Monthly Archives: August 2011

TEPCO finds possibly active faults near Fukushima

Tokyo Electric Power Company suspects there are 5 active faults near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant that could affect the crippled plant if they cause a tremor.

TEPCO made the discovery after the Japanese government requested utilities and nuclear agencies to reexamine faults around nuclear plants.

The directive followed a strong earthquake on April 11th from a fault thought to be inactive, 50 kilometers from the Fukushima plant.

TEPCO said on Tuesday that geological deformations were observed for the first time at 5 faults, suggesting they are active.

The utility will continue drilling to investigate the conditions, though the firm believes any tremors would be within the quake-resistance standard.

Besides TEPCO, two nuclear agencies reported 9 faults near their nuclear facilities in Ibaraki Prefecture that could be active.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011 06:16 +0900 (JST)


First Fukushima rice batch shipped after passing tests

FUKUSHIMA — A rice farmer in Koriyama on Monday became the first grower of the year to start shipping his crop from Fukushima Prefecture after the local government detected no radioactive contamination and said there was no reason to worry about the quality of the harvest.

Shunichi Sakuma, 55, shipped nearly 4 tons of rice from fields about 60 km from the leaking Fukushima No. 1 power plant.

The Fukushima Prefectural Government tested Sakuma’s brown rice for radiation Friday but found no problems. His brand, Mizuho Kogane, should be on local supermarket shelves by Tuesday.

“I am relieved because I’m able to ship rice and I can sell it without any worries. I want the government and Tokyo Electric Power Co. to put an end to the (nuclear) accident so that farmers can keep growing rice here on this land,” he said.

The prefecture was set to test another 15 samples of early rice from six other municipalities in Fukushima. The prefecture will approve shipments if radiation levels are found to be safe.

(My emphasis above)

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High radiation levels on land near Fukushima plant

The education and science ministry has identified land near the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant where radiation levels are higher than IAEA-designated emergency levels.

The ministry released a map on Monday showing the contaminated land. It conducted a survey for radioactive cesium at some 2,200 locations mainly in Fukushima Prefecture in June and July.

The map shows 29.46 million bequerels of cesium on one-square-meter land in a location in Okuma Town, several hundreds meters from the nuclear plant.

The figure exceeds the IAEA standard of 10 million bequerels per square meter under which people are required to temporarily evacuate.

Two other monitoring spots northwest of the nuclear plant were also found contaminated with radioactive cesium exceeding the IAEA level.
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Why the Fukushima disaster is worse than Chernobyl

Japan has been slow to admit the scale of the meltdown. But now the truth is coming out. David McNeill reports from Soma City

Monday, 29 August 2011

Some scientists say Fukushima is worse than the 1986 Chernobyl accident, with which it shares a maximum level-7 rating on the sliding scale of nuclear disasters.

Yoshio Ichida is recalling the worst day of his 53 years: 11 March, when the sea swallowed up his home and killed his friends. The Fukushima fisherman was in the bath when the huge quake hit and barely made it to the open sea in his boat in the 40 minutes before the 15-metre tsunami that followed. When he got back to port, his neighbourhood and nearly everything else was gone. “Nobody can remember anything like this,” he says.

Now living in a refugee centre in the ruined coastal city of Soma, Mr Ichida has mourned the 100 local fishermen killed in the disaster and is trying to rebuild his life with his colleagues. Every morning, they arrive at the ruined fisheries co-operative building in Soma port and prepare for work. Then they stare out at the irradiated sea, and wait. “Some day we know we’ll be allowed to fish again. We all want to believe that.”

This nation has recovered from worse natural – and manmade – catastrophes. But it is the triple meltdown and its aftermath at the Fukushima nuclear power plant 40km down the coast from Soma that has elevated Japan into unknown, and unknowable, terrain. Across the northeast, millions of people are living with its consequences and searching for a consensus on a safe radiation level that does not exist. Experts give bewilderingly different assessments of its dangers.

Some scientists say Fukushima is worse than the 1986 Chernobyl accident, with which it shares a maximum level-7 rating on the sliding scale of nuclear disasters. One of the most prominent of them is Dr Helen Caldicott, an Australian physician and long time anti-nuclear activist who warns of “horrors to come” in Fukushima.

Chris Busby, a professor at the University of Ulster known for his alarmist views, generated controversy during a Japan visit last month when he said the disaster would result in more than 1 million deaths. “Fukushima is still boiling its radionuclides all over Japan,” he said. “Chernobyl went up in one go. So Fukushima is worse.”

On the other side of the nuclear fence are the industry friendly scientists who insist that the crisis is under control and radiation levels are mostly safe. “I believe the government and Tokyo Electric Power [Tepco, the plant’s operator] are doing their best,” said Naoto Sekimura, vice-dean of the Graduate School of Engineering at the University of Tokyo. Mr Sekimura initially advised residents near the plant that a radioactive disaster was “unlikely” and that they should stay “calm”, an assessment he has since had to reverse.

Slowly, steadily, and often well behind the curve, the government has worsened its prognosis of the disaster. Last Friday, scientists affiliated with the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said the plant had released 15,000 terabecquerels of cancer-causing Cesium, equivalent to about 168 times the 1945 atomic bombing of Hiroshima, the event that ushered in the nuclear age. (Professor Busby says the release is at least 72,000 times worse than Hiroshima).

Caught in a blizzard of often conflicting information, many Japanese instinctively grope for the beacons they know. Mr Ichida and his colleagues say they no longer trust the nuclear industry or the officials who assured them the Fukushima plant was safe. But they have faith in government radiation testing and believe they will soon be allowed back to sea.

That’s a mistake, say sceptics, who note a consistent pattern of official lying, foot-dragging and concealment. Last week, officials finally admitted something long argued by its critics: that thousands of people with homes near the crippled nuclear plant may not be able to return for a generation or more. “We can’t rule out the possibility that there will be some areas where it will be hard for residents to return to their homes for a long time,” said Yukio Edano, the government’s top government spokesman. “We are very sorry.”

Last Friday, hundreds of former residents from Futaba and Okuma, the towns nearest the plant, were allowed to visit their homes – perhaps for the last time – to pick up belongings. Wearing masks and radiation suits, they drove through the 20km contaminated zone around the plant, where hundreds of animals have died and rotted in the sun, to find kitchens and living rooms partly reclaimed by nature. “It’s hard to believe we ever lived here,” one former resident told NHK.

