March 11, 2011. The Shake-up…

MARCH 12, 2011
10yrs here in Japan and that’s the 1st time I’ve bolted from the 5th floor of my office building into the street!
I’m in Yokohama, about 400km from the epicentre but still had a fair amount of chaos. Electricity out for 8hrs. Public transport non-existant. Rush on daily goods. Food, batteries, drinks all sold out! People wandering aimlessly in the streets in fear of the safety of their own quake weakened homes and trying to figure a way home without the ever reliable train network.
As I said we are far enough away to only experience 5-6Magnitude quakes and it still felt quite apocolyptic.
Had to scoot around from home to office and hunting food, the bike never missed a beat! LED hazards on and the HIDS letting everyone know I was comin.

Later that day.. . night??
Fair bit of Pandimonium here regarding this Nuclear Reactor ‘possible’ meltdown.
On one hand I just saw footage of a rather sizeable building at a reactor site obliterated. Seriously, ‘PooF!’ it’s gone! On the other hand I’m seeing a lot of rumour milling.

Which of these 2 to go with?
A: Possible Meltdown At Tepco Reactor
TOKYO (Nikkei)–Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s (9501) Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant in Fukushima Prefecture may be experiencing a meltdown in the wake of Friday’s massive earthquake, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said Saturday.

The agency said cesium, a radioactive material produced by nuclear fission, was detected near the facility.

Fuel rods were exposed to the air as the water level in the reactor fell, said one observer.

The nuclear agency serves under the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry,

Or do you trust THIS:

B: “TEPCO Press Release (Mar 12,2011)Plant Status of Fukushima Daini Nuclear Power Station (as of 1PM March 12th )

Unit 1 (shut down at 2:48PM on March 11th)
– Reactor is shut down and reactor water level is stable.
– Offsite power is available.
– At 8:19am, there was an alarm indicating that one of the control rods
was not properly inserted, however, at 10:43am the alarm was automatically
called off. Other control rods has been confirmed that they are fully
inserted (reactor is in subcritical status)
– Status of main steam isolation valve: closed
– Injection of water into the reactor had been done by the Reactor Core
Isolation Cooling System, but at 3:48AM, injection by Make-up Water
Condensate System begun.
– At 6:08PM, we announced the increase in reactor containment vessel
pressure, assumed to be due to leakage of reactor coolant. However, we
do not believe there is leakage of reactor coolant in the containment
vessel at this moment.
– At 5:22AM, the temperature of the suppression chamber exceeded 100
degrees. As the reactor pressure suppression function was lost, at 5:22AM,
it was determined that a specific incident stipulated in article 15,
clause 1 has occurred.
– We decided to prepare implementing measures to reduce the pressure of
the reactor containment vessel (partial discharge of air containing
radioactive materials) in order to fully secure safety. This preparation
work started at around 9:43am.

Unit 2 (shut down at 2:48PM on March 11th)
– Reactor is shut down and reactor water level is stable.
– Offsite power is available.
– Control rods are fully inserted (reactor is in subcritical status)
– Status of main steam isolation valve: closed
– Injection of water into the reactor had been done by the Reactor Core
Isolation Cooling System, but at 4:50AM, injection by Make-up Water
Condensate System begun.
– We do not believe there is leakage of reactor coolant in the containment
vessel.
– At 5:22AM, the temperature of the suppression chamber exceeded 100
degrees. As the reactor pressure suppression function was lost, at 5:22AM,
it was determined that a specific incident stipulated in article 15,
clause 1 has occurred.
– We decided to prepare implementing measures to reduce the pressure of
the reactor containment vessel (partial discharge of air containing
radioactive materials) in order to fully secure safety. This preparation
work commenced at around 10:33AM and completed at 10:58AM.

Unit 3 (shut down at 2:48PM on March 11th)
– Reactor is shut down and reactor water level is stable.
– Offsite power is available.
– Control rods are fully inserted (reactor is in subcritical status)
– Status of main steam isolation valve: closed
– Reactor Core Isolation Cooling System is turned off. Currently,
injection of water into the reactor is done by Make-up Water Condensate
System.
– We do not believe there is leakage of reactor coolant in the containment
vessel.
– We decided to prepare implementing measures to reduce the pressure of
the reactor containment vessel (partial discharge of air containing
radioactive materials) in order to fully secure safety. This preparation
work commenced at around 12:08PM and completed at 12:13AM.
– At 12:15PM, the reactor achieved cold shut down.

