Sunday, June 19, 2011

#Radiation in Japan: Mix and Match, and Fukushima's Radioactive Debris Can Be Burned and Buried

"Radiation. If we all share it, there's nothing to fear."

Japan's Ministry of the Environment has decided, upon advice from the experts, that it is OK to burn the radioactive debris in Fukushima Prefecture and bury the ashes in the final processing plant as long as the burned ashes do not contain more than 8,000 becquerels per kilogram of radioactive materials, according to Yomiuri Shinbun (6/19/2011).

The paper also reports that the trick will be to "mix and match":


The Ministry believes that if the [radioactive] debris is burned with other wastes, there will be only a few cases in which this standard [of 8,000 becquerels/kg] will be exceeded. Thus, most of the ashes will be buried.

What happens if one of those rare cases happens and the ashes measure more than 8,000 becquerels/kg?

また、8000ベクレルを超えた場合は、最終処分場や放射線を遮蔽できる施設で一時保管し、その後の処分方法については引き続き検討をする。焼却炉の集じ ん機から回収された微細な灰は、含まれる放射性物質が水に溶けやすいなどの理由から、基準にかかわらず一時保管の対象とする。

If [the ashes] exceed 8,000 becquerels/kg, they will be temporarily stored at the final processing plant or in a facility that could shield radiation, and the final disposal method will be further discussed. The fine ashes collected from the dust collectors of the incinerators will be stored temporarily regardless of the standard, because the radioactive materials in them are water-soluble.

Temporary storage means just that, temporary. They will wait long enough for people to forget (or give up), and they will bury those ashes too.

So spread the good word - radioactive debris can be burned and buried, as long as you mix with something else and "dilute" the radiation!

This is insanity. It reminds me of a satirical saying in Japan long time ago, meant as a joke:

"Red light. If we all cross the street together, there's nothing to fear."

So now, in Japan,

"Radiation. If we all share it, there's nothing to fear."


  1. Traduction en français sur
    Because we share your indignation. We spread the good word...
    Thank you again for your work

  2. What happens to the smoke from the burning? Will they filtre it, or does it just get added to the "background radiation"?

    Where are they going to bury/store all the soil that needs to be removed, and ash from incineration and other radioactive debris that is collecting?

    The world is running out of room to dispose of "regular" garbage, let along radioactive materials. Of course I suppose they could just keep adding it to pools on present reactor sites...that seems to be the current solution to radioactive waste.