IAEA Team in Japan; Fukushima Starts Thyroid Tests

by Eric Talmadge - Associated Press - boston.com - October 9, 2011

A boy is taken by his mother to Fukushima Medical University Hospital for a thyroid test in Fukushima, northern Japan, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2011. Local doctors began a long-term survey of children for thyroid abnormalities, a problem associated with radiation exposure. Officials hope to test some 360,000 people who were under the age of 18 when the nuclear crisis began in March, and then provide follow-ups throughout their lifetimes. Japanese on the board reads: a thyroid test entrance. (AP Photo/Kyodo News)

TOKYO—Experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency arrived in the Japanese city of Fukushima on Sunday to observe the massive decontamination effort following the world's worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.

Local doctors also began a long-term survey of children for thyroid abnormalities, a problem associated with radiation exposure. Officials hope to test some 360,000 people who were under the age of 18 when the nuclear crisis began in March, and then provide follow-ups throughout their lifetimes.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) Hit by Cyber-Attacks; Data Stolen

The Daily Yomiuri - September 20, 2011

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) has come under cyber-attack by unidentified hackers who are believed to have stolen confidential data from defense- and nuclear power-related facilities run by the major machinery maker, sources familiar with the case said.

About 80 servers and computers at MHI factories, including those used to build state-of-the-art submarines, missiles and nuclear power plants, have been infected with computer viruses, according to the sources.

"We are investigating all the facts of the case," an MHI spokesman said.

The servers and computers in question were apparently penetrated from outside the company, and there are indications that some confidential information has been stolen from the machines.

MHI reported the incident to police after concluding that its servers and computers had been targeted by what are known as spear attacks, the sources said.

The latest revelation is the first of its kind to be made in connection with cyber-attack on the nation's defense industry, according to observers.

Gov't to decontaminate areas with radiation exposure of 5 millisieverts or more per year

SOURCE: The Mainichi Daily News
DATE: 28 SEPT 2011

Original Article Japanese Version

The Environment Ministry has decided to decontaminate areas where people could be exposed to radiation of 5 millisieverts or more per year by removing up to 28.78 million cubic meters of radioactively contaminated soil in Fukushima and four other adjacent prefectures affected by the ongoing crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant.

The areas subject to the decontamination project are in Fukushima, Miyagi, Yamagata, Ibaraki and Tochigi prefectures. A huge temporary storage facility for contaminated materials needs to be built, and therefore the government is likely to have tough talks with local municipalities on selecting a space for such a facility.

Map - Maximum Radiation Levels in Eastern Japan

submitted by Stuart Leiderman - September 26, 2011

The radiation pattern suggested by the map at http://www.japantimes.co.jp/radiation-levels.html does not follow the simple radii circles; thus the map does not educate the public on controlling factors.

It would be better to have maps with iso-lines that account for topography, weather history, soil type, etc.  Then, an agricultural defense might be envisioned.  This requires a new national soil survey, including radiology, and land-use inventory.





Residents near Fukushima nuclear plant make own radiation map, clean contaminated areas

"We can't keep on relying only on the government," Kisao Watanabe, 70, the chairman of the council, said. "We decided to do what we could by ourselves, hoping we can return to normal life as soon as possible."

Source:  The Mainichi Daily News September 27, 2011
English Translation  |  Original Article Japanese

MINAMISOMA, Fukushima -- Residents in this city, some areas of which fall within the 20-kilometer no-entry zone from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, have organized a council to measure radiation levels and remove radioactive material spread from the power plant.


The council has also published a radiation map that is twice as precise as the one released by the government, making it the most up-to-date and detailed radiation map available for the area.

Radioactivity in Japan Rice Raises Worries

by Hiroko Tabuchi - The New York Times - September 24, 2011


In this photo taken Friday, Aug. 19, 2011, Naoto Matsumura's dog Aki runs to meet him while he checks on his rice paddy in Tomioka town, Fukushima, northeastern Japan. (AP / Hiro Komae)

TOKYO — Government officials on Saturday ordered more tests after detecting elevated levels of radiation in rice crops near the crippled nuclear power plant at Fukushima.

