Wednesday, September 14, 2011

#Radiation in Japan: Tsukuba City's Idea of Voluntary "Decontamination"

Shorts, short-sleeve T-shirts, no masks, sneakers, with small kids. (In other words, all the things you should never do.)

As "decontamination" is set to become a new bubble for Fukushima Prefecture if not for entire Japan, the national government strongly encourage citizen volunteers to "decontaminate" their own neighborhood.

So, one elementary school in Tsukuba City in Ibaraki Prefecture called on the parents to do the "decontamination" of the school yard on September 9, and Ibaraki City proudly posted the photographs of the occasion on its webpage.

Except... oops one of the photos showed the presence of small children. It was supposed to be done by adult volunteers only, for the safety for the kids. People started to question the wisdom of "decon" with children, so the city quietly substituted the photo with the one without any children in it.

What were these parents thinking? Well I guess they couldn't secure babysitters. Or they thought this was some kind of family fun activity. Probably the answer was that they weren't thinking.

Professor Hayakawa of Gunma Prefecture (of radiation contour map fame) is one of those people who happened to capture the photo before Tsukuba deleted from its site:

Owly Images

Not only you see children, but the parents are seen in shorts, T-shirts, no masks, no protective gear. They have rakes, shovels and brooms as tools. Tsukuba City's webpage shows houses right next to the school yard. (I bet they were not too happy to see the dust flying up from the operation.)

The website of this particular school proudly announces the radiation level decreased by 0.002 to 0.01 microsievert/hour for the school yard. The radiation level dropped by two-third in ditches and under the rain gutters by removing the dirt.

Why did the school do this nearly useless "decontamination" which hardly reduced the radiation level except under the gutters and in the ditches? Probably to "alleviate fear and anxiety" among parents, as every single politician and bureaucrat in Japan spouts these days. Now the school is all set for its annual autumn school athletic meet.

It's all in your head, they say.

I still occasionally see some tweets by people from high radiation areas saying "We'll adapt to high radiation quickly, won't we? After all, there are locations in the world with 10 millisieverts/year radiation!" Well, according to Dr. Alexey Yablokov (link is PDF file), it takes about 20 generations or 400 years for people to become less sensitive to radiation effect.


Anonymous said...

I'm wondering if Afforestation could be a partial solution to the problem of soil contamination mobility and bioacumulation.
You would want to create a closed system and quickly so ease of propagation,fast establishment,good uptake and sequestering of cotamination in tissues not available to the various food chains.
You would want longevity,resistance to radiation as few native predators.
You may want zero fruit and seed production and pollen incompatible with native species,you would want as useless a wood as possible to prevent illegal harvest.

Are there any trees that would fit the bill?

Clonal Aspen,Leylandii?

I think you would want a Conifer,an evergreen who's spent needles retain and recycle the nuclear fallout back into unperishable wood.

It's a tll order and could do more harm than good but it's an idea.

Anonymous said...

I am SICK of hearing stories about how people "think" that their area is so contaminated! Come to Kashiwa, thats where I am. The air is a constant 0.30+ µSv/h! The ground is over 2.50µSv/h everywhere and the center of the streets is 0.80µSv/h!! Not to mention hots spots over 5.77µSv/h! Come get some! Just go to youtube and search for radiation + Kashiwa, there are tons of videos, as well as the Cancer Research Center in Kashiwa posts the daily radiation levels from the air which is around 0.30µSv/h everyday, and before the "event" it was 0.08µSv/h. look for yourself. .

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

@anon at 4:22PM, who are you so angry at? People in this particular place in Tsukuba? Nursery school in Akita? Because Kashiwa has higher radiation? Or are you angry at me for not covering Kashiwa on English blog? Or what?

Anonymous said...

You need to leave,where is the incentivisation of refuge in other countries?

Anonymous said...

I am not sure if you have covered it, but Tsukuba/Kashiwa/Abiko etc. contamination might be due to remelting of reactor 3 as some bloggers and researchers claim.

The radioactive
plume from the explosion was observed in Hitachi city, Ibaraki Prefecture at 3:30AM on March 21 and moved to Kashiwa city and Abiko city where it met rain clouds, creating the hot spots in the area.

