Hunger Strike Japan
Tsunami twice as high as anticipated could hit Hamaoka nuclear plant, says researcher
The Hamaoka Nuclear Power Plant in Omaezaki, Shizuoka Prefecture, could be hit by a tsunami 1.5 to 2 times as high as anticipated for defense systems currently being constructed, according to a researcher at the University of Tokyo.
Associate professor Yoshinobu Tsuji of the University of Tokyo’s Earthquake Research Institute made the announcement to reporters on Oct. 13 during a meeting of the Seismological Society of Japan in the city of Shizuoka. According to his findings, a tsunami 15 to 20 meters high could hit the Hamaoka plant.
The Chubu Electric Power Co., which operates the Hamaoka plant, is building an 18 meter protective barrier on the estimation that a tsunami as high as 10 meters could strike.
Tsuji examined historical documents and determined that after the 1498 Meio Tokai Earthquake there was a tsunami that reached around 10 meters in height that hit an area of the city of Iwata, around 30 kilometers west of the Hamaoka plant.
When a reporter asked what this could mean for the Hamaoka plant, Tsuji responded that because of the plant’s position by a shallow seabed that sticks out into the ocean, the energy of a tsunami could easily become focused there, leading to the possibility that a tsunami “50 percent higher, or even twice as high could come.”
Tsuji’s prediction that a tsunami as high as 20 meters could strike is likely to stir debate.
The Chubu Electric Power Co. responded to the Mainichi, “We cannot comment as we do not know the details of associate professor Tsuji’s research.”
(Mainichi Japan) October 14, 2011
Radiation on Tokyo sidewalk exceeds parts of no-entry zone
Radiation exceeding levels in the no-entry zone around the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant has been found on a sidewalk in Tokyo.
According to an Oct. 12 announcement by Setagaya Ward Mayor Nobuto Hosaka, the spot in the 5-chome neighborhood of the ward’s Tsurumaki district had radiation levels of 2.707 microsieverts per hour, higher than the 2.115 microsieverts measured at a monitoring post on Oct. 12 in Iitate, Fukushima Prefecture, which is within the 20-km exclusion zone around the Fukushima plant.
An individual exposed to such radiation levels for eight hours a day and living in a wooden house could be exposed to about 14.2 millisieverts over the course of a year, below the 20-millisievert standard set by the central government for evacuation.
The sidewalk is used by students attending Matsugaoka Elementary School and school officials were guiding pupils away from the hot spot on Oct. 13.
A 34-year-old mother taking her third-grade son to school said: “My child used this sidewalk for the past six months. I am worried about whether there really was no effect on his health.”
A 48-year-old mother said: “I want the ward to check the routes to school as well as parks.”
Ward officials maintain that just walking through the hot spot will not seriously affect human health, but they have given instructions to limit access. They will start emergency measurements of radiation levels at 258 parks in the ward that have sandboxes.
The ward learned of the problem earlier this month from a resident who had made private measurements and found abnormally high radiation levels. Officials then conducted their own survey along a sidewalk by the fence of the home where the radiation was initially detected.
Measurements were taken at nine spots, each about 2.5 meters apart. At each spot, measurements were taken at three heights above ground: 1 meter, 50 centimeters and 5 cm. Five readings were made at the three heights at each location. An average measurement was calculated for each height at the nine locations.
The 2.707-microsievert average reading was found at one spot where the measurement was made at a height of 1 meter. Radiation levels were lower closer to the ground at the same location. At another location, the measurement at the lowest height found radiation levels of only 0.088 microsievert.
A company specializing in radiation measurements was commissioned to recheck the levels near the sidewalk and that firm also found radiation exceeding 2.7 microsieverts in one location.
The sidewalk where the high radiation level was detected is about 20 to 30 cm below the road.
One ward official said: “We believe the radiation level became high as a result of the accumulation of rain water.”
However, officials admit they cannot explain some aspects of the case, including the fact that the highest radiation levels were found at the highest height measured and that much lower levels were measured in locations nearby. Radiation levels are normally highest the closer to the ground a measurement is taken.