Unit 4 (shut down at 2:48PM on March 11th)
– Reactor is shut down and reactor water level is stable.
– Offsite power is available.
– Control rods are fully inserted (reactor is in subcritical status)
– Status of main steam isolation valve: closed
– Reactor Core Isolation Cooling System is turned off. Currently,
injection of water into the reactor is done by Make-up Water Condensate
System.
– We do not believe there is leakage of reactor coolant in the containment
vessel.
– In order to cool down the reactor, injection of water into the reactor
had been done by the Reactor Core Isolation Cooling System, however,
At 6:07AM, the temperature of the suppression chamber exceeded 100
degrees. As the reactor pressure suppression function was lost,
at 6:07AM, it was determined that a specific incident stipulated in
article 15,clause 1 has occurred.
– We decided to prepare implementing measures to reduce the pressure of
the reactor containment vessel (partial discharge of air containing
radioactive materials) in order to fully secure safety. This preparation
work commenced at around 11:44AM and completed at 11:52AM.

Indication from monitoring posts installed at the site boundary did not
show any difference from ordinary level.
No radiation impact to the external environment has been confirmed. We
will continue to monitor in detail the possibility of radioactive material
being discharged from exhaust stack or discharge canal.
There is no missing person within the power station.
We are presently checking on the site situation of each plant while
keeping the situation of aftershock and Tsunami in mind.
A seriously injured worker is still trapped in the crane operating console
of the exhaust stack and his breathing and pulse cannot be confirmed.
Currently, the rescue efforts are under way.
A worker was lightly injured spraining his left ankle and cutting both
knees when he fell while walking at the site. After medical treatment,
the worker is resting in the office.”

**That explosion I saw on TV seemed to have happened at 3.30-45pm and they haven’t made a press release about it yet. Now 5.38pm

MARCH 16, 2011
Another interesting day in the coming of Godzilla here in Japan.

Here’s the news wrap with trustworthy translation

Coincidentally, had a 6.4 quake in one of my favored riding areas by Mt.Fuji late tonight. Although the highest ever recorded in the area, we are being told it is of no relation to the East Japan Great Earthquake of last Friday.

On the daily front:
Fuel/Gas is all sold out. I’m down to 2bars
The streets are constantly quiet. Like 2am but all day too. Want to enjoy it but running low on fuel
Aftershocks subsiding but still cropping up
Shelves are still empty of eggs, bread, milk and tofu.
Large bottles of water – sold out
Large water containers from the home centre – sold out
The Eastern Japan power grids have been split into 5 sectors with each taking alternate blackouts of 3hrs once or twice a day

But we have it easy here in Yokohama. I can’t begin to imagine how tough they have itup north.

There’s a lot of appreciation here for all the overseas donations and relief assistance. Keep it coming

MARCH 17, 2011
Business is not so good but I’ve been cooking and ……:) more to compensate

Bit sick & tired of the overseas calls, freaking out at my imminent mutation and horrifyingly painful descent into Hades. Cool to know they care though. Their fears are mostly based on the foreign media’s and CNN’s ‘the END iS NYE!’ show and the French & Germans chartering planes to fly out their dignitaries & expats. About 5000 foreigners have flown the coop since Monday. Many others have gone west.
I’ve got a full tank in the FZ and a fun & relatively untrafficed route west loaded in the navi ready to roll. Just in case… .

Here are some radiation reading links that have been keeping me sane

Geiger counter type places with up to date readings on a google map

Some guy with a geiger counter in western Tokyo

Had to work out what all these technical measurements in the sites above really meant and think it works something like this(turn me over if I’m being irradiated):

nGy = Nano Gamma Ray. 1000 nGy/h is actually 0.001 millisievert. (nano -> Micro -> Milli.)

This information from Japan Times newspaper 2011/03/16.

An average person is exposed to approx. 3.0 millisieverts of radiation per year, (of which 2.4 millisieverts is from naturally occurring sources). Source WHO.

* An chest X-ray will give a 0.1 millisieverts dose. Source IAEA.
* Flying in a plane adds approx. 0.005 millisieverts per hour.
* A CAT s…can exposes a person to approx. 10 millisieverts.
* 1 millisievert is one-thousandth of a sievert.
* 1000 microsieverts equals 1 millisievert.

The radiation level in Shinjuku ward(central Tokyo) on Tuesday 15th March was 0.000809 millisieverts per hour – way less than flying in a plane for an hour !

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