5 years ago today

It was 5 years ago today. I was at the supermarket and thought I felt a rumbling sensation. I asked the store clerk and he didn’t feel anything. Then shelves started swaying and things started falling down. I left quickly for the exit, encouraging others to leave as well.

Outside I had to hold onto a bicycle rack to stop from falling over. It was clear that this was the largest earthquake I had ever experienced.

People milled around outside for a while, and then the store manager announced they were closed for the rest of the day.

I headed back to my house, where I found neighbours hanging around outside and heard for the first time it was the largest earthquake in Japan’s history, a magnitude 9.

Inside, I found a lot of things had fallen down, including ceiling light fixtures. But mostly everything was OK.

The phones were down, and the trains had totally stopped, but amazingly the Internet kept on running.

After that everybody knows what happened.

It was 2:46 pm today. I’ll never forget it.

An article worth glancing at about “the woman in the blanket” – then and now.


It’s almost 5 years since the Great East Japan earthquake – Fukushima still has a long way to go

From the article:

About 1,000 tanks storing more than 700,000 tons of contaminated water could be seen in the wide spaces in front of buildings accommodating reactors Nos. 1 to 4, where the decontamination and decommissioning work is being conducted.

Within the site, work to remove contaminated surface soil and pave over the scoured ground has been continuing. Thus levels of radiation are generally becoming lower.

In contrast, there are facilities for which decontamination work has not been carried out at all, and vestiges of the accident remained visible in some places.

From an area 35 meters above sea level, where a group of tanks and other facilities are located, I went down a slope by car and approached a building accommodating the No. 4 reactor, which is located at a spot 10 meters above sea level. I saw that the walls still bore black traces of the tsunami that hit the nuclear power plant following the earthquake.

When the car I was in passed by the No. 3 reactor building, where a hydrogen explosion had occurred, a dosimeter indicated 230 microsieverts per hour.

A tolerable annual limit of exposure to radiation for ordinary people in usual times is said to be 1 millisievert (1,000 microsieverts). The figure on the dosimeter means that a person’s exposure level would exceed the limit if they stayed there for about four hours.

The highest radiation dose of any place in the plant is near an air stack, which is about 120 meters tall, near reactors Nos. 1 and 2.

A TEPCO official explained, “In 2013, the radiation dose was estimated to be about 25 sieverts (25 million microsieverts) per hour. Though about five years have passed, no measures have been taken.”

full article: http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0002725274?m=jnnl