Ward officials will look into the possibility of radiation coming from a source other than the Fukushima accident and work out ways of decontaminating the area.
Kunikazu Noguchi, an expert on radiation protection at Nihon University, said: “There was probably a condensation of the radiation through an accumulation of rain water. There may be other locations where there are limited areas of high radiation. The local government should be responsible in studying the matter and eliminating the concerns felt by residents.”
Some comments from Mochizuki at:
Also, they found another hot spot in Setagaya again.
It was 3.35 uSv/h, where faces street and houses. (Source)
As to food, contamination is spreading.
They decided to sell all the rice from Fukushima with the “safety” standard of 500 Bq/Kg. (Source)
Before 3/10/2011, they used to be punished if they take out 4 Bq/Kg of the “radioactive material” from lab. (Source)
500 Bq/Kg deserves 125 times of the punishment, but it’s food.
We can no longer eat food and anything made of the rice.
Elementary school kids were forced to eat dried shiitake mushrooms which measured at 350 Bq/kg (cesium 134,137) for school lunch too. (Source)
It is becoming harder and harder to live in Japan.
Fukushima declares rice is safe
FUKUSHIMA — Fukushima Prefecture declared this year’s rice crop safe for consumption after all samples cleared radiation tests for food, with 80 percent of the crop found completely untainted by cesium, prefectural officials said.
The prefecture tested 1,174 samples of rice harvested in the nuclear crisis-hit prefecture’s 48 municipalities and found that none exceeded the central government’s provisional limit of 500 becquerels of cesium per kilogram.
As a precaution, however, the prefecture will buy up all rice harvested in certain districts in Nihonmatsu, where cesium readings hit 470 becquerels, the officials said.
“I will take the initiative in marketing by stressing the safety and good taste” of rice harvested in the prefecture, Fukushima Gov. Yuhei Sato said after the announcement.
Rice was not grown in the remaining 11 municipalities in Fukushima this year because they are in the 20-km no-go zone around the radiation-leaking Fukushima No. 1 power plant or other seriously tainted areas.
Any sample exceeding the 500-becquerel limit would have halted shipments from all farmers in the locality from which it originated.
= + = + = + =
In a discussion today someone asked this question… “Right now they have harvested the rice in Fukushima and it is on the market. No one is buying it. So where do you think it will end up? What would you do with all that rice if no one in supermarkets wanted to buy it?” After some silence, the person warned, “it will probably end up in family restaurants and convenience stores as onigiri, in bentos, and other places where the management is trying to cut down on costs.”
Yes, Mochizuki, it IS becoming harder and harder to live in Japan.
= + = + =
And just now I read in EX-SKF’s blog this entry:
Now that the rice from all districts and cities in Fukushima Prefecture are declared “safe” (i.e. below the provisional safety limit of 500 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium), the Fukushima prefectural government is gearing up for the PR campaign it plans to mount to promote Fukushima rice in restaurants and school lunches and to consumers in the Tokyo metropolitan area.
From NHK Japanese (10/13/2011):
Fukushima Prefecture finished testing for radioactive materials in harvested rice. In all districts where rice was planted, the level of radioactive materials was lower than the national safety standard, and the shipment of rice is now allowed. Fukushima is planning to counter “baseless rumors” by appealing the safety of the rice to consumers.
The testing of harvested rice was completed on October 12 with Nihonmatsu City, and as rice from all districts tested lower than the national provisional safety limit the shipment of rice is allowed in all 48 municipalities that planted rice this year.
Rice from 1,174 locations were tested, in 82% of those locations or 964 locations no radioactive materials were detected. Only one location tested more than 200 becquerels/kg of radioactive materials [cesium].
Therefore, Fukushima Prefecture considers the rice grown in Fukushima is safe. The prefectural government is planning to send the governor and other city officials to the Tokyo metropolitan area to appeal to consumers and to call for increased use of Fukushima rice in restaurants and school lunches in order to counter the “baseless rumors”.
The NHK article has an accompanying news clip, where you get to see how the “testing” was done at the Fukushima prefectural government. A government worker is waving a scintillation meter over a plastic bag that contains a small amount of brown rice. He spends about 2 seconds at most for each bag.
