Archives de décembre 2012

Kyodo: M10 quake possible, says study — An hour of shaking — Tsunami lasting for several days

It is theoretically possible that the world could see a quake with a magnitude of around 10, a researcher at Tohoku University told the government’s Coordinating Committee for Earthquake Prediction, Japan. […]

“The estimate does not mean that a magnitude 10 quake will inevitably happen,” said Toru Matsuzawa, a professor at [Tohoku] university’s Research Center for Prediction of Earthquakes and Volcanic Eruptions. “If it happens, it would take place around once every 10,000 years.” […]

A magnitude 10 quake would likely cause ground motions for up to an hour, with tsunami hitting while the shaking was still going on, according to the research. Tsunami would continue for several days, causing damage to several Pacific Rim nations.


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Intense M5 quakes hit near Fukushima (MAPS & VIDEO)

13:27 JST:

14:46 JST:


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IAEA to Help Japan Decontamination Work After Fukushima Disaster

The International Atomic Energy Agency agreed to help Japan with decontamination and radioactive waste management after the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

The IAEA and the Fukushima prefecture government signed the agreement in Koriyama city, about 60 kilometers (37 miles) west of Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant. The IAEA will send teams to help decontaminate areas around the plant as well as help radiation monitoring and health-care research projects.

The March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami caused meltdowns and release of radiation into the air and sea from the Fukushima plant, forcing about 160,000 people to evacuate. Some areas around the plant, northwest of Tokyo, may be uninhabitable for at least two decades because of radioactive contamination, the government estimated last year.

The signing ceremony between the IAEA and Fukushima prefecture was part of a three-day conference through Dec. 17 to discuss nuclear safety. Officials from more than 50 countries and organizations are expected to attend the conference, according to Japan’s Ministry ofForeign Affairs.

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Strong quake hits off Japan near Fukushima

Passengers gather after train services were suspended following an earthquake at Sendai station in Sendai, Miyagi prefecture, in this photo taken by Kyodo December 7, 2012. REUTERS-Kyodo
Passersby watch a television showing live camera footage from Iwaki, Fukushima prefecture and an alert sign that reads,'Tsunami! Evacuate!' on a street in Tokyo December 7, 2012. REUTERS-Kim Kyung-Hoon
A man scratches his head as he watches television showing live camera footage from Ishinomaki, Miyagi prefecture and an alert sign that reads,'Tsunami! Evacuate!' at Nagano train station, central Japan December 7, 2012. A strong earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 7.3 centred off the coast of northeastern Japan shook buildings as far away as Tokyo on Friday and triggered a one-metre tsunami in an area devastated by last year's Fukushima disaster. REUTERS-Yuriko Nakao


(Reuters) – A strong quake centered off northeasternJapan shook buildings as far away as Tokyo on Friday and triggered a one-meter tsunami in an area devastated by last year’s Fukushima disaster, but there were no reports of deaths or serious damage.

The quake had a preliminary magnitude of 7.3, the U.S. Geological Survey said, and thousands of coastal residents were ordered to evacuate to higher ground, but the tsunami warning was lifted two hours after the tremor struck.

The March 2011 earthquake and following tsunami killed nearly 20,000 people and triggered the world’s worst nuclear crisis in 25 years when the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear plant was destroyed, leaking radiation into the sea and air.

Workers at the plant were ordered to move to safety after Friday’s quake. Tokyo Electric Power Co, the operator of the Fukushima nuclear plant, reported no irregularities at its nuclear plants.

All but two of Japan’s 50 nuclear reactors have been idled since the Fukushima disaster as the government reviews safety.

The quake measured a « lower 5 » in Miyagi prefecture on Japan’s scale of one to seven, meaning there might be some damage to roads and houses that are less quake resistant.

The scale measures the amount of shaking and in that sense gives a better idea of possible damage than the magnitude. The quake registered a 4 in Tokyo

The one-meter tsunami hit at Ishinomaki, in Miyagi, at the centre of the devastation from the March 2011 disaster. All Miyagi trains halted operations and Sendai airport, which was flooded by the tsunami last year, closed its runway.

Five people in the prefecture were slightly injured.

« I was in the centre of the city the very moment the earthquake struck. I immediately jumped into the car and started running away towards the mountains. I’m still hiding inside the car, » said Ishinomaki resident Chikako Iwai.

« …I have the radio on and they say the cars are still stuck in the traffic. I’m planning to stay here for the next couple of hours. »

There are vast areas of Ishinomaki that still have not been cleaned up since last year’s tsunami. Many houses lie in ruins, full of rubble. Workers by the shore still sort through thousands of cars that were swamped and destroyed. The cars are piled up and being taken apart for parts and scrap.


Narita airport outside Tokyo was back in action after a brief closure for safety checks. There were small tsunamis, measuring in the centimeters, elsewhere near the epicenter.

Last year’s quake, which measured 9.0, triggered fuel-rod meltdowns at Fukushima, causing radiation leakage, contamination of food and water and mass evacuations. Much of the area is still deserted.

