• A Fukushima researcher says Fukushima’s web-image is unrealistic. Dr. Sae Ochi, Director of Internal Medicine at Fukushima’s Soma Hospital, says, “I often log on to my personal computer in a joyful mood, but then get appalled at what I find there: a dark image of Fukushima being spread across the Web, swirling in conspiracy. The picture of Fukushima that one finds in Internet searches is not the real Fukushima.” She says many views about Fukushima are internet-inspired lies. While most internet reports on Fukushima are one-sided, in reality there is a mixture of proponents and opponents, and a large fraction who admit they don’t know what to think. She says people are always in a rush, so they depend on search engines to find out what is happening. With emotional issues like Fukushima, most people only go to the websites that reinforce their personal opinions. In other words, they do not want to know about something that challenges their view. As one actually involved with the Fukushima child thyroid screening program, Ms. Ochi knows what is true. But, she finds that many people are inverting the actual situation. She says, “I sense that there is a glut of misguided ‘information recipes’ that prepare scientific information with ethics ‘stirred in,’ as well as those that ‘season’ ethical issues with scientific evidence.” Ochi notices that some scientists manipulate reality to fit their opinion because negative opinions are the ones that get the most attention. http://www.jaif.or.jp/en/fukushimas-image-being-warped-by-search-engines-a-recipe-to-battle-against-the-deficiency-of-information/
  • SPEEDI will be used for evacuation purposes in future nuke crises. The System for Prediction of Environment Emergency Dose Information was approved by the Prime Minister’s Cabinet on Friday. SPEEDI combines radioactive release and meteorological data to provide local governments an idea as to which direction should be taken by people evacuating. The system was developed after the 1979 Three Mile Island incident. Tokyo has been sternly criticized for then-PM Naoto Kan’s decision to not use the system during the F. Daiichi evacuation because he felt SPEEDI predictions were inherently inaccurate. As a result, thousands of evacuating Fukushima residents fled into the direct path of the accident plume after the wind shifted on-shore on March 14. Since Kan and his party were voted out of office three years ago, local governments have lobbied to allow use of the system. Tokyo has finally capitulated. http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0002805126http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20160312/p2a/00m/0na/020000c
  • Families of Fukushima child thyroid cancer patients form an information network. They held a news conference on Saturday, accompanied by a lawyer. Five families want to know why their children were diagnosed to papillary carcinoma nodules, and urge the parents of the other more than 160 diagnosed children to join the group. Obviously, they don’t believe the explanations provided by the Fukushima Medical University team that performs the thyroid testing. http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20160312_22/
  • Takahama unit #3 achieved cold shutdown status on Friday. The Fukui Prefecture unit was at full power, safely producing 870 MWe of pollution-free electricity, when a maverick district court in the neighboring prefecture ordered the plant to cease operations immediately. All power output ended last Thursday, and the primary coolant for the reactor was cooled to the cold shutdown criterion (below 100oC) on Friday. The unit had been at full power, generating electricity for 40 days. The Otsu district court in Shiga Prefecture issued the injunction because of a petition submitted by some of the prefecture’s residents claiming the plant owner, Kansai Electric, failed to explain the plant’s safety to them, and they feared being exposed to low level radiation. http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0002805309
  • Kansai Electric has appealed the Takahama Injunction. The company says the Otsu Court decision is unacceptable because it was “not based on scientific and technical knowledge.” The court cited reasons for its injunction such as “problematic points” of accident response, plus unanswered questions on tsunami protection and emergency planning, which violate personal rights, “There is keen fear that the personal rights of residents are being violated, and that Kansai EP has not sufficiently explained that safety is secured.” In other words, the Otsu court based its decision on perceived uncertainties and doubts, and not on technical grounds. http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20160314/p2g/00m/0dm/082000c
  • The Asahi Shimbun says half of the radiation monitors around Sendai station are “useless”. Japan’s second largest newspaper reports that 22 of the 48 devises measure area exposure rates up to 80 microsieverts per hour. Yet, Tokyo’s emergency guidelines say immediate evacuation orders are to be rendered at 500 µSv/hr. Thus, the Asahi calls the monitors with 80 µSv limits “useless”. The detection technology was installed out to the 30km radius around Sendai station by the Kagoshima Prefecture government before the station’s two now-operating nukes were restarted. A prefectural official says, “It will be no problem because we can monitor radiation levels with other monitoring posts nearby or transportable monitoring equipment.” http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/social_affairs/AJ201603140026  (Comment –Environmental detectors around nukes always include units with a variety of monitoring ranges. They are ALL useful. Either the Asahi fails to understand the situation, or intentionally declines to tell the whole story. Considering that the Asahi incorrectly calls area radiation detectors “airborne” monitors, it is possible that they do not understand the reasons behind the variety of monitoring ranges being employed. However, the newspaper’s penchant for focusing on notions of uncertainty and doubt concerning all things nuclear, suggests the omissions about these radiation monitors are intentional.)
