Day 172 Henry, how would YOU define “safe”?

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.”


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