Day 266 My first Geiger counter

     Well, the first Geiger counter I’ve ever used in my life was turned on today. No unusual readings, thank goodness, but the simple fact that ANY human being on the planet should feel compelled to actually purchase a device that measures radiation in the soil, air, or water in his or her neighborhood should be cause for shame on the country in which the measurements are being taken.
     The past few days, this blog has had precious little traffic, and the five clicks today were all spam. So, I will feel free to spout off, since the only ones checking in here are one faithful follower (you know who you are) and bots that don’t know a rant from a recipe.
     We put up the holiday decorations this evening. Put on crazy, energetic Christmas music – Elvis, Eurobeat, Jazz, etc. After everything was up and packaging put away, we sat down to a nice Kahlua and milk. Sitting at the table, sipping our drinks, listening to Christmas music, my partner said, “I wonder what fun things will happen this Christmas. There are so many who won’t have a Christmas…” In her voice, I could sense her mirroring my thoughts. Our holiday season has been tarnished. It will not be like a year ago, not with this pall of hopelessness hanging in the air.
     Friends say, “No, no, it will be all right. You’re doing fine.”
     Yes, amid the Disneyland smiles at work, the chipper stuff-upper-lip outward appearances, there is good reason for my apprehension since 3-11.
  • the realization that we are all in deep doo-doo and not likely to put a cap on it in the next hundreds to thousands of years
  • not hearing people raise the subject – or purposefully avoiding discussion of the current situation at the between three and six reactors of Fukushima (“And no one dared disturb the sound of silence, “Fools,” said I, “you do not know silence like a cancer grows…”)
  • knowing how very little information/news is being broadcast in other affected countries such as the U.S. and how few people there realize the crisis is ongoing
  • government and TEPCO press releases providing daily reinforcement of the fact that both are useless in dealing with this situation
  • other countries’ governments have no intention of pressuring Japan to help its citizens
     And the beat goes on…
     Well past the stage of depression now. I take care of my home, my family, my friends. I hang the stockings near the fire playing on the VHS connected to our 14-year-old television set. 
     I recharge the batteries on my new geiger counter. 14 years ago, we never dreamed that 14 years later we would be talking about the dangerous state of affairs facing people in Tohoku, the children, pregnant mothers, the elderly, and the rest of the living things on this beautiful planet of ours. 
     What have we done? And why do we not stop the potential thousands of similar disasters from happening again?
     Maybe some people are trying. Up in Aomori, the mayor of Oomacho and cabinet members said to the economics and trade ministry, “We have to start a reactor up here – we need the income. Start building as soon as possible!” But  the people in Hakodate rose up in anger at the idea. Hakodate in Hokkaido is right across the water from where they wanted to build the reactor, about 23 kilometers. An NGO in Hakodate took them to court to prevent the construction of the plant. “It’s not just your problem. If something happens to that reactor, it’ll be our problem as well!”
(Asahi Shinbun, 30 Nov 2011)
     Hmm, a glimmer of hope.
     I am living between 14 nuclear power plants (approximately 125 kms in either direction) filled with tons of nuclear fuel. Though temporarily shut down, several are sitting ATOP active faults. And during this time of very active quake activity around the world,  I believe I will keep those batteries charged on the Geiger counter.
Published on Friday, December 2, 2011 by the New York Times

After Fukushima: Enough Is Enough

The nuclear power industry has been resurrected over the past decade by a lobbying campaign that has left many people believing it to be a clean, green, emission-free alternative to fossil fuels. These beliefs pose an extraordinary threat to global public health and encourage a major financial drain on national economies and taxpayers. The commitment to nuclear power as an environmentally safe energy source has also stifled the mass development of alternative technologies that are far cheaper, safer and almost emission free — the future for global energy.

Officials in protective gear check for signs of radiation on children who came from the evacuation area near the Fukushima Daini nuclear plant in Koriyama, March 13, 2011. (Reuters/Kim)

When the Fukushima Daiichi reactors suffered meltdowns in March, literally in the backyard of an unsuspecting public, the stark reality that the risks of nuclear power far outweigh any benefits should have become clear to the world. As the old quip states, “Nuclear power is one hell of a way to boil water.”

