Fukushima 116...

March 8, 2018

  • Alaskan fish remain free of Fukushima contamination. Testing for radioactive Cesium between 2014 and July 2017, none of it has been detected. The species taken from the Bering Sea have been Pollock, Pacific Cod, Halibut, Herring, Sockeye & Chinook salmon, and Chum. The minimum detectible concentration (MDC) for radioactive Cesium in Alaska is three Becquerels per kilogram. The American limit for radioactive Cesium is 1,200 Bq/kg. More sensitive analyses run by Fukushima InFORM have an MDC of 0.1 Bq/kg. A typical reading on Alaskan species is 0.2 Bq/kg for Cesium 137, which is the level of nuclear weapon testing in the 1950s and 60s. https://fukushimainform.ca/2018/03/06/no-fukushima-contamination-in-alaskan-fish-2017-update/
  • An Ibaraki professor voices pleasant surprise at the rate of Fukushima soil recovery. Kiichi Nakajima says, "The agricultural sector in Fukushima has entered a recovery phase except in areas near the power plant and heavily contaminated locations. I thought recovery would take at least a decade, but it came unexpectedly early." He added that this “should be made widely known around the world.” https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2018030700681
  • Tokyo says the F. Daiichi ice wall has reduced the influx of groundwater, but more needs to be done. A Tokyo-commissioned panel said the ice wall has reduced the influx into the basements of units #1 through #4 by more than one-half. Current estimates are at 95 tons per day of rainwater and groundwater. Before the wall was built, the influx was about 200 tons per day. To reduce it further, the panel suggests repairing existing roofs for rainwater prevention and other in-leakage points with the basements. The influx needs further reduction to support removal of damaged fuel debris from Reactor Buildings #1 through #3. https://japantoday.com/category/national/fukushima-plant-ice-wall-partly-reduces-radioactive-water
  • Japan’s nuclear watchdog says the Fukushima accident is not over, referencing the remaining decades-long task of F. Daiichi decontamination and fuel debris removal as the reasons for his foreboding statement. Nuclear Regulation Authority Chairman Toyoshi Fuketa said attitudes concerning the NRA have changed for the better, but the public should not forget what happened in March, 2011. On the other hand, he added that there is nearly zero risk of any new problems outside the physical boundary around the nuke station. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20180307_37/
  • Fukushima peaches are number one in Southeast Asia for the second year in a row! Exports to Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia, increased to 48 tons in 2017, up 57% from 2016. The biggest importer was Thailand, with more than 31 tons, which was a 50% increase. Malaysia imported 15 tons (a 72.5 % increase) and Indonesia brought in 1.5 tons (a 57% increase). A Fukushima official said, “The efforts of people involved, including producers, farm co-ops and importers, have produced good results. We will continue working on developing effective sales channels to win the support of overseas consumers.” http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=882
  • A second-generation Hiroshima Hibakusha (A-bomb survivor) fights Fukushima prejudices. Yuji Morii, 48, oversees construction and management of waste-water storage tanks at F. Daiichi. He he wants to erase the biases toward the Prefecture, which has suffered considerably from unfounded rumors for nearly seven years. Yuji’s father was exposed to Hiroshima bomb-spawned radiation, and has suffered needless discrimination ever since. Yuji hid his heritage to avoid being showered with heartless comments. He began working in the main office of a Tokyo-based construction firm in 1994, and made his first visit to F. Daiichi in 2012. After several years of seeing and hearing about the discrimination inflicted on Fukushima residents caused by radiation rumors, Yuji transferred to the plant site in 2016. None of the 200-odd tanks he has overseen have leaked. Yuji says, "If there is trouble, then it breeds unnecessary anxiety, and we can't let that strengthen biases (toward Fukushima). Working consistently will lead to rebuilding trust. Fukushima has granted me an opportunity to come face-to-face with my own identity as a second-generation Hibakusha." https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20180305/p2a/00m/0na/010000c
  • Most Fukushima accident responders have not had their free medical checks. Roughly 20,000 workers worked at the station during the nine months following the unit #1 explosion. The Radiation Effects Research Foundation planned to have 80% of the people checked for the long term effects of low level radiation exposure, but only about 7,000 have taken advantage of it. The program began four years ago. 35% have not answered calls to take a screening, 17% have refused take the check-up, and 8.5% cannot be reached. Reasons for non-compliance vary. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20180306_21/
  • The rate of anxiety about radiation in Fukushima Prefecture goes up. There had been a slow, steady downward trend in recent years, but there has been an upswing in worries about radiation over the past year. 66% of the population is concerned, up from 63% a year ago. Twenty-one percent say they are “very much” concerned and 45% say they are worried “to some degree”. In addition, 52% say they are not confident that the course of recovery had been “set”. Further, 75% of Fukushima residents oppose the restart of idled nuclear units, which is greater than the national average of 61%. Also, 67% of the Fukushima populace oppose diluting the tritium-laced wastewaters and releasing to the sea, but 87% said they feel anxiety about sea contamination if and when it happens. http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201803050049.html
  • Fukushima’s government says they might cut radiation checks on some of its rice in 2020. Currently, all rice is scanned for contamination. None of the commodity has failed to meet national standards (100 Becquerels per kilogram) for three years. If that record continues two more years, 47 of the prefecture’s 59 municipalities will end blanket monitoring and instead shift to random checks. On the other hand, all rice from the 12 municipalities that comprised the old “no-go” zone will continue to be scanned beyond 2020. http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0004279793
  • The Okuma government will set up a municipal real estate office. There is no realtor in the town, so the municipality will set up “Okuma Town-Building Public Corporation” for consultations and referrals regarding residential and business use of land. In addition, the office will handle vacant houses and offices to be rented or sold. The corporation is scheduled to open up April 1st in Iwaki City, 40 kilometers south of Okuma, to support completing a reconstruction hub at some point in 2019. http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=881
  • Some 73,000 evacuees from the Tohoku region have yet to return home. Roughly 50,000 of them are Fukushima Prefecture residents. The rest are from Miyagi and Iwate. While the total number remains great, it has dropped by about 50,000 over the past year. 53,000 Tohoku evacuees are living in temporary housing, municipality-funded private residences, or welfare facilities. The rest are staying with relatives or friends. Remaining evacuees from Miyagi and Iwate face “soaring land prices” that hinder their ability to build new homes, thus prolonging their refugee status.  https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20180307_34/ -- http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0004286488
  • Japan’s nuke utilities have spent more than $47 billion on idled units since 2011. Some companies have restarted nukes and are recovering financially. But Hokkaido, Tohoku, Tokyo, Hokuriku, Chubu and Chugoku electric power companies and Japan Atomic Power Co. have yet to experience restarts and must recover expenditures through customer billing. Paperwork has been submitted to the NRA to restart 18 idled units, but 15 other restart-worthy units have not had restart requests filed as yet. http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201803080090.html

