JAPANESE MILITARY SEALED OFF TOKAIMURA FOLLOWING NUCLEAR ACCIDENTOn Thursday morning, September 30, 1999, workers at the JCO Company plant in Tokaimura, Ibaraki prefecture, Japan accidentally started a nuclear chain reaction that emitted lethal levels of radiation.
About 15,000 REMs (REM stands for Radiation Equivalent Man--J.T.) were emitted at the uranium processing plant, located about 112 kilometers (70 miles) northeast of Tokyo. The JCO Company refines uranium so that it can be used in the nuclear reactors of Japan's electrical industry. About 33 percent of Japan's electrical power comes from nuclear plants.
"The accident occurred Thursday after workers mistakenly put too much uranium into a" stainless steel "bucketlike container, setting off an uncontrolled atomic reaction that continued for hours and sent radioactivity into the air."
"Instead of relying on the high-tech equipment that is standard at a nuclear facility, the workers were using their hands to pour the potentially deadly material (uranium oxide--J.T.) into the container, company officials said."
Overloading the bucket with uranium oxide set neutrons interacting with each other, creating a spontaneous nuclear chain reaction.
Forty-nine factory workers were exposed to the radiation, but only three were rushed to the Tokyo University Hospital.
One worker, Hisachi Ouchi, "had been exposed to about 17,000 (REM) times what is normal for annual exposure"
"It was a lethal dose," said Dr. Kamihiko Maekawa, Ouchi's physician, on Sunday, October 3. Dr. Maekawa added that "doctors have decided to conduct a transplant of blood stem cells sometime in the next few days. Doctors hope the operation helps to restore Ouchi's white-blood-cell count and prevent him from losing the function in his blood-producing bone marrow, which is keenly sensitive to radiation exposure."
Later that Thursday, a Chemical Warfare Response Team of Japan's Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) entered the JCO factory. An "off-limits zone" 200 meters in diameter was established around the plant.
That night, Masaru Hashimoto, governor of Ibaraki prefecture, extended the perimeter of the "off-limits zone" to 10 kilometers (6 miles) and urged residents living within the zone to remain in their homes and not venture outdoors.
Within the "off-limits zone" were 310,000 civilian residents, affected by what was rapidly becoming Japan's worst nuclear accident.
The Japanese government also closed the Joban line of the East Japan Railway Company, cutting off rail access to Mito and Tsuchiura and stranding thousands of commuters.
Gov. Hasimoto also closed schools and advised Japanese farmers not to harvest their crops until a full survey of the radiation damage has been completed.
On Sunday morning, October 3, 1999, Akito Arima, director of Japan's Science and Technology Agency, told a news conference that the nuclear mishap was being "seriously investigated" and "We should take steps to ensure that nothing like this ever happens again."
On Saturday, October 2, 1999, the Japanese government allowed the 160 people living next door to the JCO plant, who had been evacuated on Thursday, return to their homes. (See Asahi Shimbun for October 1, 1999. See also USA Today for September 30, 1999 and October 4, 1999, "Japan says nuclear leak contained" and "Japan probes 'inconceivable' safety lapses at plant. Domo arigato to Miyuki Tamura, UFO Roundup correspondent in Japan, for the background information.)
BRIGHT UFO SIGHTED IN SASKATCHEWANOn Wednesday, September 29, 1999, "a resident of a rural area near Pike Lake Provincial Park," located 30 kilometers (18 miles) southwest of Sakatoon (population 186,058) in western Canada, "reported seeing a bright light in the sky at about 6 a.m."
The light changed colour several times. What caught her attention was the way it zipped over Saskatoon from the south, then back again. She took a videotape of her sighting."
WHITE SAUCER SEEN IN EAST DUNDEE, ILLINOISOn Wednesday, September 29, 1999, at about 8 p.m., four people driving through East Dundee, Illinois (population 2,721) saw a strange object in the sky, which they first took for "a blimp of some sort."
"My wife, two children and myself were driving westward on Route 72 approaching Route 25 in East Dundee, Illinois," the witness reported. "My wife said, 'Guys, do you see this?'"
"I looked off in a southwesterly direction and saw a huge lighted shape in the sky moving less than 10 miles (16 kilometers) per hour, almost appearing to rock...but kind of stationary."
The witness described the UFO as "a white saucer, almost like a crystal but as big as a f***ing house!"
He added, "We pulled off the road to try to understand what we were seeing...We observed it for at least ten minutes.."
East Dundee is on Highway 68 just south of Carpentersville, about 36 miles (57 kilometers) northwest of Chicago. (Many thanks to Morgan Clements, director of the World Wide UFO Reporting Center for this report.)
UFO SEEN IN BROCKTON, MASSACHUSETTSOn Thursday, September 16, 1999, at 7:25 p.m., a female student at the high school in Brockton, Massachusetts (population 92,788), a city on Route 28 located about 25 miles (40 kilometers) south of Boston, spotted a bright light UFO in the twilight sky.