If you recall, waving a scintillation meter over the meat cow was how they were testing the meat for radiation at first. We know how that ended up.
In the “main” test after the rice harvest, they tested 2 samples per district (villages and towns before they were incorporated into nearby large cities), except for one district in Shirakawa City where 500 becquerels/kg of cesium was detected in the preliminary test. There, if the testing was done according to what the Fukushima prefectural government had announced, samples from two locations per 15 hectares in the district were measured.
But good luck persuading the consumers who refuse to buy Fukushima rice, when a rice farmer in Fukushima is not sending his crop this year to his family members and relatives because of radioactive cesium, no matter how it is “below the safety limit”. According to Asahi Shinbun (10/13/2011),
A man, aged 69, grows “Koshihikari” brand rice in Mizuhara district in Fukushima City where 104 becquerels/kg [of radioactive cesium] was detected in the “main” testing. He said, “I have no choice but to tell my grandchild who lives far away to buy rice somewhere else”.
He always sends a year supply of rice to his second daughter’s family who lives in Sapporo City. He also sends rice to relatives and acquaintances in Fukushima City. But this year, it will be difficult to do so [he probably won’t send the rice this year].
because in the “main” test administered by the Fukushima prefectural government, none exceeded the stringent national provisional safety limit of 500 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium.
The highest was from a district in Nihonmatsu City,470 becquerels/kg (page 9 of the linked PDF file). But not to worry, rice farmers of the particular district. The Fukushima prefectural government will buy up all your rice, according to Kyodo News English(10/12/2011), probably using the money from the national government (i.e. nation’s taxpayers’ money).
Read the rest at:
Ah, Strontium is among us (use the link to read the entire article)…
News: Yokohama city “government” knew strontium has already landed
Japanese “government” has kept stating strontium does not fly further than 20km.
It was 9/30/2011 when they measured strontium in 79 areas.
In that announcement, they measured 100 locations and they found strontium at about 50 locations.
This is the first time for us to hear that they found strontium at 2,200locations.
If that is true, they still conceal so many facts.
Additionally, cesium and strontium are totally different.
Strontium is soluble in water and it emits beta rays which do not travel far in the environment and can be easily missed if the geiger counter is not close enough to the source. (Beta particles are highly energetic and do profound damage when inhaled or ingested because the beta particles are then in very close proximity to everything in your body that can be harmed by it – your DNA, etc)
They are more absorbed by the plants and cause us leukemia.
This is why I commented:
In Chernobyl, 0.09 uSv/h → Children started having symptoms. (near radiation level as westen Tokyo)
0.16 uSv/h → Adults got leukemia within 5 years. (near radiation level as Adachiku)
0.232 uSv/h → Mandatory evacuation area in Cheronobyl. (near radiation level as Asakusa or Tokyo Disneyland)
Geiger counter makes us feel as if we knew the risk but some of them don’t tell us beta ray not alpha ray, which are more harmful. Often, people do not know HOW to use their counters correctly to pick up the alpha and beta particles.
Geiger counters DO NOT PICK UP BIOLOGICALLY RELEVANT INTERNAL CONTAMINATION, even at levels that are well beyond seriously dangerous levels.
Geiger counter makes us blind. There is way more risk behind the uSv/h.
Radioactive Cesium from Breast Milk from Mothers in Hiroshima Prefecture, 840 km from Fukushima I Nuke Plant
Hiroshima is over 840 kilometers from Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant.
From Chugoku Shinbun (10/12/2011):
A citizens’ group called “Tsunagaro Hiroshima (Let’s connect, Hiroshima” announced on October 11 that a minute amount of radioactive materials has been detected from the breast milk of two mothers who live in Hiroshima Prefecture. One of them escaped from Tokyo after the March 11 disaster; the other had lived in Hiroshima since before the disaster. The researcher at Hiroshima University who measured the breast milk says there is no problem feeding their babies with the breast milk.