  • 3,000 tons of rural decontamination materials have gone unreported. NHK World discovered that 30 municipalities in seven prefectures store 3,114 tons of wastes that measured greater than 8,000 Becquerels per kilogram when it was collected. The communities never reported it to Tokyo because of concerns about false rumors. In addition, without a firm decision on the part of the government to establish central temporary repositories for the stuff, the bagged debris would remain where it is now even if it were reported. Tokyo told NHK they would investigate into the situation with the “undesignated” wastes. http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20160313_14/
  • Tokyo will focus on decontaminating the so-called “difficult-to-return” zones. They have experienced a more than 50% drop-off in worst-case exposure estimates since the zone designations were created by Tokyo in 2011. The majority of the existing difficult-to-return zones no longer have estimated exposures greater than or equal to the 50 millisievert per year criterion for the designation. In fact, radiation surveys made in December showed that the current worst-case exposures in decontaminated “test areas”, are actually less than 20 mSv/yr; the criterion for repopulation! Tokyo says they will now bring serious focus to decontaminating the difficult-to-return zones in order to facilitate repopulation. http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0002804416
  • Japan’s antinuclear activists say they want to “regain momentum”. Tokyo’s Metropolitan Coalition Against Nukes (MCAN) has seen the number of protesters dwindle at their weekly demonstrations since 2011. The say their “Friday Rallies” currently attract hundreds participants, where tens of thousands showed up five years ago. They blame the downturn on the government’s allegedly pro-nuclear policies. On activist says, “I have a sense of crisis about the current state of things. I guess people are tired of speaking up as nobody (in the government) seems to listen to them.” Kanna Mitsuta of Friends of the Earth says, “I’m not pessimistic about the situation. I don’t think the movement is dead. We should never forget that people are still suffering from the disaster.” http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/03/11/national/not-japans-anti-nuclear-movement-fights-regain-momentum/#.VuLn-JBf0dV (Comment – Antinuclear prophecies of cancerous doom have never manifested, causing credibility to plummet. Japan may have a radiophobia epidemic, but the public is not irrational and stupid.)
  • An antinuke rally in Tokyo commemorates five years since the accident. MCAN organizes weekly demonstrations, and this was the 187th in the series. The group said that 6,000 people took part, however some news sources say that only “dozens” attended. The two main topics of protest were to not restart any reactors and support for the people of Fukushima. A few of the protesters were Tepco employees. One of them fueled the antinuclear rumor-mill by saying, “Five years have passed, and there are still people who can’t return home, and there are people who are getting sick. http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/social_affairs/AJ201603120026http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20160312/p2a/00m/0na/006000chttp://www.ibtimes.co.uk/japan-2011-earthquake-tsunami-anti-nuclear-protesters-march-fifth-anniversary-1548983http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/japan-2011-earthquake-tsunami-anti-nuclear-protesters-march-fifth-anniversary-1548983