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IN A CITY where mass demonstrations are rare and generally tame, Tokyo has seen at least four in the past month, all against nuclear power. Thousands of people have marched past the headquarters of Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) shouting slogans at the executives they hold responsible for the world’s worst atomic crisis since Chernobyl.
Furious parents from Fukushima Prefecture this month dumped irradiated soil from school playgrounds on the desks of government bureaucrats. More protests are planned in the sweltering summer months, when looming power cuts and leaking radiation from the ruined Fukushima Daiichi power plant will make life very uncomfortable for citizens in this densely populated, sprawling metropolis.
As a team from the International Atomic Energy Agency visits Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s crippled nuclear plant today, academics warn the company has failed to disclose the scale of radiation leaks and faces a “massive problem” with contaminated water.
By May 18, almost 100,000 tons of radioactive water had leaked into basements and other areas of the Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant, according to Tepco’s estimates. The radiated water may double by the end of December.
“Contaminated water is increasing and this is a massive problem,” Tetsuo Iguchi, a specialist in isotope analysis and radiation detection at Nagoya University, said by phone. “They need to find a place to store the contaminated water and they need to guarantee it won’t go into the soil.”
Tepco and Japan’s nuclear regulators haven’t updated the total radiation leakage from the plant in northern Japan since April 12. Japan’s nuclear safety agency estimated in April the radiation released from Dai-Ichi to be around 10 percent of that from the accident at Chernobyl in the former Soviet Union in 1986, while a Tepco official said at the time the amount may eventually exceed it.
“Tepco knows more than they’ve said about the amount of radiation leaking from the plant,” Jan van de Putte, a specialist in radiation safety trained at the Technical University of Delft in the Netherlands, said yesterday in Tokyo. “What we need is a full disclosure, a full inventory of radiation released including the exact isotopes.”
The government plans to release details on the radiation released at the “appropriate time,” said Goshi Hosono, an adviser to Prime Minister Naoto Kan who is overseeing the crisis response and appears at daily briefings at Tepco’s headquarters.
“What I told the public was fundamentally incorrect,” Kan said in parliament on May 20, referring to assessments from the government and Tokyo that reactors were stable and the situation was contained not long after March 11. “The government failed to respond to Tepco’s mistaken assumptions and I am deeply sorry.”
TOKYO – Japanese nuclear regulators trusted that the reactors at Fukushima Dai-ichi were safe from the worst waves an earthquake could muster based on a single-page memo from the plant operator nearly a decade ago.
In the Dec. 19, 2001 document — one double-sized page obtained by The Associated Press under Japan's public records law — Tokyo Electric Power Co. rules out the possibility of a tsunami large enough to knock the plant offline and gives scant details to justify this conclusion, which proved to be wildly optimistic.
Regulators at the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, or NISA, had asked plant operators for assessments of their earthquake and tsunami preparedness. They didn't mind the brevity of TEPCO's response, and apparently made no moves to verify its calculations or ask for supporting documents.
"This is all we saw," said Masaru Kobayashi, who now heads NISA's quake-safety section. "We did not look into the validity of the content."
A good doctor in Kumamoto, Japan who writes a blog in Japanese on Fukushima I Nuke Plant accident and the ensuing nuclear and radiation disaster that's slowly unfolding telephoned the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency of METI and asked for the names of the IAEA team that has been sent to investigate the Fukushima I Nuke Plant accident.
18 people total:
6 people from IAEA, 2 of them from PR department;
1 from UK (leader)
1 from France (deputy leader)
1 from Argentina
1 from Turkey
1 from Russia
1 from China
1 from USA
1 from South Korea
1 from India
1 from Hungary
1 from Indonesia
1 from Spain
The list reads like the attendance list of G20. More power to emerging economies!
Does anyone know anything about these people, whether they are actually capable of assessing anything? Or is this just an international political theater?
Many Japanese, including the doctor, are really counting on the IAEA investigation to reveal what's been hidden by the Japanese government and TEPCO. But I have a sinking feeling that won't happen, looking at the list.
1. Super typhoon 04w (Songda) warning nr 029
01 active tropical cyclone in northwestpac
Max sustained winds based on one-minute average
wind radii valid over open water only
270600z --- near 19.3n 123.4e
movement past six hours - 340 degrees at 13 kts
position accurate to within 025 nm
position based on eye fixed by satellite
present wind distribution:
Max sustained winds - 130 kt, gusts 160 kt
Japan nuclear radiation leak gives birth to earless bunny? (VIDEO)
An earless bunny was born near Japan's Fukushima nuclear power plant, giving rise to fears that nuclear radiation leak is worse than expected and deformed human babies may be next in the list.
An earless bunny is seen near Fukushima nuclear power plant
A Youtube video clip was posted by a member with the ID "yuunosato" titled, 'Earless Bunny Born After Tokyo Electric Power Company Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant Accident.'
The translated description of the clip reads:
"After the nuclear accident, government and the media said there was no immediate effect on the health. But in the town of Namie Tsushima, which is outside the 30 kilometer area or outside the mandatory evacuation zone, it happened. So far as there has been no news about this kind, it certainly makes one suspect that the government is deliberately making an effort to keep news of the radiation leak a secret
The rabbits, which are housed in an outdoor bunny pen, are eating wild grass, which resulted in earless bunny's birth. This is the first anomaly/deformation ever born. Life cycle of a bunny is quicker than humans. As I am wondering if humans will be the next victim, I imagine the future picture of human babies."
Japan Moves to Ease Parental Fury Over Radiation Limits
By HIROKO TABUCHI
Published: May 27, 2011
TOKYO — Responding to fury among parents in Fukushima, Japan’s education minister said Friday that the country would set a lower radiation exposure limit for schoolchildren in areas around a stricken nuclear plant and pay for schools to remove contaminated topsoil from school fields and playgrounds.
There has been particular anger over new government guidelines that allowed schoolchildren to be exposed to radiation doses that are more than 20 times the previously permissible levels. That dose is equal to the international standard for adult nuclear power plant workers.
In April, an adviser to Prime Minister Naoto Kan resigned over the new radiation guidelines, saying he would not let his own children be exposed to those levels.
Seiichi Nakate, a social worker who rallied local parents to found the Fukushima Network for Saving Children from Radiation, said he was relieved that the government was finally taking action.
“But children in Fukushima are exposed to radiation outside of the schools, too. So there needs to be a wider cleanup effort, as well as assistance to families who decide to leave the area,” Mr. Nakate said.
“The government must go beyond stopgap measures designed to placate the parents,” he said. “This is just the start of many steps the government must take to ensure the health and safety of our children.
FACTBOX-Fukushima disaster upends German energy policy
FRANKFURT May 27 (Reuters) - Germany, Europe's largest economy and power market, plans to revise its energy policy completely by July after the meltdown in several nuclear power plants in Fukushima in Japan.