Japan’s environment ministry has lifted the radioactive designation it applied to a batch of waste after the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident.
About 200 kilograms of waste stored at a private facility in Yamagata Prefecture can now be disposed of as general waste.
People familiar with the matter say the radioactivity level of the waste was confirmed to be lower than the government-set level of 8,000 becquerels per kilogram.
The ministry said it sent a letter, dated January 13th, to notify the facility of its decision to lift the designation.
It is the first time the ministry has lifted the designation for waste kept by a private company in connection with the nuclear accident.
Last July, the ministry lifted the designation of radioactive waste stored in the city of Chiba, just outside Tokyo. It was the first case among municipalities storing radioactive waste from the Fukushima accident’s fallout.
Ministry officials say as of September 30th last year, there was about 179,000 tons of waste designated as radioactive across the country.
Radiation from Fukushima has now officially entered the food chain, can it be fixed?
Fukushima, as you may recall, was an accident at a Japanese nuclear complex back in 2011. A combination of an earthquake and a tsunami damaged the facility, allowing radioactive water to pour into the ocean. In fact, ABC news reported that — “The 2011 quake of magnitude-9 was the strongest quake ever recorded in Japan, and it generated a tsunami that knocked out the Fukushima plant, causing the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl a quarter of a century earlier.”
Since then, there have been various plans to stabilize the situation, but all have failed. Robots sent in to find the cores have failed. The National Post wrote that — “It takes two years to build them. Each operator trains for a month before picking up their controls. And they get fried by radiation after working for just 10 hours.” That’s right. In just 10 hours, the robots are so damaged, they don’t work. In fact, the article continued by writing — “The reason the robots need to get inside core is that officials need to locate the plant’s melted (and still very radioactive) fuel rods before they can plan on what to do next”.
Wait, you might be asking yourself, what about the ice wall? Well, RT reported that — “In March, (a Japanese) construction company began building the frozen wall of earth around the four damaged nuclear reactors and had completed most of the 1.5-km (1 mile) barrier. TEPCO hoped that the frozen earth barrier would thwart most of the groundwater from reaching the plant and divert it into the ocean instead.
However, little or no success was recorded in the wall’s ability to block the groundwater during the five-month-period. The amount of groundwater reaching the plant has not changed after the wall was built.” That’s right. This plan has also failed.
And while media has effectively been silent on the issue, it does pop up from time to time, such as this article in Science World Report — “(a) Woods Hole chemical oceanographer, tracked down the radiation plume in the seawater. He proposed that the (contaminated) seawater crossed the Pacific Ocean and reached (America’s) west coast.” In fact, that article revealed that — “the seawater samples collected last winter from the Tillamook Bay and Gold Beach in the west coast indicated the presence of low levels of nuclear radiations. Thankfully, the levels were calculated too low to cause any harmful impact on the human or animal population of the region.” But that is missing the point – radiation has now officially entered the food chain.
Although the article in Science World Report notes that the levels were low, it should also be noted that their samples were all the way across the ocean. What if they took a sample in other places? Surely, logic would dictate that it would become stronger, the closer one gets to Japan.
It should also be noted that radioactive water continues to pour into the ocean on a daily, hourly, and by the minute basis. That hasn’t stopped. It is happening right now. It happens while you sleep. It happens while you are awake. It happens even if no one is talking about it and has been happening for more than 5 years, and there is no plan to stop it.
In Yamada, Futaba District, Fukushima, trucks carrying waste after decontamination work, go by spreading unmeasurable amount of radiation.
The Geiger counter hits 9.99 microSv/h which is its limit!
Recovery effort? Is n’t it better to relocate the entire residents elsewhere safe? In Japan, there are many villages and small towns where they suffer with depopulation.
What they do now is just to keep feeding big contractors, not helping affected people…..
Source: Oz Yo
As a writer and priest in Fukushima, Sōkyū grapples with the aftermath of the 2011 nuclear disaster in this short story about a son organising a funeral for his father, who collected radiation-contaminated waste
Rice fields in Fukushima, no longer cultivatable after the evacuation zone was dissolved in August 2012.
Akutagawa Prize winner Gen’yū Sōkyū has an unusual vocation among litterateurs: he is the chief priest of a temple in Fukushima, where nuclear disaster struck following the earthquake and tsunami of March 2011. Both a leader and a major voice in reconstruction efforts, Gen’yū uses fiction to grapple with the catastrophe, and in this story, Mountain of Light, he imagines (perhaps even hopes for) a future of provincial ascendance and “Irradiation Tours”. In this excerpt, the narrator relates his coming to terms with his father’s devotion in collecting the community’s “irradiated” — their radiation-contaminated waste, in other words.
—The editors at Asymptote
The next time I saw Dad was at Mom’s funeral. He himself would die three years later at ninety-five—twenty-five years after our last conversation—of old age, not cancer. After my mother’s cremation, he spoke to me.
