- Today, Japan Times posted a picture of the current state of construction on the enclosure around the unit #1 reactor building. It is hardly the “makeshift tent” professed by many western news sources. TEPCO expects to be finished by mid-late October.
- Today’s TEPCO report on airborne activity at the Fukushima Daiichi property boundary shows no detectable Cesium in the air. In addition, a Mainichi Shimbun report says samples taken at two openings above the roof on the unit #2 reactor building show airborne Cesium activity between 1/10,000 and 1/100,000 Becquerels per cubic centimeter, which is 100 to 1000 times less (respectively) than Japanese limits for radioactive releases.We have been waiting for a Japanese news media source to make an announcement like this since the end of August, when the levels at the plant site began dropping below the limits. It’s about time! TEPCO posts the airborne levels almost every day, so this has hardly been a case of less-than-transparent disclosure…not this time, anyway.
- Asahi Shimbun reports Tsukuba University professor Yuichi Onda and researchers at the Meteorological Research Institute have studied the material on the floor of Fukushima Prefecture forests. They found that 90% of the Cesium in deciduous forests is on the fallen leaves and upper decaying material, and only 10% has made its way into the soil below. They also found that old evergreen forests have 50% of the Cesium in the fallen needles and decaying material, and 50% in the soils. The team feels removal of the loose surface material should be undertaken first, then the soils should be checked to see if soil-surface-skimming will really be needed. Careful removal and burial of this loose material would reduce radiation levels in and around parks and forested residences considerably, and expedite getting people back home.
- Former P.M. Kan is at it again. Kyodo News reports on his continued insistence that the specter of evacuating Tokyo changed his mind about nukes. He says that a computer simulation given to him on March 13 showed that radiation releases from Fukushima might force evacuations as far as 200-250km from the power complex, which would mean he would have had to evacuate Tokyo. Kan said he felt this was a valid possibility over the following ten days, during which he created the mental scenario of Fukushima causing “Japan to end as a State.” What’s most disturbing about Kan’s doomsday assertion is that he ignored all other computer projections about airborne activity dispersal and the possibilities of meltdowns, but literally hung his judgmental hat on the single-most extreme and improbable one.Later in the article, Kan re-implies that he did everything he could to have unit #1 depressurized on March 12, but no-one at TEPCO or in the Fukushima control room was listening. He makes it seem as if his flying to the site the morning of the 12th made the venting happen, which is a complete fabrication (based on control room records). He further re-iterated that he stopped TEPCO from completely abandoning Fukushima on March 15, which the existing record shows to be a rumor-predicated fabrication.
To a politician, any publicity is good publicity. His false allegations and contradictory statements are keeping him in the Japanese news, and providing fodder for the western news media to spin on. Kan is effectively becoming an anti-nuclear political shill.
Hiroshima Syndrome updates…
- Fresh produce in Fukushima Prefecture is now being shunned by consumers. The Yomiuri Shimbun reports that autumn sales of Fukushima produce, especially mushrooms, have only been a third of what is typical. It doesn’t seem to matter if the items are grown in other Prefectures and shipped into Fukushima for sale. In addition, having official radiation levels in the food posted to prove its safety has no effect. Literally, there is little trust in fresh produce sold in Fukushima.Further, it’s not only happening in Fukushima Prefecture. Foods in Yamagata Prefecture (over 100km west of Fukushima) have also taken a serious downturn in sales…including those that haven’t a trace of Fukushima isotopes. The cause of this tacit consumer boycott? Fear of radiation, says Kyodo News.
Something similar happened in southern Honshu Prefectures after the bombings of Hiroshima/Nagasaki, and the atomic tests in the South Pacific more than half a century ago. It’s a phobic fear of radiation.
- Kyodo News reports that 80 of the 400 members of the Bavarian Opera have refused to make their tour of Japan out of fears of radiation from Fukushima. In order to avoid losing all performers, the company will ship tons of spring water from Germany to ensure their drinking water is “safe”, and have health physics professionals accompany the entourage to monitor all foods for contamination before eating. While there is no actual risk to the performers, their fears can be directly traced to the current fear-of-radiation politics in Germany.
- In a related Kyodo report, Siemens, the largest nuclear construction group in Germany, has announced it is terminating it’s nuclear division and expanding its fossil fuel division. They say it is in order to stay in line with the recent government decision to stop all nuclear generation of electricity and go forward with fossil fuels.
- Kyodo News also reports an annual fireworks display at the city hall in Nisshin, Japan, was negatively affected because the fireworks were made in Fukushima Prefecture. The City of Nisshin said they received protests from “about 20” citizens complaining of fears of Fukushima radiation being spread by the fireworks, causing fallout over their radiation-clean city. Since they had no way to prove the fireworks were not contaminated, and fearing wide-spread negative publicity, the city felt they had to re-schedule and use locally-produced fireworks. The re-scheduled display was attended by 110,000 people.