"I was at band practice. On the football field. The way we were facing (west--J.T.), the sun was directly in front of us," the witness reported. "I saw something pass slowly by and disappear. My first instinct is that it was the reflection of the sun bouncing off and shining towards me. Then I realized that the so-called 'plane' had passed in between me and the sun, so it couldn't have reflected at me."
"I panicked. I told my friend, but she didn't believe me. I was the only one who saw it." (Many thanks to Morgan Clements, director of the World Wide UFO Reporting Center for this report.)
ROD-SHAPED UFO SEEN IN LEVITTOWN, NEW YORKOn Saturday, October 2, 1999, at 8:45 p.m., Mike, age 38, and a friend "were standing on the deck (outdoor balcony) to my apartment" in Levittown, Long Island, New York state when they spotted "a baton-shaped UFO" in the northern sky.
"The deck is attached to the upper level of the house," Mike reported, "It's a really nice clear night. Lots of stars and a pretty good wind blowing. We were standing on the deck looking at the northern sky and talking about football and whatever."
"After about five minutes out there, I lifted my head a little higher, and out of nowhere, I saw this thing moving from right to left (east to west--J.T.) on an angle downward toward the treeline at an incredible speed. This thing was huge. It looked like a giant baton with a dimly-lit sphere on each end. I watched it for at least five seconds as it headed from east to west."
"As it hit the tree line, it made an exact 90-degree left turn, heading south, and blinked out. I was really blown away. It was huge. It was silent. It made a 90-degree turn into the wind, and its shape was...shall we say, out of this world. My friend ran across the street to my sister's (apartment) to tell her and my wife what happened."
Levittown (population 53,286) is on Route 24 on Long Island, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) east of New York City. (Many thanks to Morgan Clements, director of World Wide UFO Reporting Center for this report.)
MOTORIST SEES A UFO NEAR FARGO, NORTH DAKOTAOn Monday, September 6, 1999, at 10:30 p.m., a motorist saw "a UFO in the western sky traveling north. It was cigar-shaped and made no sound and had no lights.. But I could still see it because it blocked out the stars. It blocked out the last two stars in the handle of the Big Dipper (also known as Ursa Major--J.T.) It traveled pretty fast and was out of view very quickly."
Fargo, N.D. (population 74,200) is on Interstate Highway I-94 approximately 191 miles (305 kilometers) east of Bismarck, the state capital. (Many thanks to Morgan Clements, director of the World Wide UFO Reporting Center for this report.)
VIDEO AND PHOTOS OF ECLIPSE UFOs SURFACE IN UK AND FRANCEThe last eclipse of the Twentieth Century took place on August 11, 1999, but the event is still having ramifications in the UFO community.
According to ufologist Chris Evers, a video of a UFO was shot during the eclipse at Hull, East Yorkshire, UK by a 48-year-old amateur astronomer.
Hull is about 145 miles (232 kilometers) north of London.
On Sunday, September 26, 1999, Chris met with the astronomer, whose first name is John, at the latter's home in Hull.
During the eclipse of August 11, Chris explained, the witness "had his videocamera resting on an angled piece of plastic, pointing it towards the moving image of the moon across the sun. He used a welder's mask, with its distinctive green frontpiece."
"After watching the (video) clip for a few seconds," Chris added, he saw "something small, red and white, moving extremely quickly. It flew across the TV screen from centre right down the screen to bottom left and below the sun's position. All in all, it (the UFO) only appeared for three to four seconds." (Email Interview)
Two weeks ago, UFO Roundup was contacted by a French amateur astronomer who reported that he had seen photos taken of the mysterious sky flashes seen over Fecamp during the eclipse of August 11.
"I was in Fecamp on the 11th of August, and I have seen photographs of the several luminous orange spheres that were seen several kilometers (west) from Fecamp," he reported, "There was one also over the Channel Islands and in Cornouaille." (Email Interview)
SEVEN CROP CIRCLES FOUND NEAR EDMONTONOn Tuesday, September 21, 1999, a formation of seven crop circles was found near Edmonton, the capital of Canada's Alberta province.
"The formation consisted of seven circles in barley and is approximately 190 feet across. All of the circles have a 'radial' lay pattern, with the crop radiating out from the centre of the circles., not swirled as in the (usual) rotational lay pattern."
"There are many stretched nodes on the plant stalks within the formation." The nodes appear to be stretched 200 to 300 percent beyond normal, according to researcher Nancy Talbott. (Many thanks to Paul Anderson of Circles Phenomenon Research-Canada for this report.)
NASA SAYS FAULTY MATH DOOMED THE MARS CLIMATE ORBITER"NASA lost its $125 million Mars Climate Orbiter last week because one set of engineers was working with metric measurements while another set worked with English measurements, officials said Thursday," September 30, 1999.
"The error caused the spacecraft to fly too close to Mars, where it either burned or broke up, just as it was beginning to orbit the planet after a nine-month trip through space."