“Your ma had a hard time of it, but it was all worthwhile. Thanks to the irradiated, we managed to live meaningfully, right up to the end, and that’s no joke. When my time comes… you’ll burn me on top of that mountain, right?”
His hearing wasn’t so good by that time, so while I said “Don’t be stupid,” apparently what he heard was “Okay, I’ll do it,” although I didn’t realise this until much later. He held my hands in front of Mom’s altar and said “Thank you” over and over again… It might’ve been a misunderstanding, but that was the first time he had ever shown me gratitude.
My brother and sister-in-law had only offered incense at the crematorium, and were no longer there. He was a consultant to an electronics manufacturer, and even though he said he had a meeting to attend, I was sure they had left out of fear. I too had debates with the missus about the effects of low-level exposure, almost every night. Eventually we stopped speaking, and came to see each other as “contaminated.” We’d separated by then. And that’s when I finally realised that we were both being completely ridiculous.
I’m sure all of you will agree—I mean, think about it, academics had all these opposing theories and no one was willing to budge. Some people said that anything up to one hundred thousand times the intensity of background radiation is fine, look at astronauts, they’re fine—and then others demanded that we spend trillions of yen on decontamination to scrape off fertile soil with low-level radiation. The Hormesis and Prophylaxis camps, yeah, that’s what they were called. Both sides wanted the other to calm down and talk things through, but like me and the ex, they just couldn’t do it. You could say my divorce was the result of a proxy war, haha.
People—organisations are even worse—go to terrifying lengths to save face. The ICRP, that’s the International Commission on Radiological Protection, they of all people should’ve created spaces for discussion, but showed no intention of doing so. And then public opinion was set on throwing every last baby out with the bathwater: if nuclear reactors were bad, then all radiation was bad too. In short, no one was calm.
But as you know, after the power plant accident, it was the ICRP who recommended raising the radiation exposure limit by twenty to a hundred times of the normal value. After that was rejected, they just stayed silent, same as me and the ex. Even now I have no idea who’s right. But what’s certain is that the radioactive potassium and carbon and whatnot in our bodies emit a fair amount of radiation, with or without the reactors. Somebody weighing sixty kilos would put out, oh, five thousand becquerels or so. Anyway, the Commission never officially changed their stance on low-level exposure after that. And now we have all of you taking part in this Irradiation Tour, coming to see the mountain my old man made. Radon hot springs are popular once more, and Fukushima’s population is even growing rapidly.
What was I… oh, right—that was quite a ramble—I was telling you about Dad’s request.
For the record, it wasn’t cancer. He might’ve said “Cancer wouldn’t be bad,” but in the end he had a prolonged bout of the autumn flu and kicked the bucket, just like that.
I got the news from my cousin, and when I came back Dad was already laid out in the main room, around there. Yes, right there, where the blond man is sitting, haha. I lifted the white cloth, and saw my old man looking solemn for the first time. It was as if he’d taken off the okame mask—I had never seen that face before, honest.
I spent the whole night thinking. I recalled what Dad said at Mom’s funeral, and I wasn’t sure what to do about his cremation. But the answer soon came to me. You see, my mother’s remains had disappeared from the altar.
Since Mom died eight years ago, I’d started coming back home a little more often. I’d retired from my job, and I didn’t have a family of my own. I wasn’t that worried about Dad living alone, rather I’d come to believe his mountain may have been some kind of miracle.
On one of those visits, he’d told me about their dog’s death, and how he had buried it atop that mountain. Sitting by my old man’s pillow, I looked over at the altar and noticed that while my mother’s picture was there, her remains were not. I put the pieces together and went outside. It was a still, humid night at the beginning of summer.
The sound of insects filled the air. It was my first time ever on that mountain. I realised, halfway up, that it had become much taller than before. It was even taller than it is now, nearly thirty metres, I’d wager. As I went up the winding path, I was aware of the dosimeter packed in my bag, but you know, I didn’t take any measurements. I think my feet were a bit shaky, but I wasn’t scared of anything anymore. Dad did the same thing every day, and he lived peacefully until the age of ninety-five, just like Mom.
Now and then, I felt his presence. Staring at the ground as I climbed, in the dim light of the moon, it seemed my old man was saying “It’s okay, it’s okay” and smiling overhead.
As I expected, there were two pieces of natural stone at the top, set about one metre apart. At some point, Dad had made and maintained a grave for Mom and another for their dog up there. And that’s why this mountain is like one of those burial mounds.
Looking around, I saw the neon signs of the neighbouring town twinkling like countless stars. Of course, the stars in the sky were also countless, and so beautiful. Perhaps Dad built the mountain with the knowledge of this view. I was suddenly reminded of him saying the word “meaningfully” at Mom’s funeral. The last words I’d heard Mom say also seemed to echo in my ear: “Someone come by?”
