Secret Cask Structure

As you may have heard, TEPCO started removing fuel elements from the spent fuel pool of reactor 4 at Fukushima Daiichi NPP. Looking through some images of the operation TEPCO released this Friday, I noticed a peculiar note: “These photos include information concerning physical protection, etc. and therefore include altered parts.” Obviously, I immediately becameContinue reading “Secret Cask Structure”

Death Threats For Selling Vegetables

Farmer Noboru Saito from Nihonmatsu in Fukushima has received threats for selling his food in Tokyo. He has received emails which have read: “How long are you going to bring radiation into the Metropolitan area?” and “I will kill you.” From The Mainichi, 2013-03-06 However, Mr. Saito’s products have been tested and no contamination wasContinue reading “Death Threats For Selling Vegetables”

That’s Not Bad News

Time and time again I get annoyed at how the German media report on the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. Reports are frequently imprecise in a way that exaggerates dangers, while positive developments tend to go unreported. Here’s a recent example from WDR 5, a public radio station in Germany. On September 26, TEPCO created anContinue reading “That’s Not Bad News”

The Price of Fear

“Radiation can’t be seen, but if you use a dosimeter you can see it in the form of numbers. By measuring radiation, you can remove unnecessary fear, and properly fear what should be feared.” — Hirotoshi Sano, quoted in The Mainichi Recently my Japanese teacher mentioned that people from Fukushima prefecture still suffer discrimination inContinue reading “The Price of Fear”

They lied, all the time

Last week, TEPCO released about 150 hours of video documenting the proceedings at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant during the first few days after the disaster. The videos were only released after intense public and media pressure, are still incomplete, and two thirds of it lack sound (TEPCO claims technical issues). Hiroko Tabuchi wroteContinue reading “They lied, all the time”

Lunchtime conversations: Sushi and nuclear power

Once again, my Sunday lunch conversation was quite educational. This time I was taught about sushi, that is, I learned that sushi doesn’t always look like people from outside Japan think. This variation is called “散らしずし” (Chirashi Sushi), from “散らす” (chirasu), meaning “to scatter.” The point here is that the nori (dried algae), fried eggContinue reading “Lunchtime conversations: Sushi and nuclear power”


I have been in Hiroshima since Wednesday evening, and yesterday I visited the Peace Memorial Museum and the A-Bomb dome, a characteristic ruin very close to the hypocenter of the nuclear bomb explosion on 6th August 1945. I won’t go in to details of the museum visit because if you just want to learn theContinue reading “Hiroshima”

Doubts and a huge lack of information

I’ve been talking with quite a few Japanese about their opinion about the current nuclear crisis in the Fukushima I power plant, and I’ve been asked if the public opinion concerning nuclear power has changed in Japan. While I cannot answer that question in general, I’m going to briefly summarize my impression from the conversationsContinue reading “Doubts and a huge lack of information”