Fukushima Update 03/22 4am JST – News and Views

03/22 3pm EST

First, here’s a link to trains currently running and not running.

Local Trains – http://traininfo.jreast.co.jp/train_info/e/tohoku.aspx

Shinkansens – http://traininfo.jreast.co.jp/train_info/e/shinkansen.aspx

Winds headed out to sea – From Reuters – Light winds, sleet forecast near Japan nuclear plant http://reut.rs/gCAPlf

Here are some more news updates from Twitter with short summaries.  If you haven’t noticed the Fukushima Daiichi power plant is on the brink of stabilizing, because of that, a lot of news agencies are flipping from fear over direct radiation from the plant to radiation in your food!!!  Please by just as vigilant when reading these reports as you were when reading all of the nonsense that came out about the nuclear apocalypse that was going to engulf all of Japan, as well as the western coast of North America.  Here we go.

Straight from the horse’s mouth
IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) Director General reports to Board on Japan visit

More officialness
UK science adviser’s view: Discussion with Embassy. Last updated at 16:34 (UK time) 20 Mar 2011

I recommend reading through the whole thing.

You can see from the media reports that there is quite a lot of confusion about what’s going on.  So that is the first issue.

And even in that worst case scenario, and I would emphasise that this is an extremely unlikely case, even if that happened the level of radiation around Tokyo would be extremely modest.  Although there would be radiation increases, even in this extreme case, the effect on human health could be substantially mitigated by just taking very simple precautions.  By essentially staying indoors whilst the plume of radiation passed over, not having your ventilation on, and keeping your windows closed.  These measures would mitigate any significant risks to human health.

MEXT – Radiation levels – [Eng ver] Readings at Monitoring Post out of 20 Km Zone of Fukushima Dai-ichi NPP [19:00 Mar 21, 2011]

News
Kyodo: Japan Science Ministry says far greater amounts of radioactive iodine & cesium found in rain, dust and air particles since Sunday AM due to rainfall.

BBC Global News – Japan will overcome crisis – IAEA
Good old BBC, this is a fair and balanced article that outlines the positives.

Reactors 5 & 6 have been shut down and are “no longer an immediate concern.” From Amano.  The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) says situation is stabilizing and 1, 2, and 3 have damage, but core has not been breached.

About the spinach and milk, because I know how you guys love both of those things, either separately or together.

“…senior government official Yukio Edano told a news conference that eating or drinking the contaminated food would not pose a health hazard. “I would like you to act calmly,” he said.”

For people outside Japan that are freaking out, here’s this.

“The World Health Organization said it had no evidence of contaminated food reaching other countries. However, China, Taiwan and South Korea have announced plans to toughen checks of Japanese imports.”

Steve Herman – Latest VOA [Voice of America] report on the Fukushima nuke crisis

Can I first say, I like this guy.

In discussing the smoke coming from reactor 3, there was no explosion before sighting the smoke and “not believed to be linked to the reactor’s overheating fuel rods.”

Radiation levels are stable.

Smoke seen at reactor 2 seems to be a release of steam, but the source was not the pool used for spent fuel rods.

Power lines being reconnected will allow operators to measure radiation levels and stabilize cooling efforts.

Trace amounts of radioactive substances have also been detected since Sunday in the tap water of nine prefectures.

For those still reading about tension and panic in Tokyo, here’s a short piece for you.
Japan Times – Tokyo residents relax and recuperate a week after the earthquake

Temporary houses by the end of the month!!
Reuters Japan – Ten days later, first rebuilding begins in Japan

Information
Reuters Japan – Factbox: WHO information on radiation and food safety

Food Fear!
Reuters Top News – WHO warns of “serious” food radiation in disaster-hit Japan

“We see a light for getting out of the crisis,” an official quoted Prime Minister Naoto Kan as saying, allowing himself some rare optimism in Japan’s toughest moment since World War II.

Regarding sea water having higher than normal radiation levels.

“It would have to be drunk for a whole year in order to accumulate to one millisievert,” a TEPCO official said, referring to the standard radiation measurement unit. People are generally exposed to about 1 to 10 millisieverts each year from background radiation caused by substances in the air and soil.

“You would have to eat or drink an awful lot to get any level of radiation that would be harmful,” said Laurence Williams, professor of nuclear safety at the John Tyndall Institute in Britain.

“We live in a radioactive world — we get radiation from the earth, from the food we eat. It’s an emotive subject and the nuclear industry and governments have got to do a lot more to educate people.”

So, no overeating or drinking!!!

Volunteering in Japan and donating things other than money
I came across this tweet, still haven’t had time to fully look at it, but here it is.
@tokyotimes Lee Chapman – Another way to help: Foreign volunteers Japan
Foreign Volunteers Japan Facebook page

A few quotes about the positives from Twitter
@dicklp True story is remarkable absence of social breakdown in most extreme and devastating circumstance short of war. Society is stronger, in fact

@tokyotimes RT @gakuranman RT @W7VOA: IAEA’s Amano on #Fukushima: “It is no exaggeration to describe the work of the emergency teams as heroic.”

In the, ya, because this really matter right now file
Reuters Japan – As cherry blossoms bloom, Japan faces lean tourist season
Reuters Japan – Taiwan restaurant offers radiation checks

Finally, here’s a crazy looking picture that puts radiation into perspective, click the pic to make it bigger:

Everyone be safe.

B

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