Category Archives: Japan

Japanese Mitsui chemical plant explosion, monitored via transmissions of NHK World Radio Japan

A fire at a chemical plant in Japan killed one and injured dozens, according to broadcasts monitored on international shortwave frequencies and Internet news and trade publication sources.

Picture 14

The NHK news includes news of a chemical plant explosion at Mitsui Chemicals' Iwakuni-Ohtake facility, which straddles areas in Yamaguchi and Hiroshima prefectures. The Mitsui Chemicals site identifies the site of the plant as 1-2, Waki 6-chome, Waki-cho, Kuga-gun, Yamaguchi 740-0061, and says the following chemicals are produced there:

  • PTA
  • PET resin
  • TPX
  • APEL
  • Wax
  • Hydrocarbon resin
  • Gas pipes
  • Pelicles
  • Hydroquinone
  • Resorcinol
  • Meta/Para-cresol, in a story by Tomomi Yokomura, reports that the fire was in the unit which produces resorcinol, an adhesive for wood and car tires.

This safety data sheet for resourcinol, otherwise known as CAS 108-46-3, 3-HYDROXYPHENOL or 1,3-benzenediol, m-dihydroxybenzene, describes that its dust is highly flammable.

Fukushima Diary reports (unconfirmed) nuclear materials on site. This was later confirmed in a Mitsui Chemicals press release.

I'm not able to be up to monitor this (it's late here in Ann Arbor, MI) but there is a YouTube video with a longer shot of the event.

Via the NHK World Radio Japan web site, here is a map of their transmissions on shortwave bands. The "Yamata" site marked is the primary transmission site in Japan.

I was able to pick up the transmission from Canada, marked as (1) here and on the March 25, 2012 frequency and broadcasting chart (PDF). Of course, the sound quality is much better on the Internet, but if you have a new (to you) shortwave set there's some satisfaction in just making contact.

Picture 13
I always find Japanese infographics to be interesting to look at and get ideas from.

– 30 –

Mandatory disclaimer: Nothing to disclaim at this time.

Copyright notice: The images in this article are Copyright NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) and are not to be further reproduced.

Also see: NHK World, UPI (quoting NHK),  Xinhua (quoting the local press), and Jiji Press (quoted by several, but I could not find the original story).


Typepad on iPad, edited elsewhere

No support for rich text editing in safari, but otherwise performant. Kind of nice.

I’ll need to really learn markdown for a couple of reasons, not the least of which is that it descends from setext.

Ann Arbor

A2B3 lunch is Thursday as always.
Ann Arbor Parks did trick or treat today, Sunday, noon to 4pm on the Huron River.

Arborwiki makes a good companion as you go for errands around town.
Ann Arbor City Council elections and a millage are coming up. The Ann Arbor Chronicle has characteristically thorough coverage of the League of Women Voters forums.
Some project, not yet identified, has North Main torn up at Catherine. A second project has North Division down to a single lane. Expect delays.

No one was hurt in last week's fire on Harpst.
I'm trying a neighborhood LinkedIn group to see what kind of density I need to get enough people to make a group worthwhile; it might make sense to grab people closest first and then out by distance.

Metro Detroit

Tigers lost in the ALCS, and I’m looking forward to spring training.

Power outages from the Saturday windstorms were worst in Warren.


Occupy Chicago has had a lot of protest, via the Chicago Tribune which was on the scene.

Occupy Wall Street took over Times Square.


I am tracking steps with a pedometer again, thanks to Paul Resnick and a research group at UMSI.
Statler and Waldorf have taken over the Muppets twitter account. New movie due for Thanksgiving. Cue the Muppets.


The wind on Saturday made farmers market blustery. Squash of all sizes and varieties were there, and there’s nothing like a big old Hubbard squash to keep the corner of a table down. A farmer was doing the frost dance but said they had none at the last full moon. Traditionally, it’s said that the best way to open a Hubbard is to take an axe to it, or to throw it down into the cellar.


It’s hard to have great weird ideas when you are closing trouble tickets.
My new employer Nutshell has an office where my former employer Pure Visibility used to have it's offices.


Steve Jobs, Dennis Ritchie, Einar Steffrud.


Books moved recently include Kawabata’s, Snow Country, to be shelved on the Heikki Lunta shelf to prepare me for winter.


Pinboard now supports Gopher urls in bookmarks.


Michigan football lost to State. It was as good an excuse as any to call my aunt who went to East Lansing.


Wow, I have a lot of categories.

Japan Aid Benefit Concert with Joe Reilly, Ann Arbor, Sunday, June 5, 2011

A fundraiser with Joe Reilly for the Japan Earthquake and Tsunami victims. Join on Sunday, June 5, 2011 from 3:30-5:00pm at the Ann Arbor Senior Center in Burns Park (1320 Baldwin Ave.). $7 (or more) per person or $20 (or more) per family at the door. There will be a craft sale on site and all the proceeds go to the Japan Red Cross. 

Details: or contact Junko Meschievitz at .

Charity Concert with Joe June 5

Fukushima fallout plume animation

Click to animate this plume of fallout from the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, as produced by ZAMG (Zentralanstalt für Meteorologie und Geodynamik, Viennese Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics, Vienna Austria). Via the Harvard Japan Sendai Earthquake Data Portal.

Note that this is not the hoax map "Nuclear fallout" described by Snopes.

