Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sunflower Planting Hardly Did Anything to Reduce Radioactive Cesium in Soil

Well, it sure looked pretty, a field of sunflowers, but if the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries is to be believed, it did not do much more than looking pretty, and creating radioactive sunflowers that'll have to be somehow safety disposed as nuclear waste.

Sunflower seeds were planted in many, many areas within the 20-kilometer radius exclusion zone. Who is going to dispose these nuclear waste, and how?

From Asahi Shinbun (9/14/2011):


The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries announced the result of its study in Fukushima Prefecture on the effectiveness of various method of decontamination of the farmland that have been contaminated with radioactive materials. While it was confirmed that scraping off the surface soil was effective, planting sunflowers to absorb radioactive cesium proved to be hardly effective at all.


The Ministry has been experimenting on the decontamination methods since late May, using 6 locations in Iitate-mura and Kawamata-machi, which are close to Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant.


Of different methods to scrape off the surface soil, the most effective was scraping about 3 centimeters with the shallow-rooted grass. This method decreased radioactive cesium by 97%. Scraping the soil alone about 4 centimeters achieved 75% reduction. If the surface soil was treated with solidifying agent before being scraped, the reduction was 82%.


Filling the rice paddies with water, then tilling and stirring the soil and draining the water reduced radioactive cesium by 36%. Digging the field 30 to 60 centimeter deep and burying the surface soil was also effective in reducing the radiation level in half.


On the other hand, the amount of cesium that sunflowers absorbed from the soil was only one-2000th of the density of radioactive cesium in the soil. The Ministry concluded that "there is no other candidate that has higher absorption ratio. Practically speaking, sunflowers are not effective in decontamination".


Based on the result, the Ministry disclosed its ideas of decontamination based on the density of radioactive materials in the soil.


The farmland whose radioactive materials in the soil would exceed 5,000 becquerels/kg (limit above which the planting of rice is prohibited) is estimated to be 8,300 hectares [about 20,500 acres]. From the result of the experiments, in case of the farmland whose radioactive material density exceeds 10,000 becquerels/kg, it may be difficult to reduce the level down below 5,000 becquerels/kg unless the surface soil is removed. Between 5,000 and 10,000 becquerels/kg, there may not be other choices but removing the surface soil.


If the surface soil is removed in 8,300 hectares, the amount of contaminated soil generated would exceed 3 million tonnes. The Ministry says it hopes to develop a technology to remove cesium from the soil so that the soil can be put back in the field. (reported by Keiichiro Inoue)

What about plutonium and strontium? Cobalt-60?

Isn't removing the surface soil what Russia/Ukraine/Beralus have done and to very little effect? The fresh supply of radioactive cesium and other nuclides come down from the mountains. What about decontaminating the mountains?


I wouldn't call Iitate-mura and Kawamata-machi "close to Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant". They are more than 35 kilometers away. The reporter should have said "close enough for the government researchers to go anywhere near the plant".

By the way, as one refugee from Iitate-mura strongly hints in his tweets, Iitate-mura's political leaders seem in excellent terms with the national government and government-connected contractors keen on getting "decon" jobs. After all, 200 billion yen (US$2.6 billion) is to be spent on this village of 6,000 people alone so that the villagers can come home in 2 years.


Anonymous said...

I think a lot of people have a optimistic understanding of what this is about. "De"contamination, removal, reduction (in half), absorption of Cesium etc. implies that the substances somehow magically disappear. They don't.

Decontamination means shifting the toxins from place A to place B. They will still be in place B unless you do something about that, such as putting the material of place B into long-term secure storage.

A lot of citizen decontamination efforts also fall into this trap. They measure before, do some "cleaning", measure after - oh, level has gone down, we have "removed" the bad stuff!

As for the sunflowers, if they take in so little of the cesium, I am surprised that nobody is arguing how safe cultivating other plants would be for human consumption.

Twist and turn it as you like, you cannot escape for many years to come. The concept of equilibrium means that less contaminated areas will become more contaminated, higher contaminated areas somewhat less so.