The survey was done in early October on 4 people who evacuated to Hiroshima from the Kanto region after the March 11 disaster, and on 2 people who had lived in Hiroshima since before the disaster. 100 cc of the breast milk was taken from each mother, and tested by Professor Kiyoshi Shizuma of Hiroshima University Graduate School of Engineering.
A minute amount of radioactive cesium was detected from two mothers in their thirties. The Ministry of Health and Labor uses the provisional safety limit for milk and dairy products for radioactive cesium (200 becquerels/kg) for the breast milk. The citizens’ group has not disclosed the detailed numbers as the mothers do not wish the numbers to be disclosed, but says they are well below the standard set by the Ministry of Health and Labor.
Professor Shizuma will continue to monitor the mother who has lived in Hiroshima since before the accident, as “It is possible that radioactive cesium came from ingesting the contaminated food.”
The leader of the citizens’ group says he will ask the prefectural government to set up a system to test the breast milk and urine, and to measure the radiation in food.
The concentration is less than in the case of Reactor 1 pipe (63%), as it was only 6.5%.
From Yomiuri Shinbun (10/12/2011):
TEPCO announced on October 12 that the high concentration of hydrogen gas was detected from the pipe that connects to the Containment Vessel of Reactor 2 at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant.
The concentration was 6.5%, lower than 63% detected in the pipe in Reactor 1 the other day. Nonetheless, TEPCO says “Normally the concentration of hydrogen gas within the Containment Vessel is less than 1%. The concentration detected in the pipe is higher than expected”. It is likely that hydrogen gas generated right after the accident remains in the pipe.
TEPCO plans to install a gas management system to filter out radioactive materials in the gas inside the Containment Vessel. After the installation TEPCO plans to remove hydrogen gas. If there are more than 4% hydrogen and more than 5% oxygen in the atmosphere, a chance of explosion increases.
After the installation?
Read the rest of the article at:
Radiation-tainted sludge, ash to be buried in Tokyo Bay landfill
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has decided to bury some 3,000 tons of sludge and incineration ash contaminated with radioactive materials in a Tokyo Bay landfill area as part of a breakwater construction project, it has been learned.
Tokyo’s Ota and Koto wards, which are adjacent the area for the proposed breakwater have reportedly agreed on the measure.
Ota Mayor Tadayoshi Matsubara explained the move at a ward assembly meeting on Oct. 12, saying it was “unavoidable.” Later he asked the Tokyo Metropolitan Government to ensure that radioactivity of materials being brought in to a solidification facility in the ward be kept below 8,000 becquerels per kilogram, that vehicles transporting the incineration ash be carefully checked for radiation, and that water used to wash vehicles be thoroughly managed.
In Koto Ward, when the chief of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s Regional Sewerage Office approached Mayor Takaaki Yamazaki in September about the idea, he had indicated that he would accept the proposal.
The ash contaminated with radioactive materials was produced by water treatment facilities in Tokyo’s Tama district. Altogether there are seven water treatment facilities in the Tama district that are directly managed by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. The Tokyo cities of Hachioji, Tachikawa, Machida and Mitaka also have their own water treatment facilities.
The facilities had stored sludge and incineration ash found to be contaminated with radioactive materials, but it was becoming difficult to secure facilities to process the waste.
(Mainichi Japan) October 14, 2011
Professor Hirotada Ohashi of Tokyo University, one of the three “Plutonium Brothers” who declared that the toxicity of plutonium was much exaggerated and it was safe even if some villains dumped plutonium in a reservoir for tap water and people drank that water, used to work for TEPCO before he became assistant professor at Tokyo University.
After he got his PhD in nuclear engineering from Tokyo University in 1980, he joined TEPCO and remained there until 1986, when he went to Tokyo University to become an assistant professor. (His short bio in Japanese, here.)
It all makes sense.
New York Times
Fukushima’s Contamination Produces Some Surprises at SeaBy DAVID JOLLY
Six months after the accident at Fukushima Daiichi, the news flow from the stricken nuclear power plant has slowed, but scientific studies of radioactive material in the ocean are just beginning to bear fruit.
