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Fukushima, a ‘coordinator’ for the nuclear-stricken area, takes a cue from the U.S. to break away from reconstruction dependent on the government


March 6, 2021, 18:07 (Kyodo News)
 On March 6, a private organization called Fukushima Hamadori Tridec was established to serve as a coordinator between industry, government and academia in the areas affected by the accident at Tokyo Electric Power Company’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. In order to promote the reconstruction that the coastal residents of Fukushima Prefecture desire, the organization aims to unite the demands of the region and take the brunt of negotiations with the government and other parties.
 The 43 founding members include local business people, researchers, and politicians. The organization will be incorporated as a general incorporated association and will invite individual and corporate members. Takayuki Nakamura, vice president of East Japan International University (Iwaki City), who will serve as the secretariat, said, “We will break away from our traditional stance of depending on the government. We will decide our own fate,” he said of the founding principles.

https://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/article/89939?fbclid=IwAR0IVgauLUBacHECWFx2axSSV7o5CUqvtvxw6KcLJtZ6A1bqoHtwcQ-cEl8

March 23, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , | Leave a comment

Complaint by residents of Iitaté against TEPCo and the State for exposure to radioactivity


March 5, 2021

The commune of Iitaté, located beyond the 30 km radius, was evacuated late. The order to evacuate was announced on April 11, 2011 and the inhabitants had one month to leave. During this time, those who had not left the area by themselves were exposed to radioactive fallout.


29 residents of Iitaté filed a lawsuit against TEPCo and the State and asked for 200 million yen of damages because the authorities had told them at the beginning of the disaster that it was not necessary to leave. The lack of information about the increase in radiation levels deprived them of their right to evacuate and left them unnecessarily exposed.

They also claim that the subsequent evacuation of the entire village caused them to lose their homes and farms, destroyed their community and deprived them of their hometown.


The leader of the plaintiffs, Kanno Hiroshi, says that he has developed illnesses over the past ten years and that concerns about the effects of radiation will never go away. He holds the government and the plant operator responsible.


This is the first class action suit filed to seek compensation for radiation exposure during the early days of the nuclear accident.


It should be noted that the first independent measurements carried out by ACRO in Japan following the Fukushima nuclear disaster concerned Iitaté. See the results and the press release of the time. These results showed an alarming situation.

ACRO wrote that iodine-131 contamination was preponderant, with levels such that it would be prudent to evacuate the village of Iitate: at the place called Maeda, we had detected 1.9 million becquerels per square meter. Regarding radioactive cesium, almost all the areas monitored by ACRO were above the limits set in Belarus for migration.

March 23, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima, a ‘coordinator’ for the nuclear-stricken area, takes a cue from the U.S. to break away from reconstruction dependent on the government

March 6, 2021, 18:07 (Kyodo News)
 On March 6, a private organization called Fukushima Hamadori Tridec was established to serve as a coordinator between industry, government and academia in the areas affected by the accident at Tokyo Electric Power Company’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. In order to promote the reconstruction that the coastal residents of Fukushima Prefecture desire, the organization aims to unite the demands of the region and take the brunt of negotiations with the government and other parties.
 The 43 founding members include local business people, researchers, and politicians. The organization will be incorporated as a general incorporated association and will invite individual and corporate members. Takayuki Nakamura, vice president of East Japan International University (Iwaki City), who will serve as the secretariat, said, “We will break away from our traditional stance of depending on the government. We will decide our own fate,” he said of the founding principles.

https://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/article/89939?fbclid=IwAR0IVgauLUBacHECWFx2axSSV7o5CUqvtvxw6KcLJtZ6A1bqoHtwcQ-cEl8

March 6, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , | Leave a comment

Decade After Fukushima Disaster Survivor Looks Back

The Japanese town of Tomioka ravaged by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster is a shell of its former self.

March 5, 2021

The Japanese town of Tomioka ravaged by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster is a shell of its former self. In some parts, houses and shops lie abandoned, and bin bags filled with contaminated soil line the streets. For Yuta Hatakeyama, who was 14 when his family had to leave their home, the town evokes bittersweet memories. “I had no idea what was going on back then,” he said. “It has been 10 years since and I have been developing sad feelings.”