Anonymous said...

radionuclides don't dissapear. But, they can move somewhere else. In the case of Fukushima, they can be taken (contaminated things) to different cities where they are used and where people live, or burned and then fly to another location, with stronger concentrations near the burning facilities and less concentration downwind where the winds carry them.
If the gouvernment was thinking to plant sunflower near fukushima and collect them to burn them in Tokyo, it would have been really not smart at all. It would simply equal to bringing the radiactive isotopes of fukushima to Tokyo. Anyway, we all know they are trying to spread everything that is contaminated to all over the Japan territory in order to try to reduce levels of concentration that are way too high in some regions. So, they would have burned these sunflower and the radionuclides they contain would have flowned partly to canada, where I live. And I am not happy about that at all. And with some friends, we are discussing about this. We don't want this. I don't mind paying something if I have to, but I don't wan't these radionuclides to be deposited over the aggricultural fields used to feed my child. Unlike what is going in Japan, I don't want this to be done against my will in Canada.
Let's all, the whole world, pay something to dispose of these waste in a safe manner and stop the genocide and the humiliation. TEPCO has no right, neither Japan, to kill my child in a "long term" manner in order to protect the Nuclear Industry investors monney. Let's act responsibly, and all pay for this worldwide catastrophic on-going crisis.

Anonymous said...

Phytoremediation like most soil remediation efforts are very hit or miss depending on soil type and it always creates secondary waste as do most radiation remediation efforts. Removing large amounts of topsoil can have it's own negative effects like unwanted erosion and disposal costs. Even if the material is just tossed in a hole in the ground it will still cost a pretty penny to pick it up and move it

The new magic process known as Supercritical Fluid Extraction is supposed to show promise but I'm sure it has some drawback, probably price or scale of application.

Anonymous said...

The only plant that's effectively going to uptake caesium is cannabis. If you're going to burn the plants afterwards, you may as well get high. There's no getting away from radioactive particles if they are not contained.

Anonymous said...

The fresh supply of radioactive cesium and other nuclides come down from the mountains. What about decontaminating the mountains?


Hello Mountains: The fresh supply of radioactive cesium and other nuclides rain globally down from the bubbling fountains. What about decontaminating them?

Impossible to talk away - the daily meltdown portion into your lungs. Not from dead Mountains but freshly open kept fukuFountains.

Just tell us why burying em is impossible ?

FranSix said...

The babies come starting in December. Or have they quietly instituted civicly-minded mass abortions?

Marc Sheffner said...

Sunflowers were only a part of the experiment. I have seen so far no report about the zeolite in the rice paddies. See Experiment to decontaminate farmland begins in Fukushima, May 28.

Anonymous said...


What kinda decontamination solution would clean soil/veggies as daily rains bring new rad-soup?

Anonymous said...

Zeolite in the rice paddies haha, oh, no. Sorry. Y'all should make sure there will not be a next time.

Anonymous said...

Hmm. Our troll is active in laughter. The substance used is?

Zeolite & Clay is well known ... alas hideously hidden ... proven way to decontaminate flock or yourself.

Sure. Only for elected Elite.

Facts here:

Anonymous said...

If you want to do something about it, start to sign this petition! 
the goal is 10.000.000 signatures on paper to offer to the PM. The more the better of course.
feel free to spread this petition around the world, as anyone, also non Japanese can sign this petition!

Anonymous said...

To clarify. Washing the mud then using zeolite filters might work. Dumping zeolite in and hoping it will magically attract cesium? Not so much.

This is all hopeless and impossible anyway because of the sheer volume of work needed.

Anonymous said...

^^^^ = we are all dead. Thanks Japan.

Anonymous said...

Up to a point: A german found out that the rad diseased spruce were actually benefiting from the dust settling on theri needles - adjacent dirt road being the case.

But oh well, it would be dirt cheap, no busines profit in there. Thus his observations must be tinhat mushroom drunken babbles - right? Worthy a healthy laughter. Lets laugh together...

Anonymous said...

"Zeolite & Clay is well known ... alas hideously hidden"

Just more poorly contrived conspiracy theory BS! The only people this info is "hidden" from are willfully ignorant. It is so "hidden" the EPA has a publicly available document on the subject. Zeolite and clay work as long as you have the money to mine, move, apply and remove the material on a constant basis. Oh, and Zeolites do have a bad side according to the EPA.

