Monday, September 19, 2011

63,000 Bq/Kg of Radioactive Cesium from Rooftop of Apartment Bldg in Yokohama City

It made the national news ONE MONTH AFTER a private citizen measured the air radiation level on his own and had the dirt tested with his own money.

According to TV Asahi's "Morning Bird" news variety show on September 19, 63,000 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium was detected from the dirt sediment on the rooftop of a 5-story apartment building in Kohoku-ku in Yokohama City. It is the same Kohoku-ku where 42,000 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium was found near the side drain on the road.

The person who measured the radiation tweeted the result as early as August 15.

The air radiation at the spot was 1.8 microsievert/hour. The result of the soil analysis:

Cesium-134: 29,775 becquerels/kg
Cesiu-137: 33.659 becquerels/kg
Total cesium: 63,434 becquerels/kg

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The show's commentators are saying "Oh... what about Tokyo? I thought we're safe."


(H/T shusse)


Canarybeatback said...

OK, so fukushima is way up north over Tokyo, and Yokohama is way down south of Tokyo...

Uhm... it seems that Tokyo is in between...

then Tokyo is not safe at all...

Anonymous said...

Tokyo was fucked long ago and its all coming out now, this has only just begun... in 6 months from now EXSKF will be reporting kids with cancers and all sorts of radiation related sicknesses ...just wait and see.... and the government could have prevented a lot of it ....fucking sick in the head society is Japan

shusse said...

When Aichi prefecture discovered 60800 bq/kg in compost from Tochigi on Sep 3, the prefecture government said "It has no influence on people" -

Anonymous said...

I guess I'd better stop eating dirt from rain gutters. I might get cancer.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous above is Dumb.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous @ 3:10 PM

You won't have to stop eating dirt from rain gutters to avoid cancer - because wind will blow dirt into the air and you'll inhale it as dust, or the people who clean rain gutters will inhale it as dust, or maybe you'll inhale the radioactive dust that results from people all over the city cleaning their rain gutters and sending dust into the air. And where do they put the dirt they remove from rain gutters? Or maybe the dirt will just wash down the rain gutters to collect on the bottom of your shoes as you walk past the building, and some of that dirt will end up in landscaping and vegetable gardens etc. So go ahead and keep eating dirt from rain gutters because even if you stopped - you'd still be exposed to the radioactive dirt in the gutters one way or another.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

@anon at 6:06PM, please don't post on every single post. Thank you.

netudiant said...

To keep this in perspective, 2 microSieverts/hr translates to an annual dose of about 20 milliSieverts.
While this is about 10x the normal background, it is well under the natural background in such places as Kerala, India or Ramsar, Iran, where ambient levels are several times higher without evident health effects.
The Japanese population is participating involuntarily in a major public health experiment, which the government has failed to admit. We can only hope, but do not know, that the results will be as benign as the Ramsar or Kerala experience suggests.

Anonymous said...

You don't measure "air radiation" on the ground… unless you want spectacular high µSv/h numbers to get people's attention.

If you measure stuff in drains and other flow areas, you get above average readings, not surprisingly.

@netudiant: "it is well under the natural background in such places as Kerala, India or Ramsar, Iran, where ambient levels are several times higher without evident health effects."

That's because they have lived there for generations and the radiation is "natural", in other words, not a cocktail of stuff spewed onto them from three melted down reactors. It seems silly to even start comparing these situations.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

@netudiant, maybe in about 20 generations, or 400 years, if Russian scientists are correct.

Japan's average normal background radiation was 1.4 millisievert per year before Fukushima, and it was lower in Kanto and Tohoku. I don't think they adapt to 14 times the background very quickly.

Anonymous said...

So how many people have dropped dead from radiation poisoning yet? Where are the super outbreaks of birth defects that everyone was proclaiming? If there hasn't been any, then we need to have a PRO-NUKE rally.. because dealing with radiation is a hell of lot better than sending our sons to die deserts of the middle east for oil.

netudiant said...

