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news oct 5

news oct 5

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Published by: DeeanaF on Nov 15, 2011
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Miyagi to add radiation monitoring postsMiyagi Prefecture in northeastern Japan says it will begin monitoring atmospheric radiation levelsin all of its towns and cities to keep track of fallout from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power  plant.The prefecture says it will install 44 new monitoring posts that it plans to start operating within thecurrent fiscal year, which ends in March of 2012.Six of the posts will be set up in Onagawa and Ishinomaki near Tohoku Electric Company'sOnagawa nuclear power plant. Four of 7 monitors around the plant were washed away by the March11th tsunami. Nine monitors in all will be positioned in southern Miyagi Prefecture, in areas closest to the border with Fukushima Prefecture.Miyagi officials say the data collected at the posts will be sent to the science and technologyministry and released to the public on the Internet.Wednesday, October 05, 2011 09:12 +0900 (JST)http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/05_11.htmlIwate rice hits stores Newly harvested rice from Iwate Prefecture hit stores on Wednesday. The rice has cleared tests for radioactive contamination from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, about 150kilometers away.A department store in Morioka city held a tasting event for the popular Hitomebore brand of rice.It also gave the first 200 customers 300 grams of rice free.A woman customer said rice is the most delicious soon after it is harvested. She said she's relievedthat no radioactive substances were found in the rice.The wholesaler organizing the event said the Governor of Iwate has declared the prefecture's ricecrop free of radioactive contaminants. He said this year's crop is not only safe, but is high quality.The quality of Iwate rice is better than usual this year thanks to the hot summer, though harvestingwas delayed by September typhoons. The price is also higher.Rice harvested in Iwate last year has almost sold out because of fears that this year's harvest would be contaminated.Wednesday, October 05, 2011 14:26 +0900 (JST)http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/05_22.html
Hitachi workers continue to face hot spots atFukushima plant
2011/10/05PrintShare ArticleHideo Kawai of Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy Ltd. speaks to workers on the morning of Sept. 7 before heading to work at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. (Kengo Hiyoshi)Hideo Kawai of Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy Ltd., left, and Ikuzo Tomioka of HitachiPlant Technologies Ltd. (Photos by Kengo Hiyoshi)HIRONO, Fukushima Prefecture -- They survived the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami,narrowly escaped hydrogen explosions and are now braving radiation levels that force them to leaveafter only a few minutes.But Hideo Kawai and Ikuzo Tomioka, who have continued working at the crippled Fukushima No.1 nuclear power plant since the disaster struck on March 11, have no plans to leave."We are responsible for giving it our all as a manufacturer," Kawai said.Kawai, 57, of Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy Ltd. and Tomioka, 51, of Hitachi Plant Technologies Ltd.are the leaders of about 600 workers of Hitachi Ltd.'s group companies who are staying in Hirono,Fukushima Prefecture, a little more than 20 kilometers from the nuclear plant.The workers are now preparing to install equipment to remove gas containing radioactive materialsfrom the No. 1 reactor building where a hydrogen explosion occurred in the early stages of thedisaster.At some places in the No. 1 reactor building, radiation has exceeded 1 sievert per hour, a level thatcan cause acute radiation damage unless adequate precautions are taken.The Hitachi group set a maximum of 30 millisieverts for annual accumulated radiation levels for workers at the plant, which is stricter than the government standard of 50 millisieverts. Workers arenot allowed to work if radiation levels exceed the Hitachi group's limit.Radiation levels are measured strictly before workers enter the hot spots within the plant. Shieldingmade of copper and other materials has been set up to protect the workers, but they can only stay incertain hot spots for about five minutes.Few people in responsible positions have publicly discussed what happened and is happening at theFukushima No. 1 plant. Tokyo Electric Power Co., the plant's operator, has declined requests for interviews with Masao Yoshida, site superintendent of the Fukushima plant, and other companyofficials.But Kawai and Tomioka explained to The Asahi Shimbun their experiences so far in trying to bringthe situation under control.When the magnitude-9 earthquake struck on March 11, Kawai told almost all of the 1,800 workersof Hitachi group companies at the plant to evacuate. About 6,400 employees of TEPCO and other companies were at the site during the quake.The plant premises soon became jam-packed with cars. Kawai remained at the plant, and received a phone call from a TEPCO official in the late afternoon.
"We are in a grave situation. We want your cooperation," Kawai was told.About 30 workers connected power panels of turbine buildings to power source vehicles via cableto restore the electricity supply to the No. 1 and No. 2 reactors, Kawai said.Work continued until the morning of March 12, and about 10 workers returned home.When the hydrogen explosion rocked the No. 1 reactor building just past 3:30 p.m. on March 12,Kawai and others were at TEPCO's work base about 20 kilometers away.Kawai returned to the plant to find the cables in tatters. When he asked his subordinates if theywould stay, most of them chose to leave.On March 14, only four Hitachi group workers remained, including Kawai and Tomioka. Theyheard an explosion at the No. 3 reactor building around 11 a.m. when they were trying to restore theelectricity supply to the No. 2 reactor.Thirty minutes earlier, they had been working on a road beside the No. 3 reactor building.In the No. 2 reactor turbine building, Tomioka said he felt the blast from the explosion on his facethrough an opening for cabling.When they left the building, they found their car crushed under rubble blown off from the No. 3reactor building.The wind was blowing toward the sea. A TEPCO worker measured radiation levels and told Hitachigroup workers to flee toward the mountain.Kawai ran on a rubble-strewn road, wearing protective gear and a full-face mask. His thoughts werefilled with gloom and doom. "It's all over now," he told himself.He soon had difficulty breathing and could no longer run. He finally reached the earthquake-proof  building, taking 20 to 30 minutes to cover the 1-km distance.After the three explosions on March 14 and 15, many workers evacuated the plant, leaving onlyabout 70.Kawai and other Hitachi group workers returned to a factory in Hitachi, Ibaraki Prefecture, onMarch 15 at the instruction of their companies.But Kawai was soon told to return to the Fukushima No. 1 plant. Around the same time, PrimeMinister Naoto Kan was at the TEPCO head office yelling that the company could not withdrawfrom the plant.In the Hitachi group, heated discussions were held over who would be sent to the plant.About 30 section chiefs or employees in higher positions were assembled for the mission, includingan engineer who had never worked at a nuclear power plant and an elderly president of asubcontractor.Kawai said he is still not sure if he made the right decision to continue working at the plant."What if someone was killed?" he says he asks himself.This article was written by Hiroaki Kojima and Noriyoshi Ohtsuki.

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