"However, despite this apparent beneficial result of adding the zeolite, adverse side effects were observed. Since the zeolite is in the sodium form, sodium ions are released and the risk of sodium toxicity to plants increases as cation exchange proceeds. Further, since
clinoptilolite binds heavy metals in general, essential heavy metals (such as zinc) would
be markedly decreased by the application of zeolite, which in turn could result in
deficiency problems in animals. It was also noted that since grazing animals consume a considerable amount of soil in their diet, the consumption of radionuclide-laden zeolites
could itself bring risks. In general, it has been noted that the main research behind the use of natural zeolites as a remediation tool for contaminated soil has been conducted largely through laboratory and greenhouse trials. There is very little evidence in the literature to support the long-term use of natural zeolites in real remediation projects (Stead et al. 2000). It was also noted that the future potential of using zeolites has not been fully appreciated, and that there is an urgent need to undertake field trials and evaluate the in-situ efficiency for these remediation purposes.

Anonymous said...

The facts stand, just pic em. Linkylinky clicclic.

And btw, the facts are not mine, no use to FTWfill this site....

From whence clay has had bad sides? LOL.

EPA's nukelubeinterest are 180 degrees from general pop. Funny how they fit the Club of Rome stated goals of population reduction. Next you say Club of Rome is my invention? LOL. Try to find a fact to claim that... Youre a truly guy filled with laughter. Does it hurt anytime?

Anonymous said...

Here's my solution. Begin with a global ban on nuclear power. If any nation persists with nuclear power, send in the UN Air Forces to carpet bomb them back to the Stone Age.

Next round up all of the nuclear industry heads, the military men, and anyone who has worked for or advocated nuclear power. Put all the nuclear power advocates and workers into concentration camps built next to the nuclear power stations.

Force the prisoners (the nuclear power advocates and workers) to work as slave labor to bury the nuclear power plants under mountains of contaminated soil, then seal the buried nuclear plants in concrete. Require the the nuclear power advocates and workers to spend the rest of their lives as prisoners, maintaining the entombed nuclear plants.

Bruce Hayden said...

I'm down with that idea! Make 'em pay for their own lunches too! Anyone with a lick of common sense knew that the sunflower idea would be about as effective as praying the radiation away.

Anonymous said...

First you have to sell that idea in Hollywood.

Anonymous said...

@Anon 8:21

Great idea, too bad the UN is a major nuclear booster as are most of it's member nations. The UN Security Council's five permanent members are all major nuclear players (US, UK, France, Russia and China) it is very, very doubtful that they will attack themselves or allow other members to contemplate such action. The permanent members comprise a major portion of the UN's military might.

-bruce said...

I believe the era we are going through will be viewed as an era of insanity in the future, if there is one for humanity.
Nuclear technology is an obscenity. It has no place in a living biosphere. Luna is the closest location nuclear technology should be practiced if we value our collective existence.
The Earth can and will forget this impudent species if we don't.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
The facts stand, just pic em. Linkylinky clicclic.

And btw, the facts are not mine, no use to FTWfill this site....

From whence clay has had bad sides? LOL.

EPA's nukelubeinterest are 180 degrees from general pop. Funny how they fit the Club of Rome stated goals of population reduction. Next you say Club of Rome is my invention? LOL. Try to find a fact to claim that... Youre a truly guy filled with laughter. Does it hurt anytime?

I do somewhat miss the good old days when internet trolls could at least read and write properly. Here we have a troll that not only fails on these two accounts but also fails to comprehend that this blog's specialty is highlighting the criminally negligent nuke industry's machinations and Japan's seemingly clueless populace. He also fails to comprehend that 99% of the commentators are on board with this. So it's like trolling people who more than agree with you. Can it get any more dumbass than this? I think not.

Anonymous said...

WTF is "nukelubeinterest" and "180 degrees" from general population? I know the EPA has always been a little screwy but are they into making some money with hardcore porn on the side now? Is that what you are hinting at?

Anonymous said...

Cover the radioactive fields with all the dead whale meat stored in Taiji and elsewhere. It's just looking for a home, and it's already mercury laced. Win win.

Anonymous said...

@Anon September 15, 2011 6:26 AM

Your Linkylinky is STINKYSTINKY!

