News from Japan: From YokosoNews and news channel NHK. Remember governments do cover up information sometimes and honest errors are being made due to the technical nature of some of the information.
From the NYT:
Mr. Jaczko’s most startling assertion [to congress] was that there was now little or no water in the pool storing spent nuclear fuel at the No. 4 reactor of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, leaving fuel rods stored there exposed and bleeding radiation into the atmosphere.
Today the Japanese government said the current situation is very severe with the nuclear problems and earthquake. The leadership is trying their best to deal with all of the disasters and people outside of Japan are focusing on the nuclear power plant and not realizing how complex the situation is. They are doing their best to give both problems the same degree of attention. “Huge Info gap between Japan and USA, I understand” when 9/11 happened the Japanese people were told not to enter the U.S. at all. But Katz was in the US going to college then and knew the truth.
They have heard someone in the U.S. says the cooling pool of #4 reactor ran out of water and stated that when this was said they actually did not know what the water level was. They say the U.S. asked them to provide the information and there has been close cooperation with the U.S., but there is a time lag of information. (I suspect there are other issues as well, like someone just assuming without having data) They make it clear the US government is an ally and Obama says we are going to communicate with each other and they would like people to act calm. U.S. and Japanese experts have formed a task force. They would not like to criticize what the US experts and the Japanese experts are saying, but there is a gap between what the experts from both countries are saying.
Today the fuel rod cooling pool of #4 reactor was visually viewed by helicopter and the water was high enough that all of the rods were covered. They can’t confirm the water level. There is water in the #4 reactor with all rods covered, so priority was given to do #3 first. (So, the testimony to congress was speculation, they are too polite to criticize.)
They gather information together and formulate their plans as they get it. A good accurate assessment is needed and they are always updating. There are other methods they may be able to use to get water in the cooling pool, but they are choosing the method they feel will be the most effective. The most affective method may not be defined, they will have to use trial and error.
They have plans to secure electricity to power #2 reactor. (I have no idea why #2.) It is sub-power with a small power station which they will build. #4.#5,#6 reactors are inactive and even if their temperatures increase it will be slowly, so there is time to deal with them. They are concentrating on the most dangerous reactors first. Workers are trying to restore power to the nuclear power plant, but they do not know when.
There are continuing problems with people buying up all of the supplies. From the 1995 earthquake they say the people should be smart enough to act calm. At this point they have no plans for rationing. They have a port that is restored and working to restore all transportation. Without transportation new supplies can’t be distributed. The local areas should make sure materials are distributed equally. Prefectures are responsible for distribution of food.
Self defense and the Minister of Health and Labor are trying to send personnel to the designated areas. They need hospitals who can accept these workers. There are many suffering, especially the elderly, and much effort is being made to improve the situation of the elderly. They are considering those who are pregnant and monitoring the radiation levels. They must make sure the doctors and nurses are safe around the evacuation areas. Again with the act calm.
Tank cars are transporting fuel to the north. The fuel is very important to the north and Self Defense is providing their own fuel to them. The local gas stations need to cooperate. They would like to coordinate the overall management of the distribution. The cold in the north is very severe right now, so the other people should be patient about fuel shortages.
They have expressed a need to prioritize for those in the immediate areas of exposure or affected by the Tsunami. Please care about others and please act smart. They are thankful for those who are working hard to help those affected. They need fuel badly. Today is the limit for the work to be done on reactor #3 or radioactive material would start leaking. The water level was low in #3 reactor’s spent fuel pool. They dropped 7.5 tons of water four times (?) with CH47 helicopters. Professor Yamaguchi said, they measured the radiation levels before sending in the helicopters. They decided that even though radiation was high the work had to be done. There was no choice. There was not a significant difference in radiation after the water drop. When dropping the water a lot of it does not land in the pool as it can’t be aimed. The pool holds about 2000 tons of water and does not need to be full, the rods just need to be covered. It may be necessary to drop water continuously. Earlier the pressure levels were stabilized. The reactor shook from the water and some pipes broke. The workers (possibly in the control room) ran out of the building without using proper exiting procedures. The riot police are going to spray about thirty tons of water from five of the 11 pump trucks onto reactor #3. The people will operate from inside the trucks and not have to be outside with these five trucks, that is why those five were chosen. The final decison about when is yet to be made. They are trying to speed up the process of cooling, but police can’t get too close to protect them from radiation. They are wearing nuclear radiation protection gear. After the spraying they will evauate the results and figure out where to go from there.