A decade after the quake and tsunami, Hatakeyama has returned to the town some 10 kilometers (6 miles) from the now shuttered Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, and serves as a community spokesperson. The exclusion zone in the town was lifted in 2017 but around 12% of the town still remains a no-go zone where people can’t enter without an official permit.

Hatakeyama remembers a cherry blossom festival in the town, and a lane brimming with food stalls and people. Now it’s cordoned off and dotted with red safety cones. He said he and his family faced discrimination after leaving Tomioka after the disaster for Iwaki, some 50 km (30 miles) away. “When I moved to a new place and heard people there stigmatising us for being evacuated, my heart really ached.”

The 24-year-old now believes the town must get rid of the bags filled with radioactive waste and make the town more liveable. Tomioka, which used to have 16,000 residents before the disaster, is now home to 1,600 people. The town is planning to lift most of its no-go zones by March 2023. 

https://www.republicworld.com/world-news/rest-of-the-world-news/decade-after-fukushima-disaster-survivor-looks-back.html

March 6, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , | Leave a comment

Decade after Fukushima disaster, decontamination work remains incomplete in 85% of regions

Greenpeace says Japan should suspend returning residents to the afflicted region

Mar.5,2021

Decontamination work remains incomplete in 85% of regions where the Japanese government claims to have removed radioactive contaminants from the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant disaster, an international environment group’s analysis shows.

In a report titled “Fukushima Daiichi 2011-2021,” published on Thursday ahead of the 10th anniversary of the disaster on March 11, Greenpeace urged the Japanese government to discontinue its policy of returning residents to the afflicted region without regard for science-based analysis.

Two weeks after the disaster struck in March 2011, the group sent a team of radioactivity exports to the scene in the first of 32 total visits through November 2020 to survey the radiation impacts in the Fukushima region. The recent report was based on its findings to date.

The Japanese government has announced the completion of most decontamination work for a Special Decontamination Area (SDA), which does not include a region close to the plant with particularly high levels of contamination that prevent residents from returning. Carried out through March 2019, the effort involved a commitment of 30 million person-hours and cost US$28 billion.

But an analysis of government data by Greenpeace showed that of the 840 square kilometers in the SDA, actual decontamination work had only been completed on 120 square kilometers, or 15 %.

In the case of Iitate — the largest of the seven administrative districts located entirely inside the SDA — decontamination had yet to be completed for 18,183 hectares, or 79% of its area. In the second-largest district of Namie, just 2,140 hectares, or 10%, had undergone even some decontamination.

Resident evacuation orders for the two regions were lifted in March 2017 — but according to Greenpeace, radiation levels make them still too dangerous for human habitation.

According to a Greenpeace study last November, the average amount of radiation in five out of 11 sites surrounding one home in Iitate was 0.5 microsieverts per hour (μSv/h), exceeding the government’s target of 0.23μSv/h.

The area immediately outside of one Namie school was found to be open to the general public despite 93% of measured sites showing radiation above the government’s targets.

“The fact that 85% of the contaminated surface area of the seven Fukushima districts inside the SDA has not been subject to decontamination is directly related to the radiological hazards posed by the mountainous forested areas,” the report explained.

“These remain a long-term source of contamination, including recontamination,” it warned.

Shaun Burnie, the Greenpeace senior nuclear specialist responsible for writing the report, urged the Japanese government to immediately suspend its return policy and decontamination program in order to protect residents of the Fukushima region, arguing that they ignore science-based analysis.

The same day, Greenpeace also published a technical report analyzing the decommissioning of the Fukushima Daiichi reactor. In it, Greenpeace proposed that the Japanese government adopt an alternative to its current decommissioning plan, which increases the amount of water contaminated with high-level radioactive material.

As an alternative approach, it suggested replacing water with air as a means of cooling reactor core fuel, while reducing the amount of contaminated water by installing moats to prevent seawater and underground water infiltration around the plant.

Chang Ma-ri, a climate energy campaigner for Greenpeace, said, “The ravages of radioactive contamination caused by the Fukushima disaster will pose a burden on humankind that will not be resolved for the next century or more.”

“The Japanese government needs to start by withdrawing its imminent plans for the release of contaminated water [into the ocean],” she urged.

By Kim Jeong-su, senior staff writer

http://english.hani.co.kr/arti/english_edition/e_international/985626.html

March 6, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima resident still can’t return home 10 years after nuclear disaster

Yasuko Sasaki is seen at her house in the town of Namie, Fukushima Prefecture, on Feb. 1, 2021.

