Update # 9: Weekend May 28 & 29th
Global Research posted two articles today honing in on the real problem with the nuclear energy industry. . .nuclear waste.
Tepco Failed to Disclose Scale of Fukushima Radiation Leaks, Academics Say is a reprint of the Bloomberg article that appeared on Friday. It lucidly discusses the waste problem.
"By May 18, almost 100,000 tons of radioactive water had leaked into basements and other areas of the Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant. The volume of radiated water may double by the end of December and will cost 42 billion yen ($518 million) to decontaminate, according to Tepco's estimates.
...Tepco has been withholding data on radiation from Dai-Ichi, Goshi Hosono, an adviser to Japan's prime minister, said at a press briefing today. Hosono said he ordered the utility to check for any data it hasn't disclosed and release the material as soon as possible.
..."Tepco knows more than they've said about the amount of radiation leaking from the plant," Jan van de Putte, a specialist in radiation safety trained at the Technical University of Delft in the Netherlands, said yesterday in Tokyo. "What we need is a full disclosure, a full inventory of radiation released including the exact isotopes."
What To Do With All The Nuclear Waste
This article contains a brief discussion of the problem of storing nuclear waste and then posts the complete movie "Into Eternity" in the article.
(It is also available on youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Onkn4l4wo3M)
The movie "is a peek inside an amazing underground facility being built in Finland to store nuclear waste, called "Onkalo" - the Finnish word for "hiding place." The project first broke ground in the 1970s and will not be completed for 120 more years. It is designed to last 100,000 years - the time it takes for nuclear waste to become safe . . ."
At the homepage for the movie (www.intoeternitythemovie.com), the "nuclear facts" section states there are currently 200,000 to 300,000 tons of nuclear waste worldwide. So the 100,000 tons of contaminated water that has now leaked from Fukushima and its possible doubled volume by December is almost equal to the amount of solid nuclear waste in existence in the world today. A must watch movie.
Meanwhile, back at the plant:
The cooling pump at Fukushima Unit 5 failed Saturday evening.
It was replaced on Sunday. According to a Japan Times story:
NHK reports this morning:
Cooling system restored at No.5 reactor
"A broken pump has been replaced at the Number 5 reactor of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, and the temperature inside the reactor has started to decline.
The reactor has been in a state of cold shutdown.
An employee patrolling the facility noticed around 9 PM on Saturday that the pump was not working.
The pump sends sea water to the cooling system of the reactor and the spent fuel storage pool. Its failure caused the water temperature inside the reactor to rise from 68 degrees Celsius at 9 PM on Saturday to 94 degrees at noon on Sunday. The water temperature inside the spent fuel storage pool rose from 41 to 46 degrees.
Tokyo Electric Power Company, which operates the plant, began replacing the failed pump at 8 AM on Sunday, and restored the cooling functions before 1 PM.
The water temperature inside the reactor reached 94.8 degrees before the work was completed. It fell to 76.5 degrees by 2 PM, and the temperature of the spent fuel storage pool has also stabilized.
The utility says it will investigate the cause of the failure, as it continues to monitor the temperatures inside the reactor and the pool."
Sunday, May 29, 2011 23:18 +0900 (JST) http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/29_19.html
BBC reported on Saturday
Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan 'unready for typhoon'
Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant is not fully prepared for heavy rain and winds of a typhoon heading towards the country, officials admit.
Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco), which runs the plant, said some reactor buildings were uncovered, prompting fears the storm may carry radioactive material into the air and sea. Typhoon Songda is expected to hit mainland Japan as early as Monday.
..."We have made utmost efforts, but we have not completed covering the damaged reactor buildings," a Tepco official said on Saturday.
"We apologise for the lack of significant measures against wind and rain," the official added."
NHK reports this morning:
Fukushima plant prepares for wind and rain
"The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is stacking sandbags around buildings that house electrical equipment to keep heavy rain and strong winds from affecting the cooling system.
Weather authorities say heavy rain is expected around the plant from Sunday to Monday, and strong winds may blow at sea.