Instead, the nuclear industry has used the disaster to increase its already extensive lobbying efforts. A few nations vowed to phase out nuclear energy after the disaster. But many others have remained steadfast in their commitment. That has left millions of innocent people unaware that they — all of us — may face a medical catastrophe beyond all proportions in the wake of Fukushima and through the continued widespread use of nuclear energy.

The world was warned of the dangers of nuclear accidents 25 years ago, when Chernobyl exploded and lofted radioactive poisons into the atmosphere. Those poisons “rained out,” creating hot spots over the Northern Hemisphere. Research by scientists in Eastern Europe, collected and published by the New York Academy of Sciences, estimates that 40 percent of the European land mass is now contaminated with cesium 137 and other radioactive poisons that will concentrate in food for hundreds to thousands of years. Wide areas of Asia — from Turkey to China — the United Arab Emirates, North Africa and North America are also contaminated. Nearly 200 million people remain exposed.

That research estimated that by now close to 1 million people have died of causes linked to the Chernobyl disaster. They perished from cancers, congenital deformities, immune deficiencies, infections, cardiovascular diseases, endocrine abnormalities and radiation-induced factors that increased infant mortality. Studies in Belarus found that in 2000, 14 years after the Chernobyl disaster, fewer than 20 percent of children were considered “practically healthy,” compared to 90 percent before Chernobyl. Now, Fukushima has been called the second-worst nuclear disaster after Chernobyl. Much is still uncertain about the long-term consequences. Fukushima may well be on par with or even far exceed Chernobyl in terms of the effects on public health, as new information becomes available. The crisis is ongoing; the plant remains unstable and radiation emissions continue into the air and water.

Recent monitoring by citizens groups, international organizations and the U.S. government have found dangerous hot spots in Tokyo and other areas. The Japanese government, meanwhile, in late September lifted evacuation advisories for some areas near the damaged plant — even though high levels of radiation remained. The government estimated that it will spend at least $13 billion to clean up contamination.

Many thousands of people continue to inhabit areas that are highly contaminated, particularly northwest of Fukushima. Radioactive elements have been deposited throughout northern Japan, found in tap water in Tokyo and concentrated in tea, beef, rice and other food. In one of the few studies on human contamination in the months following the accident, over half of the more than 1,000 children whose thyroids were monitored in Fukushima City were found to be contaminated with iodine 131 — condemning many to thyroid cancer years from now.

Children are innately sensitive to the carcinogenic effects of radiation, fetuses even more so. Like Chernobyl, the accident at Fukushima is of global proportions. Unusual levels of radiation have been discovered in British Columbia, along the West Coast and East Coast of the United States and in Europe, and heavy contamination has been found in oceanic waters.

Fukushima is classified as a grade 7 accident on the International Atomic Energy Agency scale — denoting “widespread health and environmental effects.” That is the same severity as Chernobyl, the only other grade 7 accident in history, but there is no higher number on the agency’s scale.

After the accident, lobbying groups touted improved safety at nuclear installations globally. In Japan, the Tokyo Electric Power Co. — which operates the Fukushima Daiichi reactors — and the government have sought to control the reporting of negative stories via telecom companies and Internet service providers.

In Britain, The Guardian reported that days after the tsunami, companies with interests in nuclear power — Areva, EDF Energy and Westinghouse — worked with the government to downplay the accident, fearing setbacks on plans for new nuclear power plants.

Nuclear power has always been the nefarious Trojan horse for the weapons industry, and effective publicity campaigns are a hallmark of both industries. The concept of nuclear electricity was conceived in the early 1950s as a way to make the public more comfortable with the U.S. development of nuclear weapons. “The atomic bomb will be accepted far more readily if at the same time atomic energy is being used for constructive ends,” a consultant to the Defense Department Psychological Strategy Board, Stefan Possony, suggested. The phrase “Atoms for Peace” was popularized by President Dwight Eisenhower in the early 1950s.

Nuclear power and nuclear weapons are one and the same technology. A 1,000 megawatt nuclear reactor generates 600 pounds or so of plutonium per year: An atomic bomb requires a fraction of that amount for fuel, and plutonium remains radioactive for 250,000 years. Therefore every country with a nuclear power plant also has a bomb factory with unlimited potential.The nuclear power industry sets an unforgivable precedent by exporting nuclear technology — bomb factories — to dozens of non-nuclear nations.

Why is nuclear power still viable, after we’ve witnessed catastrophic accidents, enormous financial outlays, weapons proliferation and nuclear-waste induced epidemics of cancers and genetic disease for generations to come? Simply put, many government and other officials believe the nuclear industry mantra: safe, clean and green. And the public is not educated on the issue.

