Outside of the exclusion zone, Shirakawa city, Fukushima: 1-3 µSv/h

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Aug 17th, 017. From Mrs. Hiroko Tsuzuki:

“Shirakawa City. Fukushima Prefecture. All over my hometown, former residence, public school, High School, Bus Stops. 1-3 µSv/h.”

97.1 km from Fukushima Daiichi. Way outside of the “evacuation zone” so they have no recourse.

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No-go zones keep kin from burying deceased Fukushima evacuees at ancestral gravesites

n-fukushima-a-20170825-870x678.jpgBuddhist monks offer prayers for victims of the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami in Namie, Fukushima Prefecture, in March 2014.

 

In Fukushima, 3/11 fallout forcing remains to be stored at temples, ancestral gravesites to be moved

FUKUSHIMA – The remains of Fukushima’s deceased evacuees are being left in limbo because radiation is preventing them from being buried.

In municipalities that remain off-limits because of the fallout from the triple core meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant in March 2011, the inability of residents to return has put burials for their loved ones on hold.

Instead, many relatives are opting to leave remains in the hands of temples or moved their family graves out of their hometowns.

Choanji, a temple in a no-go zone in the town of Namie, is keeping the remains of about 100 people at a branch facility that was set up in the prefectural capital after the nuclear crisis began.

At the branch, a swordsmanship training room was renovated to enshrine remains that should have been buried in Namie.

Evacuees don’t want to bury the remains of family members in places with high radiation levels,” said the branch’s chief priest, Shuho Yokoyama, 76.

A 66-year-old resident of Minamisoma visited the temple branch on Aug. 12 for the Bon holidays to pray for her elder sister, who died after evacuating the area.

Her remains are kept there because her family’s grave is located in a no-go zone in Namie; the remains of her sister’s husband, who died before the disaster, are already in the family grave.

I am sorry that she is separated from her husband. I want their remains to be buried together,” the woman said.

To enter the no-go zone, residents need to submit applications to the municipal government in question.

The woman is unhappy with the system as she wants permission to enter the areas freely, at least during Bon, the traditional period for commemorating one’s ancestors. Since the disaster began, she has been unable to visit the grave of her brother-in-law.

At Choanji, 20 percent of some 500 families in the congregation have moved their ancestors’ graves to other areas.

Isao Kanno, 50, who hails from Namie but now lives in Tokyo, was in the area just before the remains of his father, who died two months before the meltdowns, were scheduled to be interred.

I can’t be evacuated alone and bury the remains in the grave” in a no-go zone, Kanno said. “I’m considering moving the grave somewhere else.”

Some, however, worry their hometown ties could fade if they move their graves.

Despite being designated a no-go zone, it is my hometown,” said a 57-year-old Tokyo resident who left the remains of one of his relatives at the temple branch.

It is the land of my ancestors, so I’ve never considered moving the grave,” he said.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/08/24/national/no-go-zones-keep-kin-burying-deceased-fukushima-evacuees-ancestral-gravesites/#.WZ71vxdLfrc

Japan’s Lobbying to export Fukushima produce

If we are to believe the Japanese government and the Fukushima local government all Fukushima produce are deliciously safe for consumption and safe to be exported, all having passed the strictest controls for the foreign consumers 100% safety…..There is no left radiation, nor contamination in Fukushima Prefecture…. Smile and you will remain safe and healthy!!!

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Fukushima food exports to Malaysia rise as radiation stigma fades

KUALA LUMPUR – Fukushima Prefecture aims to export 100 tons of rice and 15 tons of peaches to Malaysia by next year, its governor said Wednesday, evidence of fading concern over the safety of food products from the site of the 2011 nuclear disaster.

“In the aftermath of the earthquake and the nuclear plant incident, the agriculture sector suffered very much. We have to deal with negative rumor. But things are slowly recovering,” Gov. Masao Uchibori said at a press conference in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur.

“We inspect 100 percent of the rice and are working hard to bridge the gap between perception and reality.”

Malaysia began importing rice from Fukushima in May, and has brought in 29 tons so far, Ajwad Abu Hassan, the managing director of Malaysia rice importer Edaran Komachi Sdn., said at the same press conference.