The giant storage barge that will be used to hold relatively low-level radioactive water has been fixed to the quay by Tokyo Electric Power Company to prepare for the thunderstorm.
Sandbags have been stacked around buildings that house electric equipment and the doors sealed to prevent water from affecting the cooling system.
A special vehicle used to inject water into the spent fuel storage pool of the Number 4 reactor has been evacuated and its 50-meter arm folded to prevent strong winds from toppling it over.
Removal of the debris and installation of pipes continued at the plant on Sunday, but all the work, except for patrols, will be suspended if the wind and rain intensifies.
The level of contaminated water in the tunnels and the turbine buildings of the Number 2 and 3 reactors has been rising. The utility will continue to monitor the situation to make sure that contaminated water will not overflow and run into the sea or groundwater.
It is spraying a special processing agent on debris and buildings to stop radioactive materials from being washed out to sea through ditches."
Sunday, May 29, 2011 23:18 +0900 (JST) http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/29_21.html
The next two stories are about Fukushima and media control (aka mind police).
(Tip of the hat to Kevin Logan.) The May 16th article at the Asia Pacific Journal (by Makiko Segawa) is a particularly important read to understand what is going on in Japan and why residents are so upset with the media coverage and official spin on public safety.
"Censorship of Internet in Japan (and other media) a new team to delete "harmful" Fukushima information
This is a really troubling development. The internal security apparatus of Japan is contacting media and internet services to begin deletion of certain information.
"[T]he Japanese government has moved to crack down on independent reportage and criticism of the government's policies in the wake of the disaster by deciding what citizens may or may not talk about in public. A new project team has been created by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communication, the National Police Agency, and METI to combat "rumors" deemed harmful to Japanese security in the wake of the Fukushima disaster.
"The government charges that the damage caused by earthquakes and by the nuclear accident are being magnified by irresponsible rumors, and the government must take action for the sake of the public good. The project team has begun to send "letters of request" to such organizations as telephone companies, internet providers, cable television stations, and others, demanding that they "take adequate measures based on the guidelines in response to illegal information. "The measures include erasing any information from internet sites that the authorities deem harmful to public order and morality."
I learned about it on the thread discussing the absence of news in the major media. After looking at a number of the videos posted by a man living in Japan I am concerned about how much of the information may be censored or simply not reported [...] In any case these are video reports from someone who is living in Japan and is a first hand perpsective. He now fears his reports will be deleted from youtube and he will be branded a criminal or worse.
Makiko Segawa is a staff writer at the Shingetsu News Agency. She prepared this report from Fukushima and Tokyo."
This is followed by this story on NHK today:
Emergency manual to protect tourism from rumors
"Tourism ministers of Japan, China, and South Korea have agreed to create an emergency management manual to prevent tourism from being affected by unfounded rumors.
The tourism ministers of the 3 countries, Akihiro Ohata, Shao Qiwei, and Choung Byoung Gug, met in Pyeongchang, South Korea, on Sunday.
The discussion focused primarily on the huge decline in the number of foreign visitors to Japan following the March 11th disaster.
A joint statement released after the meeting called on governments and tourism industries of the 3 countries to take proactive measures to bring back tourists to Japan, as agreed in the 3-way summit a week ago.
As the radiation scare caused by the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant was the primary cause of the decline in visitor numbers, the 3 ministers agreed to draw up an emergency management manual to cope with such situations. The manual would enable sharing of accurate information among the 3 countries and prevent tourism from being affected by unfounded rumors stemming from natural disasters or epidemics.
The ministers also agreed to hold next year's meeting in Japan in the disaster-stricken Tohoku region.
Ohata told reporters after the meeting that, through the sharing of accurate information among the 3 countries, foreign tourists will gradually stop avoiding Japan. He said he will continue to make further efforts to convey accurate information to other countries."
Sunday, May 29, 2011 16:57 +0900 (JST) http://www.youtube.com/user/playbacklapompe
So it seems the plan is to protect tourism from rumours, but not tourists from radiation!