Today’s NHK news regarding status of Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power
station as of 21:00 on April 1
●TEPCO reprimanded over sloppy radiation checks
Japan's nuclear safety agency has reprimanded Tokyo Electric Power Company over its failure to ensure the safety of workers at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant due to shortages of radiation monitors. Some teams of workers had to share a radiation monitor, although they are supposed to have one each. Many monitors stopped working after the massive quake.
The agency told reporters on Friday that the practice is problematic. It instructed the plant operator to make sure that workers are able to check radiation levels. TEPCO told the agency that it has obtained 420 radiation monitors so far. The company explained that work will be suspended if employees do not have their own monitors.
Friday, April 01, 2011 13:30 +0900 (JST)
●GE Says: Fukushima reactors have no structural defects
The chief executive of General Electric has stressed that the GE reactors at the
Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant have no structural problems. Jeff Immelt spoke to NHK and other media outlets on Thursday. Some observers say the No. 1 and 2 reactors, the oldest types at the plant, have a flaw in their
He said the GE reactor has been in service for more than 40 years and is welltested and well-designed and has been upgraded over time.Immelt said in Washington on Thursday that he was aware of the doubts expressed about nuclear power plants. But he said it is necessary to diversify energy sources at a time of rising oil prices.
In the United States, more than 20 reactors are in use that have similar structure to the Fukushima No. 1 and 2 reactors
. Questions were raised about their safety after the Fukushima reactors were damaged last month.
Friday, April 01, 2011 12:24 +0900 (JST)
●IAEA: High level of iodine-131 outside zone
The International Atomic Energy Agency has revealed that iodine-131 was the radioactive substance that exceeded its criterion for evacuation in a village 40 kilometers from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The agency did not give the name of the substance at its news conference on Wednesday.
The village of Iitate to the northwest of the plant is outside the 20 kilometer exclusion zone and the 20 to 30 kilometer alert zone where the Japanese government advises voluntary evacuation. On Wednesday, the IAEA said radiation levels twice as high as its evacuation level were detected in Iitate and it had advised the Japanese government to carefully assess the situation. But it did not give details of the substance or who carried out the measurement.
The UN nuclear agency revealed on Thursday that its judgment was based on
data obtained from the Japanese authorities.
Japan's Nuclear Safety Commission said it sees no reason to change the evacuation zone and advice to stay indoors as its criteria are based on how much radiation people would be exposed to, and not the radiation level in the ground. The IAEA also corrected the reading of 2 million becquerels of iodine-131 per square meter it announced on Wednesday. The revised figure is 20 million becquerels per square meter.
The IAEA will continue analyzing radiation levels in cooperation with the
Japanese government. Iodine-131 has a radioactive half-life of 8 days, and the half-life of Cesium-137 is 30 years.
Friday, April 01, 2011 11:40 +0900 (JST)
●TEPCO to ensure radiation monitoring for workers
Tokyo Electric Power Company says it may postpone low priority work at the
damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant to ensure radiation monitoring for
TEPCO said on Thursday that the quake destroyed many radiation monitors and that only 320 out of the 5,000 it had prior to the disaster are now available. The company said that in some work groups only leaders had monitors and that 180 workers had worked without devices on one day. TEPCO said it may postpone low priority work so no employee has to work without a device.It also said it will collect radiation monitors from other plants to minimize delays.
Friday, April 01, 2011 07:36 +0900 (JST)
●Singapore bans imports of vegetables from Shizuoka
Singapore has announced that it has suspended imports of vegetables and fruit
from central Japan due to radioactive contamination. Singapore has increased its surveillance of food imports from Japan since the start of the trouble at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant to ensure that they are safe for consumption. About 380 samples so far have been tested for radioactivity.
The country's authorities say that it detected radiation higher than the international limit in Japanese mustard spinach produced in Shizuoka Prefecture and imported on Wednesday. Shizuoka became the 10th prefecture whose produce has been banned. The Japanese government says that an import ban has been wrongly imposed on products from the western prefecture of Ehime, as vegetables from Fukushima were wrongly labeled as being from Ehime. The Japanese embassy in Singapore says it will examine the import process if necessary. The Singapore government says that it is following the situation at the nuclear plant very closely and continuing its measures to safeguard Singapore from radioactive contamination.
Friday, April 01, 2011 05:09 +0900 (JST)
●Researcher explains how radiation reaches Tokyo
A Japanese researcher explained to NHK how radioactive substances that leaked from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant have spread and reached Tokyo and other parts of the Kanto region. Hiromi Yamazawa, a Professor at Nagoya University graduate school, says that high levels of radiation have reached Kanto at least twice since the nuclear plant accident.
He says the first incidence occurred from March 15th through the 16th. Contaminated air spread widely in Kanto. The second occurred from the 20th through the 21st. Contaminated air went south along the coast, and reached Chiba and Tokyo. The air was then blown northwest to the inland prefecture of Gunma. Yamazawa says the rain in a broad area of Kanto in the surrounding days deposited radioactive substances in rivers and contaminated water in purification plants in the region. Yamazawa warns that radiation could more easily flow into Kanto from now to the early summer, due to winds blowing south from Fukushima during these seasons.