Articles continues at:

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In German with Japanese subtitles

ドイツZDF-Frontal21 福島原発事故、その後(日本語字幕) Uploaded by Entelchen3
ドイツのTV局ZDF「フロンタール21」シリーズが 8/26 放送した番組 Die Folgen von Fukushima。福島第一原発から80キロ離れた本宮の農家大 …

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Worker Died of Acute Leukemia, TEPCO Said in Aug 30 Press Conference

But the doctor assured the company that the death had nothing to do with having worked at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant.

The unnamed worker died in early August, after having worked at Fukushima I for about a week. TEPCO’s Matsumoto says the company does not know where the worker had worked before he came to Fukushima I.

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Grassroots organization: Some areas in Tokyo suburbs contaminated as seriously as in Chernobyl

The “Radiation Defense Project”, which is a grassroots group led by KINOSHITA Kota, journalist, measured soil radioactivity in 150 spots in the Tokyo metropolitan area and released the survey results on August 8, 2011. There are four highly contaminated spots equivalent to “Chernobyl Zone 3”, whose radioactive level is 185,000 to 555,000Bq/m2 so as to entitle a right to relocate to anyone who wishes to do so. There are 29 less contaminated spots equivalent to “Chernobyl Zone 4”, whose radioactive level is 37,000 to 185,000Bq/m2, in which residents are not required to evacuate but are subjected to strict health monitoring. The most shocking results were found in Misato City, Saitama Prefecture. The city has been known as a “hot spot” due to its high air dose rate and had a surprisingly high level of radiation, 919,100Bq/m2. This is equivalent to “Chernobyl Zone 2”, whose radioactive level is 550,000 to 1,480,000Bq/m2 so as to recommend all residents to evacuate”. (KUROGANE Ko)

Released contamination map see web site at:

 ジャーナリスト・木下黄太氏の呼びかけで集まった市民で構成された「放射能防御プロジェクト」による首都圏150箇所の土壌放射能測定結果が、8月8日の記者会見で公表されました。検査結果ですが、首都圏でもチェルノブイリ事故の際の「第3区域」(185,000~555,000Bq/m2;希望者に移住の権利が与えられる)に相当する高濃度汚染地域が4カ所出ました。住民を避難させないが厳重に健康管理を行うべきとされる「第4区域」(37,000~ 185,000Bq/m2)相当は29もの場所に及んでいます。そして、最も衝撃的な検査結果が出たのが埼玉県三郷市です。ここは、原発事故の直後から既に空間線量がずば抜けて高い「ホットスポット」として知られていましたが、今回の検査では、なんと919,100Bq/m2という途方もない数値が出ました。これは、チェルノブイリ事故における「第2区域」(住民全員に避難勧告;550,000~1,480,000Bq/m2)に相当します。(黒鉄好)・防御プロジェクトHP  ・首都圏土壌調査結果(pdf)  ・動画(OurPlanet-TV)  *写真=発表された汚染マップ
Posted by Labornet Japan at 11:15 AM

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Radioactive cesium in San Francisco Bay Area milk close to exceeding EPA’s Maximum Contaminant Level
August 29th, 2011 at 02:39 PM

UCB Milk Sampling, UC Berkeley, August 25, 2011:

The MDA was reduced considerably since the last test on August 11.

Milk with best buy date of August 22, 2011:

Cesium-134 .047 Becquerels per liter (1.27 picocuries per liter)
Cesium-137 .052 Bq/liter (1.41 pCi/l)
A total of 2.78 pCi/l of radioactive cesium was detected.

“EPA lumps these gamma and beta emitters together under one collective MCL [Maximum Contaminant Level], so if you’re seeing cesium-137 in your milk or water, the MCL is 3.0 picocuries per liter; if you’re seeing iodine-131, the MCL is 3.0; if you’re seeing cesium-137 and iodine-131, the MCL is still 3.0.”

For any researchers who may be reading…

Japan’s 3.11 Earthquake, Tsunami, Atomic Meltdown:
A Guide to Asia-Pacific Journal Resources

This is a guide to the approximately one hundred articles published by The Asia-Pacific Journal on the 3.11 earthquake, tsunami, atomic meltdown and their aftermath including the debate over Japan’s energy policy, the future of nuclear power, the devastation of the Northeast, plans for resettlement and reconstruction, and the resurgence of social movements. Articles are arranged within the following categories with the most recent ones first:

I. Earthquake and Tsunami Damage: Consequences for land, life, economy
II. Nuclear Meltdown: Radiation and its consequences for Japan, the world
III. Energy Alternatives: Nuclear Power, Coal, Oil, Natural Gas, Renewables
IV. Nuclear Weapons and Nuclear Power
V. Government, Corporate & International Response to Earthquake Tsunami and Meltdown
VI. Citizen, NGO and International Responses to Earthquake Tsunami and Meltdown
VII. Literary, Artistic and Press Responses to Earthquake Tsunami and Meltdown

Please consult the index on the home page to search using keywords, place names and topics.
Coming soon: A guide to other sources on 3.11

All articles available at:

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Fukushima No. 4 unit explosion caused by hydrogen leak from No. 3

TOKYO (Kyodo) — Tokyo Electric Power Co. has found evidence that the March 15 explosion at its Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant’s No. 4 reactor unit was caused by hydrogen that had flown from the adjacent No. 3 unit, officials said recently.

When it measured on Thursday the radiation levels of filters of exhaust pipes from the No. 4 and the No. 3 unit before a common exhaust stack, the utility found evidence indicating radioactive steam and hydrogen had flown into the No. 4 reactor building, in an opposite flow from usual, the utility officials said.

The radiation was 6.7 millisieverts per hour near the junction but fell to 0.5 millisievert and 0.1 millisievert at the approach to the building, they said.

The plant operator known as TEPCO initially believed the explosion at the No. 4 unit was caused by hydrogen gas produced by the exposure of fuel stored under water in a pool in that building. But TEPCO officials said the new evidence points to the possibility, first suspected in May, that hydrogen gas had flown from the No. 3 unit as the fuel was not particularly damaged.

