Five years after the Fukushima tragedy, TEPCO’s chief of decommissioning Naohiro Masuda admits that the company still has no idea exactly where 600 tons of melted radioactive fuel from three nuclear reactors is located.
As we discussed when we profiled the status of Fukushima on its five year anniversary, the radiation at the plant is still so powerful that it is impossible to get deep enough into the area to find and remove the melted fuel rods. The situation is so severe that even the robots that were sent in to find the highly radioactive fuel have died. Continue reading »
El País Semanal (Spanish newspaper), May 2, 2016 (emphasis added): Fukushima: Contaminated lives… Spanish media investigates how the 2011 Japanese tsunami changed the course of the country’s history… the Fukushima nuclear plant started to leak radiation that seeped insidiously into the atmosphere, the soil and the Pacific Ocean… Mr Toru Anzai, 63, wanders around the house he abandoned five years ago [in] Litate… Two years ago, he had a heart attack and a stroke… in the hospital they found a hole in the frontal lobe of his brain that was producing paralysis down the left side of his body. The doctor said it could have been caused by absorbing cesium over a period of time… [After the reactor explosion on] March 14, he heard a thunderous noise… It didn’t take long for the wind to bring the penetrating smell of melted iron mixed with sulfur to Litate as a massive toxic cloud blew towards his home. In spite of the mayor of Litate’s assurance that there was no risk of radiation, Mr Anzai bought his first dosimeter on April 18… the radiation in the room where he and his brothers had been sleeping for the past month was at six microSieverts an hour – 20 times higher than the level stipulated by the government for relocating residents… Continue reading »
Annals of Nuclear Energy, Apr 2016 (emphasis added): The importance of severe accident research has been again seen after [Fukushima]… As the accident analysis showed, it seems that in the Daichi Unit 3 a steam explosion occurred… A steam explosion… is an energetic fuel coolant interaction (FCI) process, which may occur during a severe accident when the hot reactor core melt comes into contact with the coolant water… Steam explosions… potentially jeopardize the primary system and the containment integrity… Continue reading »
The Japanese X-ray telescope Hitomi has been declared lost after it disintegrated in orbit, torn apart when spinning out of control. The cause is still under investigation but early analysis points to bad data in a software package pushed shortly after an instrument probe was extended from the rear of the satellite. JAXA, the Japanese space agency, lost $286 million, three years of planned observations, and a possible additional 10 years of science research.
If there was a sign that nothing else matters but central bank largess, this was it. The moment The Bank of Japan statement hit and proclaims “unchanged” a vacuum hit USDJPY and Japanese stocks. Reflecting that Japan’s economy has “continued a moderate recovery trend” which is utter crap given the quintuple-dip recession, Kuroda and his cronies said they will “add easing if necessary” and apparently that is not now. Not so much as a higher ETF purchase or moar NIRP.. and the aftermath is carnage – NKY -1000 points and USDJPY crashed to a 108 handle!!
Over the past 48 hours, our planet has been hit by literally dozens of earthquakes of magnitude 4.0 or greater, and scientists are acknowledging that what is taking place is highly unusual. This strange shaking began toward the end of last week when the globe was struck by five major earthquakes over the space of just two days, and over the weekend the seismic activity just continued to escalate. Very early on Saturday, Japan’s southern island of Kyushu was hit by a magnitude 7.3 earthquake, and on Saturday night a magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck off Ecuador’s Pacific coast. It was the worst earthquake that Ecuador had experienced since 1979, and it was followed by at least 163 aftershocks. Unfortunately, there are indications that what we have seen so far may be just the beginning. Continue reading »
Satomi Horikiri, Host(8:30 in): Have you heard of any health hazards in Fukushima?
Hisae Unuma, evacuee Futabamachi: I know many saying they have cancers, even in Saitama Prefecture…
Setsuko Kida, evacuee from Tomiokamachi: My daughter [got] pregnant in the fall of 2013, but she was diagnosed with tethered miscarriage… the womb grew… but her unborn baby didn’t grow at all. She… got a second opinion from another clinic in Mito, only to get the same result. When the Mito doctor asked her why she came for the second opinion, she told she couldn’t trust the doctor in Fukushima… Many with a birth defect were born after Hiroshima/Nagasaki A-bomb, but the number dropped in one or two years. I only knew the reason in 2013; many women had to have an abortion, so that inconvenient babies wouldn’t be born… One month later, I was happy to know my daughter got pregnant. But in only 3 months my daughter told me the bad news and my mind got flooded with that story of Hiroshima/Nagasaki. That’s where I started to doubt. Although I asked the doctor to wait and see since my daughter could give birth if she tried, but the doctor said that the unborn child inside her was not alive anymore… So she had the abortion. My daughter called and told her friend about her abortion… She was told that out of 4 in her friends group, 3, including herself, had abortion during early pregnancy. The only one who could give birth was told by her doctor that she was unable to give birth because of the baby’s weak heart sound. So my daughter began to doubt her doctor, thinking her unborn baby could have made it. I became doubtful as well. A nurse I knew told me that many get abortions in Fukushima. My daughter and friends are just a few of those. Continue reading »
The streets of a southern Japanese city became blanketed in foam after a devastating earthquake, close to its epicenter in Kumamoto, leaving residents baffled by the phenomenon which the authorities, busy with the disaster’s aftermath, found no time to explain.