March 3, 2021

FUKUSHIMA — Yasuko Sasaki’s house lies just 30 kilometers away from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, where a meltdown took place following the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami. On Feb. 1, Sasaki temporarily returned to clean up leaves that had fallen on the grave at the back of the property.

Once a month, the 66-year-old visits her house in the Tsushima district in the Fukushima Prefecture town of Namie from the prefectural village of Otama — 50 kilometers away — where she is currently evacuated to. It has been almost 10 years since she became unable to live at her own residence.

Due to high radiation levels, Tsushima was designated a “difficult to return” zone, where restrictions for entering are in place, and people are barred from living there. Homes without their owners living in them have been ransacked by wild animals. While Sasaki has been away, wild animals chewed up stuffed turtle and bird specimens kept at her house. She continues to clean her house so that she “can return at any time.”

In the grave are the bones of her husband Kenji, who died of illness at age 57 in February 2011, just before the disaster struck the area, her youngest son Shinji, who passed away at 21 due to cancer in August the same year, and her parents-in-law. Sasaki was born in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, and married her husband and moved to the Tsushima district when she was 33. The couple raised their two children in the house, using mountain stream water in everyday life and boiling the bath with firewood.

“The memories that I have of spending time together with my family are here and only here. I want to come home while I can move my body,” Sasaki explained. A calendar at her house still shows March 2011, when the earthquake and tsunami hit.

The Reconstruction Design Council in response to the Great East Japan Earthquake, an advisory panel to the prime minister, deemed that “recovery from the devastating disaster will not be completed until Fukushima soil recovers.” The government has set up Specified Reconstruction and Revitalization Bases within difficult-to-return zones and is carrying out decontamination work and developing infrastructure so that people can reside in the area once again. It aims to lift evacuation orders for the bases in between 2022 and 2023.

However, the areas designated as reconstruction bases are limited. In the Tsushima district, a 153-hectare space surrounding the town hall’s Tsushima branch is designated — just 1.6% of the whole district. Of the 532 households in the district at the time of the disaster, 80% including Sasaki’s house are not included in the reconstruction base area, and there are no prospects for these people to be able to return to their homes.

Sasaki said, “Everything’s still the same, even 10 years after the (nuclear) disaster. I wonder for how many more years I’ll have to continue cleaning (my house).”

https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20210302/p2a/00m/0na/012000c

March 6, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , | Leave a comment

Farmers in Fukushima plant indigo to rebuild devastated town

March 2, 2021

MINAMISOMA, Japan — Because of radiation released by the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster a decade ago, farmers in nearby Minamisoma weren’t allowed to grow crops for two years.

After the restriction was lifted, two farmers, Kiyoko Mori and Yoshiko Ogura, found an unusual way to rebuild their lives and help their destroyed community. They planted indigo and soon began dying fabric with dye produced from the plants.

“Dyeing lets us forget the bad things” for a while, Mori said. “It’s a process of healing for us.”

The massive earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011, caused three of the reactors at the nuclear plant to melt and wrecked more than just the farmers’ livelihoods. The homes of many people in Minamisoma, about 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the plant, were destroyed by the tsunami. The disaster killed 636 town residents, and tens of thousands of others left to start new lives.

Mori and Ogura believed that indigo dyeing could help people in the area recover.

Mori said they were concerned at first about consuming locally grown food, but felt safe raising indigo because it wouldn’t be eaten. They checked the radiation level of the indigo leaves and found no dangerous amount.

Ten years after the disaster, Mori and Ogura are still engaged in indigo dyeing but have different missions.

To Mori, it has become a tool for building a strong community in a devastated town and for fighting unfounded rumors that products from Fukushima are still contaminated. She favors the typical indigo dyeing process that requires some chemical additives.

But Ogura has chosen to follow a traditional technique that uses fermentation instead as a way to send a message against dangers of modern technology highlighted by nuclear power.

Mori formed a group called Japan Blue which holds workshops that have taught indigo dyeing to more than 100 people each year. She hopes the project will help rebuild the dwindling town’s sense of community.

Despite a new magnitude 7.3 earthquake that recently hit the area, the group did not cancel its annual exhibition at a community center that served as an evacuation center 10 years ago.

