Day 328 On babies, birds, butterflies, and beef

Study finds Fukushima worse than Chernobyl on bird population — “Dramatically” elevated DNA mutation rates and extinctions — Insect life significantly reduced — Shows immediate consequence of radiation

Title: Bird numbers plummet around stricken Fukushima plant

Source: The Independent
Author: David McNeill
Date: Feb 2, 2012
Emphasis Added

Researchers working around Japan’s disabled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant say bird populations there have begun to dwindle, in what may be a chilling harbinger of the impact of radioactive fallout on local life.

The Details

  • Analysis of 14 species of bird common to Fukushima and Chernobyl
  • Showed the effect on abundance isworse in the Japanese disaster zone
  • [Study] suggests that its findings demonstrate “an immediate negative consequence of radiation for birds during the main breeding season [of] March [to] July”
  • Timothy Mousseau and Anders Pape Moller say their research uncoveredmajor negative effects among the bird population
  • Including reductions in longevity and inmale fertility, and birds with smaller brains
  • Many species show “dramatically” elevated DNA mutation rates,developmental abnormalities andextinctions
  • Insect life has been significantly reduced

Read the report here

The study is to be published next week in the journal Environmental Pollution

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http://www.simplyinfo.org/?p=4818

Officials – Piping At Fukushima Unit 5 Has Insufficient Quake Resistance

February 2nd, 2012

Officials have admitted that unit 5 at Fukushima has pipe and support systems that did not meet 2006 anti-quake standards. This includes the main water supply pipes to the reactor. Anti quake standards were raised in 2006, TEPCO acknowledged the increased risk to the reactors but did no reinforcement work. They also did not submit any test results showing the reactors were compliant as is. Apparently TEPCO simply did nothing about the 2006 standards changes. This is in step with our findings of work done in response to the 2007 earthquake at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa. TEPCO was told by NISA to do earthquake upgrades. What was done was highly superficial items like some small tank tie downs and a rail in the control room. In 2007 no work was done to piping and supports per the public reports put out by TEPCO at the time. This leaves two significant official warnings of increased earthquake risk that went largely un-responded to.

Unit 5 is the one of the newer BWR Mark 1 reactors at Fukushima Daiichi. Construction began in 1972, construction on unit 4 began in 1973. Toshiba was the architect and reactor supplier of Unit 5. They also played the same role at unit 3. Unit 5 does feature some design improvements over units 1-4 including the outside vertical concrete beams. Why these changes were not made on the design of unit 4 is unknown.

TEPCO and NISA have been using unit 5 as a testing ground and forensic tool.

The calculations showed that a strength of between 1.2 to 4.3 times the anti-quake standards would be applied to the main water supply piping as well as support for seven piping systems if the expected quake under the new standards had struck the reactor.”

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Japanese government is going to raise the safety limit for infant

Posted by Mochizuki on February 2nd, 2012

Councilor of radiation belonging to Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare returned the report to allow them to raise the safety limit of infant food, which is from 50 Bq/Kg to 100 Bq/Kg.

Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare has been asking the councilor for the opinion which is more friendly to agricultural industry.
As the reason, the councilor states even if an infant takes 100 Bq/Kg of food everyday, the yearly internal dose would be less than 1 mSv.
However, even this limit may be raised because some of the stakeholder of fishing and agricultural industry claim it is still too strict, it’s harmful for the reconstruction of the disaster area.
The councilor mentioned variety of stakeholders should be involved in making the new safety rule. Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare is going to effectuate the new rule as of April.

Source

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More on this from EX-SKF:

Japan’s Ministry of Education Radiation Council: No Need to Have Stricter Standard for Radiation for Food for Infants

Because “we have to make sure producers are not inconvenienced”.

The Radiation Council of the Ministry of Education and Science issued its response after deliberating on the new safety standard for radioactive cesium in food submitted by the Ministry of Health and Labor.

First, from Mainichi Shinbun (2/2/2012):

Report on new standard for radioactive cesium: 100 becquerels/kg for infant food

The Radiation Council of the Ministry of Education and Science has been deliberating on the new safety standards for radioactive cesium in food set by the Ministry of Health and Labor. On February 2, the council compiled its report that said it would be OK to loosen the standards for food and milk for infants from 50 becquerels/kg to 100 becquerels/kg. In the next meeting, the council will submit its final report to the Ministry of Health and Labor.

The majority of the council expressed the view that “for all age groups including infants, the annual [internal] radiation exposure would be within 1 millisievert even if they continue to consume food with 100 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium”, and all agreed that the health of children would be well protected. Some said the new standards would be too harsh for fishermen and farmers, and the standards might negatively affect the recovery of the disaster-affected areas. The council’s report also says “all stakeholders should participate in deciding the new standards”.

In December, the Ministry of Health and Labor revised the existing provisional safety standard of 500 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium and prepared the new standards of 50 becquerels/kg for infant food, 50 becquerels/kg for milk, and 100 becquerels/kg for other food items. The new standards will be officially decided after the Radiation Council’s deliberation and comments from the public and enforced starting April.

Asahi Shinbun on the same subject has this additional information about who else the Radiation Council cares about – entities that do the radiation testing.

[The council] will ask for considerations in using the new standard in April so that there are no confusions in testing and no negative effect on the producers.

To limit the annual radiation exposure to 1 millisievert and below, [the council] points out that the general food standard [of 100 becquerels/kg] is amply safe for the children’s health without setting a special standard for food for infants. The council questions the basis for the stricter standard, and worries about the negative effect on what people eat in the disaster-affected areas and on the industries there.

No need to treat infants and toddlers differently when it comes to radioactive materials in food. 100 becquerels/kg radioactive cesium is safe enough for everyone. March on, brave little soldiers.

By the way, the annual radiation exposure they are talking about here is “internal” exposure in addition to the natural background internal exposure from ingesting food. It doesn’t even include extra internal radiation from inhaling radioactive materials, and does not include external radiation exposure.

Public comments count nothing, as people in Japan are still finding out. It is to give them an illusion that what they have is democracy. Public meetings, public comments are the formalities only for the power that be to say “See, we listen to the citizens because we hold these meetings and solicit comments from the citizens.”

 See entire article (including articles in Japanese) at:

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Cesium beef has been eaten by 180,000 students

http://fukushima-diary.com/2012/02/cesium-beef-has-been-eaten-by-180000-students/

Posted by Mochizuki on February 3rd, 2012

A member of the House of Representatives from Communist Party, Miyamoto Takeshi commented on his blog that about 180,000 students have eaten cesium beef.

It is mentioned in this context.
Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology finally decided to make budget for schools to buy Nal scintillation spectrometer but still hasn’t opened bid. More importantly, Nal scintillation spectrometer is not out of stock everywhere, they have to wait for 2 months at least.
However, MEXT is asserting school lunch is safe because they check when they distribute food to the market. None of the contaminated food is in the market.
In fact this is not true. Last August they found cesium beef consumed at school. By 12/1/2011, 433 schools and 26 kindergarten in 18 prefectures and 46 cities have served cesium beef for school lunch. In total, 180,000 students have been forced to eat it.
In Miyagi prefecture, they measured 1293 Bq/Kg of cesium from beef served for school.

Currently, radiation measurement facility is in only 17 prefectures of eastern Japan, and there are only 5 in a prefecture at the most.

Source

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