Price to pay, I suppose, for slowly forming a "consensus" on how to deal with the reactors at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant. While the political heads gather to discuss what's safe to tell the general public, the radioactive materials have been doing what they are supposed to do under the circumstance: to spread.
Mr. Ishikawa is right. This is a war against the melted cores and radiation, not a time for a political powwow.
From Jiji Press (10:12PM JST 5/1/2011):
Fukushima, May 1 (Jiji Press)--High levels of radioactive cesium have been found in sewage sludge in Fukushima Prefecture, northeastern Japan, the prefectural government said Sunday.
The sludge at a treatment center in Koriyama had 26,400 becquerels of radioactive cesium per kilogram. Slag made by reducing the volume of sewage sludge had 334,000 becquerels per kilogram.
Massive amounts of radioactive substances released by the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant may have flowed into sewage when rain fell, prefectural officials said.
The treatment center produces 80 tons of sludge per day, of which 10 tons are transported to a cement company outside the prefecture for recycling. The prefecture suspended sludge recycling Sunday.
An estimated 500 tons of sludge have been provided to the cement company since the nuclear plant was stricken by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, the officials said. Whether they were actually recycled remain to be seen, they said.
What's not clearly stated in the Jiji article is HOW they reduce sludge into slag. They BURN it. Talk about environmental hazard. So, not just dioxin but now the radioactive cesium may be spewed into the air.
Additional information from Asahi Shinbun (in Japanese, my summary translation; 3:01AM JST 5/2/2011):
Fukushima Prefectural government is said to be "investigating" whether the radioactive materials spread in the air when the sludge is burned.
There is no manual or guideline as to how to treat the radioactive sludge [according to Asahi, but it is hard to believe there is no guideline].
The cesium amount in the slag, measured on April 30, was 1,400 times as much as the amount prior to the Fukushima I Nuke Plant accident.
There are 80 tons of sewage sludge per day, of which 70 tons are burned in the incinerator and reduced to 2 tons of slag. The remaining 10 tons of the sludge are sent to a cement company.
The Prefectural government will provide the workers at this plant with dosimeters, and will test the other 22 facilities in Fukushima Prefecture.
On May 1, the Prefectural government measured the [air] radiation level at the facility at 1.8 to 3.4 micro-sieverts/hour, which was higher than 1.6 micro-sieverts/hour measured at the Koriyama City Hall Complex 10 kilometers away.
Under the current law on sewage, recycling the sludge is encouraged. 80 percent of the sewage sludge is recycled as building materials [like cement], and the remaining 20 percent is buried in landfills.
From Fukushima Minpo (Japanese, my translation; 6:50PM JST 5/1/2011):
The slag, made by burning down the sewage sludge, is used as part of substrate under the road pavement, but the plant hasn't sold the slag since the Fukushima I Nuke Plant accident.
Radioactive cement, here we come. And depending on whether the reprocessing center is telling the truth, radioactive roads, maybe.