• TEPCO has posted current-status pictures of the enclosure being erected around reactor building #1. Below, the picture on the left shows the placement of the first roof panel, and on the right shows how it looks after installation.

    The picture on the left also shows a scaffold-stairway going up the side of the outer enclosure wall. It gives us an idea of how massive the structure is.

  • For those interested, below are pictures of the Main Control Room for unit 2. On the left is its condition on October 9, and the right the condition just after emergency lighting was restored on March 11.

  • TEPCO began removing hydrogen from one of the pipes on unit #1 on Saturday, where high concentrations were found earlier this month. The pipe needed to be evacuated of hydrogen before they could cut into it and attach a system for airborne decontamination inside the Primary Containment. Saturday, the hydrogen level dropped to zero, but Sunday it rose to a 3.9% concentration. Although this is not a dangerous level, the Press expressed skepticism based on the popular misconception that hydrogen can be explosive at 4%. Also, the Press questioned TEPCO’s statement that Sunday’s increase came from small pockets of residuals in parts of the piping the evacuation process did not reach. Further, The news media suggested releasing the high densities of hydrogen from the piping to the atmosphere is yet another explosive possibility, which is patently false. On Sunday, TEPCO cut into the pipe and attached the airborne decontamination device without incident. (JAIF)The above indicates that the Japanese Press is now adopting the fear-oriented modus operendi of the western news media. Lack of public trust in both the government and TEPCO, combined with fear of radiation, is being exploited by Japan’s news media. We are disappointed that NHK World seems to have gone over to the news’ dark side.
  • The Ministry of Education, Science, Sports and Technology has posted a detailed map of Cesium contamination levels, stretching more than 250km from Fukushima Daiichi. 70% of the map shows Cesium levels at or below 1 Becquerel per square centimeter (Bq/cm2), which is considered “normal” due to historic fallout from South Pacific nuclear weapon’s tests. Of most interest is Tokyo Prefecture, which spans a width of 200-250km southwest of Fukushima. Only one small region of the city’s domain has readings “above-normal”, in the 6-30 Bq/cm2 range. This is the mountainous western tip called the Okutama Region, which is sparsely populated due to its rugged terrain. The central population of Tokyo City and it’s sprawling suburbs are all shown to be at “normal” Cesium levels. (Japan Times) It should be noted the lowest government standard for Cesium decontamination is 60 Bq/cm2 for Cs-134 and 90 Bq/cm2 for Cs-137..
  • Fukushima Prefecture has begun what seems to be the most comprehensive child thyroid monitoring program anywhere in the world…ever. All 360,000 children living in Fukushima Prefecture at the time of the accident will be screened for thyroid tumors and/or lesions using ultra-sound techniques, beginning with the ~ 5,000 evacuated from nearest the plant. The rest of the children will begin monitoring soon thereafter in a sequence according to distance, with those who were nearest being examined before those furthest from the power complex. Each child will be re-examined at least once every five years thereafter, for the rest of their lives. The initial round of examinations are expected to be completed by March, 2014. The work will be done by Fukushima’s Medical University. (Mainichi Shimbun, Japan Times, Japan Today)
  • Only two of the 59 municipalities in Fukushima Prefecture have set up temporary storage locations for soils and other debris removed during the decontamination process. The other 57 districts are literally in a state of paralysis, refusing to designate storage locations out of NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) fears voiced by their citizens. The most-voiced fear is belief that the Cesium in the waste will get into the Prefecture’s drinking water and pollute everyone. (Asahi Shimbun) How is removing the Cesium-laced material and storing it in a safe location worse than leaving everything where it is…unconstrained…spread everywhere…seeping into the soil…? Or, are we confusing the issue with facts?
  • Distrust of the Tokyo government concerning nuclear energy issues continues at a high level. An NHK World survey of 29 Prefectures and the municipalities hosting nuclear power plants, using a detailed questionnaire, shows that 60% feel gaining local support should be the prime criteria for restarting idled reactors, while only 17% say passing stress tests should be the most critical requirement. In addition, only 41% have confidence in the stress tests now being given to idled plants, while 14% did not, and 45% are undecided on the issue. The most-stated reason for the low vote of confidence is because the Tokyo government’s mandated the stress tests without local government input. This indicates the testing is not helping to win official trust toward resuming operations. In all, 79 percent of the prefectures and municipalities said they want to be careful about timing with respect to resuming reactor operations in order to allay public concerns. Given the current political atmosphere, 27 of the local governments say they have no intention of allowing restarts according to Tokyo’s current schedule, regardless of stress test results. However, two villages (not identified) say they want to restart their reactors as soon as possible, even before stress test results are established. It should be noted that Fukushima Prefectural municipalities were not included in the survey.