They've found a crack in a 'pit' in Unit 2 which is leaking highly radioactive water into the sea. The good news is that if they can plug the gap, contamination of the sea will be stopped. The bad news is that there may be more cracks they havn't found yet. Things are progressing: they're moving the radioactive water around to make space for more water; two ships, one a US ship, have arrived with supplies of freshwater to use for cooling the reactors; pumps are ready in Units 1 to 4 - just need connecting to the electricity supply; and 8 monitoring posts have resumed taking readings and collecting data, the first time since they were put out of action by the quake. In addition, plastic resin has been sprayed over the site in an attempt to contain radiation from the debris.
We are continually told that levels are safe and there is no risk of cancer but it turns out that this situation is unprecedented and nobody knows the effects of long term exposure to these levels of radiation. Great. We're guinea pigs.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Edano said yesterdy that stabilising the reactor could take weeks or months, and that it would be ten years before it was finally shut down.
Fukushima is fighting back with a 'Ganbare Fukushima!'(Go for it, Fukushima!) campaign. Nishida Toshiyuki, a famous character actor from Koriyama, munched cucumbers with the governor in a local supermarket in an attempt to dispel the scare-mongering regarding all fruit and veg from Fukushima.
But things are not looking good. Rice farmers have been told not to cultivate the fields and await further instructions but things are tense as the rice is generally planted in Golden Week (first week of May) and it takes a month to raise the seedlings. On a lesser note, I'm wondering what to do about the flower bed at the company which is my domain. The ornamental cabbages planted last November should be pulled up and the bed planted with pansies but is it safe to till the soil? I won't bother this weekend. Next weekend?
Supply of shiitake mushrooms has fallen 60% since the quake. The women packers have been put on a 3 day week. I've worked out that we can get government grants so we only have to pay 12% of their wages on the two days a week they are laid off. We've used this system before: it's been in place since the 'Lehman Shock' as they call it here since the government will do anything to avoid mass unemployment. The difference now is that we don't have to fill in lots of complicated paperwork in advance. If we submit the paperwork by June 16th everything can be backdated to 11 March.
11 March. This is Japan's 9.11.
Love to you all
|Blue sheets, a familiar sight in Koriyama. There's a 6 month waiting list to get your roof tiles fixed.|
|The weather forecast now comes with wind direction pics ...|
|... and radiation levels|