Thinking back later, the mountain seemed to be glowing faintly that time too, but I couldn’t distinguish it from the silvery moonlight.
I went to the temple the next morning and asked the priest to carry out the funeral at my home. I had the newspapers run not just a death notice, but a full obituary too. My old man had single-handedly taken on the irradiated of this town as well as other parts of the prefecture, so I felt the public ought to know about his death. I might’ve been a little carried away.
The funeral was an incredible affair.
I was very grateful for the hundred-odd wreaths, and the not one but five priests, but this wasn’t your regular congregation—this was a mob. The prefectural governor came, five or six mayors came too. Pretty sure there were over two thousand attendees. But the real highlight came during the cremation, after everyone had gone home.
The priest from my family temple was actually very supportive. When I told him about my old man’s request, he said “Let’s do it. We’ll perform the cremation on top of that mountain.” After the ceremony, the guys from the neighbours’ association carried Dad’s coffin up the mountain. As our ancestors did, we gathered kindling, placed a board on the kindling, and laid the coffin on the board. Straw from nearby rice fields, once considered hazardous, was piled up high on the coffin. It was starting to get dark, and the fire burned beautifully, it did. By that time, the Hormesis school of thought was already pretty mainstream, so I wasn’t surprised by the hundred or so people who had stayed behind to watch from the foot of the mountain. What I didn’t expect was what happened after those people had left. I’d invited the priest into the house, and as we were drinking, I heard a massive bang. I went outside to take a look, and the whole mountain was smouldering, not just the area around my old man’s body.
That wasn’t my old man, it was the priest standing next to me.
After all, the mountain was made up of countless trees, branches, grass, all perfectly flammable. The priest probably also knew that the temperature would go up to five, six hundred degrees at most, and as long as it didn’t go over seven hundred degrees the caesium wouldn’t disperse.
“Is that true?”
“Yes, it’s okay, it’s okay, all of it will stay in the ashes.”
The priest came across as a salesman—no, I hear he used to work at an incinerator, maybe that was it—he spoke with complete assurance. I have no idea which of them first came up with the “it’s okay” mantra. Anyway, we made a makeshift table and continued drinking outside, sitting on upturned beer crates.
That’s when we finally saw it. Where the sky was turning into night, the air had a kind of sheen, it seemed to be lit from some deeper layer. It was the mountain, giving off a pale purple fluorescence. Now and then flames peeked out, smoke billowed up, but the purple aura that encompassed the whole shone with a light that would repel darkness forever. It was as if the cloud bearing the noble Amitābha had descended before our eyes.
The mountain continued to smoulder for several days, gradually shrinking and becoming more compact. And every night, the whole mountain would emit a soft light. No one knows why. All sorts of experts came and investigated the thing, but it’s still a mystery. After the usual forty-nine days of mourning, Dad’s bones were buried close to Mom’s gravestone, and since then the light seems to have become stronger, haha, but that’s probably my eyes playing tricks on me.
Look, there it is, you’ll start to see it as night falls. On your feet, everyone, and let’s ascend the Mountain of Light.
It’s okay, no need to rush. Radiation’s not as strong as it was five years ago, but there’s still plenty to soak up.
Sorry, one more thing—I said earlier that this mountain’s also a burial mound, so first, I’d like all of you to put your hands together in prayer for a moment.
Okay then, please put on your shoes and head outside. Now, now, no pushing. I know you can’t wait to get all the exposure you can, but as in all things, sharing is caring. More and more foreigners visiting these days, but I still don’t have any materials in English, sorry about that. PU-RI-I-ZU KA-MU A-GE-I-N, haha.
Ah, just look at that. You wouldn’t think such beauty could come from this world. Translucent, pure, noble, and absolutely toxic. If it were the colour of lapis lazuli, I guess it’d herald the coming of Bhaiṣajyaguru the Medicine Buddha instead of Amitābha. Wow, even the souvenir store’s neon sign is reflected in the sky—we’re looking at the Pure Land of the East here, everyone.
All right, everyone. Please follow me, single file. The staff will give you detailed instructions, please do as they say. It’s okay, it’s okay. Everyone gets the same exposure. Yes, this is the eighty millisievert course. Hey, you there, no sneaking off to get two rounds in, that’s a violation. Good grief, you guys… Those of you who haven’t changed into your white robes, it’s okay, take your time. Right, we’re heading out now, nice and easy… rokkonshōjō, the sky is clear, rokkonshōjō the mountain shines…
Translated from Japanese by Sim Yee Chiang.
For more of Gen’yū, read one of his early reactions to the events of March 2011 here, translated and published in the July 2011 issue of Asymptote.