The froth appeared shortly after disastrous tremors from a 7.3 magnitude quake shook the city of Fukuoka on Friday. Twitter users posted photos of the snow-like foam sheet and wondered what caused it.
A day after yesterday’s “biggest quake since 2011’s tsunami,” at 1:25 local time, Japan was just struck with a massive aftershock in the form of a Magnitude 7.0 earthquake, which means it was roughly 10 times stronger than yesterday’s tremor:
Interview with nuclear engineer Hiroaki Koide (translation by Prof. Robert Stolz, transcription by Akiko Anson), published Mar 8, 2016 (emphasis added): [Radioactive] material has been dispersed, contaminating Tohoku, Kanto [Tokyo area], and western Japan… [The law says] that absolutely nothing may be removed from a radioactive management area in which the levels exceed 40,000 Becquerels per square meter… [H]ow much area has been contaminated beyond 40,000 Bq/m2… that answer is 140,000 km^2 [54,054 square miles]… Indeed, while centered on Fukushima, parts of Chiba and Tokyo have also been contaminated. The number of people living in what must be called a radiation-controlled area is in the millions, and could exceed ten million… I believe the government has the responsibility to evacuate these entire communities… the government decided to leave them exposed to the real danger of radiation. In my view, Fukushima should be declared inhabitable… but if that were to be done, it would likely bankrupt the country… They’ve decided to sacrifice people… In my view, this is a serious crime committed by Japan’s ruling elite… [F]undamentally, people must not be forced to live in contaminated areas… First must come complete evacuation… [W]hen it comes to radiation… “removal of contaminants” is impossible… This stuff contaminates everything. Continue reading »
CCTV, Apr 5, 2016 (emphasis added) — Nuclear engineer Arnie Gundersen: [During my recent trip to Japan] I met in one of the resettlement areas… The unofficial mayor of this group – a real dynamo of a woman – she experienced hair loss, bloody nose, speckles on her skin and the doctors told her it was stress and not to worry about it. That’s not stress. It was radiation damage. But again, that’s this inhumanity that I was experiencing… Every time I turned around, I saw people that definitely experienced radiation damage. We had one woman who ran from her house to evacuate carrying her dog. About a day after the accident, they realized that she needed to be evacuated. And so she runs barefoot to her car, gets in her car, drives to the resettlement community. She’s highly radioactive. They make her – especially her feet – they make her take her socks off and take showers, wash her down before they let her in. And her feet were black for three years from radiation damage. And that’s not being spoken about in any of the medical journals… [The government wants] to get these other nuclear plants up and running. And if the population is getting ill from radiation effects, it’s a lot harder. So they have… banded together with the medical community. We had numerous doctors say that they were going to lose hospital privileges and things like that. And the people that are keeping track of deaths in Fukushima Prefecture aren’t publishing the data. So the entire government infrastructure, from the people in Tokyo to the underlings in the Prefecture, are all singing the same song: that this is stress, there’s no radiation. And it sure isn’t what I found, I’ll tell you… Were it not for the internet, they would have won. And I think the difference between the disaster at Fukushima and the disaster at Chernobyl and TMI is that now we have the internet. It still is an unlevel playing field. There’s still so much money on the other side of it that people are being brainwashed. Oh, that bloody nose you’ve had for the last 3 weeks is stress. So they are being brainwashed. Continue reading »
Back in October 2014, just after the BOJ drastically expanded its QE operation, we warned that the biggest risk facing the BOJ (and the ECB, and the Fed, and all other central banks actively soaking up securities from the open market) was a lack of monetizable supply. We cited Takuji Okubo, chief economist at Japan Macro Advisors in Tokyo, who said that at the scale of its current debt monetization, the BOJ could end up owning half of the JGB market by as early as in 2018. He added that “The BOJ is basically declaring that Japan will need to fix its long-term problems by 2018, or risk becoming a failed nation.”
Which is why 17 months ago we predicted that, contrary to expectations of even more QE from Kuroda, we said “the BOJ will not boost QE, and if anything will have no choice but to start tapering it down – just like the Fed did when its interventions created the current illiquidity in the US govt market – especially since liquidity in the Japanese government market is now non-existent and getting worse by the day.” Continue reading »
Over the course of the upcoming summer months, the Japanese government will begin testing a new authentication system that will allow foreign tourists entering the Pacific nation to verify their identities using only the user’s fingerprint.
Travelers will register their fingerprints and provide an array of personal data about themselves — including credit card information — at airports upon arrival on the islands. Continue reading »
One of the epicenters of the global financial crisis that started during the second half of last year is Japan, and it looks like the markets in the land of the rising sun are entering yet another period of great turmoil. The Nikkei was down another 390 points last night, and it is now down more than 1,300 points since a week ago. Why this is so important for U.S. investors is because the Nikkei is often an early warning indicator of where the rest of the global markets are heading. For example, the Nikkei started crashing early last December about a month before U.S. markets started crashing really hard in early January. So the fact that the Nikkei has been falling very rapidly in recent days should be a huge red flag for investors in this country.
