Day 169 Hey, Henry, come here and read this… and then check on our cows…

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


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