I don't care who's lunatic ravings you keep SPAMMING us with they still are your delusion.

Anonymous said...

Could be the spruce will need to be planted with another species or two so as to keep the captured fallout recycling through the biologicalfilter,yes you would also be looking for a symbiont fungus to tie the system together.

Fools rush in..

Atomfritz said...


Is it really hectares in the article??

Because, another Asahi article (in English, from 9/14) indicates that, according to a survey done with measurement airplanes, there have been found more than 8000 square kilometers (NOT hectares!) contaminated with more than 30,000 Bq/m2 stretching over Fukushima, Tochigi, Miyagi and Ibaraki prefectures.
The article also says that the science ministery has published a map, showing the whole area with more than 30,000 Bq/m2.

Maybe you can find this map and make an article about this widespread contamination?

And, kudos and thanks again for your excellent researching and informing!

The article link:

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

@Atomfritz, the article in my post does say hectares. I think what you saw in your article includes mountains and forests. My post refers only to Fukushima and only to farmland in Fukushima. It could be even only the rice paddies.

Anonymous said...

"Your Linkylinky is STINKYSTINKY!
I don't care who's lunatic ravings you keep SPAMMING us with they still are your delusion."

NCR, J-Parc, Fermilab etcetc my delusion? Whata LOL compliment. However, if laughter is your only fact against these, what can I say? Keep on WTF.

1% of the linkys, just a specimen what my site tackles

IS HERE. First 1% of the issues, linky facts. When you have gone through and proved wrong these facts, then I will give you more to laugh at - next 100 yrs:

Lets all have a hearttthy LOL at your expense:

N e u t r i n i c a Ltd Finland,

FERMILAB oscillating neutrino beams to a Minnesota cave,

50GeV MR Main Parameters,

OPERA experiment (Oscillation Project with Emulsion-tracking Apparatus) ...

CNGS high-intensity ja high-energy Muon neutrino beams

CERN Super Proton Synchrotron Geneve -> into LNGS laboratorio Gran Sasso, 730 km south to mid Italy.


ANITA • ANTARES • BDUNT • BNO • Borexino • EXO • GNO • IceCube • KamLAND • KARMEN • LNGS • LVD • MACRO • MARIACHI • MINER?A • MINOS • MiniBooNE • NA61/SHINE • NARC • NEMO • NESTOR Project • NEVOD • NO?A • NuMI • OPERA • RICE • Super-Kamiokande • SNEWS • T2K • WITCH .

HAARP induction magnetometer: http://

Neutrino rad passes through without proplems ...

EU records on 5 February 1998:
HAARP - a weapons system which disrupts the climate -

NYTimes Multimedia: March 14.3.2011, Fukushima Daiichi power station


........ now. Get on with theses facts. First error, please.

Anonymous said...


The first error is that you think anybody outside a Mom's basement (mostly yours) gives a rat fart about your turd of a theory. Your second error is your total lack of coherence you sound like you're in the final stages of Alzheimer's or you've got Tourette syndrome. Maybe it's autism or a stroke I don't know but you sure suck at basic communications. Your third error is thinking... basic thinking... but also thinking you and a few other members of the tinfoil Bennie brigade have figured out the "evil overlords" plans and somehow they let you live. I guess your moronic musings have them too scared to act against you. Now's your chance rise up with your "stuperior" knowledge and underwhelm your enemies they might die... of laughter.

Seriously dude you need to get out more does moonlight burn your skin? How many local college professors (scratch that) how many high school science teachers have you WOW'd with your "hypotheses" or do you call it a hypotenuse? ("Duh, hypotenuse is a factylink")

If you keep up your "studies" you're sure to find a job in food services or the janitorial sciences unless your condition is eligible for state assistance in that case someone else will take care of you.

Anonymous said...

I guess when your bifilter reaches a certain stage of maturity any wildfires may present a cause for alarm,or is the climate deemed sufficiently cool and moist enough to stifle blazes before a lightning strike becomes a raging inferno?
I was reading the Bristlecone retains its needles for decades but may not thrive in the damp,the Wellingtonia can resist fires but maybe not cyclones if planted outside a narrow valley.
Fitzroya is possibly too slow growing.

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