(Mainichi Japan) August 29, 2011

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Above-limit cesium found at incinerators in 7 prefectures

[PHOTO]Rice that was harvested early in Aizubange, Fukushima Prefecture, is checked for radiation in a germanium semiconductor detector in the prefectural city of Koriyama on Aug. 25. (Mainichi)

TOKYO (Kyodo) — Incinerator dust and ash with too much radioactive cesium to allow it to be buried has been found at 42 facilities in Tokyo, Chiba, Iwate and three other prefectures as well as Fukushima, the Environment Ministry said Saturday.

The result of a survey of 469 facilities in 16 prefectures in northeastern and eastern Japan since late June was reported as a panel of experts at the ministry considers how to allow dust and ash containing over 8,000 becquerels of cesium per kilogram to be buried.

The government has already decided to allow dust and ash containing 8,000 becquerels or less of cesium to be buried in waste disposal sites only if residential houses are not built there in the future.

A worker exposed to such a level every day would still not exceed the annual limit of 1 millisievert for ordinary people.

But local governments are required to temporarily store such dust and ash at disposal sites until the panel reaches a conclusion.

The amounts detected were up to 95,300 becquerels in Fukushima, 70,800 becquerels in Chiba and 30,000 becquerels in Iwate.

Since 9,740 becquerels of cesium per kilogram was found in dust at an incineration plant in Tokyo’s Edogawa Ward in June, other prefectures also covered in the ministry survey such as Gunma and Ibaraki have released similar findings.

(Mainichi Japan) August 28, 2011

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Fukushima Peaches to Be Pushed by Fukushima City Junior High School Students

Now the adults in Fukushima Prefecture are using school children to push Fukushima produce to the rest of the country.

Students from a junior high school in Fukushima City in Fukushima will promote locally-grown peaches in Yokohama, where they will spend 3 days on their school trip. According to the Kanagawa Shinbun article below, the students are indignant that the local peach growers are suffering because of the “baseless rumor” that their peaches are radioactive.

They are radioactive, actually, and that’s according to Fukushima Prefecture’s measurement. But since the level (64 becquerels/kg) is far less than the national provisional safety limit (500 becquerels/kg), the students, along with their parents and teachers no doubt, consider it as “baseless rumor”, that the fickle, unreasonable consumers in big cities are causing the suffering.

From Kanagawa Shinbun (8/28/2011):


The seniors at Hirano Junior High School (Hirano District, Iizaka-machi in Fukushima City) will conduct a PR campaign in Yamashita Park in Yokohama City on August 30 to promote peaches grown in their town. Fukushima is well-known for peaches, but the sales has plummeted because of the “baseless rumor” after the nuclear power plant accident. The students are visiting Yokohama on their school trip. Using handmade banners and pamphlets, they will appeal safety, and distribute freshly picked peaches for free.


Their school is located in Hirano District [in Iizaka-machi in Fukushima City], a well-known fruit-growing region with many orchards for tourists. In normal years many visitors go there from the Tokyo metropolitan area to pick peaches. This year, however, because of the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant accident, the number of tourists has dropped by 90% and the orders for peaches have dropped by 70%.


According to the survey by the Fukushima prefectural government, the maximum amount of radioactive cesium detected from peaches grown in Hirano District is 64 becquerels/kg, far below the national provisional limit of 500 becquerels/kg. The seniors at Hirano Junior High felt it [that tourist stop visiting and people not buying the peaches in Hirano] was “baseless rumor” causing the suffering of the people in the area where they grew up. So, they planned a PR campaign to promote the town’s peaches in Yokohama where they were going to visit on their 3 days 2 nights school trip. The campaign is dubbed “福島は負けない~食べてくなんしょ福島の桃 Fukushima will never be defeated – please eat Fukushima’s peaches [said in Fukushima dialect]”.


On August 26 at school, they made pamphlets and cards that they will distribute in Yokohama. The 14-year-old chairperson for the school trip organizing committee said, “Fukushima’s peaches are safe, and we want to convey that message with our own words”.


70 seniors from the school will launch their PR campaign from 5:30PM on August 30 in Yamashita Park (Yamashita-cho, Naka-ku in Yokohama City) with handmade banners to promote local produce [peaches]. They will distribute 150 bags (each bag will contain 2 peaches) of “Kawanakajima Hakuto [white peach]” peaches, freshly picked that morning [and rushed to the park] along with the “safety declaration” by the Fukushima governor and the mayor of Fukushima City.

It sort of makes you lose hope in the next generation.

300 peaches, each weighing, probably 200 grams, so it’s 60 kilograms total. 64 becquerels/kg times 60 kilograms – 3,840 becquerels of radioactive cesium right there.

Yokohama City, which already made kindergarteners and school children eat radioactive beef, should have no reason to question the campaign.

All it says is the produce has tested below the provisional safety limit. His smiling face is supposed to assure consumers.

Again, from EX-SKF at:

OT: Radioactive Rice Hay Story Still Doesn’t Quite Add Up for Me Personally

Quid est veritas?

The answer seems to be whatever is reported by the largest number of media outlets, mainstream and alternative. I’m just wondering aloud about my personal misgivings. (For those who insist on facts and figures only, you can stop right here, and have a nice weekend.)

The official story of radioactive rice hay is as follows:

The rice farmers left the rice hay in the fields after the harvest last fall, because the weather was supposedly not good. Too much rain, not enough time for the hay to dry.

When Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant reactor buildings blew up, the rice hay was sitting on the ground. Then the rain and snow fell on the hay, contaminating it with radioactive materials.

The rice farmers collected the hay and sold/gave it to cattle farmers, who then fed the rice hay to their cows to improve the texture of the meat before the cows are sold to the market.

The cows were later found with radioactive cesium, and it was determined that it was from the contaminated rice hay that they ate.

Here are my problems:

If the rice hay had been sitting on the ground since August/September last year and it rained and snowed, wouldn’t the rice hay pretty much rot by March this year?

The radioactive rice hay, particularly that from Miyagi Prefecture, has been shipped all over Japan. Why? Because, apparently, the rice hay from Miyagi (and Iwate) is considered high quality because the rice there is considered premium. Cattle farmers outside Miyagi purchase the Miyagi rice hay to feed their premium cows. This cattle farm in Yamagata proudly says their premium cows are fed with only quality rice hay from Miyagi and Yamagata.

