Fukushima Update 03/23 2am JST

Fukushima Update 03/23  2am JST – 03/22 2pm EST

First a couple things that are Fukushima specific.

Gas: I’ve heard lines for gas are ⅓ of what they used to be, so that’s good and that limits have gone up to about 5000 yen.

Water: Radiation levels are high, but apparently it’s still good to use for daily things like showering, etc.

Roads: Seem to be fine.  Still haven’t heard anything about the expressways being open in the ken and if you use them, you’ll be warned by police about the dangers of aftershocks.

Buses: Last post has links to highway buses.  I’ve heard they’re running from Koriyama and Fukushima to Tokyo and that buses within the ken are running city to city.  The bus from Niigata to Aizu has been very busy, stand at the stop before the eki mae one if you are planning on busing back to Aizu.

Trains: Still no trains in the ken, Shinkansens are running to and from Tokyo to Nasushiobara (south of Ishikawa), Niigata, Yamagata and Akita.  JR East website says this, Mar 22, 2011  “The Narita Express is still suspended, but the local trains are in service between Narita Airport and Tokyo station.”  According to NHK, the Tohoku Shinkansen won’t resume full service until late April.  Here’s the link.  http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/23_05.html

News:
The following updates go in chronological order, backwards from 03/23 2am JST to about 9pm JST.  Meaning the top link was posted around 2am

IAEA
Video: IAEA briefing on latest developments in #Japan, as of 22 March 2011. http://bit.ly/ePZs7K
(I’m at work and can’t watch this, sorry)

Al Jazeera English
Power cables reach Japan’s nuclear plant: External power lines connected to quake-stricken facilities  http://aje.me/e7s6Sw

Power lines to all six nuclear reactor units at Japan’s quake-stricken Fukushima Daiichi complex have been connected, its operator said, but electricity has not yet been turned on.

Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) warned on Tuesday that equipment still had to be checked before power could be properly reconnected, which would mark a significant step in bringing the reactors back under control.

Engineers have also been able to cool a spent fuel pool that was nearly boiling, bringing it back to 105 degrees after dumping 18 tonnes of seawater into a holding pool.

However fears have been raised over the possibility of radiation in seawater near the reactors in northeastern Japan, with reports that some radioactivity has been detected in the sea.

Continued in link, goes on about food concerns.

Steve Herman
My latest VOA report from Tokyo: http://bit.ly/dNWByT

*Just click and read this whole article.  This guy has been doing some solid reporting throughout this whole event.*

norishikata Noriyuki SHIKATA
TEPCO has restored lighting in the control room for the No. 3 reactor. All 6 reactors reconnected to external power. http://bit.ly/efaVio –  From Kyodo

This just has more of the same from the links above, just another source.  Here’s a quote:

Tokyo Electric said that it has restored lighting in the control room for the No. 3 reactor, a move that is expected to allow for more intensive work to bring the nuclear crisis under control and to restore the reactors’ key cooling functions.

Tokyo Electric Executive Vice President Sakae Muto said, ”I think the situation will head toward a better direction, but it is too early to say that things have stabilized sufficiently.”

The spokesman of the government’s nuclear safety agency, Hidehiko Nishiyama, told a separate press conference in the afternoon that if electricity starts to work, the actual condition of the plant would become ”visible” and authorities would be able to check whether the current measures are sufficient to contain the crisis.

He also gave reassurance that a critical full-scale ”meltdown” — in which fuel rods melt completely or reach criticality again — is unlikely.

Steve Herman
VOA poll: “Are you satisfied with the info Japanese gov’t is providing about the nuclear crisis? – http://bit.ly/e4Ljwc

Interesting, it seems only 20% of English speakers are satisfied with the info the government is providing.

Reuters Top News
Experts pore over contaminants in Japan’s radioactive spill reut.rs/dNiQ1b

This article goes over the type of radiation coming out of Daiichi and which types of radiation are in the food.  Here’s a bit of it.

But a few experts stressed there was no need for panic yet.
Levels of caesium-137 detected in spinach in Japan over the weekend stood at an average of 350 becquerels per kilogram, well below the European Union’s limit of 1,000 becquerels for dairy produce and 1,250 for all other food items.
“Becquerels are like atoms,” said Pradip Deb, senior lecturer in Medical Radiations at the School of Medical Sciences, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University.
“A liter of milk has billions and billions of atoms … and this is just 350.”
Caesium-134 has a half-life of 2 years, which will take about 20 years for it to become harmless.

tokyotimes Lee Chapman
CNN’s Nancy Grace says there’s radiation in food, water & livestock. We are all doomed. Americans too! http://is.gd/CPg1XC

mextjapan MEXT
[Latest Information]Reading of environmental radioactivity level [English version] http://bit.ly/ehlSxF

BBC Global News
Utility company in Tokyo says power lines now hooked up to all 6 reactor units at Fukushima nuclear plant in #Japan

Steve Nagata
NHK: High radiation detected 40km from nuclear plant http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/22_35.html

I’m going to quote this whole article as it is a bit worrying.

Japan’s science ministry says radiation exceeding 400 times the normal level was detected in soil about 40 kilometers from the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

The ministry surveyed radioactive substances in soil about 5 centimeters below the surface at roadsides on Monday.

The ministry found 43,000 becquerels of radioactive iodine-131 per kilogram of soil, and 4,700 becquerels of radioactive cesium-137 per kilogram about 40 kilometers west-northwest of the plant.

Gunma University Professor Keigo Endo says radiation released by the iodine is 430 times the level normally detected in soil in Japan and that released by the cesium is 47 times the norm.

Endo says the data means that a person staying at the location for one year would be exposed to 4 times the amount of radiation allowed by national standards. The professor says there is no immediate health risk, but that radioactive cesium can accumulate in soil and that radiation levels must continue to be monitored.

The science ministry says there is no environmental standard for radioactive substances in soil, and that it sees no problem at this time.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011 19:59 +0900 (JST)

Everyone be safe.

B

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