SVCF Bulletin No. 46 issued on December 1, 2013

4th board meeting

On November 22 (Fri), 2013, we held the 4th board meeting in the SVCF Takinokawa Office.  Attendees were President Mr. Yasuteru Yamada, Vice President Dr. Nobuhiro Shiotani and Vice President Ms. Kazuko Sasaki and Directors; Dr. Kunio Ito, Mr. Ikuo Ito, Mr. Tatsusih Okamoto, Mr. Takeshi Kuriyama, Mr. Yoshio Hirai, and Auditor Mr. Mitsuo Nakamura.

The decisions at the meeting were as follows.

1.   We approved the request by President Yamada of a suspended role, due to his health condition.  Till the end of business year 2013 Vice President Shiotani assumes the role.

2.   We reaffirmed that during this term we do business in accordance with the policy resolved at the 3rd board meeting.

3.   In January 2014 we overview activities in the business year 2013 and decide the policy and business plan for 2014.

Monitoring in Naraha Machi

In SVCF bulletin No. 44 we reported in detail how we do monitoring services in Naraha Machi.  We herein report ongoing activities.

We monitored radiation on October 25, 1, October 29-30, 3, November 12-13, 3, and November 20-21, 3; 10 houses all told.  Among applicants by mail or by the Web, a total of 20 SVCF members participated in these attempts.

In Naraha Machi, the Ministry of Environment has already cleaned up some areas, however, others are left untouched.  Several houses have begun deteriorating indoors.  We saw large adhesive sheets to catch rats placed here and there in a house.  We have encountered various situations.

The most delicate and laborious work is a minute attempt to trace the possibility of very small amounts of radioactive materials, even if we did not find traces of radiation at the height of 1 centimeter or 1 meter above the ground level, left on the floor, straw mats, and rails of aluminum sashes or of glass windows.

For this purpose, we are allowed to use an experimental beta and gamma rays dual mode detector which has been developed by Kansai Electricity Co., Ltd.  This detector has two Geiger Muller tubes of the same type in the vertical structure.  The lower one detects both beta and gamma rays, the upper filters beta ray, and reports gamma ray only.  When we see a considerable difference between two ratios, we put a scintillation detector on the spot and know there is a clear indication of being cesium there.

We wear expendable slippers inside a requestor’s house.  After the indoor work, we check the slipper soles for radiation.  In other words, we assume the presence of radioactive materials on straw mats or the floor.

In Naraha machi, clean-up works are being processed quite rapidly. People whom we meet are all clean-up related persons, in charge and workers.  We naturally bow to each other in an empathy of being involved in the mutual purpose. We plan a next attempt before and after December 11.  (Posted by Nobuhiro Shiotani)

Vice President Shiotani, acting President, lectured.

In the afternoon of November 9, Vice President Shiotani, acting President, presented the theme “Learn and talk on Fukushima’s current challenges and aids for suffered regions” in the Tama Citizen Hall, as an introduction of a series of lectures and discussions: “What we learn from the Tohoku earthquake and the nuclear power plant accident (10 times Part 3)” sponsored by the Education Committee of the Kawasaki Municipal government.

After his brief explanation of the progress report from the establishment of SVCF, and of TEPCO’s benign neglect, he showed a DVD depicting SVCF activities created by Fukushima Central TV station, and let the audience visually understand various activities, for instance, a technical meeting with the TEPCO side.  He went on to explain the necessity of a nationally administered project, which SVCF has consistently stressed; he ardently appealed that a role for the experienced and knowledgeable seniors should be provided, with the aim of reducing the radiation for the younger generations.

Handing in a query and a letter of appeal to TEPCO.

On November 28 afternoon, Director Dr. Kunio Ito and two more members visited TEPCO and handed over a query and a letter of appeal.  In this document, we asked for training of workers, subjects, walk-through time and distance, and the amount of radiation exposure for workers mainly regarding the contaminated tank patrol routinely conducted with TEPCO and affiliated companies.  In addition, we suggested a video presentation for patrol scenes on Internet.

Last, we requested to be allowed observation in the yard of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant; of tanks and pipes of the contaminated water processing line, Advanced Liquid Processing System, inside clean-up site.  Our contact, Mr. Anayama, replied that a response would be given by mid-December.

The Opinions of our Readers

From the viewpoint of the fieldworkers

Thank you for all of your hard work.  I would like to write about our work at Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant (from December 10, 2012 to March 20, 2013).

As a sub-contractor of TEPCO’s affiliated company, Toden Kogyo, (4 companies above this in the multilayered system), our work was to prevent the water from leaking in the vicinity of the tent that housed the radioactive material removal system.

At that time, the Toshiba radioactive material removal system was under construction, but as far as I know, the tent that housed the radioactive material removal system had 6 layers, and most of it was leakproof.