Ajwad said his company aims to import another 48 tons by year-end, and even greater amounts eventually.

“Fukushima produces the best quality rice in Japan. We are proud to sell this rice,” said Ajwad. “We are targeting 100 metric tons a year hopefully. In fact, we are trying to increase from not only 100 metric tons but a container full every month.”

A full shipping container holds about 12 tons.

Akumul Abu Hassan, the managing director of another rice trading company, MHC Co. Ltd, said Malaysia currently consumes about 350 tons of Japonica rice a month imported from various parts of the world including South Korea, Vietnam and China. Only 20 to 30 tons comes from Japan, and that from other prefectures such as Akita, Niigata, Hokkaido and Hiroshima.

But Akumul said when it comes to quality, nothing beats rice from Japan.

“Compare to rice from Japan, that from Vietnam, 5 percent will contain broken grains. You don’t find that in rice from Japan,” Akumul said.

Malaysia began importing Fukushima peaches a year after the disaster, and Takashi Kanno, appearing at the same press conference as a representative of the National Federation of Agricultural Cooperatives, said “Malaysia was one of the first countries to accept and give us an opportunity.”

From almost zero in 2012, Fukushima exported 1.2 tons of peaches to Malaysia in 2013, increasing to 7.3 tons last year and 9.5 tons so far this year.

Fukushima is the second-largest peach producing prefecture in Japan after Yamanashi.

Uchibori said after meeting with trading companies involved in exporting peaches, the federation has set a goal of selling 15 tons a year to Malaysia, as peaches are now being sent by ship instead of by air, which will lower the cost.

Fukushima Prefecture also exports broccoli, shiitake mushrooms and persimmons to Malaysia.

https://japantoday.com/category/business/fukushima-food-exports-to-malaysia-rise-as-radiation-stigma-fades

Navy Families Sue Fukushima Operators for Wrongful Death

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SAN DIEGO (CN) — Families of five Navy service members who died after responding to the Fukushima nuclear meltdown have sued Tokyo Electric Power Co., blaming the deaths on radiation illnesses contracted from the March 2011 disaster.

The families wish to join a lawsuit from 152 other members or survivors of members of the 7th Fleet who performed humanitarian response from March 11, 2011 until March 14, when the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier was moved away from Fukushima due to detection of nuclear radiation in the air and on helicopters returning to the ship.

The new plaintiffs want to join in the third amended complaint Cooper, et al. v. TEPCO, et al., originally filed in the same court in 2012. They say it is only recently that they discovered the extent of the injuries, real and/or expected, due to exposure to radiation from the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant.

The federal lawsuit was filed Friday and made available Monday in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of California. They sued General Electric in addition to Tokyo Electric Power Co., or TEPCO.

The Navy servicemen and -women want a $5 billion survivor fund for medical expenses.

They say General Electric designed the defective GE Boiling Water Reactors at Fukushima, which was run by TEPCO, Japan’s largest electric utility. The 7th Fleet’s Operation Tomodachi provided humanitarian relief after the tsunami and ensuing nuclear disaster. The sailors say they will need medical monitoring for life, payment of medical bills, and health monitoring for their children, including for possible radiation-induced birth defects.

“These harms include, but are not limited to, the following: illnesses such as leukemia, ulcers, gall bladder removals, brain cancer, brain tumors, testicular cancer, dysfunctional uterine bleeding, thyroid illnesses, stomach ailments, birth defects, death, and a host of other complaints unusual in such young adults and victims,” the complaint states.

The 81-page lawsuit contains few details about the five service members’ deaths, three of whom died in 2016.

Ruby Perez, who died of ovarian cancer, is the only plaintiff whose illness is specified.

The families are represented by Paul Garner and Charles Bonner, with Bonner & Bonner of Sausalito, who did not respond to requests for comment Monday.

The families say the prime minister of Japan has effectively admitted the negligence of TEPCO. “This negligence was underscored on Dec. 12, 2013, by admission of the former Prime Minister of Japan, Naoto Kan, who was in office when the Fukushima disaster took place. It was at that time that he admitted, for the first time: ‘People think it was March 12th (2011) but the first meltdown occurred 5 hours after the earthquake.’