Would the cattle farmers all over Japan buy the rice hay that was sitting on the ground for more than 6 months in rain and snow?

Another problem I have is that these cows start to be fed with rice hay one year before they are sold to the market. The cows that were found with radioactive cesium in July were sold and processed into meat between April and July. So they must have been eating rice hay since March – July of last year, and ate the radioactive rice hay for less than 3 months at most. Many cows were sold and processed in April, so they ate the radioactive rice hay for less than a month.

It turns out that Miyagi Prefecture is the number one producer of rice hay for cattle feed in Tohoku. Even if the rice hay producers do not roll the hay until it’s ready to be shipped, I would think they keep it indoors at all times.

The government says it’s the rice hay that contaminated the cows, the media outlets say so too. Producers, wholesalers and retailers of domestic beef all say so.

The cows got contaminated, and the rice hay got contaminated. But they may be the two separate events, and may not have happened the way people say it happened. Just my non-expert musings.

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Japan nuke plant radiation leak exceeds Hiroshima

TOKYO (AP) — The amount of radioactive cesium that has leaked from a tsunami-hit nuclear plant is about equal to 168 of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima at the end of World War II, Japan’s nuclear agency said Friday.

The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency supplied the estimate at a parliamentary panel’s request, but it noted a simple comparison between an instantaneous bomb blast and long-term accidental leak is impossible and the results could be “irrelevant.”

The report estimated for each of the 16 isotopes released from “Little Boy” and 31 of those detected at the Fukushima plant but didn’t provide the total. NISA has said the radiation leaked from Fukushima was about one-sixth of what the Chernobyl disaster released in 1986.

The March 11 earthquake and tsunami caused three reactor cores at Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant to melt. Several blasts and fires also sent massive radiation into the environment.

The report said the damaged plant has released 15,000 tera becquerels of cesium-137, which lingers for decades and could cause cancer, compared with the 89 tera becquerels released by the U.S. uranium bomb.

The bomb “Little Boy” dropped on Aug. 6, 1945, destroyed most of the city and killed as many as 140,000 people. A second atomic bombing three days later in Nagasaki killed tens of thousands more, prompting Japan to surrender and ending WWII.

The Hiroshima bomb claimed most of its victims in the intense heatwave and neutron rays from a midair nuclear explosion and the highly radioactive fallout. No one has died from radiation leaks from the Fukushima plant, where explosion from hydrogen buildup damaged reactor buildings but did not involve reactor cores.

In this Monday, March 21, 2011 file photo released by Tokyo Electric Power Co., gray smoke rises from Unit 3 of the tsunami-stricken Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan. (AP Photo/Tokyo Electric Power Co.)

The report estimated that Iodine-131, another isotope that accumulates in thyroid gland, and Stronthium-90, which has a 28-year half-life and could accumulate in bones, leaked from the plant in amounts about equal to 2.5 of the Hiroshima bombs.

A separate government report released Thursday said that 22 percent of Cesium-137 and 13 percent of Iodine-131 released from the plant during the crisis have fallen on the ground, with the remaining either fell into the ocean or outside the area of simulation.

The National Institute for Environmental Studies said its simulation of aerial flow, diffusion and deposition of the two isotopes released from the tsunami-hit plant showed their impact reached most of Japan’s eastern half, ranging from Iwate in the north to Tokyo and central prefecture (state) of Shizuoka. Both Iwate and Shizuoka are more than 180 miles (300 kilometers) away from the plant.

The study also showed that Iodine-131 tended to spread radially and Cesium-137 tended to create “hot spots.”

Some 100,000 people evacuated their homes due to radiation threats from the Fukushima plant.

On Friday, about 30 residents from the immediate neighborhood of the plant were allowed to briefly return home to get clothes and other necessities they left early in the crisis. But officials have said their area may stay off-limits for years.

Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. and the government aim to bring the reactors to stable cold shutdowns by early January. The government is working to decontaminate areas outside the 12-mile (20-kilometer) restricted zone where access may be relaxed in coming weeks.

(Mainichi Japan) August 27, 2011

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60% of survey respondents say gov’t info on disasters least reliable

TOKYO (Kyodo) — Nearly 60 percent of respondents to a survey about the credibility of information issued after a disaster said the government and ministries are the least reliable information source, the university professor who conducted the survey said Friday.

The survey was conducted in June by the research office of Hirotada Hirose, an honorary professor of psychology at Tokyo Woman’s Christian University, targeting 1,200 people nationwide aged 15 to 79 years old.

The actual figure of 59.2 percent represents a jump from 22.7 percent of respondents in a similar survey last year by the university, indicating public distrust of information provided by the government has risen sharply in the wake of the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

“With necessary information (about the nuclear crisis) having come out late, citizens acutely sensed the faithlessness of (the state’s) public relations,” Hirose said.

The survey found 15.5 percent of respondents cited broadcasters’ own programs as the least reliable source of information, while 7.5 percent said private research agencies and think tanks were the least reliable.

As for the most reliable source of disaster information, 21.3 percent cited prefectures and municipalities, 18.8 percent selected original TV programs, and 17.4 percent said experts at universities and research institutions.

Some 10.6 percent chose the government and municipalities as the most reliable information source.

Regarding radiation exposure, 45.1 percent said they are extremely concerned and 35.8 percent said they are quite concerned.

Yet when it comes to buying food, 35.4 percent said they do not, or try not to buy foods whose safety is in doubt. Two-thirds of respondents, or 64.5 percent, said they do not care much or at all.

(Mainichi Japan) August 27, 2011

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Catching up on some now-old news

Large Zone Near Japanese Reactors to Be Off Limits
Published: August 21, 2011

TOKYO — Broad areas around the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant could soon be declared uninhabitable, perhaps for decades, after a government survey found radioactive contamination that far exceeded safe levels, several major media outlets said Monday.

Times Topic: Japan — Earthquake, Tsunami and Nuclear Crisis (2011)

The formal announcement, expected from the government in coming days, would be the first official recognition that the March accident could force the long-term depopulation of communities near the plant, an eventuality that scientists and some officials have been warning about for months. Lawmakers said over the weekend — and major newspapers reported Monday — that Prime Minister Naoto Kan was planning to visit Fukushima Prefecture, where the plant is, as early as Saturday to break the news directly to residents. The affected communities are all within 12 miles of the plant, an area that was evacuated immediately after the accident.

