Horizontal shaking lasted for a few minutes inside a traditional inn in Minamisoma, Fukushima Prefecture, with plates for food scattered in its dining room.

“The initial jolt felt more powerful than the one I experienced in the Great East Japan Earthquake,” said Tomoko Kobayashi, 68, who works at the inn. “I wondered if it would end.”

After the 7.1 quake, many smaller earthquakes with magnitudes between 3 and 5 occurred off Fukushima.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga immediately directed government agencies to assess damage, rescue any potential victims, work with municipalities and provide necessary information about any evacuation plans and damage as soon as possible. The government was setting up a task force to examine the quake.

Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi directed the Self-Defense Forces to gather information on the scope of the damage and be prepared to respond immediately.

The quake, which comes less than a month before the 10th anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake, registered a 4 on the Japanese scale as far north as Aomori Prefecture and as far west as Shizuoka Prefecture. It was the strongest quake in the region since April 7 that year, the meteorology agency said.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2021/02/14/national/earthquake-fukushima/

February 14, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , , | Leave a comment

Processed video sheds light on black smoke at Fukushima Daiichi

Footage of explosions at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant reprocessed by Nippon TV using state-of-the-art technology sheds light on the black smoke seen after the explosion at Unit 3.

https://www.nippon.com/en/news/ntv20210212001/

February 14, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , | Leave a comment

Ten years on, economic growth is faltering in disaster-hit areas

Namie, Fukushima Prefecture, was hit hard by the disaster on March 11, 2011, and an evacuation order remained in place for the subsequent six years

February 11, 2021

While Japan will soon mark the 10th anniversary of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, the economy of affected areas is showing signs of faltering.

The prefectures of Fukushima, Miyagi and Iwate have been shored up economically by public investment involving reconstruction projects since being devastated by the disaster on March 11, 2011, and the subsequent nuclear power plant meltdowns.

The three prefectures, however, are seeing reconstruction demand pass its peak.

As the triple meltdown at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant continues to cast a shadow over the coastal areas, the three prefectures now face the challenge of achieving autonomous economic growth orchestrated by firms and others in the private sector.

In the town of Namie, Fukushima Prefecture, an evacuation order issued shortly after the nuclear accident was partially lifted in March 2017. Although industrial complexes have been built and restaurants have opened their doors to customers once again in Namie, there are also many empty plots of land in the town, which shows that some former Namie residents had their houses torn down after giving up on returning from where they had been evacuated.

“Sales halved from before the disaster,” said Yasushi Niizuma, who reopened his restaurant in the town.

Meanwhile, some companies that were not doing business in Namie prior to the disaster have made inroads into the town.

“I don’t expect immediate changes, but I think the situation will be quite different 10 to 30 years from now,” Niizuma said with a sense of hope.

Prefectural gross product data show that the economy has recovered in the three prefectures since the disaster.

In 2011, the year of the disaster, the combined prefectural gross product in Fukushima, Miyagi and Iwate plunged ¥788 billion from a year earlier in nominal terms. But public investment increased sharply from 2012, with many restoration and reconstruction projects being implemented in disaster-affected areas. As a result, the combined gross product in the three prefectures in 2018 increased some ¥3.9 trillion from the 2011 level.

Noting that the region’s economy has been pushed up by public investment over the last 10 years, Yutaro Suzuki, economist at Daiwa Institute of Research Ltd., said, “It was not a self-sustaining growth.”

The three prefectures are seen to have suffered negative economic growth in 2020, chiefly reflecting a decrease in public investments and the spread of the novel coronavirus.

“An industrial recovery is crucial” for further economic growth in the region, Suzuki said.

Coastal areas in the three prefectures hit hard by the disaster are facing a serious population outflow. This is, in areas around the Fukushima No. 1 plant, including the town of Futaba, primarily due to the evacuation order still placed on some locations with high radiation levels.

“There are many areas (within Fukushima) that are nowhere near being restored,” Risa Ueda, head of the Bank of Japan’s Fukushima Branch, said.

While the central government is currently attempting to attract new industries to the region, the effects of such an initiative on the local economy are still unknown.

“Corporate performance has not recovered to the levels prior to the disaster at half of affected businesses,” Sachio Taguchi, president of Bank of Iwate , said. “We are still halfway down the road to reconstruction.”

Hiromi Watanabe, chairman of the federation of chambers of commerce and industry in Fukushima Prefecture, called on the Japanese government to look at the actual state of local economies and introduce precise measures, rather than end its support measures altogether.

As the economy has yet to recover to levels before the disaster in many parts of Fukushima and the coronavirus pandemic is also hitting the prefecture hard, Watanabe said, “What we need the most are job opportunities.”

