Gov’t seeks approval for dumping Fukushima plant groundwater into sea

Gov’t seeks approval for dumping Fukushima plant groundwater into sea

TOKYO, Feb. 3, Kyodo

The government on Monday sought approval of a nationwide fisheries federation to dump groundwater at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex into the sea on condition that the water’s contamination level is far below the legal limit.

 During talks with the head of the National Federation of Fisheries Co-operative Associations, industry ministry officials explained that they plan to set “strict” operational procedures for the pump system to allay the concerns of fishermen who think the move could deal a blow to their business.

Groundwater will be pumped out before it gets mixed with highly radioactive water accumulating at the basement of reactor buildings, and will be directed to the adjacent Pacific Ocean.

Rice grown near crippled Fukushima nuclear plant served to govt officials

Rice grown near crippled Fukushima nuclear plant served to govt officials

Rice from fields in the Fukushima prefecture, evacuated after the worst nuclear disaster in Japan, will be served to government officials for 9 days in a bid to demonstrate the safety of the country’s most-beloved crop, a local broadcaster reported.

  The rice cultivated in several decontaminated fields in the  Yamakiya District in Kawamata Town and Iitate Village, two areas  designated as evacuation zones after the March 2011 nuclear  catastrophe, will be served in a government office in Tokyo from  Monday.

  Over half a ton (540 kilograms) of rice will be part of a test to  prove the effectiveness of the decontamination process. Officials  from the Fukushima prefecture have given assurances that the rice  contains no radioactive substances.

  The rice balls tasted especially good after the great effort put  into cultivating the crop, said Senior Vice Environment Minister  Shinji Inoue on Monday. Parliamentary Vice Environment Minister  Tomoko Ukishima also joined the tasting.

  A farmer from Kawamata Town told NHK that he will continue to  cultivate the rice now that he knows it tastes good. Because the  zone was evacuated after the nuclear crisis, he said that he had  traveled from his temporary home to the paddy fields to tend the  crops.

  Some 160,000 people escaped the vicinity of the Fukushima Daiichi  nuclear plant after an earthquake in March 2011 triggered a  tsunami that hit Japan’s coast, damaging the plant’s three  nuclear reactors. The catastrophe that hit Fukushima became the  world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.

  Several months after the accident at the power plant in November  2011, samples of rice grown in Onami town in Fukushima Prefecture  showed radioactive contamination above the safety limit. The  grain contained caesium – a radioactive isotope – that was  measured at 630 becquerels per kilogram, while the government-set  safety limit is 500 becquerels.

Bitcoin = Drug trade? Angry US govt seeks to curb alternative currency

The renegade crypto-currency that’s used to avoid the watchful eye of financial authorities, has made history yet again. Bitcoin’s value surged past 500 dollars this weekend after months of steady growth. But as the currency is scoring more and more points it keeps raising eyebrows in Washington, as Gayane Chichakyan reports