“Every member came to the exhibition, saying they can clean up the debris in their houses later,” Mori said.

Ogura, who is not a member of the group, feels that a natural process is important because the nuclear accident showed that relying on advanced technology for efficiency while ignoring its negative aspects can lead to bad consequences.

“I really suffered during the nuclear accident,” Ogura said. “We escaped frantically in the confusion. I felt I was doing something similar again” by using chemicals.

“We seek too much in the way of many varieties of beautiful colors created with the use of chemicals. We once thought our lives were enriched by it, but I started feeling that wasn’t the case,” she said. “I want people to know what the real natural color looks like.”

Organic indigo dyes take more time and closer attention. Ogura first ferments chopped indigo leaves with water for a month and then mixes the result with lye which is formed on the surface of a mixture of hot water and ashes. It has to be kept at about 20 degrees C (68 degrees F) and stirred three times a day.

Part of the beauty of the process, Ogura says, is that it’s hard to predict what color will be produced.

With the support of city officials, Ogura started making silk face masks dyed with organic indigo.

She used to run an organic restaurant where she served her own vegetables before the disaster, but now runs a guesthouse with her husband in which visitors can try organic indigo dyeing.

Just 700 meters (2,300 feet) from Ogura’s house, countless black bags filled with weakly contaminated debris and soil are piled along the roadside. They have been there since after the disaster, according to Ogura’s husband, Ryuichi. Other piles are scattered around the town.

“The government says it’s not harmful to leave them there. But if they really think it’s not harmful, they should take them to Tokyo and keep them near them,” he said.

The radiation waste stored in the town is scheduled to be moved to a medium-term storage facility by March next year, a town official said.

https://www.startribune.com/farmers-in-fukushima-plant-indigo-to-rebuild-devastated-town/600029579/

March 6, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , , | Leave a comment

Radiation criteria sow confusion for evacuees

Workers decontaminate a road in a special reconstruction district in the town of Futaba, Fukushima Prefecture, in October. | FUKUSHIMA MINPO

February 26, 2021

Traffic was lighter on the Joban Expressway in the Futaba district in Fukushima Prefecture during the New Year holiday, with people avoiding traveling back to see their relatives due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Roadside signs show the radiation levels of areas near the no-go zones put in place after meltdowns in 2011 at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, reflecting the fact that, even after 10 years, Fukushima residents are unable to return to their homes.

The no-go zones, which are considered uninhabitable for the foreseeable future due to high radiation levels, stretch through six Fukushima towns and villages: Tomioka, Okuma, Futaba, Namie, Katsurao and Iitate. Parts of those zones are now designated as special reconstruction districts, where the government will concentrate its decontamination efforts so that residents can return to their homes in the future.

A decade after the tsunami-triggered nuclear disaster, decontaminating the areas damaged by the fallout is a crucial part of the reconstruction that will pave the way for evacuees to come back to their homes and resume the life they had before the disaster.

But two figures of radiation exposure levels — 20 millisieverts a year and 1 millisievert a year — that the government provides as safety criteria are causing confusion among residents, triggering criticism of what could be called a double standard.

One of the criteria for the government to lift evacuation orders is whether the area’s annual cumulative radiation level has become 20 millisieverts or below, based on a recommendation from the nongovernmental International Commission on Radiological Protection.

When there is a nuclear disaster similar to that at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, the ICRP recommends that annual radiation exposure should be limited to between 20 to 100 millisieverts immediately after the disaster. It then recommends the exposure is lowered to between 1 to 20 millisieverts during the reconstruction period.

As the minimum recommended exposure level right after a disaster, the 20 millisieverts mark became the radiation level yardstick for the central government to order the evacuation of a certain area after the nuclear meltdowns.

Meanwhile, the government has set up a long-term decontamination goal of reducing the radiation levels of contaminated areas to an annual 1 millisievert and below. This is to keep a lifetime exposure level below 100 millisievert — the level at which it starts to affect one’s health.

Therefore, the government stipulated the annual 1 millisievert exposure level in its reconstruction policy plan for Fukushima approved by the Cabinet in July 2012. The Environment Ministry aims to keep radiation levels in the special reconstruction district under 1 millisievert as a long-term goal.

