• No detectible radioactive cesium in Fukushima school meals for 2014-15. Samples of 3,408 school lunch meals in Fukushima Prefecture between April, 2014, and September, 2015, all had less than 1 Becquerel per kilogram; the minimum detectible level. When the prefectural monitoring program began in 2012, some cesium was detected in 14 of 1,962 samples. The average concentration in the fourteen was 2.53 Bq/kg – a fortieth of the 100 Bq/kg limit. In 2013, only six of the 2,480 sampled meals showed detectible levels, with a maximum of 1.28 Bq/kg. Since then, there has been nothing. The prefecture says reasons for not detecting cesium in the meals include strict food examination during production and distribution, decontamination work, and the techniques of farmers to minimize absorption of cesium. University of Tokyo professor Ryugo Hayano says the concentrations should remain undetectable. http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=604 (Comment – Once again, Japan’s major popular Press outlets have completely ignored some important good news! Fukushima Minpo is a Fukushima Prefecture newspaper.)
  • Iitate village to reopen its municipal office in July. Mayor Norio Kanno said the currently relocated office outside the exclusion zone will resume operation in its old location. This should be the first of several steps leading to the repopulation of Iitate by the spring of 2017. Building a “relocation base”, village-run residences, and a community center, appear to be next on the list, along with on-going decontamination efforts. http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=603
  • There was no Fukushima Cesium in North America’s Pacific kelp forests in 2015. Kelp Watch is a scientific collaboration between Dr. Steven Manley (Department of Biological Sciences, California State University- Long Beach) and Dr. Kai Vetter  (UC Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory). Initiated in November, 2013, the project has tested Giant Kelp (Macrocystis) and Bull Kelp (Nereocystis). Sampling takes place from Baja California to Alaska. The data is compared to samples taken off the coast of Chile, which is used as a base-line reference. Their latest report (January-February, 2015) finds no Cesium-134, the “fingerprint” isotope for Fukushima contamination, in any of the samples. https://kelpwatch.berkeley.edu/
  • A high water contamination reading in tunnel water at Fukushima Daiichi. The “tunnels” run underground from a storage building temporarily holds untreated waste water from inside the plant basements. The highest tunnel water reading was 482,000 Bq/liter of Cesium and 500,000 Bq/liter of beta-emissions on December 3rd. This is 4,000 times higher than samples taken a year ago. The volume of water in the tunnels is 400-500 tons. Tepco says they are investigating into why there has been such a marked increase. The tunnel water is higher in elevation than the floors of the building, so the contamination must be from another place. Also, none of the nearby groundwater sampling points show increases in activity, thus there has been no release from the tunnels. http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/nuclear.html (Comment – NHK is the only major news outlet to report this, which is unusual. Typically, this sort of news makes headlines everywhere. Very strange, indeed.)
  • Minamisoma City to investigate resident’s suspicions of an NRA cover-up. The City Assembly unanimously decided to officially examine whether or not the rice harvested in 1983 was contaminated by dust caused by the removal of debris from F. Daiichi unit #3. The Nuclear Regulation Authority concluded that the debris removal did not cause rice paddy contamination. A petition was submitted by a local antinuclear group challenging the NRA finding, which says, “The government should continue a scientific investigation so that farmers can be engaged in rice farming without anxieties, and accurate information can be conveyed to citizens in evacuation. Suspicions remain that the NRA concealed facts with the intention of reaching that conclusion.” The Agriculture Ministry originally raised the possibility of debris removal as the cause of contamination in 2013, and filed their concerns with the NRA. The NRA responded that all stirred-up dust remained on the F. Daiichi station property. The petition claims the NRA provided no alternative explanation for the contamination, so the only possibility had to have been the debris removal. The NRA says, “As the documents of the petition were not issued to the NRA, we cannot make a comment.” NRA Chair Shunichi Tanaka feels any response should come from the Agriculture Ministry. http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201512090084