March 1, 2018

  • Fukushima flounder is sold overseas for the first time since 2011. No flounder has failed the radiation tests over the past three years, so about 100 kilograms of the fish is being shipped to Japanese restaurants in Thailand. Kanji Tachiya, head of the Soma Futaba fishermen’s cooperative, said, “The export is encouraging news to us local fishermen as we are hoping to resume full-fledged fishing operations soon.” Sato Suisan is the the local company that bought the stock. Company president Yoshishige Sato said, “I would not like people in Thailand to miss out on the chance to eat the fish.” http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201803010046.html
  • Fukushima Prefecture makes anime films to counter unfounded rumors overseas. This is part of the continuing effort to expand international markets for the prefecture’s farm products and seafood. Five anime “film shorts” promote the safety and quality of Fukushima foods, depicting high school girls playing the roles of foods working hard to have the best taste. The films will not only be in Japanese, but also English, Chinese, Spanish and French versions, to be shown in March at an event in Hong Kong. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20180228_28/
  • The World Trade Organization rules South Korea’s ban on Japanese food imports “unjustifiably discriminate”. The WTO recommended corrective action by S. Korea. It also said the South Korean ban was “unnecessarily restrictive against trade”. The WTO finding is equivalent to a lower court ruling. However, S. Korea says it will appeal the decision and will not lift current restrictions until the appeal is ruled on. The S. Korean government says it will “strive wholeheartedly for the protection of safety, not allowing any food products contaminated by radiation whatsoever to be placed on South Korean dinner tables.” The restrictions not only apply to Fukushima Prefecture, but also to Aomori, Iwate, Miyagi, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma and Chiba. Actually, the WTO decision was announced last October, but the report itself was not made public until now. http://www.jaif.or.jp/en/wto-ruling-sides-with-japan-against-south-korean-ban-on-japanese-marine-products/
  • The Fukushima ice wall plus the sub-drain system have reduced groundwater influx by more than 80%. The Japanese Press reports that the wall has had as “limited effect”. Regardless, groundwater incursion into the four turbine basement was more than 500 tons per day before the two systems went into operation. It is now less than 100 tons per day.  https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20180301_26/
  • A Fukushima child thyroid cancer activist group says that nearly 10% of those diagnosed with the anomalies have suffered recurrence. The group alleges that the Fukushima government has ignored the issue of thyroid cancer recurrence. All those with the recurrent lesions and/or cysts have undergone second operations. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20180301_24/  The group fails to mention is that the rate of recurrence is typically much greater, and can be as much as 30%. https://www.cancercenter.com/thyroid-cancer/stages/tab/recurrent/
  • The Mainichi Shimbun reports the only 4% of the children in the evacuation zone will return to school in April. Nine municipalities had restrictions lifted by last spring, but only a small number of families have repopulated in four of them. Namie community had the largest pre-accident school population of the communities mentioned in the article, at 1,440. Only 10 will return in April, and formal decontamination will not start until May. Tomioka, with 1,204 pre-accident students will only have 16 returning. It should be noted that the two community’s schools are reopening for the first time since 2011! https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20180228/p2a/00m/0na/014000c (Comment - The percentage is decidedly skewed by the fact that the two municipalities most-recently having restrictions lifted, Tomioka and Namie, have much larger pre-accident populations than other districts. Communities with their restrictions lifted much earlier have had a slow, steady stream of returning families, such as Odaka (20% repopulation) and Naraha (30% repopulation). These communities are conspicuously missing from the Mainichi article.)
  • A Tepco employee says he was told to reduce the pre-accident tsunami projection. This was part of testimony he presented at a trial in Tokyo District Court concerning accident culpability of three Tepco executives. He said he made the projection in 2003. He was told to use a different methodology supplied by the company. He declined to change his results. He added that his estimate for a worst-case tsunami was 15.7 meters, which was roughly the case with the one that hit F. Daiichi in 2011. He could not recall anything else about the incident. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20180228_33/ 
  • Greenpeace Japan continues to promote Fukushima phobia! The activist group says their surveys in Iitate and Namie reveal that contamination levels may be increasing due to influx from the local forests. The range of contamination was between 0.2 and 0.8 microsieverts per hour. While this is essentially harmless, the group points to the target decontamination level of 0.23 mSv/hr and calls it a national limit. One house in Iitate showed a contamination level higher than last year, which seems to be the reason for the sensationalist headline. Buried in the article is the fact that five other houses have shown no such increase.  https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2018/03/71822ef06714-fukushima-village-radiation-still-above-govt-target-after-cleanup.html 


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