Radioactive substances have already been discovered in beef, milk, spinach and tea leaves, leading to recalls and bans on shipments. But officials have been especially worried about rice, a staple that makes up a significant part of the Japanese diet. Japan grows most of the rice that it consumes.

Typhoon Roke Weakens Over Japan as Wind, Floods Kill at Least Three

by Stuart Biggs and Chisaki Wantanabe - bloomberg.com - September 21, 2011

Typhoon Roke made landfall in central Japan, causing flooding and disrupting transport links as it weakened on a path toward the stricken nuclear power plant in Fukushima. At least three people were reported killed.

Roke was over Kofu city, 100 kilometers (64 miles) east of Tokyo, at 5 p.m. local time. It was moving northeast at 50 kilometers per hour, the Japan Meteorological Agency said. The storm’s winds are expected to weaken to 120 kph from 148 kph as it approaches Fukushima today as a Category 1 hurricane, the weakest on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale.

Japan’s weather agency issued warnings for landslides and flooding throughout the main island of Honshu, with high waves in coastal areas. Public broadcaster NHK showed footage of fallen trees, damaged buildings and flooding across central Japan, where rainfall exceeded 80 millimeters (3.1 inches) per hour. Roke comes three weeks after typhoon Talas killed 67 people, the nation’s deadliest storm in seven years.

Typhoon Roke

For current information on Typhoon Roke, click on the Joint Typhoon Warning Center logo (below)


Japan Braces for More Heavy Rain and Damage from Typhoon

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japan's weather agency warned on Tuesday of heavy rainfall in an extensive area encompassing southwestern to northeastern Japan due to a strong typhoon, amid heightening fears of further landslides and flooding in the Kii Peninsula in western Japan, already devastated by a deadly typhoon earlier this month.

Mud dams produced earlier by Typhoon Talas in Wakayama Prefecture and elsewhere were on the verge of bursting on Tuesday after downpours from Typhoon Roke, moving eastward over waters south of Kyushu, brought water levels to the brim in the morning and prompted authorities to evacuate more residents.

Typhoon Roke is expected to make landfall in western Japan on Tuesday. Picking up speed as it moves eastward, the typhoon may land as it approaches closest to Japan's main island of Honshu on Wednesday, the Japan Meterological Agency said.

Explosion at French Nuclear Waste Plant

The Guardian - September 12, 2011


Rescue workers and medics land by helicopter at the Marcoule nuclear site, in France. Photograph: Claude Paris/AP

An explosion at a French nuclear waste processing plant that killed one person and injured four others sparked fears of a radioactive leak on Monday.

An emergency safety cordon was thrown around the Marcoule nuclear site near Nimes in the south of France immediately after a furnace used to melt nuclear waste exploded and caused a fire. It was lifted later in the day after France's nuclear safety agency, the Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire (ASN), said there was no danger to the public.

Reports said the body of one male worker at the plant had been "found carbonised", but there was no evidence that the explosion had caused any radioactive leak, though the ASN admitted there was the "possibility of a leak of low-level radioactivity, but no shooting of radioactivity in the air". There was no information as to the cause of the explosion.

The accident came just a week after the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, bucked the anti-nuclear trend following Japan's Fukushima disaster and pledged €1bn (£860m) of new investment in atomic power.

Silence as Japan Marks Six Months After Tsunami

Japan Today - September 11, 2011


The March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan left 20,000 dead or missing and sparked a nuclear crisis.  AFP


The people of Japan fell silent in prayer on Sunday, six months after an earthquake and tsunami left 20,000 dead or missing and sparked a nuclear crisis.

At 2:46 p.m. the eerie wail of warning sirens rang out, marking exactly six months since the the 9.0-magnitude quake struck, unleashing towering waves which swallowed whole communities.

In towns along the devastated Pacific coastline, mourners gathered to remember the dead, while in Tokyo anti-nuclear rallies were held over the Fukushima crisis—the worst nuclear accident since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

In the coastal town of Minamisanriku, where 900 people were killed and 60% of the buildings were destroyed, about 2,000 people dressed in black gathered at a public gymnasium to observe a moment’s silence.