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2021/02/11/national/quake-disaster-economy/

February 14, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , | Leave a comment

Tepco ordered to pay ¥600 million over 2011 nuclear disaster

Lawyers representing residents who were forced to evacuate following the 2011 nuclear disaster in Fukushima Prefecture on Tuesday criticize the ruling by the Iwaki branch of Fukushima District Court as unjust, saying that the recognized damage is too small.

Feb 10, 2021

Fukushima – A court has ordered Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. to pay a total of some ¥600 million to 271 plaintiffs over an evacuation caused by the 2011 nuclear disaster.

The Iwaki branch of Fukushima District Court reached its conclusion Tuesday in a lawsuit filed by 297 plaintiffs — which included residents of the heavily affected Yamakiya district in the town of Kawamata who were ordered to evacuate — seeking ¥14.7 billion in damages from Tepco.

The plaintiff side expressed its intention to appeal to a higher court.

The suit is the second in a series filed by evacuees who left their homes due to the triple meltdown at Tepco’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant triggered by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

The plaintiffs excluded the state from the suit as it hoped to achieve an early resolution.

In the first suit, Sendai High Court last year ordered Tepco to pay a total of over ¥700 million to evacuees.

In the latest ruling, presiding Judge Yukitaka Najima said the amount of consolation money already paid to evacuees based on the government’s interim guidelines was reasonable. Najima thus stopped short of ordering additional payments.

The payments were made under the law on compensation for nuclear damage, which obliges the operator of a nuclear facility to compensate for damage arising from it regardless whether there was negligence.

Meanwhile, the Iwaki branch ordered Tepco to pay consolation money worth ¥2 million per person for their loss of hometown.

At the same time, the court rejected the plaintiffs’ claim that Tepco is liable under the Civil Code for failing to prevent the accident, which they believe was foreseeable.

A group of lawyers on the plaintiff side criticized the ruling as unjust, saying that the recognized damage is too small.

Tepco said it will examine the ruling and consider its response.

February 14, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , , | Leave a comment

Dynamics of radiocesium in forests after the Fukushima disaster: Concerns and some hope

Dynamics of radiocesium in forests after the Fukushima disaster: Concerns and some hope

80% of the Fukushima prefecture are mountain forests.

February 3, 2021

Considering the massive threat posed by 137Cs to the health of both humans and ecosystems, it is essential to understand how it has distributed and how much of it still lingers.

w/reminder: there’s no such thing as ‘radioactive decontamination’ the correct term would be ‘trans-contamination’

Scientists compile available data and analyses on the flow of radionuclides to gain a more holistic understanding

Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute

After the Chernobyl disaster of 1986, the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant (FDNPP) disaster was the second worst nuclear incident in history. Its consequences were tremendous for the Japanese people and now, almost a decade later, they can still be felt both there and in the rest of the world. One of the main consequences of the event is the release of large amounts of cesium-137 (137Cs)–a radioactive “isotope” of cesium–into the atmosphere, which spread farther away from the power plant through wind and rainfall.

Considering the massive threat posed by 137Cs to the health of both humans and ecosystems, it is essential to understand how it has distributed and how much of it still lingers. This is why the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has recently published a technical document on this specific issue. The fifth chapter of this “Technical Document (TECDOC),” titled “Forest ecosystems,” contains an extensive review and analysis of existing data on 137Cs levels in Fukushima prefecture’s forests following the FDNPP disaster.

The chapter is based on an extensive study led by Assoc. Prof. Shoji Hashimoto from the Forestry and Forestry Products Research Institute, Japan, alongside Dr. Hiroaki Kato from the University of Tsukuba, Japan, Kazuya Nishina from the National Institute of Environmental Studies, Japan, Keiko Tagami from the National Institutes for Quantum and Radiological Science and Technology, Japan, George Shaw from the University of Nottingham, UK, and Yves Thiry from the National Agency for Radioactive Waste Management (ANDRA), France, and several other experts in Japan and Europe.

The main objective of the researchers was to gain a better understanding of the dynamics of 137Cs flow in forests. The process is far from straightforward, as there are multiple elements and variables to consider. First, a portion of 137Cs-containing rainfall is intercepted by trees, some of which is absorbed, and the rest eventually washes down onto the forest floor. There, a fraction of the radiocesium absorbs into forest litter and the remainder flows into the various soil and mineral layers below. Finally, trees, other plants, and mushrooms incorporate 137Cs through their roots and mycelia, respectively, ultimately making it both into edible products harvested from Fukushima and wild animals.