From Dr. Saji's 182nd -186th day update:

> IV. Update of TEPCO's meltdown scenario (re-melting)

> In the cause of the preparation of Supplemental Information on the Fukushima Daiichi disaster to be presented at the IAEA General Assembly meeting scheduled to be held starting September 19, TEPCO released some updates on the official report by the Japanese Government presented in June. Among all the new information, TEPCO seems to be nervous at a recent report by Dr. Tanabe, a former senior researcher at the Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute. His report has been widely introduced through
> According to his theory, a second meltdown likely occurred in the 1F3, in 10 days after the March 11 Great East Japan Earthquake, resulting in the fuel may have leaked to the surrounding containment vessel. His report will be announced at next month's meeting of the Atomic Energy Society of Japan.

> His argument was based on his assessment that about 300 tons of water was pumped into the No. 3 reactor core daily until March 20, which likely cooled the fuels. However, between March 21 and 23, only about 24 tons of water was pumped in, while on March 24, about 69 tons entered the reactor. The volume of water pumped in on those days was only between 11 and 32 percent of the amount needed to remove decay heat from the nuclear fuel in the core. However, according to TEPCO, the rate of water injection to the reactor, measuring gauge was temporarily changed from fire pump to control panel of the main control room during the period from March 21 to March 25. According to TEPCO`s new handout as presented through , TEPCO concluded it is unlikely that the rate of actual water injection to the reactor reduced largely because the fluctuation of reactor pressure and pressure in the Primary Containment Vessel were small.

Anonymous said...

@Areva: I think a post of mine re. reactor 3 re-melt just got spam filtered, could you check please

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

I fished that out, along with 5 others. I've read about reactor 3 remelting, posted one post.

Where do you get Dr. Saji's updates on Fukushima?

Anonymous said...

Try having yourself put on the list by emailing K Nakamura (email is truncated)

Ko-ichi Nakamura

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

EX-SKF, Please dont be discourage by what you perceive as angry commenters. Please keep up all your hard work. Your blog is really important. I have been reading it everyday since about March/April. I have never left a comment before but you are a hero to me. It's hard not be worn down by this topic and yet you never take a break from posting. It is really appreciated.

And BTW my child's school (in Kanto) had the children do all the clean up of the yard before the undokai. I just happened to walk by the school and see literally piles and piles of dead leaves, weeds and debris. I prayed it was adults who did this work but the school blog showed pictures of the children doing it. I informed the principal that my child was not to do this work. He said a geiger counter reading (at 0.5m it showed 0.180 microsieverts an hour) determined this was a safe activity. Well this is the same school that continues to serve some vegetables from Fukushima as well as mixed milk (Saitama, Tochigi, Ibaraki & Fukushima) with cesium in it. Continued to send grade 5's to Nikko on their school trip. Continued to have students harvest rice, clean swimming pools, practice undokai in the dirt and so on. Nothing, and I mean nothing, not even a nuclear meltdown, will get in the way of the way things have always been done and the all-important yearly calendar of school events. Think I'd go crazy if I didn't have your blog to read.

Anonymous said...

>> it takes about 20 generations or 400 years for people to become less sensitive to radiation effect.

I guess the Japanese are proud to be gen. 1
One small step for mankind?

Anonymous said...,or.r_gc.r_pw.&fp=d5bc1e92224c5138&biw=972&bih=619

Anonymous said...

Now I've seen it all. Toddlers cleaning up nuclear dust.

Anonymous said...

EX-SKF don`t be discourage by with low mentality commentators so with nothing but trying to be smart well in reality was just a dkhd! you are a hero who almost never sleep just to let us know the current situation .... thanks a lot!!!!

Anonymous said...

In 1945 the Devil hit Japan at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Then Japan embraced the Devil. Now the Devil has hit Japan at Fukushima. Who is to blame?

caustixoid said...

Hi Ex-SKF. Keep up the great work! Just wanted to point out that your units in this post were out by a factor of 10 -- it would be fantastic if the ground were 0.01mcSv/hr.
btw love your asides and comments.

Anonymous said...

Dear Blogger,

I would like to ask you in regards to Japan, we seldom hear Okinawa Prefecture begin affected by Fukushima Nuclear effects. In terms of beef, the contaminated beef reached all prefectures except Okinawa. Even many food shipments in news always put "except Okinawa".

Does Okinawa has its own supply of food by itself?


tony roma said...

dumb fuckers when will they wake up..
how the hell did this country become a super power.

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