The government is expected to tell many of these residents that they will not be permitted to return to their homes for an indefinite period. It will also begin drawing up plans for compensating them by, among other things, renting their now uninhabitable land. While it is unclear if the government would specify how long these living restrictions would remain in place, news reports indicated it could be decades. That has been the case for areas around the Chernobyl plant in Ukraine after its 1986 accident.

Since the Fukushima accident, evacuations have been a sensitive topic for the government, which has been criticized for being slow to admit the extent of the disaster and trying to limit the size of the areas affected, despite possible risks to public health. Until now, Tokyo had been saying it would lift the current evacuation orders for most areas around the plant early next year, when workers are expected to stabilize Fukushima Daiichi’s damaged nuclear reactors.

The government was apparently forced to alter its plans after the survey by the Ministry of Science and Education, released over the weekend, which showed even higher than expected radiation levels within the 12-mile evacuation zone around the plant. The most heavily contaminated spot was in the town of Okuma about two miles southwest of the plant, where someone living for a year would be exposed to 508.1 millisieverts of radiation — far above the level of 20 millesieverts per year that the government considers safe.

The survey found radiation above the safe level at three dozen spots up to 12 miles from the plant. That has called into question how many residents will actually be able to return to their homes even after the plant is stabilized.

Some 80,000 people were evacuated from communities around the plant, which was crippled by the magnitude 9.0 earthquake and towering tsunami on March 11. Many of those residents now live in temporary housing or makeshift refugee shelters, and are allowed back to their homes only for brief, tightly supervised visits in which they must wear protective clothing.

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The latest from Arnie Gundersen

Have been traveling for the past week or so and currently have very bad internet access here in the U.S. Not sure when I will be able to update this next, but please check back in a day or so. Will let you know I’m still alive and well.

[Actually, giving the leading Japanese papers a quick perusal, there is nothing TODAY to report. Will have to check back over the past week, but I find the LACK of reporting on what is one of the most wide-spread, man-made disasters threatening life on the planet (oh, sorry, is that wording just a tad too strong?) quite telling.]

In the meantime, please stay up-to-date by checking EX-SKF’s blog (the best) at So many excellent reports on that site.

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…And Condenser Pipe for Reactor 4 Spent Fuel Pool Leaks

Part of normal daily life as we’ve seen at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant.

The stainless pipe that circulates water for the condenser unit for the Spent Fuel Pool of Reactor 4 has been found leaking. The amount of radioactive materials in the water (coming out of the SFP) is very low, says TEPCO, only 10 becquerels/liter. It is a very minor drip, of one drop in 30 seconds or so, according to Mainichi Shinbun (in Japanese; 8/23/2011).

TEPCO’s countermeasure is to put a bucket under the dripping pipe. The cooling operation continues uninterrupted.

TEPCO’s handout for the press on August 23 is still only in Japanese. I put the green circle around the leak location:

See diagram at:

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13% of Radioactive Iodine, 22% of Radioactive Cesium from Fukushima I Nuke Plant Landed in Central/Northern Japan
The rest was either blown off to the ocean or landed somewhere else in Japan.

Researchers at the National Institute of Environmental Studies (NIES) had their paper published in the electronic version of “Geophysical Research Letters” published by the American Geophysical Union on August 11, and they announced the result of their research in Japan on August 25.

The paper was submitted on June 27, and they kept quiet until the research was published. The researchers at this government institute therefore knew all along how bad the contamination was all over southern Tohoku and all of Kanto and part of Chubu.

Abstract of the paper titled “Atmospheric behavior, deposition, and budget of radioactive materials from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in March 2011” by Yu Morino, Toshimasa Ohara,* and Masato Nishizawa, Regional Environment Research Center, National Institute for Environmental Studies, 16-2, Onogawa, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, 305-8506, Japan:

To understand the atmospheric behavior of radioactive materials emitted from theFukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant after the nuclear accident that accompanied the great Tohoku earthquake and tsunami on 11 March 2011, we simulated the transport and deposition of iodine-131 and cesium-137 using a chemical transport model. The model roughly reproduced the observed temporal and spatial variations of deposition rates over 15 Japanese prefectures (60–400 km from the plant), including Tokyo, although there were some discrepancies between the simulated and observed rates. These discrepancies were likely due to uncertainties in the simulation of emission, transport, and deposition processes in the model. A budget analysis indicated that approximately 13% of iodine-131 and 22% of cesium-137 were deposited over land in Japan, and the rest was deposited over the ocean or transported out of the model domain (700 × 700 km2). Radioactivity budgets are sensitive to temporal emission patterns. Accurate estimation of emissions to the air is important for estimation of the atmospheric behavior of radionuclides and their subsequent behavior in land water, soil, vegetation, and the ocean.

No other nuclides are discussed in the paper. But just for these two, if you look at the deposition and concentration simulation maps below, you see that at least half Fukushima Prefecture is “red”, not just along the coast, which means the highest deposition of both iodine-131 and cesium-137 in high concentration. Southern Miyagi is just as bad as Fukushima , so is part of Ibaraki and Tochigi.

more at:


Well, duh. Of course you would turn it in. Why the need for this article?

People Are Awesome: Japanese Citizens Return $78 Million in Cash Lost During Quake
Senior Editor
August 19, 2011

Japan is known as a society built on respect for others’ things. In the days immediately following the country’s devastating earthquake and tsunami in March, a Slate article about why the Japanese don’t loot noted the strict rules of order that stabilize the island nation: “[I]f you find an umbrella and turn it in to the cops, you get a finder’s fee of 5 to 20 percent of its value if the owner picks it up,” it said. “If they don’t pick it up within six months, the finder gets to keep the umbrella.”

These types of traditional official incentives bound the country together during the worst of circumstances. And today we can quantify just how orderly Japan was in time of crisis: According to official police estimates, Japanese citizens have turned in approximately $78 million in cash and valuables found amid the rubble since the earthquake hit five months ago. Found wallets alone contained almost $48 million in cash, while the other $30 million was retrieved from safes washed away by the waves.

