3 Top Japanese Nuclear Officials to be Axed Amid Crisis

submitted by Janine Rees

The Mainichi Daily News - August 5, 2011


Japan's Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Banri Kaieda speaks during a budget committee meeting at the upper house of the Diet in Tokyo on Thursday, July 7, 2011. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Industry minister Banri Kaieda said Thursday he plans to sack three top officials in charge of nuclear power policy to hold them responsible for the handling of the ongoing crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

The three officials are Kazuo Matsunaga, vice minister for economy, trade and industry, Nobuaki Terasaka, head of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, and Tetsuhiro Hosono, head of the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy.

Kaieda said he will reveal details later. The minister, who has expressed his intent to resign to take responsibility for confusion over the stalled restart of nuclear reactors, did not specify when he will do so and only said, "I will decide on my own."

Kaieda said he wants to "put new life" into the ministry with the reshuffle and that he has conveyed the plan to Prime Minister Naoto Kan.

UK Nuclear Fuel Plant to Close Amid Japan's Turmoil

NewScientist.com - August 3, 2011


Sellafield nuclear plant (Pic: Getty)

Paul Marks, senior technology correspondent

The 11 March earthquake and tsunami that crippled Japan's nuclear industry has claimed a commercial victim thousands of miles away: the Sellafield Mixed Oxide (MOX) plant in Cumbria, UK, is to close "at the earliest practical opportunity" the UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority announced today.

The plant's only customer was the vastly-troubled Japanese nuclear industry, currently embroiled in a programme of plant shutdowns as the scale of the seismic menace some of its power stations face comes into sharper relief. A Sellafield spokesman said plans to close one plant in particular, at Hamaoka, was instrumental in sealing the MOX plant's fate.

Situated on the coast some 200 kilometres south of Tokyo, the Hamaoka nuclear power plant straddles two major geological faults and has been described by seismologist Katsuhiko Ishibashi at Kobe University as a "kamikaze terrorist waiting to explode".

Typhoon 11W (Muifa), # 20; TCCOR-1 Declared


Stars and Stripes - August 3, 2011

8:20 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 4, Japan time: Now that Okinawa has entered Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 1 at 5 a.m. local time, be vigilant and keep a sharp eye on the TV or computer or ear to the radio to monitor further TCCOR upgrades.

Soon as TCCOR 1-C is issued, time to finish up what you’re going, get off the streets and inside somewhere safe. The time for outdoor cleanup and visiting the commissary will have passed. Once TCCOR 1-E is declared, all outside activity is prohibited until the all-clear/season TCCOR 4 is declared.

Muifa is now forecast to barrel 72 miles southwest of Kadena Air Base at 9 a.m. Friday, packing sustained 110-mph winds and 127-mph gusts at its center.

Latest forecast wind timeline from Kadena’s 18th Wing Weather Flight:

Highest Levels of Radiation Since March 11 Detected at Fukushima Nuclear Reactors

submitted by Janine Rees

The Mainichi Daily News - August 2, 2011


This photograph shows a worker who measured radiation doses near the surface of an exhaust pipe between the No. 1 and 2 reactors at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant on Aug. 1. (Photo courtesy of TEPCO)

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) said on Aug. 1 that it had detected radiation doses exceeding 10 sieverts per hour, the highest level of radiation measured since the outbreak of the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant, outside the buildings for two reactors -- a new discovery that could hamper efforts to bring the troubled reactors under control.

Earthquakes: Scientists Will Shake 5-Story Building in Japan

Homeland Security Newswire - July 29, 2011

Keri Ryan, University of Nevada, Reno civil engineering professor and lead researcher for the base isolation tests this summer at the Hyogo Earthquake Engineering Research Center in Miki, Hyogo, Japan, sits at the outdoor portion of the University of Nevada Reno large structures earthquake engineering lab where they conduct world-renowned bridge research. Photo by Mike Wolterbeek, University of Nevada, Reno.

