Posts Tagged earthquake

Killing Whales Matters More Than Saving People: William Pesek – Bloomberg

Japan spent about 2.28 billion yen on whaling hunting expeditions from funds allocated for recovery from the earthquake and tsunami. It’s a drop in the proverbial bucket, given that the government plans to spend at least $300 billion rebuilding the Tohoku region

via Killing Whales Matters More Than Saving People: William Pesek – Bloomberg.

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Earthquake not a factor in Fukushima accident

The tsunami of 11 March was the ‘direct cause’ of the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, concluded an official investigation report. It dismissed the idea that earthquake damage was a major factor in the accident.

A safe emergency shutdown was achieved within seconds of the magnitude 9.0 earthquake, said the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Investigation Commission composed of experts independent of plant owner Tokyo Electric Power Company. Control rods were fully inserted within seconds and all 13 diesel generators started as per design when tremors disconnected the grid connection. Instrumentation was working correctly, as were cooling systems.

What was the cause, then?

Within an hour of the earthquake, however, almost the entire site was submerged to a depth of up to nine metres by a series of tsunami waves. Over about ten minutes these flooded six of the diesels and ruined the supporting equipment of another six. Only one diesel unit survived and this was used alternately to maintain essential systems at units 5 and 6 – using one of only three power distribution panels that had not been submerged. Some 36 other distribution panels throughout the emergency diesel generator system were made useless by water.

via Earthquake not a factor in Fukushima accident.

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よくある質問Q&A:X 市公式ホームページ  X-City Official Homepage

Alerted by EX-SKF blog, I found my city in a list of cities (published by AERA magazine, the list is replicated here – in Japanese only – with cities that have since withdrawn from the scheme highlighted in red) that had accepted a government request (back in April) to accept debris from the earthquake/tsunami area. However, this was before it was realized/discovered that much debris was radioactive. Has my city’s position changed? (Some cities have withdrawn their acceptance; they are marked in red in the replicated online list.) What is the current situation? I sent them an email, and they posted their answer on the city’s environment section homepage. Here it is (with my city’s name redacted, and my summary in English below):

さて、メールを頂いた件ですがX市におきましては、4月8日付けで環境省より「東日本大震災により生じた廃棄物の受入処理の依頼」について県廃棄物対 策課を通じて4月27日に受理致しました。本市としては、放射能汚染がないことを大前提として「生ごみ」、「可然性混合廃棄物」を受入可能な廃棄物とし て、県へ回答しており、国が安全基準等を明確に定め、災害廃棄物が放射能汚染のない安全なものであると確認できることが、受入の条件と考えております。

(My summary) Following an April 8th request from the Environment Ministry to accept debris from the quake-hit area, the city agreed on April 27th. However, this was on the assumption that the debris was not radioactive , but was debris that fell into the categories of “raw garbage” or “wet refuse” and burnable refuse. We sent our reply to the prefectural authorities, on the understanding that the debris would be checked against the national safety standards and would not contain radioactive substances. This is the assumption we are making. [In other words, it’s not clear whether debris WILL be checked against national safety standards or not. A clear answer has not been received by the city. They are just assuming this. Who wouldn’t, right? But is it ok to make an assumption like this on an issue of this importance?]

The Environment ministry published its guidelines for the disposal of quake/tsunami debris, and these were received by the prefectural rubbish disposal section.

However, at present details have not been gone over [by whom?] and as the city wishes to proceed with a cautious approach, please give us your understanding.

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No livestock farmers apply for government help | The Japan Times Online

What the….?

SENDAI — No livestock farmers in the four prefectures worst hit by the March disaster have applied for a government aid program to help them resume operating, apparently because the qualification terms make it impossible, local authorities said.Under the support program, the government offers subsidies to livestock farmers to remove tsunami debris and repair facilities. To apply, they are required first to form a union with at least five households as members, and the group is then required to begin operating as a collective, with jointly owned and run cattle, pig and poultry barns.

via No livestock farmers apply for government help | The Japan Times Online.

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死者・不明者 2万319人 NHKニュース


via 死者・不明者 2万319人 NHKニュース.

Death toll from March 11 earthquake and tsunami now at 20,319.

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Quake in Japan Causes Costly Shift to Fossil Fuels –

Back to the Future! Fumes be damned, we need those kilowatts!

YOKOSUKA, Japan — The half-century-old, oil-fueled power generators here had been idle for more than a year when, a day after the nuclear accident in March, orders came from Tokyo Electric Power headquarters to fire them up.

“They asked me how long it would take,” said Masatake Koseki, head of the Yokosuka plant, which is 40 miles south of Tokyo and run by Tokyo Electric. “The facilities are old, so I told them six months. But they said, ‘No, you must ready them by summer to prepare for an energy shortage.’ ”

Now, at summer’s peak, Yokosuka’s two fuel-oil and two gas turbines are cranking out a total of 900,000 kilowatts of electricity — and an abundance of fumes.

via Quake in Japan Causes Costly Shift to Fossil Fuels –

Have those folks who are screaming “We don’t need no stinkin’ nuclear power!” really thought through the consequences of getting what they want?