Considering the complexity of 137Cs flux dynamics, a huge number of field surveys and gatherings of varied data had to be conducted, as well as subsequent theoretical and statistical analyses. Fortunately, the response from the government and academia was considerably faster and more thorough after the FDNPP disaster than in the Chernobyl disaster, as Hashimoto explains: “After the Chernobyl accidents, studies were very limited due to the scarce information provided by the Soviet Union. In contrast, the timely studies in Fukushima have allowed us to capture the early phases of 137Cs flow dynamics; this allowed us to provide the first wholistic understanding of this process in forests in Fukushima.”

Understanding how long radionuclides like 137Cs can remain in ecosystems and how far they can spread is essential to implement policies to protect people from radiation in Fukushima-sourced food and wood. In addition, the article also explores the effectiveness of using potassium-containing fertilizers to prevent the uptake of 137Cs in plants. “The compilation of data, parameters, and analyses we present in our chapter will be helpful for forest remediation both in Japan and the rest of the world,” remarks Hashimoto.

When preventive measures fail, the only remaining option is trying to fix the damage done–in the case of radiation control, this is only possible with a comprehensive understanding of the interplay of factors involved.

In this manner, this new chapter will hopefully lead to both timely research and more effective solutions should a nuclear disaster happen again.

###

Reference

Title: Environmental Transfer of Radionuclides in Japan following the Accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, Chapter 5 “Forest ecosystems”

Published in: International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA TECDOC no. 1927

Link (open access): https://www.iaea.org/publications/14751/environmental-transfer-of-radionuclides-in-japan-following-the-accident-at-the-fukushima-daiichi-nuclear-power-plant

About the Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute, Japan

Inaugurated as a unit for forest experiments in Tokyo in 1905, the Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute (FFPRI) was largely reorganized in 1988, when it received its current name. During its history of over 110 years, the FFPRI has been conducting interdisciplinary research on forests, forestry, the timber industry, and tree breeding with an agenda based around sustainable development goals. The FFPRI is currently looking to collaborate with more diverse stakeholders, such as international organizations, government agencies, and industry and academic leaders, to conduct much needed forest-related research and make sure we preserve these renewable resources. Website: https://www.ffpri.affrc.go.jp/ffpri/en/index.html

About Dr. Shoji Hashimoto from the Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute, Japan

Shoji Hashimoto obtained Master’s and PhD degrees from The University of Tokyo, Japan, in 2001 and 2004, respectively. In 2005, he joined the Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute, Japan, where he now works as Senior Researcher. He is also Associate Professor at The University of Tokyo. He has published over 50 papers and is a referee for over 30 scientific journals. His main research interests are soil and forest science, environmental dynamics, and climate change, among others. Hashimoto has also been an organizer for various events, including two Symposiums on Fukushima Forests and the Japan?Finland Joint Seminar, and serves as the coordinator of a radioecology unit in International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO).

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2021-02/fafp-dor020221.php?fbclid=IwAR0naTuQ7-QqY9KtR9zrGX1ZbVyHjyuoTI_gBnXiDGMx2zHMolY48eRjNrM

February 14, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , | Leave a comment

Israel lifts restrictions on imported Japanese food products

The 15 countries and regions maintaining restrictions on Japanese food imports include China, South Korea, and the US.

January 29, 2021

Israel has removed import restrictions on food items from Japan imposed due to the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, reducing the number of countries and regions with such trade policies to 15.

All Fukushima food products and some items such as grain, seafood, and mushrooms from Iwate, Miyagi, Tochigi, Gunma, and Chiba prefectures were subjected to the import restrictions.

The restrictions include submitting radiation inspection certificates and having all the items tested upon entry.

Japan farm minister Kotaro Nogami urged countries and regions retaining import restrictions to ease or eliminate them

Israel is now among 39 countries and regions that have lifted import restrictions.

The 15 countries and regions maintaining restrictions on Japanese food imports include China, South Korea, and the US.

https://www.econotimes.com/Israel-removes-import-restrictions-on-Japanese-food-products-1601230?fbclid=IwAR0bTC_LfWbv-JFL83RqZjBF4KJ-IQJ84jw_DOd7PTEGnJ8KH956a9SHd7I

February 14, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | | Leave a comment

More theory on Fukushima nuclear reactor explosion

Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority unveils another theory concerning an explosion that occurred at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in March 2011 based on a video reprocessed by Nippon TV using state-of-the-art technology.

https://www.ntv.co.jp/englishnews/articles/2021ee2ljrmdzmz1ipc4.html?fbclid=IwAR3MuKbkQjVbv187SvoSuvi1j2L_22WJ7BVIFoq88Bpxuo523zMPEeVW5xs

February 14, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , | Leave a comment