Landmark earthquake engineering tests this summer in Japan could open the door for earthquake-proofing technology applied to hospitals, nuclear power plants, and emergency-response facilities to be more common in the United States, and confirm the capabilities for the technology used in Japan and the rest of the world

Landmark earthquake engineering tests this summer in Japan by the University of Nevada, Reno could open the door for earthquake-proofing technology applied to hospitals, nuclear power plants, and emergency-response facilities to be more common in the United States, and confirm the capabilities for the technology used in Japan and the rest of the world.

IAEA Seeks Bigger Crisis Role in Disasters Like Fukushima Accident

japantoday.com - July 24, 2011

IAEA Director-General Yukiya Amano


Fukushima Residents Dump Radiated Soil

cnbc.com - July 6, 2011

They scoop up soil from their gardens and dump it in holes dug out in parks and nearby forests, scrub their roofs with soap and refuse to let their children play outside.

More than three months after a massive earthquake and tsunami triggered a nuclear meltdown at a nearby power plant, Fukushima residents are scrambling to cope with contamination on their own in the absence of a long-term plan from the government.

"Everything and everyone here is paralyzed and we feel left on our own, unsure whether it's actually safe for us to stay in the city," said Akiko Itoh, 42, with her four-year old son in her lap.

Even though this city of 300,000 lies outside of the 30-km (20 mile) evacuation zone around the crippled Fukushima Daiichi plant, a recent survey showed radiation levels in several spots exceed 13 millisieverts per year, more than six times natural levels.

Fukushima Children to Receive Radiation Meters

cnbc.com - June 28, 2011

TOKYO - Radiation meters will be distributed to about 34,000 children living in the largest city near the tsunami-damaged Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant to monitor their exposure levels, a city official said Tuesday.

The decision to hand out the meters comes amid growing concern over the safety of children as the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima plant drags on, posing potential long-term health risks.

The devices, called dosimeters, will be distributed in September to children between the ages of four and 15 living in Fukushima city, which has recorded relatively high radiation levels since a massive March 11 earthquake and tsunami severely damaged the nuclear plant.

Dosimeters have already been supplied to area schools but not to each student, according to city official Koichi Kato. Other towns in the area have begun similar measures, but Fukushima's plan is the largest to date.

"We intend to continue the program for about three months," Kato said. "We are still considering whether to expand it further to include other residents."

Sensor Network to Provide Early Quake Alerts

submitted by Samuel Bendett

Homeland Security Newswire - July 19, 2011

Researchers from U.S. universities are collaborating to implement a new network of seismic sensors aimed at arming communities with early earthquake detection and warning capabilities; the sensors, no bigger than a Post-it note, are part of a new phase of the Quake-Catcher Network (QCN), a project gathering detailed data to help scientists understand the earthquake process and how to mitigate against its effects.

Six thousand seismic sensors, 200 volunteers, and a University of Delaware researcher all have one thing in common – helping scientists study earthquakes.

Michela Taufer, assistant professor in the Department of Computer and Information Sciences, is collaborating with researchers from Stanford University and the U.S. Geological Survey to implement a new network of seismic sensors aimed at arming communities with early earthquake detection and warning capabilities.

Studying the Japan Quake's Impact on Soil Will Improve Building Design

submitted by Samuel Bendett

Homeland Security Newswire - July 19, 2011

Quake caused soil liquifaction and loss of density // Source: factsanddetails.com

The 11 March quake that hit Japan weakened subsurface materials by as much as 70 percent; that nonlinear response from the top layer of the Earth's crust affected how the movement of faults deep beneath the surface was delivered to buildings, bridges, and other structures; understanding how the soil responds to powerful earthquakes could be important to engineers and architects designing future buildings to withstand the level of acceleration measured in this quake.

Japan’s 11 March Tohoku Earthquake is among the strongest ever recorded, and because it struck one of the world’s most heavily instrumented seismic zones, this natural disaster is providing scientists with a treasure trove of data on rare magnitude 9 earthquakes. Among the new information is what is believed to be the first study of how a shock this powerful affects the rock and soil beneath the surface.