- Gen’yū Sōkyū is a novelist and essayist, as well as the 35th chief priest of the Fukuju-ji Zen Buddhist temple in the town of Miharu, Fukushima. Born and raised in Miharu, he started writing novels while reading Chinese literature and drama at Keio University, Tokyo. His second novel, Chūin no hana (Flowers in Limbo), was awarded the prestigious Akutagawa Prize in 2001. His work, which explores the application of Buddhist or Zen teachings in everyday contexts, has been translated into French, German, Korean and Chinese. As an influential leading writer and committee member of the government’s Reconstruction Design Council, Gen’yū is currently a major voice in national reconstruction after the massive earthquake that hit Japan in 2011. His website can be found here.
- Sim Yee Chiang is a contributing editor at Asymptote. He was born in Singapore, received an undergraduate education and a master’s in English from Stanford University, and researched issues of English-Japanese and Japanese-English literary translation under the auspices of the University of Tokyo, where, seduced by the praxis itself, he now hopes to contribute to the exponentially growing mass that is world literature.
FUKUSHIMA — Ten more people were diagnosed with thyroid cancer as of late September this year in the second round of a health survey of Fukushima Prefecture residents, which began in April 2014, a committee overseeing the survey disclosed on Dec. 27.
The number of people confirmed to have cancer during the second round of the survey stands at 44, while the overall figure including cases detected in the first round stands at 145.
The first round of checks — covering people aged 18 or under who were living in the prefecture at the time of the outbreak of the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant — began in 2011. The second round covers about 380,000 people, including children who were born in the year following the outbreak of the disaster. The survey’s third round began in May this year.
Some have pointed to the danger of “excessive diagnoses” during health checks in which doctors find cases of cancer that do not require surgery, which could place a physical and mental burden on patients. There have accordingly been calls for the Fukushima Prefectural Government to scale down the scope of its health survey.
During a meeting of the oversight committee in Fukushima on Dec. 27, Hokuto Hoshi, deputy head of the Fukushima Medical Association, requested that the prefectural government set up a third-party organization to independently gather scientific knowledge on thyroid cancer. “Scientific discussion should be conducted independently,” he said.
A private fund in Japan has begun providing financial assistance for young people diagnosed with thyroid cancer after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident.
The 3.11 Fund for Children with Thyroid Cancer offers a lump sum of 100,000 yen, or 850 dollars, to help pay for treatment for patients up to the age of 25. The first payments were made to 35 people on Monday.
The fund’s name refers to March 11th, 2011, when a massive earthquake hit northeastern Japan, triggering tsunami that crippled a nuclear plant in Fukushima Prefecture.
People in Fukushima and 14 other prefectures in eastern Japan are eligible to apply.
Fund officials say that 9 of the 35 recipients are not residents of Fukushima Prefecture. They say that in at least one case, the cancer had spread to the lungs when the diagnosis was made.
They are soliciting applications for the assistance as well as donations.
An official says the fund hopes to offer support to as many people as possible, adding that the cost of treatment weighs heavily on some families.
The policy to return the population to the still contaminated areas is in progress in spite of the evacuees’ protests.
In three months, at the end of March 2017, the evacuation order will be lifted except for the “difficult-to-return” zones. In parallel, the housing aid for the so-called “auto-evacuees” from the areas situated outside of the evacuation zones will come to an end. The “psychological damage compensation” for the forced-evacuees will finish at the end of March 2018.
In this context, the local governments’ employees are going around the temporary housing, offered freely to “auto-evacuees” (1), in door-to-door visits to apply pressure to expel the inhabitants. It is difficult to see in this act anything other than harassment and persecution.
In November, Taro YAMAMOTO, Member of Parliament in Japan, posed a series of questions at the Special Commission for Reconstruction. We shall cite some extracts. (See Fukushima 311 Watchdogs for the full translation).
Here are some testimonies.
“I am afraid of the investigators of the Tokyo Metropolitan Prefecture visiting door to door. I hide under the cover for fear of hearing the ringing at the door. When I opened the door, the investigator stuck his foot into the door so that I could not close it. With a loud voice so that all the neighbors could hear, he shouted at me “you know very well that you can only live here until March”. I know, but I cannot move. “
The next person. “The Tokyo Metropolitan Prefecture demands that we move out in a fierce and haughty manner. We had to leave our home because of the accident at the nuclear power plant. I do not understand why they are expelling us again.”
“Constant phone calls, visits without notice, and they shout at me asking what my intention is. They send documents to file, and leave passing notices in the mailbox. I am completely exhausted, physically and psychologically. “
END OF QUOTE
The same kind of persecution is deployed inside Fukushima prefecture.
You can see the photo of the notice taped on the apartment door of Mr. Yôichi OZAWA in the social housing for job seekers in mobility, used as temporary housing offered free of charge to nuclear accident victims, situated in Hara-machi district of Minamisoma town.