However, the no-go zones had been above 50 millisieverts on an annual basis immediately after the nuclear meltdowns. The radiation level is on the decline with natural attenuation of radioactive cesium as well as weathering effects, but there are still patches with high radiation levels.

Even within the no-go zones, there is no easy way to carry out decontamination. Typically it is done by mowing lawns, raking up fallen leaves, washing down roads and other surfaces with a high-pressure water hose, and wiping off the walls and roofs of buildings and housing.

“It’s not easy to bring down radiation levels to 1 millisievert or below just with decontamination,” said an Environment Ministry official in charge.

In Article 1 of the radiation decontamination legislation established after the nuclear disaster, it is stipulated that the purpose of decontamination is to “minimize the health risks of radioactive exposure as much as possible.”

Despite the criteria for easing evacuation orders and the long-term goal on bringing down radiation levels, it is unclear how the government can lower radiation levels to 1 millisievert after evacuation orders are lifted for no-go zones.

The two figures are creating a confusion among local residents, who are torn between the desire to return to their homes and concerns over the radiation level.

“I won’t feel safe until annual radiation levels are below 1 millisievert,” one resident said, while another said, “Can you say for sure that an annual exposure of 20 millisieverts won’t affect our health in the future?”

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2021/02/26/national/fukushima-radiation-criteria/

February 28, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , | Leave a comment

Fish contaminated with radiation caught off northeastern Fukushima Prefecture

This 2007 file photo shows black rockfish.

February 24, 2021

FUKUSHIMA — Radioactive cesium five times above permitted levels in Japan has been detected in black rockfish caught in northeastern Fukushima Prefecture, according to a Feb. 22 announcement by a local fishing association.

Some 500 becquerels per kilogram of cesium was found in black rockfish caught at a depth of 24 meters about 8.8 kilometers off the town of Shinchi, exceeding the national standard level of 100 becquerels per kilogram.

The Fukushima Prefectural Federation of Fisheries Co-operative Associations has since halted distribution of the fish until it can confirm their safety. The voluntary suspension of seafood shipments by the fishing body marks the first time since October 2019, when 53 becquerels per kilogram of radioactive cesium was detected in a white sea perch, exceeding the standard level set by the group at 50 becquerels per kilogram.

The fishing association has been conducting test fishing since June 2012 on a limited scale. After shipping restrictions on common skate were lifted in February 2020, shipment of all fish was permitted. The fishing body aims to resume full fishing operations in April. https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20210224/p2a/00m/0na/014000c

February 25, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , | Leave a comment

6.0 Plus Magnitude Earthquake Damages Radioactive Waste Incineration Facilities at 3 Sites in Fukushima

February 23, 2021

 The Fukushima Regional Environment Office announced on Tuesday that three temporary incineration facilities for radioactive waste from the accident at the Tokyo Electric Power Company’s Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant were damaged in an earthquake that registered a seismic intensity of 6.0 on the Japanese scale late on February 13. None of the facilities have leaked radioactive waste, but it is expected to take about a month to recover.

 According to the Environment Office, as a result of post-earthquake inspections at the Adachi temporary incineration facility (Nihonmatsu City) and the Futaba temporary treatment facilities No. 1 and No. 2 (Futaba Town), damage was found in the piping and ceiling. There was no change in the air dose rate at the site boundary. There was no damage caused by the earthquake at the other five facilities operating in Fukushima Prefecture.

https://kahoku.news/articles/20210223khn000022.html?fbclid=IwAR2cuQOuEAys_I8BiVSJ83kQrh6w0d_n4AYFUnNib4zmnkGNM6qwHPdKc1I

February 25, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima struggling to get people back, 10 years after disaster

An elementary school building in Namie, Fukushima Prefecture, is seen deserted in January. Municipalities near the crippled nuclear power plant in Fukushima have been struggling to bring residents back. February 22, 2021

February 22, 2021

Fukushima – Municipalities near the crippled nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture have been stepping up efforts to bring residents back, a decade after the March 2011 triple reactor meltdown.

In areas in 10 Fukushima municipalities that were once off-limits due to radiation from the nuclear disaster, the ratio of actual to registered residents is as low as 31.8%.

Years of evacuation orders following the disaster at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant have left many registered residents unwilling to return, leaving officials concerned about the survival of their municipalities.