Then in other news:
The US military and the self defense of Japan are working together to distribute food, transport, etc. A U.S. Navy ship is transporting Self Defense of Japan vehicles.
The U.S. is sending an unmanned plane to be used to take pictures of the plant to help with data.
No people have required total decontamination procedures. They have just had to wash their shoes (other than workers at the plant).
14 people have died after evacuation from a hospital and taken to an emergency shelter. They were elderly and two died on the bus. (It is very cold and they may not have had medication, water and food.) There are people freezing and starving. (Other countries and fossil fuel companies need to hurry up and get them fuel for heat and transportation.) Part of the problem is lack of transportation to get to areas and rescue people.
Many countries have told their citizens to evacuate from Japan and the U.S. is sending planes for government officials.
Prime Minister Kan and Japan's chief government spokesman Yukio Edano were yelling at the executives of Tepco today.
People were upset that a newspaper had a lead story about a rape conviction of a U.S. teacher who raped about 15 girls with a sentence of 18 years. They think this news should not be as important as the disasters.
The U.S. news continues to report the 50 heroes story, yet now with all the spraying going on there are probably more than 200 workers taking shifts.
People who can reach areas of the disaster including high school and university students are helping people clean up, especially for the elderly people.
They have discovered bird flu in chickens. All farms in that area were inspected for the virus. They are killing chickens at one farm and sterilize the vicinity.
Today 5,198 are confirmed dead with about 9,000 missing from Tsunami/earthquake. That is over 14,000 missing or dead.
Workers were sent from the British embassy and they were stopped due to not having the right papers by the British, not the Japanese.
The cold people in the north are being given rental gloves, etc. from ski resorts to help them keep warm.
They are putting in about 170 mobile charging stations for cell phones.
Fed Ex will not send to the U.S. because of the radiation scare.
Due to the power plants not producing power they have been having rolling scheduled blackouts. Now due to cold weather people are using more electricity and theyare warning of an overall blackout today. The government has asked the train company in Tokyo to limit service to help the situation.
A U.S. Navy ship is transporting Self Defense of Japan vehicles.
All evacuees are screened for radiation and so far no one has had to be decontaminated, but some have had to brush off clothing and wash their shoes.
The pumps in the reactors were damaged by sea water, so even with electricity they may require repairs to work.
Resignation of Chief Cabinet dude due to working too hard? He is moved to some advisory position for the Prime Minister. A new Chief Cabinet dude will be appointed today. Reporters wanted to know why they did this at this time. Apparently there was some scandal in the past involving the new appointment.
People of Japan are being asked to host the refugees. They should go to their city office and register.
Many people are working hard to rescue people and there are some who are trying to take advantage of the situation, so watch out for donation scams.
Radiation before and after the helicopter 3780 microsieverts and after it dropped by only 30 microsieverts. They tried with the policemen and the radiation was too high. Now Self Defense is now spraying with riot water canons.
The oil refinery in Miyagi has reopened.
The ATM system keeps getting stopped. This may be related to the electricity being turned off and on.
The water canon trucks sprayed water and it is too early to say what the result is.
The blackout they expected has been avoided due to companies using less electricity.
Nuclear Safety Counsel was sent to monitor radiation and requested International Atomic Energy to assist them.
#5 and #6 nuclear reactors have diesel generators being hooked up to run the cooling system for their spent fuel pools. They are waiting for supplies to put in a power line.
They say the water stream was effective at cooling the water pool, but no numbers are given.
Interesting radiation data.
A list of the injuries to the workers from the nuclear power plant from the International Atomic Energy Plant. There are many injuries and a lot of radiation exposure.
Update 2: Video loop taken from helicopter of reactors from earlier.