The word from the land is bad enough. As my colleague Hiroko Tabuchi reported on Saturday, Japanese officials have detected elevated radiation levels in rice near the crippled reactors. Worrying radiation levels had already been detected in beef, milk, spinach and tea leaves, leading to recalls and bans on shipments.
Off the coast, the early results indicate that very large amounts of radioactive materials were released, and may still be leaking, and that rather than being spread through the whole ocean, currents are keeping a lot of the material concentrated.
Most of that contamination came from attempts to cool the reactors and spent fuel pools, which flushed material from the plant into the ocean, and from direct leaks from the damaged facilities.
Japanese government and utility industry scientistsestimated this month that 3,500 terabecquerels of cesium 137 was released directly into the sea from March 11, the date of the earthquake and tsunami, to late May. Another 10,000 terabecquerels of cesium 137 made it into the ocean after escaping from the plant as steam.
The leakage very likely isn’t over, either. The Tokyo Electric Power Company, the operator of the plant, said Sept. 20 that it believed that something on the order of 200 to 500 tons a day of groundwater might still be pouring into the damaged reactor and turbine buildings.
Ken Buesseler, a scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, who in 1986 studied the effects of the Chernobyl disaster on the Black Sea, said the Fukushima disaster appeared to be by far the largest accidental release of radioactive material into the sea.
Chernobyl-induced radiation in the Black Sea peaked in 1986 at about 1,000 becquerels per cubic meter, he said in an interview at his office in Woods Hole, Mass. By contrast, the radiation level off the coast near the Fukushima Daiichi plant peaked at more than 100,000 becquerels per cubic meter in early April.
Before Fukushima, in 2010, the Japanese coast measured about 1.5 becquerel per cubic meter, he said.
‘‘Chernobyl might have been five times bigger, over all, but the ocean impact was much smaller,’’ Mr. Buesseler said.
Working with a team of scientists from other institutions, including the University of Tokyo and Columbia University, Mr. Buesseler’s Woods Hole group in June spent 15 days in the waters off northeast Japan, studying the levels and dispersion of radioactive substances there and the effect on marine life.
The project, financed primarily by the Moore Foundation after governments declined to participate, continued to receive samples from Japanese cruises into July.
While Mr. Buesseler declined to provide details of the findings before analysis is complete and published, he said the broad results were sobering.
“When we saw the numbers — hundreds of millions of becquerels — we knew this was the largest delivery of radiation into the ocean ever seen,’’ he said. ‘‘We still don’t know how much was released.’’
Mr. Buesseler took samples of about five gallons, filtered out the naturally occurring materials and the materials from nuclear weapon explosions, and measured what was left.
The scientists had expected to find ocean radiation levels falling off sharply after a few months, as radioactive substances were dispersed by the currents, because, he said, “The ocean’s solution to pollution is dilution.’’
The good news is that researchers found the entire region 20 to 400 miles offshore had radiation levels too low to be an immediate threat to humans.
But there was also an unpleasant surprise. “Rather than leveling off toward zero, it remained elevated in late July,’’ he said, up to about 10,000 becquerel per cubic meter. ‘‘That suggests the release problem has not been solved yet.”
The working hypothesis is that contaminated sediments and groundwater near the coast are continuing to contaminate the seas, he said.
The international team also collected plankton samples and small fish for study. Mr. Buesseler said there were grounds for concern about bioaccumulation of radioactive isotopes in the food chain, particularly in seaweed and some shellfish close to the plants. A fuller understanding of the effect on fish that are commercially harvested will probably take several years of data following several feeding cycles, he said.
‘‘We also don’t know concentrations in sediments, so benthic biota may be getting higher doses and if consumed (shellfish), could be of concern,’’ he wrote later in an e-mail, referring to organisms that dwell on the sea floor.
The study also found that the highest cesium values were not necessarily from the samples collected closest to Fukushima, he said, because eddies in the ocean currents keep the material from being diluted in some spots farther offshore.
The overall results were consistent with those previously found by Japanese scientists, Mr. Buesseler said.
He said more research was urgently needed to answer several questions, including why the level of contamination offshore near the plant was so high.
“Japan is leading the studies, but more work is needed than any one country, or any one lab, can possibly carry out,” he said.