"Two teams were responsible for determining the spacecraft's course. One was at Lockheed Martin in Denver, which built the craft, while the other was at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, which controlled it."
"In plotting the course for (Mars) Climate Orbiter, Lockheed used English measurements-- standard for (USA) spacecraft builders--and passed them on to JPL. But JPL either assumed the figures were already in metric terms or somehow failed to make the conversion for them."
"'Somewhere the translation got lost,' said Doug Isbell, a NASA spokesman."
"The error was embedded in the orbiter's software from the beginning, NASA said, but was not apparent to controllers until too late."
"At issue was a critical calculation for the orbiter's thrust (which Mars Climate Orbiter needed to drop out of its flight path into a safe orbit around Mars--J.T.). Lockheed used an equation relying on pounds and feet while JPL wanted it in kilograms and meters."
"A kilogram is 2.2 pounds and a meter is 39.37 inches, or just over three feet. The error caused the spacecraft to veer too close-- 37 miles--to the Martian surface. That's well below the 53-mile minimum altitude at which a probe could go and survive. NASA had wanted it to fly no closer than 87 miles."
"'People sometimes make errors,' said Ed Weiler, NASA's space science chief. 'The problem here was not the error, it was the failure of...the checks and balances in our processes to detect the error.'"
"House Science Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) released a two-word statement: 'I'm speechless.'" (See USA Today for October 1, 1999, "Bad math added up to doomed Mars craft" by Paul Hoversten.)
(Editor's Comment: If NASA is so certin that the Mars Climate Orbiter crashed, then why don't they use the Mars Global Surveyor, which is already in orbit, to photograph the crash site? If there is a crash site, and I doubt it. Between the nuclear accident in Tokaimura and NASA losing the Mars Climate Orbiter, it's getting a little hard to feel confident about the outcome of the Y2K situation.)
ROUNDUP CORRIGENDA:The proper name of the MCO in last week's issue is Mars Climate Orbiter, not Mars Climate Observer. UFO Roundup regrets the error (Now corrected on the website).
The Munising, Michigan UFO story in Volume 4, Issue #22 should have been properly attributed to Morgan Clements, director of the World Wide UFO Reporting Center (Now corrected on the website).
Readers, when you email us news stories, be sure to list the source. Thanks.
1493: STRANGE ENCOUNTER ON MARTINIQUEEveryone has heard of the legendary voyage of Christopher Columbus to the Americas in the autumn of 1492. But the man's later voyages through the Caribbean Sea are less well-known. Which is a pity because the self-styled "Admiral of the Ocean Sea" had a strange encounter in 1493.
On March 4, 1493, Columbus wrote that he had encountered "women warriors on the island of Matinino (today it's called Martinique--J.T.)" who "covered themselves with copper plates" and used "bows and arrows made of sugar cane."
Alfonso Ulloa, who accompanied Columbus on all four of his voyages, mentions the mysterious women warriors of Matinino in his book, Historia del Senor Don Fernando Colombo, adding that they were worshippers of the moon.
"They related that the day was for the Sun, and the night for the Moon; whence these women told the time by the other stars, or when the Great Bear rose, or another star set."
"One of them (a Taino or Carib Indian--J.T.) coming before the Admiral naked as as he was born from his mother's womb, said in a loud voice that he and the rest were Caribs, and that the gulf (Caribbean Sea) cut off Hispaniola from them. He said that the island of Matinino was peopled only with women to whom the Caribs went on certain days of the year. That the women sent the boys to their fathers to be brought up by them."
If the Taino canoes arrived at Matinino at the wrong time of year, the warrior women were said to flee into "vast caverns" at the foot of Mount Pelee that extended "deep into the earth."
Curiously, the first Spanish conquistadors to reach Cozumel, an island off the coast of Mexico's Yucatan peninsula encountered the same legend of warrior women who worshipped the moon and took refuge in vast caves. An island called Las Mujeres (Spanish for the women) was said to be their home, and the island was supposed to have large caverns running under the sea all the way to Cuba!
Vast underground caverns are a persistent legend among all of the indigenous people of the Americas. One wonders if it has any basis in fact. (See Secret Cities of Old South America by Harold T. Wilkins, reprint Adventures Unlimited Press, Kempton, Illinois, 1998, pages 152 to 156.)
(Editor's Comment: Imagine what would have happened if Columbus had landed in Mexico in 1492 instead of the Bahamas. Chris's last voyage would have been up the stone steps of the pyramid at Teotiahuacan. Meanwhile, up at the top, the high priest of the Aztecs, old Nezalhualpilli, whistles a little tune to himself and sharpens his obsidian knife. One slab--no waiting.)
Join us next week for more UFO news from around the planet, brought to you by "the paper that goes home," UFO Roundup. Enjoy your Columbus Day weekend.
UFO ROUNDUP: Copyright 1999 by Masinaigan Productions, all rights reserved. Readers may post news items from UFO Roundup on their websites or in newsgroups provided that they credit the newsletter and its editor by name and list the date of issue in which the item first appeared.