Of the map, the authors write (in German)

Zur Farbskalierung ist zu sagen, dass die rote Skala Gebiete kennzeichnet, die seit Beginn des Unfalles mit einer Effektivdosis von maximal 100 Milli-Sievert pro Stunde belastet waren (laut Informationen der IAEO). Die violette Skala zeigt daher maximal 100 Nano-Sievert pro Stunde an. Dieser Wert ist, selbst über ein Jahr summiert, niedriger als die natürliche Belastung, der jeder Mensch ausgesetzt ist.

as translated 

Regarding the colour scaling of the simulation, one needs to keep in mind that the red colour marks areas around the plant where the effective dose rates were, at the absolute maximum, 100 Milli-Sievert per hour (according to information released by IAEA in Vienna). The violet colour thus shows areas with estimated effective dose rates of 100 Nano-Sievert (maximum) per hour. Summed up over a period of one year, this would still be less than the natural radiation exposure of an average citizen.

Note that this is a simulation, and based on dispersion calculations. Actual measurements of observed nucleotides have been collected from locations monitoring the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, as noted in this March 16 post "CTBTO Messnetz misst erste Radioaktivitätswerte über Japan/ Korrektur".

Nature Magazine has a story, Radiation data from Japanese disaster starts to filter out, (March 17) which describes the release of this data by the Austrian organization ZAMG.


More maps here.

Fukushima maps

Radiation is escaping from the Fukushima nuclear power plant after multiple explosions at the site.

A widely distributed graphic, attributed to Australian Radiation Services and purporting to show fallout patterns, is confirmed to be a hoax. A map from ZAMG in Vienna models the plume.

This post has been updated Friday, March 18 2011 at 3:00 pm to add the ZAMG info, which is on its own page.

News sources

Wikipedia: Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant; Fukushima I nuclear accidents.

BBC: Massive explosion at Japan nuclear power plant. With video, terrifying, of the Fukushima I plant blowing up. BBC News live report: 0227: There were two explosions at Reactor 3, the operator Tepco says – AFP.

Los Angeles Times: Damage at two Japan nuclear plants prompts evacuationsJapanese engineers work to contain nuclear reactor damage.

ABC, Australia: Explosion at quake-hit nuclear plant.

Tokyo Electric Power Company: Hourly news briefs from the power company that operates the plant, written in precise, careful English. From the 3/12/11 1pm update:

We are implementing a measure to reduce the pressure of the reactor
containment vessels,
but, one of our employees working in the Unit 1 was irradiated at over
100mSv level(106.3mSv). Because of absence of industrial physician, so he
will be diagnosed at a later day.  
We measured radioactive materials inside of the nuclear power station area
(outdoor) by monitoring car and confirmed that radioactive materials level
is higher than ordinary level. Also, the level at monitoring post is higher
than ordinary level.


Still is from live coverage from NHK of #3 reactor explosion.

Picture 7


福島第一原発 爆発の瞬間 Explosion at Fukushima nuclear plant, unit 1 

City maps

A city map, in English, from Fukushima City; use the mirror copy since the municipal site is overloaded.

Monitoring chart

Original source: I am unable to determine precisely what the graph measures, but the metric is in "nanogreys per hour", a measure of radiation dose. The spike is associated with the first of the two explosions.


Evacuation zones

Evacuation zones, based on post collected by EMN, showing a 10km zone around both plants. I'm not quite sure who TMN is, and I don't read the Japanese. The zones have since been expanded.

image from

Weather maps

A wind map for Japan, from, collected 3/12/11.


A second wind map from the same source, collected just after the explosion at unit 3.


Road maps

Kisei map, Fukushima traffic regulation. There is an interactive map showing the damage to roads in detail.

Picture 6
Edward Vielmetti has been writing the Vacuum weblog since 1999. He reported on the Kobe earthquake in 1995. Maps are provided with the help of the Harvard Center for Geographic Analysis Japan Sendai Earthquake Data Portal. Contact him at

Tokyo power outage maps

Due to extreme impacts of earthquake and tsunami on the Japanese electrical energy grid, power companies in Japan are putting into place scheduled outages to reduce their energy load.


Nikkei: Tokyo Electric Power Co. (9501) and Tohoku Electric Power Co. (9506) will implement planned power cuts on a rolling basis .

Harvard: Japan Sendai Earthquake Data Portal. A team at the  Harvard Center for Geographic Analysis is collecting and publishing geospatial data about the earthquake.

"Illuminating Japan" weblog, Great Tohoku Earthquake.

The TEPCO web site is under extreme load, and is throwing error messages on the main page: "An error occurred while processing your request. Reference #97.1c1fac41.1300025768.58c0d00". Deeper links appear to be less affected. Here is from a TEPCO news release of 3/13; this is data that could be mapped.

[Blackout in TEPCO's Service Area]
Total of about 0.26 million households are out of power.
Tokyo: 0
Kanagawa Pref.: 0
Tochigi Pref.: 7,366
Chiba Pref.: 301
Saitama Pref: 0
Gunma Pref.: 0
Ibaraki Pref: 247,853
Yamanashi Pref: 0
Shizuoka Pref: 0 (east of Fuji River)
[Supply and Demand Status within TEPCO's Service Area to Secure Stable Power
Backup supply from Shinshinano Conversion Station: 600MW
Backup supply from Sakuma Conversion Station: 300MW
Backup supply from Higashi Shimizu Conversion Station: 100MW
Backup supply from Kitahon Interconnection Facility: 600MW


Schedule for Japan's Rolling Blackout. This unattributed PDF is all in Japanese, which I don't read; it appears to be a scan of a facsimile, and has all external indications of being genuine. The map below is excerpted from that original, and is from the TEPCO power service area. There is more excellent coverage (in Japanese) on Gigazine: 2011/03/13 Rolling Blackouts.

Teiden20110313-japan-blackout-mapThe same map, in color, from the Gigazine coverage above

Stop08_02The corresponding time scale, also from Gigazine:

An even better map, in full color, via


Japanese power grid, via Note that a portion of the Japanese grid is on 50hz, and another portion is on 60hz.

National Trunk Line Connections, from a map collected by GENI, undated.