Mr. OWAZA left his home at 22km from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant where the radioactivity was too high. In spite of the contamination, his home was not included in the evacuation zone, which stopped 20km from the NPP. Thus, he is considered as “auto-evacuee”, jishu-hinansha, and as such subject to the same harassment as the “auto-evacuees” in the Metropolitan regions of Tokyo or in West Japan.
Because of this zoning based on the geographic distance from the crippled NPP that divides Minamisoma town, the evacuees of Hara-machi district are subject to expulsion persecution, whereas those of Odaka district are exempt from such acts.
The door picture was posted in the Facebook of Mr. Tatsushi OKAMOTO on December 24th 2016 with the text below.
On the notice we can read:
Please contact us, for we have things to communicate to you.
December 13th 2016
Kuroki Housing Management Office
Cellphone #: XXXX
Here is the paper taped on the door of a house for evacuees.
It is shocking, this way of taping the notice.
They treat us like a non-paying renter or as if we are not paying our taxes!
No consideration of the dignity of the person.
It is like the Yakuza’s way of collecting money!
Currently in Fukushima, the victims are facing a double or triple suffering.
Who is to be blamed? What have we done to deserve this, we, the victims?
(1) Minashi kasetsu jyûtaku. Rental housing managed by private or public agencies offered to evacuees of which the rent is taken in charge by the central or local government.
山本太郎公式ホームページの質問書き起こし Texte of questions of Taro Yamamoto in his official HP (in Japanese)
Dolls are positioned at the entrance to a cafe in Naraha
At first glance, the Japanese town of Naraha appears normal, if a little quiet.
There are a handful of residents dotted about the place – a few in the post office, and some others in the bank – though several are oddly still.
A doll is positioned by the ATM inside the post office in Naraha Town, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan
There are some youngsters loitering around too, but the older residents say they don’t mind as they never cause any trouble.
In fact, they say, it is nice to have some new faces around a town still struggling to come to terms with the Fukushima nuclear disaster, which brought the community to its knees.
Even if they are only dummies.
The life-sized mannequins are the work of a group of elderly women who have taken it upon themselves to “repopulate” their town, after most of its inhabitants fled during the March 2011 disaster, which took place just 12 miles away.
These days most of Naraha former residents are scattered across the country.
From November 2014
The Fukushima nuclear accident on 11 March 2011 emerged as a global threat to the conservation of the Pacific Ocean, human health, and marine biodiversity. On April 11 (2011), the Fukushima nuclear plant reached the severity level 7, equivalent to that of the 1986-Chernobyl nuclear disaster. This accident was defined by the International Atomic Energy Agency as “a major release of radioactive material with widespread health and environmental effects requiring implementation of planned and extended countermeasures”.
Despite the looming threat of radiation, there has been scant attention and inadequate radiation monitoring. This is unfortunate, as the potential radioactive contamination of seafoods through bioaccumulation of radioisotopes (i.e. 137Cs) in marine and coastal food webs are issues of major concern for the public health of coastal communities. While releases of 137Cs into the Pacific after the Fukushima nuclear accident are subject to high degree of dilution in the ocean, 137Cs activities are also prone to concentrate in marine food-webs.
With the aim to track the long term fate and bioaccumulation of 137Cs in marine organisms of the Northwest Pacific, we assessed the bioaccumulation potential of 137Cs in a North West Pacific foodweb by developing, applying and testing a simulation time dependent bioaccumulation model in a marine mammalian food web that includes fish-eating resident killer whales (Orcinus orca) as the apex predator.
The model outcomes showed that 137Cs can be expected to bioaccumulate gradually over time in the food web as demonstrated through the use of the slope of the trophic magnification factor (TMF) for 137Cs, which was significantly higher than one (TMF > 1.0; p < 0.0001), ranging from 5.0 at 365 days of simulation to 30 at 10,950 days.
From 1 year to 30 years of simulation, the 137Cs activities predicted in the male killer whale were 6.0 to 182 times 137Cs activities in its major prey (Chinook salmon, Oncorhynchus tshawytscha).
Bioaccumulation of 137Cs was characterized by slow uptake and elimination rates in upper trophic level organisms and dominance of dietary consumption in the uptake of 137CS.
This modeling work showed that in addition to the ocean dilution of 137Cs, a magnification of this radionuclide takes place in the marine food web over time.
Citing “limited, if any effects,” the Nuclear Regulation Authority said a highly touted “frozen soil wall” should be relegated to a secondary role in reducing contaminated groundwater at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.
The government spent 34.5 billion yen ($292 million) to build the underground ice wall to prevent groundwater from mixing with radioactive water in four reactor buildings at the crippled plant.
But the NRA, Japan’s nuclear watchdog, concluded on Dec. 26 that the wall has been ineffective in diverting the water away from the buildings. It said that despite the low rainfall over the past several months, the amount of groundwater pumped up through wells outside the frozen wall on the seaside is still well above the reduction target.