Typhoon Ma-on Projected to Strike Japan Tuesday

by Jason Samenow - The Washington Post - July 15, 2011

Satelite image of Typhoon Ma-on along with forecast track. (Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies)

Typhoon Ma-on, now as strong as a category four hurricane, continues on a path through the western Pacific towards Japan. The storm, located 270 nautical miles south-southeast of Iwo Jima, contains maximum sustained winds of about 130 mph. Currently moving west around 15 mph, track guidance steers Ma-on towards the coast of central Japan Tuesday, just southwest of Tokyo.

The Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) describes a healthy storm with “excellent equatorward outflow as well as enhanced northwesterly outflow.” This outflow serves as an important mechansim for releasing energy and supporting storm intensification.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Japan Task Force Makes Its Report

by Mike Campbell - earthtimes.org - July 13, 2011

San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station - San Clemente, California - Image: © iofoto

On 11th March 2011, northeast Japan was struck by a magnitude 9 earthquake and an ensuing tsunami. The Fukushima nuclear power plant was directly in the path of the tsunami and was also at the epicentre of some aftershocks. The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission established a Japan Task Force which was charged with identifying lessons that the USA should learn from the Fukushima incident.

The task force was led by Charles Miller and it came up with a set of twelve recommendations aimed at improving safety at US nuclear power plants (NPP) and re-evaluating the level of public health protection required to meet needs in the 21st century.

Traces of Radiation Found in 2 Whales Off Japan

submitted by Luis Kun

by Mari Yamaguchi, Associated Press - June 15, 2011

In this Monday, June 13, 2011 photo released by Tokyo Electric Power Co., a machine collects radioactive substances in the air for sampling at the Unit 3 of the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Okuma, Fukushima prefecture, northeastern Japan. (AP Photo/Tokyo Electric Power Co.) EDITORIAL USE ONLY

TOKYO (AP) — Japanese whalers caught two animals along the northern coast that had traces of radiation, presumably from leaks at a damaged nuclear power plant, officials said Wednesday.

Two of 17 minke whales caught off the Pacific coast of Hokkaido showed traces of radioactive cesium, both about one-twentieth of the legal limit, fisheries officials said.

They are the first whales thought to have been affected by radiation leaked from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant since it was hit by a March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

"The levels are far below the limit, and the meat from the catch is safe for consumption," Fisheries Agency official Kosei Takekoshi said.

Beef Contaminated With Cesium Sold at Market

asahi.com - July 13, 2011

Beef from cows from Fukushima Prefecture contaminated with radioactive cesium was sold to restaurants and shoppers in at least five prefectures, according to Tokyo metropolitan government officials.

The officials said July 11 that contaminated beef from six cows raised at a ranch in Minami-Soma was sold in Hokkaido, Chiba, Aichi, Tokushima and Kochi prefectures.

The rancher on July 10 admitted ignoring a prefectural order not to use potentially contaminated feed stored outdoors after explosions at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, Fukushima prefectural officials said.

Wholesalers in Tokyo sold the beef to dealers in Tokyo as well as Kanagawa, Shizuoka, Osaka and Ehime prefectures before the meat reached those prefectures, the Tokyo officials said.

The revelations come after Tokyo officials discovered radioactive cesium at levels up to 3,200 becquerels per kilogram, or 6.4 times the national safety limit of 500 becquerels per kilogram, in meat from 11 cows from the same ranch earlier this month. However, beef from the cows did not make it to market.

The beef that did make it to market and consumers' tables was from six cows shipped before the cesium contamination was discovered.

Japan Trips in Key Effort to Cool Nuclear Reactors

An undated composite montage image of laser scan data and construction data shows the damaged No. 1 reactor of the Tokyo Electric Power Co.(TEPCO)'s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant and its completion image with a polyester cover over it, in this handout released by TEPCO June 14, 2011. TEPCO said that it would start to build a giant cover shield around the reactors building on June 27, for a stopgap measure to prevent further release of radioactive substances into the atmosphere. REUTERS/Tokyo Electric Power Co/Handout

Reuters - By Kiyoshi Takenaka and Yoko Kubota Mon Jun 27, 9:06 am ET

TOKYO (Reuters) – The operator of Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant halted on Monday its new, glitch-prone system that is key to cooling down damaged reactors due to a water leakage, a setback in its efforts to avoid dumping highly contaminated water into the ocean.


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