Saturday, April 9, 2011

Radioactive water spilled at Onagawa nuclear plant in Miyagi

Radioactive water spilled from pools holding spent nuclear fuel rods at the Onagawa power plant in Miyagi Prefecture following the strong earthquake late Thursday, the nuclear safety agency said Friday.

At the crisis-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant or at another plant in Fukushima Prefecture, meanwhile, no new problems have surfaced since the magnitude 7.4 aftershock of the deadly March 11 quake.

While the spent fuel pools at the Onagawa plant and the Higashidori nuclear power station in Aomori Prefecture, both operated by Tohoku Electric Power Co., lost their cooling functions for 20 to 80 minutes after the quake, the temperature hardly rose, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said.

A small amount of contaminated water spilled on the floor was observed inside the buildings at all three reactors at the Onagawa plant, which has suspended operations since the mega earthquake and tsunami last month, according to the agency.

In all, water spilled or leaked at eight sections of the plant as a result of the 11:32 p.m. quake, according to Tohoku Electric.

As much as 3.8 liters of water leaked at one of them, with the highest level of a radioactive isotope -- 5,410 bequerels per kilogram -- found in the spilled water on the floor beside a spent fuel pool in the building housing the No. 1 reactor.

A spent nuclear fuel disposal facility in the village of Rokkasho, Aomori Prefecture, lost external power supply and switched to an emergency generator but power was restored at 9:44 a.m. Friday, according to the agency.

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Tsunami-hit towns forgot warnings from ancestors

Jay Alabaster reports for the Washington Examiner:

Modern sea walls failed to protect coastal towns from Japan's destructive tsunami last month. But in the hamlet of Aneyoshi, a single centuries-old tablet saved the day.

"High dwellings are the peace and harmony of our descendants," the stone slab reads. "Remember the calamity of the great tsunamis. Do not build any homes below this point."

It was advice the dozen or so households of Aneyoshi heeded, and their homes emerged unscathed from a disaster that flattened low-lying communities elsewhere and killed thousands along Japan's northeastern shore.

Hundreds of such markers dot the coastline, some more than 600 years old. Collectively they form a crude warning system for Japan, whose long coasts along major fault lines have made it a repeated target of earthquakes and tsunamis over the centuries.

The markers don't all indicate where it's safe to build. Some simply stand — or stood, until they were washed away by the tsunami — as daily reminders of the risk. "If an earthquake comes, beware of tsunamis," reads one. In the bustle of modern life, many forgot.

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Aamir Khan, Bollywood support Anna Hazare

Bollywood celebrities including superstar Aamir Khan have come out in the support of veteran social activist Anna Hazare, who is on a indefinite hunger strike demanding a comprehensive anti-corruption bill.

The 72-year-old activist began his hunger strike yesterday demanding the government to draft a new Lokpal Bill, which will give more powers to Ombudsman to check corruption.

Aamir has reportedly written a letter to voice his support for Hazare's movement while other celebrities took to twitter to back the campaign.

Filmmaker Shekhar Kapur said, "I support Anna Hazare's fast for national debate on Lokpal Bill. Atleast need Parliament to come out and respond to issue. People like Anna Hazare will force a people's movement against the system. Like Gandhi did against the British."



World banks run on cocaine cash


The Keiser Report on Thursday.

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