Friday, April 01, 2011 05:09 +0900 (JST)
●Radiation monitors not given to each worker
NHK has learned that Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, has not provided every worker at the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant with radiation monitors, breaking government rules. High levels of contamination have been detected at the Daiichi power complex following a series of hydrogen explosions that have scattered radioactive substances.
TEPCO says the quake destroyed many radiation monitors, so in some work groups only leaders have them, leaving others struggling to manage exposure. The government requires companies to provide each individual worker with a radiation monitor when working under such conditions. One worker who helped restore electricity to the plant, says each man must have been exposed to different levels of radiation, and that he has no idea how much contamination he was exposed to. TEPCO says that those without monitors are assigned to low-radiation work, and that safety measures are in place.
The health ministry says exposure to large amounts of radiation is always a possibility during a nuclear power plant accident. It adds if the claims are true it is a serious problem, and that it plans to investigate the company's safety management.
Thursday, March 31, 2011 19:37 +0900 (JST)
●Kan & Sarkozy to cooperate in handling nuclear crisis
The leaders of Japan and France have confirmed that they will work together to solve the ongoing crisis at the quake-damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant. French President Nicolas Sarkozy visited Prime Minister Naoto Kan's office in Tokyo on Thursday. Kan thanked France for expressing sympathy for the victims of the March 11th earthquake and tsunami and for showing its support and solidarity for Japan since. He also thanked Sarkozy for visiting Japan as the head of France, which currently holds the rotating residency of the Group of Eight summit talks. Kan said Japanese people are determined to stand together to overcome the crisis, and asked France for continued support. Sarkozy said he pays respect to the Japanese people who are facing their greatest crisis since World War Two with dignity and courage. He added that he was shocked to see footage of the disaster-stricken areas, but deeply impressed by the heroic operations now under way at the nuclear plant.
After the meeting, Kan and Sarkozy held a news conference and announced that France will lead the international community to help Japan resolve the problems at the crippled plant and come up with decontamination measures. France has the second largest of nuclear power stations in the world.
Thursday, March 31, 2011 19:10 +0900 (JST)
●Govt may scrap nuclear energy plan
Prime Minister Naoto Kan has reportedly hinted at the possibility of a fundamental review of the government's nuclear energy plan. Communist Party leader Kazuo Shii met Prime Minister Kan on Thursday to discuss the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant. Speaking to reporters after the meeting, the opposition party leader quoted Kan as saying the situation at the Fukushima plant cannot allow him to say anything about the future of the plant. Kan reportedly said all-out efforts are under way to cool down the reactors and to prevent radioactive substances from leaking out but that there is no clear prospect of a stable cooling down.
In 2010, the government formulated a plan calling for the construction of at least 14 nuclear power plants over the next 20 years. According to the Communist Party leader, Kan said he will review the nuclear energy policy from the viewpoint of safety, including the issue of spent fuel. The Prime Minister added the plan for building 14 new plants will be reviewed, including the possibility of scrapping it.
Thursday, March 31, 2011 19:10 +0900 (JST)
●Program errors force TEPCO to review all data
Tokyo Electric Power Company says it will review all data on radiation leaked from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, citing errors in a computer program. The utility says it found errors in the program used to analyze radioactive elements and their levels, after some experts noted that radiation levels of leaked water inside the plant were too high.
The company and the government's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency say previously released data may have shown the levels of tellurium-129 and molybdenum-99 to be higher than they really were. But they say that levels of iodine-131, which has a significant impact on humans and the environment, remain unchanged. Tokyo Electric releases data on radioactivity inside the plant compound and in nearby seawater and soil.
The radioactive substances are believed to be coming from damaged nuclear fuel rods. The data is crucial for identifying the source of radioactive leaks and assessing
their impact on the environment. The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency has told the company to find out why the errors occurred and to take steps to prevent a recurrence.
Friday, April 01, 2011 15:39 +0900 (JST)
●Radiation detected in beef, vegetables
Radiation exceeding safety standards has been detected in beef from Fukushima and vegetables from Ibaraki, Tochigi and Chiba prefectures. The health ministry says it detected 510 becquerels per kilogram of radioactive cesium, above than the national limit of 500, in round beef from a cow raised in a village in Fukushima prefecture on Wednesday. The beef has not been shipped. In Hitachi city, Ibaraki prefecture, 8,300 becquerels, or 4 times above the accepted limit, of radioactive iodine was detected in spinach. Spinach and parsley from other parts of Ibaraki were also found to be contaminated with higher-than acceptable levels of radiation.
Spinach, shungiku, or garland chrysanthemum, and parsley with radiation exceeding acceptable levels were found in Chiba prefecture. High levels of radiation were also detected in spinach in Tochigi prefecture. The ministry says these vegetables are not on the market, as producers have not shipped them, either voluntarily or in line with the government's instructions