Taki Shoji, an 87-year-old former evacuee, returned from the city of Aizuwakamatsu further inland in the prefecture to the town of Okuma in April 2019 after an evacuation order was lifted.

In Aizuwakamatsu, Shoji struggled with snow-removing work during wintertime that he was not accustomed to.

“Living in a large house makes me feel calm,” he said, referring to his life in his warmer, coastal hometown.

Shoji needs to go to a neighboring town by bus to shop because local stores offer only a limited supply of goods. He is looking forward to the opening in spring of a commercial facility in Okuma that houses convenience and grocery stores. It “will allow me to go shopping by foot,” he said.

The ratio of actual to registered residents is especially low, at less than 20%, in the towns of Namie and Tomioka, where it took about six years for people to return after the nuclear accident.

A survey of Namie and Tomioka residents last summer by the Reconstruction Agency and others showed that greater access to shopping and medical and welfare services is needed for evacuees to return to their hometowns.

These municipalities are taking steps to encourage people to relocate to them.

The village of Iitate, where the ratio of actual to registered residents stands at about 30%, offers support measures for those willing to relocate, including up to ¥5 million in subsidies for the construction of a new house. As a result, the number of people who have relocated to Iitate topped 100 in summer last year.

Namie plans to create new jobs mainly in the renewable energy industry to bring more people to the town. “The current population is not enough to maintain infrastructure and administrative services and it’s difficult to keep the town afloat,” Namie Mayor Kazuhiro Yoshida said.

The government will start a new program in fiscal 2021, which begins in April, to provide up to ¥2 million per household to people relocating to Fukushima areas affected by the nuclear accident.

Fukushima Prefecture plans to promote support for both evacuees’ return to hometowns and relocation by making use of the aid from the government. “Unless there are people, there will be no reconstruction,” a prefectural official said.https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2021/02/22/national/fukushima-residents-struggle/

February 25, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , | Leave a comment

Radioactive Materials in Black Rockfish Off Fukushima Coast: Shipment Suspended

February 22, 2021, 7:09 pm

The Fukushima Prefectural Federation of Fishermen’s Associations (FISHMA) has suspended shipments of a fish called “Kurosoy” that was landed on February 22 in an experimental fishery off the coast of Fukushima Prefecture. This is the first time in about two years that radioactive materials exceeding the standard have been detected in the fishery off the coast of Fukushima Prefecture, and in February of last year, the shipping restrictions were lifted for all fish species.

According to the Fukushima Prefectural Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, on the 22nd, radioactive materials were detected in a fish called “Kurosoy,” which was caught in a fishing ground 8.8 kilometers off the coast of Shinchi Town at a depth of 24 meters.

As a result of detailed measurements at a prefectural laboratory, the concentration of radioactive cesium was 500 becquerels per kilogram, exceeding the national food standard of 100 becquerels per kilogram.

The prefectural fishermen’s federation has also decided to suspend the shipment of black rockfish until the safety of the fish is confirmed, as it exceeded the voluntary standard of 50 becquerels per kilogram set by the federation.

The national government’s nuclear emergency response headquarters is expected to order restrictions on the shipment of black rockfish.

The amount of blue rockfish landed in the past year was 3 tons, which is less than 1% of the total landings of the experimental fishery being conducted off the coast of Fukushima Prefecture.

This is the first time that radioactive materials exceeding the national standard have been detected since February of two years ago in the common kasube, a species of ray-finned fish, and in February of last year, the shipping restrictions were lifted for all fish species off the coast of Fukushima Prefecture.

Prefectural Fisheries and Oceanic Research Center: “There is a possibility of fish entering and leaving the nuclear power plant port

According to the Fukushima Prefectural Fisheries and Oceanic Research Center, which has been continuously measuring the concentration of radioactive materials in fish and shellfish off the coast of Fukushima Prefecture, the detected levels have dropped significantly compared to immediately after the nuclear accident.

According to the Fukushima Prefectural Fisheries and Oceanic Research Center, which has been continuously measuring the levels of radioactive materials, the levels detected have decreased significantly compared to the levels immediately after the nuclear accident.

We also examined 50 samples of black carp, and all of them were below the detection limit.

