The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is increasing radiation monitoring after milk tested positive for trace amounts of radiation from Japan.
The milk, with iodine-131, was found in California and Washington states.
Dairy cows probably ingested the iodine-131 after eating grass, or feed, that the isotope settled on after being blown here from Japan.
Officials insist the radiation levels are so low that the milk is still safe to drink. However, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is emitting higher levels of radiation now, and the predominate wind direction is towards North America.
‘‘I want more JETs to come and interact with the locals in the future but due to the current situation, I cannot welcome them open-handedly. I hope life gets back to normal as soon as possible.”-Hoshi Kazuyuki, assistant director at the international affairs section at the Miyagi prefectural government.
Organizers of the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) program worry that foreign teachers will think twice about teaching in Japan, after the 9.0 quake and tsunami, as well as radiation leaks from the nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture.
So far, many teachers from the United States, and Canada, have opted to stay and help with recovery efforts, even after one teacher from the U.S., Taylor Anderson, was killed in the disasters.
A body found in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, about 5 km (3.1 miles) from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, tested positive for high levels of radiation. As many as 1,000 bodies of victims of the 11 March earthquake and tsunami, might be contaminated with radiation, delaying their recovery.
Police officers, doctors and bereaved families may be exposed to radiation while retrieving the radiation-exposed bodies. Local police stopped retrieving bodies, after radiation was detected on a victim in the town of Okuma last Sunday.
Any attempts to decontaminate bodies would damage the bodies even more.
McDonald’s fast food restaurants around the world rely on regional, or local, suppliers for their food products.
Thanks to the March 11 disasters, and radiation threat, Japanese McDonald’s lost many of their local sources. Now suppliers in the United States, and other parts of the world, are sending food to the Japanese McDonald’s.
There are more than 3,300 McDonald’s in Japan, and as many as 100 had to close down. Don’t think that what you eat in Japanese McDonald’s is the same as in the U.S. Many foreign McDonald’s tailor their menus to what local people want to eat.
So far McDonald’s supplies from U.S., and Asian countries, had to be flown in because the situation was serious. But once on the ground there was more problems getting the food from the airport to the restaurants. They faced the same problems everyone else in Japan is facing: Power outages and fuel shortages.
Subway and Starbucks are dealing with the same problems, they just don’t have the high number of restaurants that McDonald’s does.
Several airlines around the world announced cuts, even total cancellations, of flights to Japan.
American Airlines will suspend two daily flights between the U.S. and Japan, from April 7 through 25. Officials blame a huge drop in passengers wanting to fly to Japan.
Delta Air Lines cut capacity on flights to Japan by 20%.
Russian company, Vladivostok Air, has stopped flights between Niigata and Khabarovsk. It also plans to suspend weekly flights between Niigata and Vladivostok starting Saturday. The reason is that the number of the airline’s passengers have dropped a huge 90%, when compared to February.
Australia’s Qantas Airlines is dealing with loses from Australia’s natural disasters, the New Zealand quake, and now dealing with the Japan disasters. Qantas officials are blaming natural disasters for an estimated $140 million dollars in losses. Add to that the steadily increasing fuel prices and Qantas officials are worried. They say they have no choice but to cut flights.
New York state is reporting trace amounts of Iodine-131.
Also, the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality reported, on its March 29 RadNet posting, that trace amounts of Iodine-131 and Xenon-133 has been detected in the Gem State. The Idaho DEQ runs monitoring sites in Spokane, Washington, and Idaho Falls, Idaho.
Both states say the levels are of no threat, and monitoring is continuing.
The International Atomic Energy Agency stated that one of the criteria for ordering mandatory evacuations, around Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, has been reached.
The IAEA says they found dangerous radiation levels in a town outside the current 20km (12.4 miles) evacuation zone. The town is about 40km (24.8 miles) away from the nuclear plant. Earlier in the day Greenpeace activists made similar statements.
The IAEA is urging the Japanese government to take action.
Japanese scientist, going over the damage from 11 March tsunami, say buildings made of the toughest concrete, and several stories tall, were totally destroyed by the tsunami. That included building that were thought to be safe for use as emergency shelters, of course most people in those shelters died.
The scientist say the most damage was not caused by the in rushing tsunami, but by the tsunami rushing back out to sea. They point out that anything that rushes uphill, will go faster when it rolls back downhill. They say the same is true with tsunami, and of course, the bigger the tsunami the more dangerous its backwash is.
The strongest buildings, that were wiped out, show evidence that they were destroyed by the tsunami backwash.
A Japanese industry analyst, interviewed on NHK, said most of Japan’s industries will be hurt more than thought by rolling blackouts.
For several days NHK has been running reports on different industries that would be affected by power outages. Some of those industries, like bread factories, would have to shut down for longer than the planned 3 hour blackout. This is because of the process for making bread. The bread factory official said they would end up being shut down for 6 hours.
Most factories need to control heat processes for a long period of time, and they can’t do that with power outages. It’s also interesting to see that most factories in Japan do not have any back up power source. Most of Japan’s industries are totally dependent on nuclear power.
The analyst said on NHK, that Japan’s industry must be prepared to move factories to other parts of Japan, or even to other countries. In the future Japan’s industries must be built so that they can operate independently of any single power source.
Farm fields 30km away from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant are showing contamination with cesium-137, more than 2,000 times standard limits. Cesium-137 has a half life of 30 years.
Greenpeace representatives are demanding that the Japanese government issue mandatory evacuation orders. They say it is based on their own radiation sampling. The Japanese government said they are monitoring the situation and will be the ones who will decide necessary actions.
Efforts to control higher radiation levels being emitted by the damaged nuclear plant, could include using treated cloth/tarps over the reactors, to try and catch particles. And, spraying the ground with a resin, to prevent the particles from entering the soil.
To add to the problem, smoke was seen coming from the Fukushima DaiNi nuclear plant (sister plant to Daiichi). TEPCo officials say it could be an electrical problem (could be?).
TEPCo officials have finally admitted that the four damaged reactors at Fukushima Daiichi are a total loss: ‘‘We have no choice but to scrap reactors 1 to 4 if we look at their conditions objectively.’’-Tsunehisa Katsumata, TEPCo Chairman.
Can you say “no brainer?” (I like the phrase “no sh*t Sherlock!”). It took them this long to realize this? Now we know why they haven’t started pouring concrete on them, they really thought they could save them.