“Unaware of either the meltdown or any potentially harmful radioactive release, the U.S. Sailor First Responders arrived off the coast of Fukushima during the afternoon of March 12, 2011 in order to carry out their mission of providing humanitarian aid to the victims of the earthquake and tsunami disaster. At no time did this mission include, nor expand into a response to a meltdown or a nuclear emergency at the FNPP. Rather, plaintiffs were carrying out their mission to provide humanitarian aid to the people of Japan by coming to their aid by delivering clean water, blankets, food, and other aspects of providing other humanitarian relief to the inhabitants of Fukushima Prefecture.”

The plaintiffs claim that though the nuclear meltdown was induced by a natural disaster, the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission found in July 2012 that the meltdown was manmade because GE and TEPCO did not take adequate precautions for earthquakes and tsunamis.

They claim TEPCO ignored warnings of risk of damage by a tsunami, dismissed the need for better protection against seawater flooding, and failed to inspect, maintain and repair critical pieces of equipment.

Radiation exposure came not just through the air but by radioactive seawater used to cool the reactors that was pumped back into the Pacific Ocean after it had been contaminated, then sucked into the Navy ship, according to the complaint.

It adds: “One plaintiff declared: ‘ship was still taking in sea water — but obviously the ship can’t filter out the radiation. Water we all showered with, drank, brushed our teeth, and had our food cooked with …’”

Citing a March 14, 2011 statement from the Navy, the plaintiffs say at least 17 service members on helicopter air crews had measureable levels of radioactivity after returning to the ship.

https://www.courthousenews.com/navy-families-sue-fukushima-operators-wrongful-death/

Fukushima ice wall facing doubts as project nears completion

Barrier will block only a fraction of groundwater contamination

0823N-Fukushima-Daiichi_article_main_imageWork has begun on the final 7 meters of an “ice wall” at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant.

 

TOKYO — Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings began Tuesday the final phase of an underground “ice wall” around the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant intended to reduce groundwater contamination, though experts warn the bold project could be much less effective than once hoped.

At 9 a.m., workers began activating a refrigeration system that will create the last 7 meters of a roughly 1.5km barrier of frozen earth around the plant’s reactor buildings, which were devastated by the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdowns of March 2011. Masato Kino, an official from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry supervising the cleanup, spoke cautiously at the occasion, noting that “producing results is more important than the simple act of freezing” that particular segment of soil.

Tepco estimates that roughly 580 tons of water now pass through the ice wall on the reactor buildings’ landward side each day, down from some 760 tons before freezing of soil commenced in March 2016. About 130 tons daily enter the reactor buildings themselves, and Tepco hopes completing the wall will bring that figure below 100 tons.

By this math, the near-complete wall blocks only a little over 20% of groundwater coming toward it. But, as Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority said Aug. 15 when approving the wall’s final stage, the barrier is “ultimately only a supporting measure” to other systems preventing contamination. The main line of defense is a so-called subdrain system of 41 wells around the reactor buildings that pump up 400 to 500 tons of water daily, preventing clean water from entering the site and contaminated water from leaving it.

Slow going

Freezing of earth around the facility has been conducted gradually, amid concerns that highly contaminated water inside could rush out should the water level inside the reactor buildings drop. “Working carefully while keeping control of the water level is a must,” said Yuzuru Ito, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Setsunan University.

It is unclear precisely when the wall will be complete. The plan is to freeze soil 30 meters deep over the course of two or three months, completing the barrier as soon as this fall. But as the gap in the wall narrows, water flows through it more quickly, making soil there more difficult to freeze. “Water is flowing quickly now, and so it is difficult to proceed as we have so far,” a Tepco representative said.

Japan has spent some 34.5 billion yen ($315 million) in taxpayer funds on the wall, expecting the icy barrier to put a decisive end to groundwater contamination at the Fukushima plant. It now appears that a dramatic improvement is not likely, though the wall will still require more than 1 billion yen per year in upkeep. “The frozen-earth barrier is a temporary measure,” said Kunio Watanabe, a professor of resource science at Mie University. “Some other type of wall should be considered as well.”

https://asia.nikkei.com/Tech-Science/Tech/Fukushima-ice-wall-facing-doubts-as-project-nears-completion