“We never give up hope and vow to unite as one in building a new town so that we can make up for the sacrifice of precious lives of many people,” Minamisanriku mayor Jin Sato said during the remembrance service.

Effect of Contaminated Soil on Food Chain Sparks Fears

by Mizuho Aoki - The Japan Times - September 11, 2011

Cesium absorption through roots may have long-term effect on farming

Six months after the nuclear meltdowns in Fukushima Prefecture, the public's awareness of the threat posed by radiation is entering a new phase: the realization that the biggest danger now and in the future is from contaminated soil.

The iodine-131 ejected into the sky by the Fukushima No. 1 power station disaster was quickly detected in vegetables and tap water — even as far away as Tokyo, 220 km south of the plant.

But contamination levels are now so low they are virtually undetectable, thanks to the short half-life of iodine-131 — eight days — and stepped up filtering by water companies.

But cesium is proving to be a tougher foe. The element's various isotopes have half-lives ranging from two to 30 years, generating concern about the food chain in Fukushima Prefecture, a predominantly agricultural region, as the elements wash fallout into the ground.

The root of the problem is, well — roots.

Microbes Generate Electricity While Cleaning Up Nuclear Waste

Michigan State University - September 6, 2011

Homeland Security Newswire - September 7, 2011


MSU microbiologist Gemma Reguera (right) and her team of researchers have unraveled the mystery of how microbes generate electricity while cleaning up nuclear waste. Photo by Michael Steger.

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Researchers at Michigan State University have unraveled the mystery of how microbes generate electricity while cleaning up nuclear waste and other toxic metals.

Details of the process, which can be improved and patented, are published in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The implications could eventually benefit sites forever changed by nuclear contamination, said Gemma Reguera, MSU microbiologist.

“Geobacter bacteria are tiny micro-organisms that can play a major role in cleaning up polluted sites around the world,” said Reguera, who is an MSU AgBioResearch scientist. “Uranium contamination can be produced at any step in the production of nuclear fuel, and this process safely prevents its mobility and the hazard for exposure.”

Japanese Parliament Backs Noda as Prime Minister

by Hiroko Tabuchi - The New York Times - August 30, 2011

Haruyoshi Yamaguchi/Bloomberg News

Yoshihiko Noda, below, the new prime minister of Japan, and Naoto Kan, the outgoing leader.


TOKYO — Yoshihiko Noda, a down-to-earth fiscal conservative, was elected prime minister by the Japanese Parliament on Tuesday in the sixth change of leaders in five years, a period of mounting economic and social challenges to the world’s third-largest economy.

5ivePlanets ISH Market and Concert !


submitted by Lloyd Helferty

Dear Biochar Ontario members and friends (in Japan),

  Please refer to the attached Flyer ("Tirashi.PDF").

This flyer contains information about an upcoming event in Japan that is being held in celebration of the launch of the 5ivePlanets ISH, a registered NFP Japanese initiative (Headquartered in Yokohama), whose goal is to leverage both education and technologies that work in balance with the natural cycles of the earth to increase our capacity to provide for our collective children on the one and only planet we actually have.

The mission of 5ivePlanets is to ensure sustainable food and resource supplies for the Children of the Future through effective use of appropriate technologies and education.

NRC Task Force Review of Insights from Fukushima


United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - July 12, 2011

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has released "Recommendations for Enhancing Reactor Safety in the 21st Century: The Near-Term Task Force Review of Insights from the Fukushima Dai-ichi Accident." The Near-Term Task Force was established in response to Commission direction to conduct a systematic and methodical review of NRC processes and regulations to determine whether the agency should make additional improvements to its regulatory system and to make recommendations to the Commission for its policy direction, in light of the accident at the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant.

Recommendations for Enhancing Reactor Safety in the 21st Century: The Near-Term Task Force Review of Insights from the Fukushima Dai-ichi Accident (96 page .PDF report)




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