It’s been difficult to find the silver lining in a tragedy that took more than 18,000 lives, but the humanity and decency shown by Japanese citizens in the wake of the horror may be it.

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These are some video links to something I wanted to upload back on Day 163. Didn’t get to do that (obviously) and do not have references for them now… Must have thought them important, though.


Between trips here so haven’t been able to post. Lots to catch up on and might be able to do that later this week. [Apologies if these videos are not showing up right on your screen. Might be some setting I don’t have just right on WordPress.]

In the meantime, a very important update from Arnie Gundersen.


New Data Supports Previous Fairewinds Analysis, as Contamination Spreads in Japan and Worldwide

New Data Supports Previous Fairewinds Analysis, as Contamination Spreads in Japan and Worldwide from Fairewinds Associates on Vimeo.

Fairewinds Associates  l  22 August, 2011

Newly released neutron data from three University of California San Diego scientists confirms Fairewinds’ April analysis that the nuclear core at Fukushima Daiichi turned on and off after TEPCO claimed its reactors had been shutdown. This periodic nuclear chain reaction (inadvertent criticality) continued to contaminate the surrounding environment and upper atmosphere with large doses of radioactivity.

In a second area of concern, Fairewinds disagrees the NRC’s latest report claiming that all Fukushima spent fuel pools had no problems following the earthquake. In a new revelation, the NRC claims that the plutonium found more than 1 mile offsite actually came from inside the nuclear reactors. If such a statement were true, it indicates that the nuclear power plant containments failed and were breached with debris landing far from the power plants themselves. Such a failure of the containment system certainly necessitates a complete review of all US reactor containment design and industry assurances that containments will hold in radioactivity in the event of a nuclear accident. The evidence Fairewinds reviewed to date continues to support its April analysis that the detonation in the Unit 3 Spent Fuel pool was the cause of plutonium found off site.

Third, the burning of radioactive materials (building materials, trees, lawn grass, rice straw) by the Japanese government will cause radioactive Cesium to spread even further into areas within Japan that have been previously clean, and across the Pacific Ocean to North America.

And finally, the Japanese government has yet to grasp the severity of the contamination within Japan, and therefore has not developed a coherent plan mitigate the accident and remediate the environment. Without a cohesive plan to deal with this ongoing problem of large scale radioactive contamination, the radioactivity will continue to spread throughout Japan and around the globe further exacerbating the problem and raising costs astronomically.

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And another, also via

Reporting from the grounds of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station

While implying the accident is in anyway stabilized stretches the bounds of credibility, this is a rare look inside the plant grounds. The “cover” and the “cooled fuel” comments were clearly made before news of the cracks appearing in the ground around the reactors was released. No cover will mitigate the danger of radiaoactive steam releases from that source, and the cooler temperatures in the reactors may be simply because the corium is moving down through the bottom of the containment into the ground and the ground water. Consider the source of the video when evaluating its content. But, it is interesting to finally see some of what is happening at the troubled plant.

Uploaded by  on Aug 17, 2011

An update on progress by people working at the Fukushima Daiichi site. Includes video of waste water treatment and cooling system for fuel ponds. Japanese audio with English subtitles. Courtesy TEPCO

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If you Prayed for Japan, it is time to Fight For Japan.

Agency didn’t think to tell neighboring countries radioactive water was released into sea

Nobody in the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) thought of notifying the governments of neighboring countries before water containing low levels of radiation at the tsunami-hit nuclear power plant was released into the sea, it has been learned.

The Foreign Ministry also learned of the measure only after being alerted by an official assigned to the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) accident task force, who happened to see a TEPCO document.

The revelations illustrate NISA’s lack of a sense of crisis and problems involving the communication system between nuclear power plant operators and government regulators on crucial information.

Article continues at:

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More on the cracks…


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Japanese students present 80,000 signatures for nuke abolition

Japanese students to call for nuke abolition at U.N. Geneva office

NAGASAKI (Kyodo) — A group of Japanese high school students will present a petition signed by 80,000 people calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons when they visit a United Nations office in Geneva on Thursday.

Of the 12 peace messengers who will take part in the event organized by a citizens’ group in Nagasaki, three attended a departing ceremony in the atomic-bombed city in southwestern Japan on Tuesday and pledged to send messages of peace to the world.

“I want to call for peace not only from the aspect of nuclear arms abolition but from various other views, along with the thoughts of atomic bomb survivors and the people” of Nagasaki, said Yuka Urakawa, a 16-year-old student from that city, one of only two cities ever attacked with a nuclear weapon.

In addition to presenting the petition, the students will also give a speech in English describing their feelings about peace as well as their resolve to recover from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, according to the citizens’ group.

In addition to the three students from Nagasaki Prefecture, the group traveling to Europe includes Masahiro Kikuchi, 17, and Saya Sasaki, 16, from Iwate Prefecture, where they survived the March twin disasters.

Two students each from Kanagawa and Kumamoto prefectures and one each from Hiroshima, Fukuoka and Oita prefectures will also take part.

(Mainichi Japan) August 17, 2011

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Again, many excellent posts on EX-SKF today… please go an check that website for more details.

Wall Street Journal: How the Japanese Government Failed Residents of Namie, Fukushima

Clearly, the Japanese government didn’t understand, didn’t know the meaning of, “simulation”. The whole point of simulation is to provide possible scenarios based on limited inputs, and that’s what SPEEDI was supposed to do. It did exactly that, but the government squashed the simulation results.

In order to be “correct” with only the measured data (which was non-existent at that time), the politicians both in the government and in the Nuclear Safety Commission chose to keep quiet and let the residents of Namie-machi irradiated, their homes, fields contaminated, probably beyond repair. Not only that, they went on the offensive, telling Fukushima residents and the Japanese people that everything was under control, it was safe.

Without any warning or advice from the government or TEPCO based on SPEEDI, Namie residents ended up evacuating to where the radioactive plume went. SPEEDI had correctly predicted that the radioactive plume would go the direction of Namie based on the prevailing wind pattern.