There are some signs of change. Germany will phase out nuclear power by 2022. Italy and Switzerland have decided against it, and anti-nuclear advocates in Japan have gained traction. China remains cautious on nuclear power. Yet the nuclear enthusiasm of the U.S., Britain, Russia and Canada continues unabated. The industry, meanwhile, has promoted new modular and “advanced” reactors as better alternatives to traditional reactors. They are, however, subject to the very same risks — accidents, terrorist attacks, human error — as the traditional reactors. Many also create fissile material for bombs as well as the legacy of radioactive waste.

True green, clean, nearly emission-free solutions exist for providing energy. They lie in a combination of conservation and renewable energy sources, mainly wind, solar and geothermal, hydropower plants, and biomass from algae. A smart-grid could integrate consuming and producing devices, allowing flexible operation of household appliances. The problem of intermittent power can be solved by storing energy using available technologies.

Millions of jobs can be created by replacing nuclear power with nationally integrated, renewable energy systems. In the U.S. alone, the project could be paid for by the $180 billion currently allocated for nuclear weapons programs over the next decade. There would be no need for new weapons if the Russian and U.S. nuclear arsenals — 95 percent of the estimated 20,500 nuclear weapons globally — were abolished.

Nuclear advocates often paint those who oppose them as Luddites who are afraid of, or don’t understand, technology, or as hysterics who exaggerate the dangers of nuclear power.

One might recall the sustained attack over many decades by the tobacco industry upon the medical profession, a profession that revealed the grave health dangers induced by smoking.

Smoking, broadly speaking, only kills the smoker. Nuclear power bequeaths morbidity and mortality — epidemics of disease — to all future generations.

The millions of lives lost to smoking in the era before the health risks of cigarettes were widely exposed will be minuscule compared to the medical catastrophe we face through the continued use of nuclear power.

Let’s use this extraordinary moment to convince governments and others to move toward a nuclear-free world. Let’s prove that informed democracies will behave in a responsible fashion.

© 2011 Helen Caldicott
Helen Caldicott

Dr. Helen Caldicott is president of the Helen Caldicott Foundation for a Nuclear-Free Planet and the author of Nuclear Power is Not the Answer

The following  articles are from Mochizuki over at Worth reading, even if you’re a bot 😉

Die for Fukushima prefecture

Posted by Mochizuki on December 2nd, 2011

The Fukushima local government has asked other local governments to stop accepting Fukushima citizens who are evacuating from there.

Currently, people can borrow houses out of Fukushima. Japanese government is to cover the cost for up to 2 years.

In May, the Fukushima local government declared all the area is evacuating zone in the prefecture. People living out of the evacuating area that was defined by the JP government spontaneously evacuated to Yamagata or Niigata by using this compensation rule.

However, Fukushima local government started shutting down this exodus to keep people inside of the borders of Fukushima to make them pay tax.

To ask other local governments to stop accepting nuclear refugees, Fukushima government excused ,that rule is a temporary rule ,not a long lasting rule ,and Tepco is likely to achieve cold shut down by the end of this year.

None of the excuses make any sense.

A Fukushima citizen Hirooka Natsumi (31) evacuated to Iwate with his son (5) leaving her husband behind in Fukushima because he must work to support his family. She said “we are looking for a place where we can live all together. We are financially troubled. If none of the other local governments accept us anymore, that really troubles us.”


東日本大震災:借り上げ住宅 福島県が新規募集の停止要請








毎日新聞 2011年12月2日 15時00分


Dr. Sebastian Pflugbeil “Tokyo is on the path of Kiev”

Posted by Mochizuki on December 2nd, 2011

Dr. Sebastian Pflugbeil, the chairman of German Society of Radiation Protection had a lecture in Berlin,and talked about Tokyo.

To the question about what we can do to minimize the damage of the accident, he answered:

“Nothing. There is no way to stop the nuclear fuel that has melted-through leaking. All we could do is to pray for the fuel not to touch the underground water vein.

We must avoid internal exposure from contaminated food. Authorities are trying to make Japanese eat polluted food for their twisted patriotism, but on the other hand, citizens are setting up independent labs around Japan. This is very important. However, lab facility costs are huge. Maintenance, recording the data costs too. Now, the best thing Germans can do is to support those independent facilities financially.”

