Excuse me, but I have a question… If the water in these swimming pools is too radioactive to be drained, and there is nowhere to put the water, WHY ARE THEY CONSIDERING PUTTING PEOPLE IN THAT AREA TO BEING WITH?
Radiation contamination leaves Fukushima schools unable to drain pool water
Many schools in Fukushima Prefecture are at a loss over what do to with their swimming pools, which can’t be used or drained because the water is tainted with radioactive materials from the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant, it has emerged.
The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology has said schools should obtain consent from farmers when draining pool water into agricultural waterways, but the Fukushima Prefectural Board of Education has not formed any guidelines on the concentration of radiation in water that is drained — leaving locals to sort out the issue themselves.
According to the education board, about 600 of the 735 pools at public kindergartens, elementary schools, junior high schools and high schools in Fukushima can’t be drained. Most of these pools are located in eastern parts of the prefecture near the damaged nuclear plant or in central Fukushima Prefecture. One-third of the pools are designed to drain their water into sewage systems, while the rest have to drain the water directly into agricultural waterways or rivers.
The Education Ministry’s School Health Education Division says there are no legal guidelines for draining pool water. The ministry instructed the prefectural education board to obtain consent from farming and other related organizations when draining pool water into rivers and agricultural waterways, and the board passed the information on to schools in May, but farmers have been reluctant to allow schools to drain pool water into waterways. There are also many cases in which schools have the option of draining water into sewage lines, but they have not done so out of consideration for local residents.
At Fukushima Daiichi Elementary School in the city of Fukushima, the bottom of the school pool is darkened with dust contaminated with radioactive materials, and algae has turned the water green.
“We’re concerned about health, too, so we want to drain the pools quickly, but we don’t know the extent of contamination of the water and the sludge, and we can’t cause trouble for people around the school,” the school’s principal commented.
In the cities of Date and Minamisoma, decontamination work using zeolite and other agents that can absorb radioactive materials has been carried out, but the cost of such work is said to reach several million yen per pool.
Since May, the prefectural board of education has asked the Education Ministry to present standards and methods for draining pool water, but ministry officials have merely responded that they will consult with related government ministries and agencies, and have provided no response.
A representative of the ministry’s School Health Education Division commented, “Creating standards is difficult, and there is no option but to have schools and other related parties come to an agreement.”
When asked about the radiation, a representative of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said, “We are not considering any particular response for pools alone.” Meanwhile, a representative of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, which is in charge of sewage, said, “There is no problem with draining water into sewage lines, but when it comes to making arrangements with locals, that’s out of our jurisdiction.”
Muneyuki Shindo, a former Chiba University professor, said guidelines on decontamination should be provided.
“If jurisdiction over different parts of the work is divided, then officials should measure the concentration in accordance with clear instructions from the Cabinet, and present methods of decontamination,” he said. “This is a typical scenario highlighting the government’s lack of ability to make decisions and get things done.”
(Mainichi Japan) August 13, 2011
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Professor’s anger at lawmakers creates buzz on Internet
SHUKAN ASAHI WEEKLY MAGAZINE
Tatsuhiko Kodama, right, a University of Tokyo professor, shows residents in Minami-Soma, Fukushima Prefecture, how to reduce radiation contamination in the soil. (Takeshi Kawasaki)
An exasperated University of Tokyo professor who launched an angry tirade at lawmakers over the Fukushima nuclear crisis has become a hero to many on the Internet.
Tatsuhiko Kodama, 58, who heads the Radioisotope Center at Todai, was called to provide expert testimony before the Lower House Health, Labor and Welfare Committee on July 27.
Facing a panel of lawmakers, Kodama said, “At a time when 70,000 people have left their homes and have no idea where to go, what is the Diet doing?”
Video footage of Kodama’s testimony was soon posted on YouTube, and within a few days, the video had been viewed more than 200,000 times.
Responses to the footage were generally favorable.
“I was deeply moved that Todai has a professor like him,” said one post.
“I understand the scary truth. I understand the inaction of the central government,” said another.
Besides being a doctor of internal medicine, Kodama is also an expert on internal radiation exposure. His background made even more shocking the testimony he provided in the Diet.
“(On March 21), Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said, ‘There are no immediate problems for people’s health.’ At that time, I felt something very disastrous was about to occur,” Kodama said. “When we look at problems from radiation, we consider the total exposure amount. Neither Tokyo Electric Power Co. nor the central government have made any clear report about total exposure from the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.”
The Radioisotope Center conducted its own calculations on the level of radiation contamination arising from the Fukushima nuclear accident.
Kodama explained the horrifying results of those calculations at the committee session.
“The equivalent of 29.6 times of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, or in terms of uranium about 20 atomic bombs, were released by the accident,” Kodama said. “While the remaining radiation from atomic bombs decreases to one-thousandth of the original level after a year, radioactive materials from the nuclear power plant only decrease to one-tenth the original level.”
