Thursday 9 May 2013

This and That

I added a few late photos to the last post on Children's Day so if you missed them scroll back and take a look. They're of Pep Kids, the indoor play centre here in Koriyama which I visited a couple of weeks ago with a visitor from England. She's a teacher and was really impressed. The equipment is first class, there's opportunity for all kinds of play, and it's super clean. Centres such as these have been set up here as children's growth was getting stunted through not being able to play outside but she thought London (and probably other cities) could do with them to tackle the growing problem of obesity. The kitchens for cooking lessons and rooms for counselling also got the thumbs up. And of course it's free. Who could we persuade to build one in Tower Hamlets?

I signed off the accounts of a subsidiary yesterday. There's a new tax which started on 1 April. Companies have to pay 'recovery tax', 10% extra tax. The system will last for three years (whereas the extra 2.1% on personal income tax will go on for 25 years). That company made a loss and had no tax to pay so we weren't affected but I thought it was a bit off that even companies in the disaster areas are liable. 

The government's announced that the tsunami debris on the coast will be cleared according to schedule by March next year. That's in Miyagi and Iwate. Of course here in Fukushima it's different. Some debris in the exclusion zone hasn't been touched yet. Still, taking three years to clear the debris is an indicator of the scale of the disaster.

Tepco has a new plan for dealing with the problem of contaminated water which is increasing at a rate of 400 tons per day. One of the problems is underground water that pours into the bottom of the reactors and gets contaminated. I hadn't realised but the nuclear plant is at the bottom of a cliff: land was excavated to build the plant at sea level (in retrospect, after the tsunami, seems a stupid thing to have done). As a result, water pours down in underground streams towards the sea. The plan is to sink wells at the top of the cliff and pump this water out. Then, after testing it, to dump it in the sea, probably starting next week. Apparently the water is no more radioactive than the rivers in the area and 100 tons per day could be diverted reducing the daily increase of contaminated water to 300 tons/day. At the moment the fishing industry seems inclined to accept the proposal. Certainly something needs to be done.

In a separate development, the emptying of those leaking pools of contaminated water has raised levels of radiation at the site to 7.8 mSv/year when it was below 1.0 mSv/year. 

It's been a lovely day today with clear views of Mount Bandai and with the snow capped peaks of mountain ranges further away seeming to float in the sky. Then in the evening a bright pink sunset. This is the best season of the year.

No comments:

Post a Comment