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Many Kesennuma evacuees fled tsunami by car : National : DAILY YOMIURI ONLINE The Daily Yomiuri

”However, people probably jumped into their cars because they wanted to escape as quickly as possible.” No s**t, Sherlock! Ya think? Ya think they maybe knew a tsunami was on the cards soon after an earthquake like that?

More examples of people taking their own initiative.

The Kesennuma municipal government had called on its citizens to evacuate on foot whenever an earthquake occurred.  However, people probably jumped into their cars because they wanted to escape as quickly as possible.

Cars were also necessary to evacuate elderly people and children, and some evacuation sites were a fair distance away.

On March 11, a tsunami swept over the city’s streets and a number of bodies were found in cars inundated by the tsunami.  A municipal government official said, “Learning from this, we want to expand the width of roads and set up large parking lots at evacuation centers.”

Asked how they received evacuation orders on the day of the disaster, 54 percent said they got them through the local administration’s disaster-prevention wireless system; 9 percent from the radio; 6 percent from cell phones; 3 percent from TV and 17 percent said they did not hear any warning. Among the four districts in Kesennuma, 34 percent of people living in the Motoyoshi district said they did not hear any warning.

The municipal government had set up receivers in houses in areas with poor wireless reception. However, some of these receivers may not have worked due to a power outage or because they became disconnected. The survey was conducted to provide the basic data to develop a restoration plan.

via Many Kesennuma evacuees fled tsunami by car : National : DAILY YOMIURI ONLINE The Daily Yomiuri.

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Japan’s Necessary Nuclear Future | The Diplomat

The Diplomat tackles the thorny issue of Japan’s energy needs and how they can be met.

The people’s outrage at the nuclear industry is understandable. However, while this is hardly a time that lends itself to thoughtful reflection, that is precisely what is in order.

Before the earthquake, Japan produced a third of its electricity from nuclear power. The shutdown of six nuclear reactors at Fukushima Daiichi, and a further three at Chubu Electric’s Hamaoka plant at the request of Prime Minister Naoto Kan, removes from the grid over 8GW of electrical capacity, or roughly half of what is required by the city of Tokyo. Taking all of Japan’s nuclear power plants off line would result in almost 50GW of lost electrical capacity, nearly equivalent to that of Australia.

via Japan’s Necessary Nuclear Future | The Diplomat.

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EX-SKF Financial and Economic News, Data, Links, Analysis and Commentary

EX-SKF Financial and Economic News, Data, Links, Analysis and Commentary.

(mousetip Marketing Japan).

An excellent blog, well designed, well written, up to date, links (and quotes) in the original Japanese language. I just won’t bother from now on – this guy (or gal) does a much better job than I ever could.

Update: there’s even a Japanese version! Brill. Hope this blogger doesn’t burn out.

The caption says “Hang in there, Japan! Don’t give up, Japan! Don’t rely on the government!”

That last sentiment is unusual. At least, I haven’t come across it that much – everyone seems to take it for granted that the government should take care of all the problems, even while complaining that they are hopeless at it!

In a recent TV talk show, an American businessman in Japan was giving his opinion, and after going on at some length about essentially the main points of the free market, the Japanese compere asked him, “So what should the government do?” He responded, “Are you still going on about the government?!” But his sarcasm was completely lost on everyone! It’s so ingrained.

At New Year last year, a special program with a panel of scientists and scientist-types were discussing garbage collection and sorting, and one guy said it’s not worth sorting your garbage into PET bottles and cans etc, because they just ship all the PET bottles over to China and burn them there! The host, Akashiya Sanma, spluttered, “But, but, but… separating our garbage is the rule!”

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Fukushima residents dump radiated soil in absence of plan – Yahoo! News

I have mixed feelings about this news. On the one hand, it shows an increasing distrust of central government, and a slightly (but not equivalently) increasing self-reliance and personal initiative.And the ruling class, in whatever culture, are always aghast at the idea of “ordinary” citizens taking matters into their own hands. They don’t want this. They want people to do as they are told.

In a recent NHK TV program to discuss the Fukushima nuclear disaster, someone mentioned that some information about release of radioactivity has been censored on the grounds that it is important not to create panic; the commenter asked, what if panic was exactly the response that was required by the facts?

On the other hand, in this situation, experts are surely required.

Japan is an Asian country which is run by the bureaucratic class, rather like the mandarins have run China for the past several aeons. While a free-thinking, democracy-loving Westerner may condemn this, the fact is that clear thinking, expert knowledge, and the ability to manage people are not skills that everyone is blessed with. Some decisions, perhaps, are best left in the hands of knowledgeable and able people.

Of course, that group does not include politicians.

More than three months after a massive earthquake and tsunami triggered a nuclear meltdown at a nearby power plant, Fukushima residents are scrambling to cope with contamination on their own in the absence of a long-term plan from the government.

As increasingly panicked residents take matters into their own hands, experts warn that their do-it-yourself efforts to reduce contamination risk making matters worse by allowing radiation to spread without monitoring and by creating hotspots of high radioactivity where soil is piled high.

via Fukushima residents dump radiated soil in absence of plan – Yahoo! News.

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