After the nuclear accident, Kodama visited Minami-Soma, Fukushima Prefecture, on seven separate occasions to help decontaminate the area of radiation.
“What I am doing right now is totally illegal,” Kodama said. “Under the present law to prevent problems arising (from radiation), the amount of radiation and the type of nuclide that can be handled by each facility is determined. While I am providing support in Minami-Soma, most of the facilities do not have the authority to handle cesium. Transporting the materials by car is also illegal.
“However, we cannot leave materials with high levels of radiation to the mothers in the community. In the decontamination process, we place all materials into barrels and bring them back to Tokyo,” he said.
Kodama also strongly called for a new law that would help reduce radiation exposure among children as soon as possible.
As the most pressing concern, he called for thorough measurements of radiation amounts in the contaminated areas.
“Why does the central government not spend the money needed for comprehensive measures? I want to express an anger from my entire body,” Kodama said.
After the huge response from the Internet, Kodama’s son posted a message on Twitter that said: “While my father may be an influential scientist, he is also just a 58-year-old man who has to take care of an ill wife. There is no way that he alone can resolve everything. In order for the situation to really improve, I believe there is something that each and every individual can do.”
On Aug. 6, Kodama appeared at a news conference with Katsunobu Sakurai, the mayor of Minami-Soma, and called for emergency decontamination measures. His tone was that of a mild-mannered gentleman.
He was slightly embarrassed by the Twitter message written by his son, but he added, “The public should pay attention to see which lawmakers from what party move quickly to draw up legislation.”
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Decrease in White Blood Cells, Headache, Nausea in a Hospital in Sendai City, Miyagi
FRIDAY, AUGUST 12, 2011
Tweets from a nurse (my very good guess from her tweets) in a large hospital in Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture on August 10:
Increasing number of patients with unexplainable decrease in white blood cells, headache, nausea. They are diagnosed for existing illness and undergo treatment, but they don’t respond to the treatment at all. I’ve seen those cases in my hospital. I’m not saying they are all because of the radiation exposure, but I’m telling you what I’m seeing.
When we wash their hair, it comes off in a clump. It is really scary. The doctor says, “I really wonder why the white blood cell count is down…” Doctor, don’t be so relaxed about it. There is going to be more and more people who don’t respond to treatment.
She suspects internal radiation from hospital meals, which the in-patients have no choice but eat.
The Japanese government can now create another “Special District for Medical Research” in Miyagi Prefecture, in addition to the one in Fukushima.
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Once again, I strongly urge you to read this if you haven’t already. It gives a good overview of how the current situation developed at Fukushima, putting at risk not only the northern half of this country, but the northern half of our planet, Earth.
What happened at Fukushima?
David McNeill & Jake Adelstein
It is one of the mysteries of Japan’s ongoing nuclear crisis: How much damage did the March 11 earthquake do to the Fukushima Daiichi reactors before the tsunami hit? The stakes are high: If the quake structurally compromised the plant and the safety of its nuclear fuel, then every other similar reactor in Japan will have to be reviewed and possibly shut down. With virtually all of Japan’s 54 reactors either offline (35) or scheduled for shutdown by next April, the issue of structural safety looms over the decision to restart every one in the months and years after.
The key question for operator Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) and its regulators to answer is this: How much damage was inflicted on the Daiichi plant before the first tsunami reached the plant roughly 40 minutes after the earthquake? TEPCO and the Japanese government are hardly reliable adjudicators in this controversy. “There has been no meltdown,” top government spokesman Edano Yukio famously repeated in the days after March 11. “It was an unforeseeable disaster,” Tepco’s then President Shimizu Masataka improbably said later. As we now know, meltdown was already occurring even as Edano spoke. And far from being unforeseeable, the disaster had been repeatedly forewarned.
The earthquake and tsunami did extensive damage to large areas of Tohoku. Photo by Ikuru Kuwajima Galleries | Ikuru Kuwajima
Throughout the months of lies and misinformation, one story has stuck: “The earthquake knocked out the plant’s electric power, halting cooling to its six reactors. The tsunami – a unique, one-off event – then washed out the plant’s back-up generators, shutting down all cooling and starting the chain of events that would cause the world’s first triple meltdown. That line has now become gospel at TEPCO. “We had no idea that a tsunami was coming,” said Murata Yasuki, head of public relations for the now ruined facility. “It came completely out of the blue” (nemimi ni mizu datta). Safety checks have since focused heavily on future damage from tsunamis.
But what if recirculation pipes and cooling pipes burst, snapped, leaked, and broke completely after the earthquake — before the tidal wave reached the facilities and before the electricity went out? This would surprise few people familiar with the nearly 40-year-old reactor one, the grandfather of the nuclear reactors still operating in Japan.
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