It urged the plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., to tackle the groundwater problem primarily with pumps, not the ice wall.
In response, TEPCO at the meeting said that by next autumn, it will double its capacity to pump up groundwater from the current 800 tons a day.
About 400 tons of groundwater enters the damaged reactor buildings each day and mixes with highly radioactive water used to cool melted nuclear fuel.
The ice wall project, compiled by the industry ministry in May 2013, was seen as a fundamental solution to this problem that has hampered TEPCO’s cleanup efforts since the triple meltdown in March 2011.
Some 1,568 frozen ducts were inserted 30 meters deep into the ground to circulate a liquid at 30 degrees below zero. The freezing process was supposed to have created a solid wall of ice that could block the groundwater.
TEPCO began freezing the wall on the seaside in March. It announced in the middle of October that the temperature at all measuring points in that area was below zero.
Before the frozen wall project, TEPCO had to pump up about 300 tons of contaminated water a day. The daily volume dropped to about 130 tons in recent weeks, but it was still well beyond the target of 70 tons.
Still, TEPCO boasted about the effectiveness of the ice wall at the meeting with the NRA on Dec. 26, saying, “We are seeing certain results.”
The NRA, however, said the results are limited at best.
Toyoshi Fuketa, an NRA commissioner, already warned TEPCO in October that it cannot expect the ice wall to be highly effective in containing the groundwater.
“Pumping up groundwater through wells should be the main player because it can reliably control the groundwater level,” Fuketa said at that time. “The ice wall will play a supporting role.”
That sentiment was echoed at the Dec. 26 meeting.
However, the NRA approved the utility’s plan to begin freezing dirt for a wall on the mountain side of the nuclear plant.
The NRA was previously concerned about risks posed by the new ice wall. If it totally blocked groundwater from the mountain side, the water level within the frozen soil near the reactors could become too low, allowing highly contaminated water inside the reactor buildings to flow out more rapidly.
The NRA urged TEPCO to delay work on the mountain side until the ice wall on the seaside portion proved effective.
But it reversed its stance, saying a sharp drop in the groundwater level is unlikely based on the ineffectiveness of the existing ice wall.
“The frozen wall on the mountain side will not be able to block groundwater because the wall on the seaside was also unable to do so,” Fuketa said. “It will not be very dangerous to freeze the wall on the mountain side as long as the work is carried out carefully.”
TEPCO will start the work to freeze the ducts at five sections as early as next year.
Masashi Kamon, professor emeritus of geotechniques at Kyoto University, expressed skepticism about continuing the ice wall project without a full scrutiny of the underground conditions.
“Soil around the tunnels for underground pipes must be hard to freeze,” he said. “TEPCO should find out the conditions of the very bottom of the ice wall by drilling at least one section. It is questionable to continue with the project without a review.”
What is going on in Japan since March 11, 2011?
Radiation generated by collapse of radioactive material that is invisible to the eye pierces cells of animals and plants and human body.
In Fukushima contamination is now omnipresent, you cannot see it nor smell it, nor taste it but it is there.
And in 2016, an unprecedented public project is about to start in the world. Japan’s contamination is made visible by its 1/1000 second clicking sounds.
You can’t see it but you can now visualize the power of those radioactive disintegrations by hearing their sounds, so that the inoffensive looking becquerel per kg numbers of an invisible contamination now take a new dimension, as the violence of their power is suddenly revealed through their disingration sounds…..
Completion of drilling a hole toward investigation inside Unit 2 Primary Containment Vessel (PCV) at Fukushima Daiichi
TEPCO released a video showing a drilling rig, used in preparation for internal investigation of containment vessel No. 2 of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. The drilling was seated against the CRD hatch inside unit 2, the selected site where a robot will be inserted into unit 2 containment to collect data and images.
Due to shielding blocks difficult to remove and high radiation levels found where the hatch gasket had melted away, this work has been repeatedly delayed.
Logos from IRID, Toshiba and IHI are displayed on that drilling rig. IRID is the decommissioning research and development group. Toshiba handles the inspection and response work at the site and was a prime contractor at Daiichi before the disaster. IHI Corporation does a variety of high tech work including the energy and aerospace industries.
Little is known about the capabilities of that drilling rig. To conduct the containment inspection the workers will have to insert a robot into the CRD hatch tube.Earlier in the process it was decided to drill out an opening on the hatch rathen than trying to open it. In similar works at unit 1 a large tube shaped rig is connected to the containment port to act as a hot cell, to enable the robot to enter and exit the containment structure without having radiation or radioactive materials to escape.
Similar efforts at unit 1 involved connecting a large tube shaped rig to the containment port that acts as a hot cell. This allows the robot to enter and exit the containment structure without allowing radiation or radioactive materials to escape. Earlier practiced work at Unit 2 showed workers training with such a hot cell unit.