It is certainly true that as the ambient cesium contamination is 10x normal background, it will take about 5 half lives, 150 years, to cut that back to 3% of its initial level, enough to fade into the background again.
It is not obvious that there has been any adaptation by the people of Kerala or similar places to the higher ambient radiation level. If there are any studies on the topic, it would be very helpful. In particular, it is hard to envision the evolutionary pressure that would promote radiation resistance. As cancer is usually an age related issue, reproductive success should not be impacted by the increased radiation background. Relative to disease, war and famine, it seems a bit player in terms of evolutionary pressure for these populations.

Anonymous said...

Background radiation is a lot different than having radioisotopes being kicked around and mixed in soil for growing vegetables for human consumption or animal feed. Background radiation is not something that is taken internally.

Apples and oranges.

Anonymous said...

"If there are any studies on the topic, it would be very helpful."

Well, there will be. Just ask Dr. Yamashita.

Until those studies are done I would get the hell out of there. Despite all the "might not" or "should not" claims. In ten years they will say "remember when we said that there shouldn't be a problem. We were wrong, but thanks for participating in the study."

Anonymous said...

@ arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

@anon at 6:06PM, please don't post on every single post. Thank you.

-->Just curious...why don't you want people to know about the rally? It would help raise awareness for Japan.

Anonymous said...

If the person is posting the same information on every single post, that's called spamming.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

@anon at 10:01PM, if that someone wants to spread the word, the best way would be not to post on every single post. Google will very soon tag it as spam and remove automatically, and I don't have any control other than to fish it from SPAM filter and put it back, which is a tedious job.

It looks like Google already did it.

Anonymous said...

@ arevamirpal::laprimavera

Oh. How does that Google filter work?

Also, if you want people to help Japan and raise is your chance (at least, in the U.S...)

Maybe you could post an article about the rally?


Anonymous said...

I just saw the comment above your last, 2 posts the same and you are filtered?

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

No one knows how Google filter works, it's an automatic filter with their own secret algorithms and every blogger hates it. It's supposed to be trainable but it isn't, and Google doesn't let you opt out if you use blogger.

I'll look at the site and may post. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Okay, thanks!

Even if you don't, your site will go down in history for helping many people. Good work! <3

Anonymous said...


And he's saying stupid things like this:

So how many people have dropped dead from radiation poisoning yet? Where are the super outbreaks of birth defects that everyone was proclaiming? If there hasn't been any, then we need to have a PRO-NUKE rally.. because dealing with radiation is a hell of lot better than sending our sons to die deserts of the middle east for oil.

(Thanks, nice to hear from you...TEPCO!)

Anonymous said...

No, that wasn't me this time.

But… the friendly people at Enenews today taught me that the best disruption is caused by people calling other people disruptors, multiple times if possible. Guaranteed to break down any civilized discussion.

So THANK YOU, Tepco man! Also great technique by repeating exactly what you think caused the offense. What better way to stir up more controversy and distract from a rational discussion.

jmdesp said...

Background radiation is not really significantly different from radioactive cesium induced radiation, as we also ingest a part of that background radiation. There is radioactive Potassium 40 in all the food we eat, as well as radioactive Carbon 14. In the periodic element table Potassium is in exactly the same row as Cesium, which means their chemical properties are very similar, and that they will be ingested the same way and stay just as long in your organism.

It's pretty certain this dirt from rain gutters contains a large number of chemicals pollutants, other than Cs 137/134, and they would probably be more dangerous for your health when ingested than the amount of Cesium. The same would apply to directly breathing a large quantity of it as dust.

Let's not forget the WHO has established a very long list of carcinogenic substances that rise your cancer risk by several percent, and we still consume many of them without caring in any way, be it alcohol, sausage, red meat. And newspaper can publish WHO estimates that ordinary air pollution is responsible for tens of thousands death every year for a country like Japan, without anybody even raising an eyebrow (estimates for Europe in 2005 was 400 000 deaths).