We met with the director of Toden Kogyo before the work started, and we were lent by TEPCO dosimeters, undergarments, tievests, gloves, rubber gloves, boots, helmets, and frontal dust repellants, got into a car that was parked on the property, and headed over to the site. When the dosimeter rang while we were working, we waited in the car or were driven to the quakeproof building, and waited there until the workers were finished. That happened everyday.

I believe the dosimeters that TEPCO lent us were of very high quality, but because the set values were different at each location, we were constantly switching over as we went to a new location. When I was there, the highest was 2.0 to 4.7μSv.  We worked for a maximum of 1 to 3 hours at a time.  We never once saw a TEPCO employee at the site during the entire time.

It took an average of 8 hours to get up in the morning, ride the bus from the village to the site, work, and return to the village. The bus rides, and entering and leaving the site took a lot of time.

I think that in order to deal with the contaminated water and decommissioning the reactor, we need to remove TEPCO’s affiliated businesses, and have private businesses unrelated to TEPCO deal with the situation. With TEPCO’s rights and concessions getting in the way, and large general contractors making huge profits, the local businesses that work below them are also becoming greedy.  Within the environment, in which LDP members cannot get involved because they are getting donations from them, I would really appreciate if TEPCO stopped receiving our tax money to fund their projects.

In addition, I really feel badly for the people who are still living in the disaster-stricken areas, but in far-away Ibaraki prefecture, even though we haven’t been affected by radiation damage, this accident has caused many people to lose their jobs, and companies have gone bankrupt, and it’s putting people on the streets.

In any case, I think it is absolutely necessary to remove TEPCO and their related companies in order to move forward.

I know my writing is a bit disjointed, but please consider my feelings as you read it. (From, The Ibaraki Bear)

Why TEPCO Won’t Recognize The SVCF

I was involved in the “Dialogue between the Opponents and Proponents of Nuclear Power” group meeting mid September, invited by a young person I met last year in Fukushima.  It was a small group, with 8 members. There was a member who was a professor admitting to be a proponent of nuclear power, as well as 3 individuals who were, or are currently working for related businesses.

I was drawn to the fact that the group met not just to argue, but to learn from each other.  I thought it was the perfect opportunity to ask the individuals who work for the related companies about their opinions on TEPCO continuing to not recognize the SVCF.  They said that they would refuse the SVCF’s services, too.  Their reasoning, to the best of my understanding, is as below:

  • Because TEPCO doesn’t have the power to manage the administration and maintenance, they are leaving that up to the experts.
  • So, unless the SVCF can complete an entire project, instead of merely one portion of one project, they cannot utilize us.
  • Because each project is being undertaken by a related company, if the SVCF gets involved and says that we will do it for free, we are taken away someone else’s work.
  • Merely having a licensed person working for SVCF isn’t sufficient – we need an organization that can administer the entire project.
  • They can’t rely on individuals who can only help TEPCO temporarily – they need staff that can work permanently.
  • Free labor isn’t advantageous to TEPCO. If we’re serious about being involved, we need to bid as an entity.

There may have been some misunderstanding on my end, but I think that was the gist of their opinions. I hope they will be of some use. (Kanagawa prefecture, Yuriko Sugiyama)

The First Step: To Put SVCF Workers to Work on the Scene

I think it’s true that while we started this task force with a cool name two and a half years ago (an ensemble of senior citizens with no track record or money or resources), we are at a crossroads right now, needing to decide whether to keep the status quo or to get things going.

And, when I think about “what this task force should do right now,” I think about what Board Member Hirai talked about this time, which was, “that the SVCF couldn’t be involved in collecting the debris from the accident.  And the biggest reason was because TEPCO was solely responsible for debris collection, and a multi-level subcontractor system had been created, which had created an enormous vested interest structure. There is no room for volunteers in such a system.”

So, what do we need to do in order to get involved at the site? Of course, it’s important for the task force to get involved, in order to prevent the young workers from being exposed to radiation.  However, because cleaning up the debris from the accident as quickly as possible is the most important thing right now, how about we work under one of their general contractors as temporary staff, working on the nuclear power reactor, disposing of the contaminated water, and general maintenance?

I think if the task force can just have members working at the site, we’ll start to learn about what’s going on, and we will be able to come up with our new direction in due time.

And if, as Board Member Hirai says, the cleanup efforts turn into a government project, and they institute a senior citizen’s division, we would  be in a very good position, I think.

However, we can’t stoop to the level of the general contractor’s subcontracting companies.  We are in the business of construction management, so I don’t think we’ll get any resistance from any of the low-level subcontractors.

In conclusion, I think our first priority should be to send task force members into the site and move forward from there. What do you think? (Saitama prefecture, Katsuhiro Ishizuka)