• The Nuclear Regulatory Authority of Japan (NRA) has set new guidelines for public protection during a nuke accident. First, Iodine tablets will be issued to everyone within a five kilometer radius of a nuke for thyroid gland protection. Second, those living outside the 5km radius will be evacuated if the radiation level reaches 500 microsieverts per hour. This is one-half of the international standard for evacuation which is 1,000 microSv/hr. Also, the total emergency planning zone will set at a 30km radius from a nuke station. The 5-km zone will be called “precautionary evacuation zone” where the public will be moved out if a radiological release is imminent. They will be given Iodine tablets as they leave. The 5 to 30-km radius will be called an “urgent protective action planning zone” where protective actions will be determined by radiation levels. Based on these guidelines, local governments are to draft public protection plans by March 18. The NRA received more than 3,000 comments on their draft proposal earlier this month, but the majorities were highly critical of the proposed strategies. In general, most responses called for even lower evacuation standards and much larger evacuation radii. Some said Iodine tablets should be issued immediately, and not wait for a nuclear accident to be declared. The NRA said that since these comments did not change the proposed guidelines because the standards were set scientifically, properly incorporating the experiences following 3/11/11. (Japan Times; Kyodo News)
  • Miyagi Prefecture will give financial assistance to rebuild tsunami-devastated communities. The prefectural government will issue more than $27,000 per household to assist homeowners in their reconstruction efforts, coming mostly from the Tokyo government. About 30,000 homes were either completely lost or badly damaged by the 3/11/11 tsunami, but are located outside areas designated as “disaster-prone” by pre-3/11/11 standards. Prior to the great tsunami, the disaster-prone designation was established based on the worst tsunami recorded in the previous 450 years, and government financial assistance is available for those who lived in those areas. However, the 3/11/11 tsunami was much more extreme than any prior projections. Until now, those outside the designated locations could not get financial aid toward rebuilding their lost residences. The new money is intended to defray the costs of reconstruction, raising ground levels, and/or relocating to rebuild. Under the former Tokyo regime, the government refused to help those whose homes were outside the pre-established “disaster-prone” designations. The new government under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has reversed this and approved monies to assist everyone. Miyagi Gov. Yoshihiro Murai said, “Local municipalities’ support systems will be fundamentally improved” by the aid which is intended to encourage reconstruction by the tsunami refugees themselves. (Mainichi Shimbun; Yomiuri Shimbun)
  • The Environment Ministry has canceled two previously proposed sites for disposal of Fukushima Prefecture’s tsunami debris. Last September, the old Tokyo regime selected Takahagi City (Ibaraki Prefecture) and Yaita (Tochigi Prefecture) as storage sites. However, the government neglected to consult the towns or their local officials before announcing the decision. The officials were understandably shocked and angry. Also, many local residents have told the Ministry they were unhappy with what happened. It was planned to send out 1,700 tons of incinerator ash and mud from ditches inside the no-go zone around Fukushima Daiichi. New Environment Minister Shinji Inoue admitted his predecessors made a mistake with their selection process. He visited both communities to tell them the plans had been cancelled. Until disposal sites outside Fukushima Prefecture are found, the tsunami debris will remain un-disposed. (Japan Today)
  • Japan’s Industry Ministry will begin the review of the former regimes long-term energy policy in March. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has called for a full review of the policy which calls for an end to nuke power in Japan by 2040. The ministry’s working group will have about 15 members and will probably not include those either strongly opposed to or in favor of nuclear energy. (Jiji Press)
  • Tepco will buy Liquefied Natural Gas from America. This will be done because current LNG prices in America are 20-30% less than from the Middle East. The imports will total more than 200,000 tons over a 3-year period and begin sometime later this year. (Kyodo News)

A YouTube graphic presentation shows the massive difference between building a single nuke and an equivalent wind-powered complex. With the Japanese Press making it seem that replacing nukes with windmills is easy and affordable, it seems something like this should be circulated to objectify the issue… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zc7rRPrA7rg&feature=youtu.be