However I certainly believe the Japanese government should closely verify why they are significant Cs deposits so far from the plant, and verify in a much more organized way if it can find some other ones, if only to avoid ordinary citizen to find out such things when they were lead to believe nothing at all would be found so far way, and finally have wide controls in place to make sure none of this gets back in the water or food chain.

Anonymous said...


And he says stupid things like:

No, that wasn't me this time.

[And then he continues to defend the nuclear industry's position that radiation is "safe" or at least "tolerable."<--Too bad that's a lie.]


Who else is going to go on this website and cry for radiation's right to kill us all? Please...

Anonymous said...

jmdesp- Thank you! I was betting with my friends how long we would have to wait before another "radioactive banana (potassium 40)" argument would poke it's head up from the grave of debunked myths. Nice try. I can only hope you are being sarcastic in your post as you are a bit late in the game for that nonsense.

Any of us foreigners living in Tohoku are well aware that cesium-137 is not natural and being similar to potassium makes it even more detrimental to us as our bodies will absorb it as such.

No, the strontium, cesium, plutonium and iodine we are seeing lately are not people-friendly. Any radiologist without an agenda will attest to that.

Anonymous said...

Ridiculous. Your DNA does not care one bit whether the neutrons crashing into it come from radium, potassium, cesium, or from cosmic radiation. There is nothing inherently more dangerous in cesium neutrons than there are in radon neutrons or potassium neutrons. To claim that banana radiation is safe, but cesium radiation is different, is nonsense.

James said...

"there is nothing inherently more dangerous in cesium neutrons"

Seriously, where do these people keep coming from?

"Cesium-137 proceeds by both beta decay and gamma emission"

"Cesium-137 and strontium-90 are the most dangerous radioisotopes to the environment in terms of their long-term effects"

"Both the electron and gamma emissions are highly ionizing radiation."

"Cesium-137 is passed on up the food chain and reconcentrated from the environment"

"The gamma radiation is very penetrating, and the beta radiation, though very short range, is very dangerous when ingested because it deposits all that energy in a very short distance in tissue."

Stay off the internet and have a banana instead etc etc

Anonymous said...

I wonder what the half-life of potassium 40 is. I wonder how many megaelectronvolts it gives off when it beta decays. Or when it gamma decays. I'm sure one of the clever people on this board can figure it out.

Anonymous said...

@anon above,

If one believes everything they find online it seems that potassium 40 decays with gamma emission at one tenth the rate per half life as cesium 137, at around triple the eV per gamma decay.

Cesium 137 experiences around forty million half lives in the span of one potassium 40 half life.

So unless I miss my math a quantity of cesium-137 will experience nearly half a billion times as many disintegrations resulting in gamma radiation in a half life as an equal quantity of potassium-40. Even assuming that emission energies translate one-to-one when multiplied you would be looking at roughly 150 million times as many eV emitted as gamma by the cesium.

Someone please check my work, I'm no expert here.

Anonymous said...

So, cesium is 150 million times more radioactive than potassium. That sounds like a lot.

Anonymous said...

No, more like cesium-137 emits maybe 100-150 million times as much gamma radiation over a given time period as potassium-40 does. Yes it seems like a lot but consider that using Wiki as a source:

Potassium-40: 1.248×10^9 (one and one quarter billion) year half life. About 10% decay rate to argon-40 emitting 1.460 MeV gamma ray.

Cesium-137: 3.017*10^1 (or 0.00000003017*10^9, or 30.17) year half life. About 95% decay rate to barium-137m which decays in several dozen seconds emitting 0.662 MeV gamma ray.