On the other hand, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) once detected a radioactive substance of about 900 becquerels per kilogram in a sample of black rockfish taken for investigation in the harbor of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) has installed nets at the entrance and exit of the harbor to prevent fish from entering and leaving the harbor, but the prefectural Fisheries and Oceanic Research Center is investigating the possibility that the black rockfish got out for some reason, and is investigating the cause of the detection of radioactive materials exceeding the standard.

Kyoichi Kamiyama, director of the Radioactivity Research Department at the Fukushima Prefectural Fisheries and Oceanic Research Center, said, “Considering the low concentration of radioactive materials in the seawater and seabed off Shinchi Town, we really don’t know why such high levels of radioactive cesium were detected. We would like to investigate the cause, taking into consideration the possibility that fish are coming in and out of the harbor of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.https://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/html/20210222/k10012880681000.html?fbclid=IwAR3fsx6QfmBWHfSgpjkrUvc_gDf6q0qUWBf50YGXkWR0KLgwWAM_1GdBwBI

February 25, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima rice farmers innovate to survive, 10 years after disaster

Rice planting for commercial sales began in Iitate, Fukushima Prefecture, in May, 2017, for the first time since the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear disaster. |

February 21, 2021

Fukushima – Although the 2011 nuclear disaster in Fukushima Prefecture still casts a shadow over local agriculture a decade later, rice farmers are working to shake off radiation-related rumors and pass on Fukushima’s rice farming to the next generation.

Some are pinning hopes on an original rice brand developed in the prefecture to find a way to overcome the difficulties posed by the triple meltdown at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 plant. The disaster was triggered by the major earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011.

The annual rice harvest in Fukushima, which totaled 445,700 tons in fiscal 2010, slid to 353,600 tons in the following year and has since remained at around 350,000-380,000 tons. Although exports of Fukushima-grown rice have been increasing in recent years thanks to promotion measures by the national government, shipments to Hong Kong, for example, plunged to 2.6 tons in fiscal 2019 from some 100 tons in fiscal 2010 due to the strengthening of purchase restrictions introduced after the disaster.

All Fukushima-made rice had to undergo checks for cesium and other residual radioactive substances to secure safety. Finally, in 2020, rice grown in areas other than 12 municipalities near the accident-hit power plant was switched to random checks.

Also in 2020, rice of the “Fuku, Warai” (lucky, laughter) original brand was harvested for the first time after 14 years of development by the Fukushima Agricultural Technology Center. Of the total 37 tons harvested, the producers sold 16.8 tons via the internet and stores in the Tokyo metropolitan area, exceeding the sales projection of 15 tons. Full-scale sales of the rice, whose features include sweetness and a rich scent, will start in fiscal 2021.

Fukushima Prefecture plans to allow only farmers certified by the Good Agriculture Practice program and other selected producers to engage in the cropping of the new rice brand, in order to ensure quality and credibility.

“I take pride in producing safe and secure rice,” said Shiroyuki Terasawa, 70, who is the only producer of the new rice brand in the Hamadori coastal region in Fukushima Prefecture. “I want everyone to know that Fukushima-grown rice is tasty.”

Terasawa’s rice field in the city of Minamisoma was washed away by the tsunami. Despite worries about rumors related to the nuclear disaster, he restarted full-scale farming in 2015, out of a sense of responsibility for keeping local agriculture alive.

According to an official from the Fukushima prefectural government, some of those who initially abandoned farming have returned in recent years, partly thanks to large-scale streamlined farm operations realized through the establishment of agricultural corporations.

Terasawa also set up a corporation and started so-called smart farming, utilizing drones and GPS devices, on large-scale farmland of some 55 hectares. “Although the scenery and the environment have changed from before the disaster, I want to stay active in farming as long as I live.” he said.

Ami Endo, 23, from Minamisoma, experienced the disaster when she was 13.

“I wanted to restore the rural landscape and interactions among people in the local community that used to be common” before the disaster, she said, explaining her decision to go to an agricultural technical college and work in the farming sector.

Endo gave her father a push to resume farming although he was reluctant to begin again. They have been rice cropping together since 2019.

“I don’t see people of my age at community gatherings,” Endo said, aware that young people are moving away from agriculture.

She stays positive, however, saying: “I can learn things I don’t know from my predecessors in the community. I want to create an all-round company that will handle production, commercialization and distribution (of agricultural products).”https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2021/02/21/national/fukushima-rice-innovation/

February 21, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , | Leave a comment

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