To another question “How dangerous Tokyo is now?” He answered:

“Tokyo is not the safe area. Now Tokyo is in the similar situation to Kiev in Chernobyl. Ukrainian Government couldn’t define that densely populated area, Kiev, as evacuating area so they did not admit Kiev was threatened and manipulated the radiation map to look like Plutonium stopped just before Kiev.”

Around in Kiev, there were 11 million children in 1990, and now there are 8 million. However, the number of deformed babies is the same, which means the ratio of deformation is increasing. Low dose exposure obviously affects DNA. Only 10 % of babies sent to Kiev hospital can live longer than 1 year.



Pollen in Tokyo is contaminated as well

Posted by Mochizuki on December 2nd, 2011

Prof. Fukushi from Shuto University measured 93.8 Bq/kg from the pollen of Japanese cedar in Tokyo.

It is assumed that highly contaminated pollen from Fukushima will fly to Tokyo, however, pollen around in Tokyo may be contaminated.

From the research of Prof. Fukushi:

  • Pollen: 93.8 Bq/kg
  • Leaf: 322 Bq/kg
  • Soil: 1,381 Bq/kg

(Cesium 134 and 137)

The sample was taken in Aoume, which is only 30~40 km from the center of Tokyo.
Japanese cedar and cypress are major kinds of the trees around Tokyo, which makes pollen in Spring.
Pollen starts coming from December annually. The peak is from February to April.

One Response to “Pollen in Tokyo is contaminated as well” says:

Cedar trees are rare in that they pollinate throughout the year. This means that, unlike seasonal allergies, cedar allergy symptoms can be present all year long. In fact, many people with cedar allergies in the winter months believe they have a cold because it is not the typical allergy season.

Fukushima has about 185,000 hectares of cedar forests

If there is one tree in each 3m x 3m that means 1.111 trees in hectare or about 205 million cedar trees in Fukushima. Now the closest data i found was that a 16 year old pine tree produces 81 grams of pollen per day. Thats on average 1134 grams of pollen (> 1 liter) over a 14-day pollen shed.

So, basically what we get is that when trees start feeling funky… there will be 205 mio liters (205.000 tons) of radioactive pollen flying out of Fukushima each 14 days.

(posted on my site on 1.nov., under article Cesium in pollen not viewed as health risk)


Breaking News: Incinerated ash of over 100,000 Bq/kg is allowed to be dumped into landfills

Posted by Mochizuki on December 2nd, 2011 · No Comments

Ministry of the Environment (MOE) is going to legalize dumping incinerated ash, which is over 100,000 Bq/kg, into landfills.

They are allowed to dump incinerated ash of 8,000 ~ 100,000 Bq/kginto landfills since this June.

Now that they have legalize it, there will be no limit to the levels of contaminated incinerated landfill.

MOE made it a condition to shelter it with concrete and do the best to separate it from ground water.



And this from EX-SKF:

Fukushima I Nuke Plant: TEPCO Denies Damage by Earthquake in Interim Accident Report, Insists No Explosion in Reactor 2

without giving even a speculation as to why then Reactor 2 released the largest amount of radioactive materials into the atmosphere.

On December 2, TEPCO issued the interim report on the Fukushima I Nuke Plant accident which was compiled by the company and supposedly vetted by the experts outside the company.

Read the entire (long) article at:

Confusion clouds Education Ministry notices on radiation levels in school lunches

A radiation contamination guideline of 40 becquerels per kilogram that the government introduced in connection with school lunches was actually meant for selecting radiation measuring equipment, the ministry has announced.

On Nov. 30, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology sent 17 prefectures notices that could be interpreted as stating that the limit for radiation in ingredients for school-provided lunches was 40 becquerels per kilogram, and in a news conference on Dec. 1, Senior Vice Minister Yuko Mori confirmed this. On Dec. 2, however, Minister Masaharu Nakagawa explained that the figure was actually a guideline for selecting radiation meters.

The ministry did not consult the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, which is formulating new radiation contamination guidelines under the Food Sanitation Law, before announcing the figure — exposing the lack of communication between the two ministries.

In the wording of its notice, the ministry did not use any terms indicating a binding standard, but rather a guideline that was actually supposed to cover the selection of radiation meters. However, as the confusion sparked nationwide inquiries, the ministry sent another notice to prefectural education boards across Japan late on Dec. 1 stating, “This is a guideline for selecting measuring equipment to purchase, and is not setting a standard for school lunches.”