Here’s the video news created by Wall Street Journal:

Sorry, no video on that site

There’s a long accompanying article to this video in the subscription-only section by Yuka Hayashi:
NIHONMATSU, Japan—On the afternoon of March 12, 24 hours after a tsunami crippled Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex, some 700 residents of the coastal town of Namie were gathered at an elementary school just outside the government’s 6.2-mile evacuation zone. Children played in the schoolyard, adults walked their dogs and volunteers cooked rice balls and soup outdoors. With cellphones knocked out and no television, few had any inkling of the rapidly escalating threat posed by the nearby plant.

Back in Tokyo, however, red flags were popping up inside a nondescript office building outside of the central business district, home to one of Japan’s nerve centers for responding to a nuclear disaster. A computer system there, called Speedi, used real-time weather data to predict how radiation would spread in the event of an accident, spitting out maps for the government to use to get people out of harm’s way.

That afternoon, the system was generating an ominous forecast for Namie: If radiation were to escape the plant, the wind would blow it straight through the town of 21,000, beyond the 6.2-mile safety perimeter and right over the schoolyard. But that information never reached the townspeople, according to Tamotsu Baba, the mayor.

At 3:36 p.m., the plant’s reactor No. 1 blew up, spewing radiation sky-high.

“I heard a tremendous noise from the direction of the nuclear plant and knew right away it had exploded,” recalls Toshio Konno, a 60-year-old retail-store worker who was standing in the schoolyard. He says he immediately “jumped in my car and headed off in the opposite direction. No one told me what to do. It was up to me to protect myself.”

Many people gathered at the school, however, didn’t realize what had happened, and most didn’t leave for a few more hours.

The mayor later accused central-government representatives at the disaster-response headquarters in Fukushima of failing to protect Namie residents. “We walked straight into the areas where radiation levels were the highest,” he said in a recent interview in Nihonmatsu, a neighboring city that is now home to Namie’s town hall and some 3,000 of its evacuees. “I told them it was tantamount to an act of murder.”

A Wall Street Journal investigation of Japan’s efforts to protect people living around the stricken plant reveals that government officials failed to warn those residents despite projections showing a risk of radioactive contamination—information that wasn’t made public until days or weeks later. In addition, the government and the plant’s operator didn’t provide many nearby residents with promised evacuation assistance, which forced the towns to improvise without any clear idea where the radiation was heading.

The fallout projections “could have been used as a guide for evacuation if they had been shared with people ahead of time,” says Yukio Sudo, president of Nuclear Safety Technology Center, the government agency that operates Speedi on behalf of the education and science ministry.

The alarming reports did reach the central government’s disaster headquarters headed by Prime Minister Naoto Kan. But bureaucrats there later said they didn’t alert the politicians who were making evacuation decisions. The bureaucrats said the government didn’t know precisely how much radiation had escaped the damaged reactors, so the forecasts, based on assumptions, weren’t reliable enough.

Mr. Kan and top aides have said they weren’t even aware of the system in the early days of the crisis. “We are truly very sorry that Speedi’s projections weren’t in the end shared among the parties who needed them,” chief government spokesman Yukio Edano told a parliamentary committee on June 20. He said that would be a key subject for a government commission investigating the many things that went wrong at Fukushima Daiichi.

It is unclear how much radiation those living around the plant absorbed. The government to date has done full tests on just 120 residents of the affected communities, and those results haven’t been released. Officials are now promising to survey all of Fukushima Prefecture’s two million residents sometime in August, and to monitor over the next three decades the 200,000 considered most at risk.

Some experts say the delays mean it is likely too late to detect the full extent of the exposure and potential harm, since some radioactive elements disappear within weeks, even though any damage to the body triggered by those elements remains.

Back in the 1970s and 1980s, when Japan was ramping up its reliance on nuclear energy, the government and the utilities assured those living near reactors that they were safe. In the event of an accident, emergency evacuation protocols required authorities and plant operators to notify local municipalities and to keep residents informed about the accident and evacuation. The government was required to provide evacuation transportation.

In 1980, the year after the Three Mile Island nuclear accident in the U.S., the Japanese government began developing a computer system to help with evacuation planning. The system—called System for Prediction of Environmental Emergency Dose Information, or Speedi—aimed to predict how released radiation would spread if an accident occurred. When the system was launched in 1986, the government said it could produce a detailed radiation map within 15 minutes of any accident that would show which areas were safe.

The guts of the system, developed with the help of Fujitsu Ltd., are housed in a Tokyo office building, above a bank branch. Computers sit in a cooled room, separated by a darkened glass wall from a team of operators at computer monitors. The system crunches data collected from a government meteorological agency and nuclear facilities around the clock, producing regularly updated maps of potential radiation fallout. At least two operators from the nuclear-safety agency are always manning it, ensuring that data are updated every hour.

At 3:42 p.m. on Friday, March 11, about an hour after the tsunami hit the Fukushima Daiichi plant, its operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., declared a nuclear emergency. Speedi was switched into emergency mode. The system began forecasting how radiation, if released from the plant, would spread, and producing detailed weather reports for surrounding areas.

More than 130 miles away in Namie, residents focused first on escaping the giant waves that washed over parts of the town. Many left the town center for evacuation centers at higher elevations, located about 4.4 miles from the plant.

At 5:44 the next morning, a Saturday, the government said conditions at the plant were deteriorating and ordered the evacuation of everyone within 6.2 miles of it—including those gathered at the town’s initial evacuation centers.

In addition to Namie, three other towns fell within that 6.2-mile radius. By prior agreement, all four were entitled to special assistance in the event of an emergency. In two of those towns, Futaba and Okuma, the government arranged for buses to transport residents.

Namie and Tomioka were left to fend for themselves. Namie officials began telling residents to get out immediately. They delivered their message over loudspeakers installed around town and from fire trucks driving block to block.

Without access to government buses, most residents left in their own cars, jamming the highway leading away from the coast. Residents say some people were stuck in traffic for hours. Most headed for the town’s evacuation centers outside of the 6.2 mile zone, including the school in the neighborhood of Karino.

Back in Tokyo, government officials were using Speedi to forecast radiation fallout from such potential emergencies as venting radiation-laced steam to relieve reactor pressure, or, worse, an explosion at the reactor. That Saturday afternoon, at 12:36, the ministry of education and science received a simulation showing what would happen if reactor No. 1 exploded at 1 p.m. The conclusion: it would carry immense amounts of radiation well over 6.2 miles in a northwest direction, right over Namie, the Karino school and other evacuation sites. A 3 p.m. simulation reached a similar conclusion: any radiation released at about 4 p.m. would be blown in the same direction.