Asahi Shimbun had reported on September 2016 that TEPCO has announced they would begin the robotic containment inspection of unit 2’s containment in early 2017. This new development might be a sign that they have overcome the difficulties that caused delays since 2014.
My deep respect for this father courage and perseverance to search for his child beyond his pain and the tragedy. It must be awful to search for the remains of your beloved daughter like he did for 6 years. I have been repeatedly hearing about his relentless search over and over again during these past 6 years. I am happy for him that he finally found her.
My own daughter was very lucky, at the time the tsunami hit the place where they lived on the north-east coast of Iwaki city, right by the sea, they were all in town, far from their house and the seashore. They lost their house but no life.
Yuna Kimura was 7 years old when the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami struck.
OKUMA, Fukushima Prefecture–A man’s painstaking search over nearly six years has finally uncovered remains of his 7-year-old daughter who disappeared in the 2011 tsunami.
But the discovery has not brought closure for the father, Norio Kimura, who plans to keep sifting through the debris on the coast of this town in the shadow of the ruined Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
“I am glad, but only small parts of her have been recovered,” said Kimura, 51. “I will continue my search until I find everything.”
A breakthrough in his private search for daughter Yuna came on Dec. 9, when a volunteer found a scarf she was wearing on the day the tsunami struck. It was near the coast only a few hundred meters from where Kimura’s home once stood in Okuma.
A further search of the area uncovered parts of neck and jaw bones among the tsunami debris.
A DNA test conducted by Fukushima prefectural police showed the remains were of Yuna. Kimura was informed of the test result on Dec. 22.
However, he said he still has no intention of submitting a document to officially certify her death until the rest of her body is found.
Yuna was the last resident of Okuma officially listed as missing.
Kimura’s house was located about 4 kilometers south of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant and 100 meters from the coast. The tsunami spawned by the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011, destroyed the home and swept away Yuna, Kimura’s wife, Miyuki, then 37, and his father, Wataro, then 77.
The bodies of Miyuki and Wataro were recovered that year. But Yuna remained missing.
The meltdowns at the nuclear plant forced Kimura to evacuate from Okuma and halt his search for Yuna.
Although the Self-Defense Forces, firefighters, police and volunteers conducted searches along the coast of the Tohoku region, radioactive fallout prevented extensive checks around Okuma in the early days of the recovery effort.
Most parts of the town are still located in the government-designated “difficult-to-return zone” because of high radiation levels. Access is limited to former residents, but only for short periods.
Kimura resumed his personal search for Yuna at the end of 2011, when the government allowed those limited-period returns to Okuma.
After settling in Hakuba, Nagano Prefecture, with his mother and surviving daughter, Kimura frequently made round trips of about 1,000 kilometers in his search for Yuna. He often wore protective clothing against radiation in his endeavor.
Yuna’s remains were found in an area where Kimura discovered a shoe in June 2012 that his daughter was wearing on the day of the disaster.
Kimura said he intends to increase his trips to Okuma and focus his search on the area where Yuna’s bones were discovered.
“I do hold anger toward TEPCO, which caused the nuclear crisis, and the government, which was not committed enough to the body-recovery effort,” Kimura said. “I am mortified that it took nearly six years to find her.”
Thousands protest over ‘nuke food’
TAIPEI, Taiwan — Thousands took to the streets to protest the proposed lifting of a ban on food products from radiation-affected areas of Japan, following an inconclusive public hearing on the matter Sunday morning.
The Kuomintang (KMT)-organized march kicked off with remarks from KMT Chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱).
“We will not tolerate our children being endangered by food products contaminated by radiation,” Hung said.
Hung urged the crowd of protestors to convey their dissent to the government as they marched from Aiguo East Road near Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall and down Ketagalan Boulevard to the Ministry of Finance at Aiguo West Road.
Representatives from various demographics, including housewives, young parents and expecting parents, spoke out in turn before the march began.
The diversity of backgrounds represented at the march “reflected the 74 percent of all Taiwanese nationals who oppose lifting the ban on food imports from five Japanese regions affected by the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster,” the march’s organizers claimed.
Expecting father Chen Hsiao-wei (陳孝威) expressed concerns that food imports from radiation-affected areas had already made their way into Taiwan.
Chen said he “did not understand any of the figures and numbers” presented by the government’s experts about the imports and only wanted to know why “Taiwanese people should eat these food products when the Koreans, Chinese, and Australians are not eating them.”
In a move that both served as a visual pun and was reminiscent of Latin America’s “pots and pans” protests, “new immigrants” — a term commonly used to refer to immigrants from Southeast Asia — attended the march with small pans and spatulas in hand to object to feeding their children potentially harmful food.