In its original notice in November, the education ministry provided an example which said that if the radiation level in food exceeded a measuring limit of 40 becquerels per kilogram, then that particular food item could be removed from lunch menus — giving the impression that 40 becquerels per kilogram was the limit.

On Dec. 1, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, upon media reports of a “school lunch limit,” made an inquiry with the education ministry. The following morning, an education ministry official contacted the health ministry and apologized for insufficient coordination.

Commenting on the situation, a health ministry representative said, “If they had talked to us, we could have pointed out that it would cause confusion. We don’t know why they didn’t talk to us.”

A high-ranking education ministry official, meanwhile, said that the notice lacked a detailed explanation.

Earlier the education ministry was hit with a barrage of criticism for setting the radiation dosage limit at which schoolchildren’s outdoor activities would be restricted at 20 millisieverts per year.

(Mainichi Japan) December 3, 2011

TEPCO director opposed nuclear fuel recycling at industry body meeting

A Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) board member repeatedly voiced opposition to a nuclear fuel recycling project during an industry organization meeting sometime around 2002, it has been learned.

“Reprocessing is costing too much money, so we’re strongly opposed to the project,” the TEPCO director was quoted by industry sources as saying during a meeting of the Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan (FEPC). Around the time, top officials of TEPCO and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) were secretly negotiating withdrawal from a spent nuclear fuel recycling project in the Aomori Prefecture village of Rokkasho.

Pointing out a series of technical problems at the Rokkasho reprocessing plant, the director reportedly said, “Spent nuclear fuel shouldn’t be reprocessed until the technology has been proven, and instead it can be stored at pools.”

Power supplier executives present at the meeting did not reach any agreement on the issue as some insisted that the project be continued. “Even though the project is expected to cost a lot of money at present, we should continue it in an effort to develop the technology,” one executive was quoted as telling the gathering.

One of the attendees, a high-ranking official of a member company, said, “The TEPCO executive loudly insisted that we should withdraw from the project. However, I didn’t express support for this idea since we had invested so much money in the project.”

However, he said he now believes that power suppliers can’t spend any more money on the project. “The reprocessing plant hasn’t been completed yet. As an electricity charge hike is now inevitable, it’s difficult to invest any more money in the nuclear fuel recycling project.”

Read the entire article at:



In meltdown, Japan dodged even bigger disaster, CBS News, Dec. 2, 2011:

It turned out that the disaster at Japan’s Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant was much worse than was first thought [Newscaster actually says “was much worse than we thought”]. […]

A new report revealed that molten nuclear fuel burned through the 8-foot concrete walls of the first protective casing surrounding the reactor’s core, and then ate 3/4 of the way through the second casing.

The meltdown stopped within a foot of the container’s steel bottom […]

If it had burned through, it would have contaminated the ground water and the soil. No one knows how far it would have spread. […]

Published: December 3rd, 2011 at 05:30 AM EDT

Fukushima worker: Eerie, deep popping noise from bottom of reactor before boots melted — Kyodo edits out important details

Workers at Japan nuclear plant recall tsunami desperation, AFP, Dec. 3, 2011:

[A]n interim report released Friday by the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) [… is] the first to detail workers’ testimonies, also described attempts to release pressure from a reactor container by manually opening a ventilation valve as they struggled to avert catastrophic meltdown. […]

“When I got to the place to open the valve, I heard eerie, deep popping noise from the torus (a donut-shaped structure at the bottom of the reactor),” he said.

“When I put one of my feet on the torus to reach the valve, my black rubber boot melted and slipped (due to the heat).” […]

Kyodo leaves out the important detail about the “eerie, deep popping noise from the torus (a donut-shaped structure at the bottom of the reactor)”:

A worker who engaged in the task of venting was quoted as saying, “I heard some big weird dull, popping sounds … and when I tried to start working … my black rubber boots melted (because of the heat).”

No mention of which reactor… nor do any other reports of this harrowing account:

Cesium-137 deposits 50 times more than previous record


TSUKUBA, Ibaraki Prefecture–Nearly 30,000 becquerels per square meter of cesium-137 fell on Tsukuba in March as a result of the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, the government’s Meteorological Research Institute said Dec. 1.

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