As many as 2,000 residents had fled to areas that Speedi projections showed would be covered by a radioactive cloud if reactor No. 1 was vented that afternoon. The residents were clueless about that danger. At about 2:30 p.m., the venting started.

At one evacuation site about 15 miles from the plant, a community center in Tsushima, dozens gathered in a parking lot to watch clouds of steam shoot up from behind a range of mountains. They knew what they were witnessing. They had heard on television that the plant was going to be vented.

“It never occurred to us radiation would come our way,” says Hidehiro Asada, a 43-year-old owner of a lumberyard who was in the crowd. “We assumed the folks from the town or the prefecture would tell us if it was dangerous for us to be there.”

At the school in Karino, evacuees also were in the dark about the risk. Many of them had no idea that reactor No. 1 had exploded in the middle of the afternoon until a volunteer fireman arrived about two hours later and told them about it.

That set off a panic. Some evacuees hurried to shut the wide-open sliding doors of the gym. Others started yelling at Tokyo Electric employees who were also taking shelter there, demanding information.

Before long, a Tokyo Electric employee arrived in a company car wearing full protective gear and toting a dosimeter, according to two people who were there. It beeped steadily, indicating high levels of radiation, these people say. He told the evacuees that they were safe because they were outside the official evacuation zone, they say. He left after a few minutes. A Tokyo Electric spokesman confirmed the incident.

That evening, the government expanded the evacuation zone to 12.4 miles, from 6.2, and asked people within 18.6 miles of the plant to stay indoors.

At about 6:30 p.m., a pair of military trucks arrived to pick up people from the school. It was nearly 11 p.m. when the last of evacuees left.

Ryuji Ohura, a town official who spent the day at the school looking after evacuees, locked up the school and headed northwest to another evacuation center. “We felt completely abandoned,” recalls the 32-year-old father of two. “As I was driving, I just felt a sense of defeat. I kept thinking how I would get leukemia and die young.”

In the wake of the bungled evacuation, government officials have been struggling to explain why the maps and forecast being churned out by Speedi didn’t wind up in the hands of the people who needed them most.

Speedi is designed to produce two types of forecasts. Every hour, year-round, it maps where radiation would spread if released, using hypothetical release amounts. In the event of an actual emergency, the system is supposed to use actual radiation-release data collected from the plant.

Following the explosions, Fukushima Daiichi’s system for sending real-time radiation-release data wasn’t working. Mr. Kan’s cabinet, in a report submitted to the International Atomic Energy Agency in June, said complete data on radiation emitted from the crippled plant weren’t available in real time. The release of radiation-fallout projections based on estimates, which Speedi produced, could have caused “unnecessary confusion,” the report said.

But Japan’s emergency law requires Speedi projections to be used even under such circumstances. The overseers of the system say it worked just fine. “Speedi has functioned just as it was always intended, with no error or delay,” says Mr. Sudo.

Toshiso Kosako, a nuclear-safety expert at Tokyo University, stepped down as a nuclear adviser to Mr. Kan in late April. In his resignation statement, he blamed government agencies for their “inadequate initial responses” that prevented effectively using Speedi, thus “subjecting residents to unnecessary radiation exposure.” In an interview, he said that the system offered useful information for planning evacuations, but that “nobody wanted to be associated with such fearful decisions.”

As for the government’s failure to communicate effectively with the people of Namie, deputy chief cabinet secretary Tetsuro Fukuyama blames a breakdown of emergency-phone systems.

Today, nearly all of Namie remains closed due to contamination, and residents have no idea when if will be safe to return. Reconstruction is under way in other tsunami-damaged towns, but Namie’s coast is still covered in debris. Workers aren’t allowed to go near it.

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Three more headlines on EX-SKF today:

US Vice President Joe Biden to Visit China, Japan, and MONGOLIA

Now that’s interesting.

Remember the US and Japan have been pushing for the nuclear fuel final processing facility to be built in Mongolia. Toshiba’s president supposedly sent a letter to a high-ranking US official urging them to proceed quickly. Toshiba owns 100% of Westinghouse Electric.

According to CNN, Biden is going to Mongolia to promote “democracy”.

(Article continues0

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1 Millisievert/hour Radiation from a Truck in Iwaki City in Fukushima??
Well, you can’t watch the video below any more, as it has become “private” for some reason on Youtube. It was public. I have seen it at a members-only site.

The video was posted on this Japanese site on July 15, and it is supposed to be the radiation level measured on July 13 on a small truck parked in Iwaki City in Fukushima Prefecture, near Onahama.

Someone is holding the personal survey meter, standing, facing the street. The survey meter shows between 0.17 to 0.45 or so microsievert/hour. The person approaches a small white truck parked on a small parking lot at the side of the road. The survey meter quickly rises above 1 microsievert/hour, then 10, and 20 microsieverts/hour.

(Article continues)

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Now, Radioactive Sanitary Napkins??

It’s in the “rumor” stage – i.e. concerned citizens measuring the radiation themselves with their personal survey meters and exchanging information on Twitter (which is by the way extremely suited for the Japanese language because of kanji characters that pack a ton of info and are still considered one character).

Someone tested the “Unicharm” brand of feminine sanitary napkins, and the survey meter showed 0.15 microsievert/hr on a napkin. The ambient radiation level was 0.07 microsievert/hr (indoors).

He was worried for his wife, and traced the manufacturing number on the package, and it was made in the factory in Fukushima Prefecture. Seeing his twitter, someone else called the customer service of Unicharm, who confirmed that the napkin was made in their factory in Tanagura-machi in Higashi Shirakawa-gun (district), Fukushima Prefecture (福島県東白川郡棚倉町). The customer service person said yes they do a random testing of the napkins but no they haven’t detected any radiation.

(Well, talk about ambient radiation in Fukushima. The air radiation level of Tanagura-machi is between 0.17 to 0.49 microsievert/hr outdoors, according to the Tanagura-machi website.)

Now, people are testing tampons, diapers for babies and adults, and baby wipes with their personal survey meters.

Radioactive cesium is said to affect reproductive organs. Probably another “rumor”.