The government declared in December that the disaster was under control.

« Citizens are now escaping to designated evacuation centers and moving to places on higher ground, » office worker Naoki Ara said in Soma, 30 km (18 miles) from the Fukushima-Daiichi plant.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda cancelled campaigning in Tokyo ahead of a December 16 election and was on his way back to his office, but there was no immediate plan to hold a special cabinet meeting.

Public spending on quake-proofing buildings is a big election issue.

Japanese were posting photos of their TV screens with tsunami warnings on Facebook, asking each other whether they’re safe, confirming their whereabouts.

« It shook for a long time here in Tokyo, are you guys all right? » posted Eriko Hamada, enquiring about the safety of her friends.

Phone lines were overloaded and it was difficult to contact residents of Miyagi.

« Owing to the recent earthquake, phone lines are very busy, please try again later, » the operator said.

The yen rose against the dollar and the euro on the news, triggering some safe-haven inflows into the Japanese currency.

Japan is one of the world’s most earthquake-prone countries, with a tremor occurring at least every five minutes.

Located in the « Ring of Fire » arc of volcanoes and oceanic trenches partly encircling the Pacific Basin, the country accounts for about 20 percent of the world’s earthquakes of magnitude 6.0 or greater.

Tokyo, with a population of 12 million, sits on the junction of four tectonic plates: the Eurasian, North American, Philippine and Pacific. The sudden bending or breaking of any plate can trigger an earthquake.






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TEPCO aims to end Fukushima No. 4 unit’s fuel removal in 2014

Tokyo Electric Power Co. and the government said Monday they will seek to take out all fuel assemblies inside the No. 4 unit of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant by the end of 2014, a year earlier than initially planned.


The schedule was moved up amid lingering concerns over the condition of the unit that stores 1,533 fuel assemblies, the largest number among the four damaged units of the plant. The upper part of the unit’s building was severely damaged by a hydrogen explosion last year.


TEPCO plans to start taking out the fuel in mid-November 2013, one month earlier than initially scheduled, because the clearance of debris from the upper portion of the building went smoothly and it found it can skip some preparatory work deemed necessary earlier.

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Fukushima reactors status 3 Dec 2012

The following is the known status as of Monday morning of each of the six reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant and the four reactors at the Fukushima Daini plant, both in Fukushima Prefecture, which were crippled by the magnitude 9.0 earthquake and ensuing tsunami on March 11.


Due to the Tohoku-Chihou-Taiheiyou-Oki Earthquake which occurred on March 11, 2011, TEPCO’s facilities including our nuclear power stations have been severely damaged. We deeply apologize for the anxiety and inconvenience caused.
With regard to the accident at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, on April 17, 2011, we have compiled the roadmap towards restoration from the accident and on July 19 we accomplished the Step1 target « Radiation dose is in steady decline ». Then on December 16 we confirmed the accomplishment of the Step 2 target « Release of radioactive materials is under control and radiation doses are being significantly held down ».
In addition, on December 21, 2011, we have compiled the « Mid-to-long-Term Roadmap toward the Decommissioning of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Units 1-4, TEPCO ».
In addition to the maintenance of the plant’s stable condition, we will implement Mid-to-Long Term countermeasures towards the decommissioning of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Units 1-4 to enable evacuees to return to their homes as soon as possible and reduce the anxiety of the people in Fukushima and the whole nation as soon as possible.

Below is the status of TEPCO’s nuclear power stations (Fukushima Daiichi and Fukushima Daini).

* The updates are underlined.

[Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station]
·Unit 1 to 4: Abolishment (April 19, 2012)
·Unit 5 to 6: Outage due to regular inspections before the earthquake

-At 6:55 PM on November 29, Units 2-3 reactor injection water amounts were adjusted as follows since the amounts had fluctuated.
[Unit 2] Feed water system: Increased from approx. 1.8m3/h to approx. 1.9m3/h, Reactor core spray system: Decreased from approx. 4.1m3/h to approx. 3.9m3/h.
[Unit 3] Feed water system: Increased from approx. 1.8m3/h to approx. 2.1m3/h, Reactor core spray system: Increased from approx. 3.6m3/h to approx. 4.0m3/h.

-At 1:54 PM on November 25, Unit 1 spent fuel pool alternative cooling system was stopped in prior to the common power supply modification which suspends the power supply to the system from November 27 to 28 (the pool water temperature when the system was stopped: 16.0°C). Though cooling was originally planned to be restarted on November 28, it has been postponed to November 29 due to the schedule change of the power supply suspension. Upon checking the spent fuel pool alternative cooling system in prior to restart after the power supply to the system was recovered on November 29, an alarm indicating an abnormality with the heat exchanger secondary system radiation monitor had gone off and the radiation monitor reading had been downscaled. For this reason, the radiation monitor will be inspected on November 30 before cooling is restarted. Unit 1 spent fuel pool water temperature increase rate is approx. 0.088°C/h and the pool water temperature as of 12:00 AM on November 30 was approx. 25.3°C. There is no problem with the spent fuel pool water temperature control considering the sufficient margin to the maximum allowed temperature (65°C).