These mothers chose to “bravely speak out and bring their children to the march” to safeguard the welfare of the next generation, a representative of the new immigrant mothers told reporters.
A Failed Public Hearing
Earlier in the day, protestors and KMT legislators attended a public hearing at the Taipei Innovation City Convention Center in New Taipei City’s Xindian District.
The public hearing, which was intended to address the assessment and management of products from the five regions, failed to get past the explanation of the hearing’s rules after repeated outbursts from audience members.
Cabinet Spokesman Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) later said that “some people deliberately showed up (to the hearing) to provoke hatred.”
After moderator Chu Tseng-hung (朱增宏) spent most of the morning asking for decorum, legislators and NGO representatives present decided it was best for the public hearing to be downgraded to an informal forum that would hold no legal weight.
KMT Legislator Kao Chin Su-mei (高金素梅) said procedures for the hearing were “unjust” and that incorrect information was being disseminated. “The government is using technical issues to continue to beat around the bush (on this issue),” Kao Chin said during the hearing.
KMT Legislator Wayne Chiang (蔣萬安) said people’s voices were being omitted. At the march in the afternoon, he told the crowds, “The public hearing was not conducted in accordance with the principle of procedural justice.”
Chiang questioned the need for a hearing on the import of food products from radiation-affected areas if the government had reiterated that it would not allow the import of any “nuke foods.”
Around noon it was decided that the hearing would be downgraded to an informal forum, which organizers of the march later called a “victory of the people.”
Hsu Fu (許輔), director of the Cabinet’s food safety office later said that the forum had achieved “real results” and hoped the format could be used in future policy discussions.
President’s Office Responds
The office of President Tsai Ing-wen office later accused the KMT of “twisting” the hearing.
Presidential Office spokesman Alex Huang (黃重諺) said a public hearing was one of the best “platforms for policy discussion” and that the KMT had managed to turn the hearing into “a show for their party’s own internal election.”
Huang stressed in his statement that the government had never wanted to open the country’s borders to radiation-contaminated food products. “Regardless of where the food products come from, the government holds the same attitude as every other country, which is that it would not import food contaminated by radiation.”
The presidential office spokesman further stated that the government would base their import policies on international professional standards and scientific evidence with no exception.
Radioactive Salmon in Canada
Earlier this month, a research team from Canada’s University of Victoria reported discovering radioactive salmon in the British Columbia region.
Research team leader Jay Cullen found that a sample of salmon from Okanagan Lake in British Columbia had tested positive for cesium 134, which is deemed “a footprint of Fukushima.”
In the years since the 2011 Fukushima disaster, there have been increasing concerns about radiation-contaminated food products originating from the region and contaminated water supplies from airborne radioactive fallout.
Last year, public outrage erupted after food from the Fukushima disaster site was found on British market shelves with false labels. The scare hit closer to home when Taiwan discovered that more than 100 radioactive food products, originating from Fukushima but falsely packaged as coming from Tokyo, had made it onto shelves in Taiwan.
With the issue of food from nuclear-affected regions under close scrutiny domestically, more and more countries and international media outlets are paying attention to the potential of radiation contamination from Fukushima.
At the march, KMT Vice-Chairman Hau Lung-pin (郝龍斌) took the opportunity to ask more people to sign the petition against lifting the food ban.
The petition has been signed by an estimated 78,000 people so far, with Hau stating in a previous interview that the number of signatures could reach 93,000 by year’s end.
KMT Legislator Lin Wei-jo (林為洲) said the brief suspension of plans to lift the ban was a direct result of nationals across Taiwan sending petitions in opposition.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu, front third right, attends a demonstration along Taipei’s Ketagalan Boulevard yesterday against the proposed lifting of a ban on food imports from five Japanese prefectures.
KMT leads public protests over Japanese import ban
The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday took to the streets of Taipei, threatening to recall any lawmakers who voice support for the lifting of the nation’s import ban on Japanese food products from five Japanese prefectures, urging President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration to provide the public with an explanation.
Taiwan imposed import restrictions on food products from Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma and Chiba prefectures following the meltdown at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant on March 11, 2011.
Addressing a rally against the relaxation of the ban outside the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall MRT Station in the afternoon, KMT Chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) accused Tsai’s administration of caving in to Japanese pressure and “forcing radiation-contaminated foods down the throats of Taiwanese.”
“We do not understand the Democratic Progressive Party’s [DPP] sudden flip-flop; we do not understand why the government is forcing people and their children to consume radiation-tainted food; and we do not understand … why we have to import radiation-contaminated food products just because of pressure from Japan,” Hung said.
Sudden cardiac death seems to have increased to 70,000 per year in Japan. Previously it was said to be around 50,000 a year.
Is it the influence of radioactive contamination which is still leaking in the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant ever since the March 2011 meltdowns and explosions?
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