Prime Minister Kan came to Koriyama today and met with local leaders. He told them that Step 1 of Tokyo Electric's schedule is more or less achieved (formal announcement tomorrow). This means cooling of all reactors is stable and there is no danger of an explosion (they've been injecting nitrogen into Reactor 3 to achieve this). Hosono, Minister of the Nuclear Accident, said they would start to think about allowing people in the 20 to 30 km area to return to their homes.
But there's a lot of cleaning up to do before they can go back. The beef problem gets worse and it now turns out that 84 cattle have been sent to market from farms which have been feeding contaminated rice straw to beef cattle. The rice straw has horrendous amounts of caesium which it seems to have soaked up from the rain that fell around 15 March. It's been found in farms as far away as Shirakawa (south of the prefecture, 80 kms from the plant), in Koriyama and Kitakata. Farmers had been told not to use hay but the message doesn't seem to have got through. There's a ban now on all beef from the prefecture.
Then there's the problem of sludge. Odei is not a word that was part of my vocabulary. It's a compound of two characters 'o' （汚）meaning 'dirty' and 'dei' （泥）meaning 'mud'. It refers to the radioactive sludge that's being found in large amounts in sewage works and incinerators. That that's got too high a count for making into concrete (what they usually do with it apparently) is just sitting there. No one wants it in landfill anywhere near them. The governor says he doesn't want it in Fukushima but no decision has been made as to what to do with it.
And finally, let me do my bit for Japan. The number of foreign tourists is down and tourist areas are suffering. The government has made this video featuring the pop group Arashi to promote tourism.
The British Open is on TV. Fog, wind, drizzle - it looks so nice and cool!