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Saturday, 23 July 2011


There has been a lot of progress at the Fukushima plant. From every source I have heard good news, even from the metcha skeptics. First of all the water has finally reached a cool enough temperature for nitrogen to be injected into it. In all plants. This is a huge step forward because nitrogen prohibits flame and means explosions are now far less likely. Explosions were a big fear because it is the explosions that carry the nuclear nuclides high into the air allowing for a wider range of fall out.

The process of de-contaminating the hosed in water is working too. When it is hosed in, it combines with the radioactive water in the vessel and turns radioactive itself. The de-contamination process uses zeolite and other chemicals that deactivate radioactivity and continue to do so. Figures for radiation around the plant are finally lower. Here in Sendai going down quite a lot weekly.

We have to praise the sustained efforts of the plant workers. Their dedication to their work. They have done an amazing job against all odds to get this under control. It is now looking possible to achieve complete cold shut down of all reactors by the end of this year.

Just when we were planning on leaving........

This is not to say Fukushima prefecture and random hot spots around are out of trouble. Far from it. With a half life of hundreds of years much of the nuclide fall out that has already fallen is still of grave concern. But govt measures are being implemented to topsoil the top 20 cms of soil that grows crops and burying or disposing of this radioactive soil will take place. Fall out falls. It falls on soil and in reservoirs and on land. It does not stay in the air. It is this that was not chartered with Chernobyl and it is this that we have learned : we can clear fall out to a point. And prevent cattle and animals grazing on this land and infecting their meat and dairy products. This elimination process has also started, late yes but started. It NEVER started at all with Chernobyl. Kids were still drinking contaminated milk for decades as people just did now know the risks at that time. It was not only air radiation that produced cancers there farther from the plant, it was mainly consumption of contaminated produce from contaminated land.

As for airborn radiation it is still too high for people to return and live near the plant. I hope they never do, although the govt here seems optimistic that people can return to collect possessions after shutdown.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Eco friendly dosimeters.

Today I learned that a dosimeter to measure radiation can be made out of used PET bottles. It's a much cheaper and eco friendly way to make a dosimeter and simple ones are going to be made for school kids..much like the dosimeters that those in the nuclear workplace carry around with them at all times to measure their own exposure. Nice. And practical since there is a backlog on dosimeter orders here and everywhere is sold out.

Thursday, 7 July 2011


Earthquake related suicide rates are still high. There are certain places people go, a forest, a bridge, a cliff...famous spots to end your life, it's one of the saddest things of survive but wish you hadn't. All kinds of mis-info abound and it can be very scary for people who don't really understand and are confused by so much trauma and do not know who to trust or believe.

On a more positive note, the nuclear situation looks slowly grimly a little better. News that the water hose has been repaired and is not leaking and is managing to continue to decontaminate the radioactive water at reactors 1,2,3 is good news. It is still going to take daily dedication and somebody has to be there every single minute to ensure nothing goes wrong, and this is only stabilizing, not shut down, which will apparantly  take another year at least to achieve safely. But, meanwhile bless the amazing plant workers and their courage and dedication as they salvage this mess at the cost of their health.

At street level, one thing has changed very much since the disasters. This is the nation's slow and definite 'satori' over how the government has manipulated them and decieved them generally over the nuclear accident and so many related issues. There is a new awakening. People everywhere are starting to "do it themselves". This involves ordering their own equipment to test soil and water if they can afford to; disobeying govt stipulations over safety levels and procedures. People are relying more on small community centered support groups; housewives, schools, groups to which people are tied, are taking the lead. There are small but major changes going on in how the disasters are going to shape change and alter the status-quo.
Once people start to question authority and their truth, a rebellion is born. However small, however polite and organized, it is definitely happening.

One man I know went drinking with some Tokyo govt diet members. The govt has told Fukushima city residents that they are safe. That their radiation exposure is safe, that their kids are safe to go to school...this city is 60km from reactor 1 and declared a hotspot in terms of nuclide fall out. He was told after some drinks I assume, by a diet member, that this is a lie. That it is not safe, but there is no place or money to evacuate families and so much evacuation does not fit well into political dynamics. Of course we knew this, but the fact that leaks like this are happening and spreading down into general street info, re-inforces the huge wave of distrust that is growing among not just the elite informed but everyone, spanning class and generation. Many lies and cover ups have come to the surface, too many to excuse, and ordinairy people are being made to think out of the box, to make major decisions for themselves.It's good mainly of course, but has a dark side too.

In Fukushima for example, people are taking matters into their own hands, with no specific guidelines from govt, they are topsoiling their yards and dumping the topsoil in forests and mountains creating huge radioactive hotspot deposits. This is one direct result of the govt's lack of advice on protective procedures that will boomerang. Another example is a woman here who is adding charcoal to her kids food because she has heard it will absorb ingested radioactive particles. The whole process of clean up may well end up costing far more than the entire profit of Japan's nuclear industry ever did.