I want you to study the chart below very carefully. It shows the performance of the Nikkei over the past 12 months. As you can see, it kind of resembles a giant leaning “W”. You can see the stock crash that started last August, you can see the second wave of the crash that began last December, and now a third leg of the crash is currently forming… Continue reading »
AP, Mar 24, 2016 (emphasis added): Alaska’s massive seabird die-off spreads… Federal biologists last week walked… Katmai National Park and counted 2,000 dead seabirds… “[That’s only] a hint of what probably was there… every beach we looked at had dead birds” [US Fish & Wildlife Service’s Robb Kaler said]… “if we had rakes we would have found a lot more,” [said retired USGS biologist Tony DeGange]… [Officials surveyed the area] in 2009 and 2012 [and] counted zero and 14 common murres… Last week [they] counted hundreds.
AP, Mar 24, 2016: Seabird die-off takes twist… thousands of common murres were found dead [in an Alaskan] lake… experts were puzzled. “We’ve talked about unprecedented things about this die off. That’s another one,” said [USGS biologist] John Piatt… “6,000, 8,000 birds in the lake is pretty mind-blowing, really… I’ve never heard of any such a thing anywhere in the world.”… [F]ederal agencies are trying to determine if the murre deaths are connected to lack of food… or something else…”This is the thing about this die-off,” Piatt said. “We don’t even know what we don’t know.” Continue reading »
Pisces Sportfishing Fleet, Mar 29, 2016 (emphasis added): ALIEN FISH IN CABO? Jaime Rendon is the well known and liked local captian [sic] of the panga Dr. Pescado; he is also a great fisherman… he caught this strange creature off of Cabo today. It appears to be some kind of shark. He realized it was something special and RELEASED it him/her back into the Sea… Photos have been sent to local experts to try and find out what it is.
Pete Thomas (former reporter for The Los Angeles Times), Mar 30, 2016: Mysterious, alien-like shark caught off Cabo San Lucas — A Cabo San Lucas sportfishing captain on Tuesday reeled from the depths a mysterious alien-like fish that somewhat resembles an albino shark, or shark fetus. But the bizarre-looking fish, with a distended stomach, was said to be alive when it was caught… The photos appeared Tuesday night on the Pisces Sportfishing Fleet’s Facebook page, under the heading, “ALIEN FISH IN CABO?”… Tracy Ehrenberg, Pisces general manager, has sent the photos to biologists in Mexico, and we’ve sent out inquiries as well, hoping to obtain an identification. The shark – or shark-like fish – is somewhat reminiscent of the infamous one-eyed “Cyclops” shark caught in the Sea of Cortez in [July] 2011… the shark fetus was pulled from either a bull or dusky shark… Continue reading »
The Swiss, the Finns, and the Ontarians may get their ‘Universal Basic Income’ but the Japanese are about to turn the Spinal Tap amplifier of extreme monetary experimentation to 11. Sankei reports, with no sourcing, that the Japanese government plans to unleash “vouchers” or “gift certificates” to low-income young people to stimulate the “conspicuous decline” in consumption among young people. The handouts may not be deposited, thus combining helicopter money (inflationary) and fully electronic currency (implicit capital controls and tracking of spending).
Since Ben Bernanke reminded the world of the existence of government printing-presses, echoed Milton Friedman’s “helicopter drop” solution to fighting deflation, and decried Japan for not being as insane as it could be… it has only been a matter of time before some global central bank decided that the dropping of cash onto the populace was the key to economic recovery. Having blown their wad on QQE (and been left with a quintuple-dip recession) and unleashed NIRP, it appears Japan has reached that limit.Continue reading »
As for the scale of the [Fukushima] accident… we simply don’t know… all the measuring equipment was destroyed at the time of the accident…
The Japanese government has reported estimates [of] 1.5×10^16 Becquerels of Cs-137, which would make it a release of 168 times more radioactive material than the Hiroshima bombing. And this is only material released into the atmosphere… Continue reading »
Today, Japan marks the fifth anniversary of the tragic and catastrophic meltdown of the Fukushima nuclear plant. On March 11, 2011, a massive earthquake and tsunami hit the northeast coast of Japan, killing 20,000 people. Another 160,000 then fled the radiation in Fukushima. It was the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl, and according to some it would be far worse, if the Japanese government did not cover up the true severity of the devastation. Continue reading »
U.S. Department of Commerce – NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service (pdf), Dec 2015 (emphasis added): Results of testing for Fukushima Radiation in northern fur seals on St. Paul Island, AK – In summer 2014, NOAA Fisheries in partnership with Colorado State University collected tissue from northern fur seals harvested from St. Paul Island for lab testing of the radiation levels… We detected very small amounts of Fukushima-derived radioactive material in the seal tissue… Continue reading »