So on a per reaction basis it is almost ten times more likely a reaction producing gamma will come from a cesium-137 atom as a potassium-40 atom. A gamma decay from potassium packs around 2 times the eV energy. So to make a leap potassium-40 should average a quarter to a third of the gamma energy output in eV, per decay, of cesium-137 over a given length of time.

100 decays to gamma:
K-40 10 decays @ 1.460 MeV = 14.60 MeV
Cs-137 95 decays @ 0.662 MeV = 62.89 MeV

1.248*10^9 divided by 30.17 = 41,365,594
Number of Cs-137 half lives expected to occur in one K-40 half life. So for the same number of atoms of each substance a Cs-137 atom will decay 40 million times more often than a K-40 atom. Each Cs-137 atom take on average will emit around four times the MeV as a K-40 will.

Cumulatively this means 4x the energy radiated 40 million times as often, or 160 million times the quantity of energy.

As I said I could be wrong so please point out any mistakes in calculation. And I make no estimation as to whether the multiplied energy released is linear to any damage inflicted.

Kyotoresident said...

Directions to Radiation 101 appreciated.

Anonymous said...

In my calculation above I realize I took some of these numbers out of context and in some trains of logic I was not making a comparison of equivalent terms.

Therefore I don't make an accurate estimation of how much more damaging K-40 decay is vs Cs-137. However I believe the root comparison of gamma radiation I made is accurate enough to represent the fact that it surely is a foolish notion to believe that a living subject's body experiences no difference between K-40 and Cs-137 exposure.

Anonymous said...

So if we take the numbers out of context and we dispense with logic, cesium emits 150 million times more gamma radiation than potassium.

I think its crystal clear.

Anonymous said...

well that blows the banana argument then! lol :)

keep up the good work exskf!!
peace light and love to the people of japan!

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

@anon at 1AM, I translated half the page you sent me and will post it on my Japanese blog first. Those protesting Japanese people may appreciate that they are not alone, and their action (or their being, whatever) may have inspired a movement even in the US.

If I remember right, the previous demonstrations in the US after Fukushima accident were mostly small-scale affairs mostly by Japanese who live in the US and their friends.

Anonymous said...


Thank you! We're trying!

Please tell the people of Japan so many of us are trying to help any way we can, we love them and we are so sorry this happened to all of us.

Keep up strength...our voices are getting louder.

Anonymous said...

To Netudiant @7:27

You said:"It is not obvious that there has been any adaptation by the people of Kerala or similar places to the higher ambient radiation level. If there are any studies on the topic, it would be very helpful. "

I investigated the 'Kerala' or similar places with higher background radiation angle. Interesting that you ask if there are any studies on the topic. There are no reliable scientific studies or evidence suggesting that the population of Kerala or any other higher background radiation area is not harmed by higher background radiation. For example, no effort was made to conduct longitudinal studies with a sample size adequate for research purposes. The 'studies' conducted focused on age groups most resistant to radiation (older people - not younger people) and did not continue long enough for the population to actually develop cancer (the studies tended to 'last' less than 10 years, focus on the hardiest members of society, employ too small a sample for objective, reliable data collection and involve geographically constrained external exposure to radon - not the Fukushima cocktail of isotopes entering food, water and soil in Japan.

According to Russian scientists, many of those harmed by radiation die off and do not reproduce following a Chernobyl type event. Some people with genetic damage do survive and reproduce. And .15 of the population is believed to be resistant to the negative effects of the kind of radiation generated by Chernobyl. So, the Russian scientists theorize that after 400 years, members of a population who are harmed by radiation would have essentially sickened and died off and the remaining population could conceivably be considered 'resistant' but would not necessarily be free of genetic damage.
There is no legitimate reason to suggest that raising the background level of Japan is neutral to the success of the population. TEPCO and it's supporting government have damaged the health and safety of the Japanese people and the rest of the world. The question is - how much longer will they continue to do so? The cores are still spewing more radiation into the air and water every day.

Anonymous said...

I would say, we're all exposed since the very first day of Fukushima's incident.

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