-On October 4, Unit 3 spent fuel pool desalination system (mobile RO) was stopped due to an alarm indicating the buffer tank water level being too high. Also on October 24, hydrochloric acid leaked from 25% hydrochloric acid tank when the system was under suspension. As the increase in the buffer tank water level was assumed to have been caused by some of the water gauges not working properly due to scale* stuck in them, acid cleaning was done of the water gauges. The effectiveness of the acid cleaning (scale removal) was checked by putting the system in hydrochloric acid injection operation. Since the cause of the hydrochloric acid leakage was identified to be the joint part not resistant to 25% hydrochloric acid being damaged (dissolved), the part has been replaced with a hydrochloric acid resistant material. As preparation for trial operation was completed, the system was restarted. At 10:50 AM on November 30, the full-scale operation of the system was started since no problem had been found with its operation.
* Calcium carbonate which originates from the calcium dissolved in the spent fuel pool water

[Fukushima Daini Nuclear Power Station]
·Unit 1 to 4: Shutdown due to the earthquake.

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The winds of Fukushima

Over 18 months ago, the reactors at Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station went into meltdown. Large amounts of radioactive material were released. And the world seems to have forgotten about it, or at least pretend that it’s all finished.



TOKYO (majirox news) — But it’s not over. According to The International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB), children and young people are still being exposed to dangerous levels of radioactivity that continue to linger in the atmosphere and affect the safety of food.


“Many children have already developed abnormalities in their thyroid glands,” they said.

The Network has been monitoring the effects of the Fukushima Nuclear Reactor Incident since the March 11, 2011 disaster. Ten priests from around the world, including Thailand, the US, Japan and India, recently toured Fukushima prefecture, including the cities of Sukagawa and Nihonmatsu and the high-radiation areas of Ita-te village and Minamisoma.

Michinori Sasaki, the vice-principal of Doho kindergarten and priest of Shingyoji Temple in Nihonmatsu, Fukushima, said, “the children have health problems that they didn’t have before, including thyroid diseases. Almost every night parents come to our temple crying about the their children’s health problems and their future.”

Sasaki worries about his own four children as well.

“My wife and I want to leave this city because my children are sick and have diseases, but I can’t throw away my temple.”

Residents face difficult choices along with the loss of their livelihoods and the destruction of the communities in which they have grown up. The choice between remaining or evacuating has broken up marriages.

“Parents fight,” Sasaki said. “The mothers want to leave and take their children to a safer area, but the fathers can’t leave since they can’t find jobs outside.”

The Network priests say the people are not getting direct help from the government.

here is ongoing and serious negligence by the Japanese government, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), and other responsible parties of providing timely and accurate information on radiation levels, proper health standards, and responses regarding appropriate lifestyles responses for the people living in these regions,” they say.

There are criticisms of the way that money has been spent. Billions of dollars allocated to help victims of the disaster have been diverted elsewhere, it is claimed.

According to the Japanese media, “the Japanese government suspended 35 projects that were receiving money from the nation’s March 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster reconstruction fund. Recently, it was discovered that portions of the reconstruction budget were going to causes completely unrelated to the disaster. As much as one quarter of the 11.7 trillion yen (approx. $148 billion) fund was being diverted to other projects. These included the construction of a contact lens factory in a another part of Japan, and $30 million event went to the nation’s controversial whale hunting program.”

Katsuko Arima, who owns a restaurant in Fukushima, agrees that the people are not getting direct help from the government.

“We are told what hospital to go to by the government or else they will not support us,” she says. ” That’s because the recommended hospital will not report the truth about the conditions of our health.”

Ghost town
The city of Ita-te is empty except for cows, dogs and cats roaming the streets.

“It’s eerie because the greenery, the birds, and the scenery are so beautiful, but there are no people around,” said Phra Paisan Visalo, a Thai monk touring the area. “I carried a dosimeter when I went into the area and it kept going off because of the high radiation levels.”

Safecast, which is an independent, citizens science volunteer group has been measuring radiation in Fukushima and has collected over 5,000,000 measurements for the past 18 months.

“Our measurements show dose rate values in the range of 0.3uSv to 1.3uSv in Fukushima City and in the range of 2-4uSv/hr in Ita-ite village,” said Pieter Franken of Safecast. “Over the past year we have seen radiation levels in general come down, but the exposure risk is far from over. Seen the challenges encountered in decontamination, the exposure risk will be a long term problem requiring continuos monitoring and caution.”

Residents are allowed into the area a few hours a day to feed the animals.

Local people
The local people grabbed the priests and thanked them for listening.
“They wanted us to look at what we saw, and not from the television or newspapers,” Visalo said. “It’s grim. However, we were inspired by their courage and perseverance, and we will offer whatever support we can to their families and children.”

The residents told the priests that the Japanese think the radiation is gone and everything has settled down.

“People are starting to forget,” Arima said. “The disaster is not over and we are still suffering.”

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