Saturday, December 24, 2011

Report from Fukushima (1) Minami Soma: 41.72 Microsieverts/Hr, γ+β+α Radiation Combined in a Municipal Apartment Complex

People live in that complex, including children. The city wants all residents to return to Minami Soma City now that the accident is officially "over".

Minami Soma City Mayor Katsunobu Sakurai became world-famous with his plea for help on Youtube in the early days of the crisis. At that time, not many people were even aware of the nuclear disaster that was progressing, but instead was focused only on the aftermath of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

Even after the extent of the radiation contamination resulting from the Fukushima I Nuke Plant accident became known, many cities inside Fukushima including Minami Soma continue to tell their residents that everything is under control, as if the nuke accident were a distant, inconvenient event. Minami Soma has been more realistic, or more aware, than others, as the city does provide more thorough testing of residents for radiation exposure and carries out "decontamination" of residences and public buildings from early on with the help from Professor Kodama of Tokyo University.

But something stopped adding up for me for Minami Soma, slowly over time. Why does the mayor and city officials insist on the residents to return? Why do they insist on "decontamination" even when they know it doesn't quite work (they have the measurement data of before and after)? Why do they punish the more unfortunate residents who lost their homes in the quake and tsunami by cutting off their public assistance and taxing the donation money they received?

With citizens' distrust of the government of all forms and sizes perhaps all-time high, as the Canadian Medical Association Journal article correctly points out, more people in Fukushima are starting to speak out openly about their situation, mostly in blogs. I have three of these I've just happened to read today, though I'm sure there are more others.

The first one is the blog titled "Night that never ends (消えない夜)", written by a man in Fukushima Prefecture. So he says, and looking through his posts I don't have a reason to doubt it.

In the post titled "Truth of Minami Soma City" on December 20, he reports the results of his radiation survey he conducted using his several personal survey meters at a public housing complex in part of Minami Soma City that was designated as "evacuation-ready zone", where the residents were supposed to evacuate at a moment's notice in case of a nuclear emergency, and where children and pregnant women "were not supposed to be there" (but they were, as there was no support from the city to evacuate).

From "Truth of Minami Soma City" post, at "Night that never ends" blog (12/20/2011):

Instead of words, photos are the best for people to see the fact.

The photos will be the irrefutable evidence.
Haramachi District of Minami Soma City in Fukushima Prefecture. It was once designated as "evacuation-ready zone" [since abolished, on September 30].

These are the photos taken today, December 20, 2011, at the municipal housing complex in Kita Nagano in Haramachi District.

I am asking the blogger if I can use his photos. While I wait for the answer (he has said no to other people), you can go to his post and view them. The information he gives in the post is the following:

People have lived in the complex since March 11, as the "evacuation-ready zone" does not require evacuation unless it is an nuclear emergency. According to the blog, most of the children have evacuated but there are several who have remained.

Radiation on the pavement just outside one of the apartment building.

  • Gamma radiation: 10.83 microsieverts/hour

  • Beta and Gamma radiation: 14 microsieverts/hour

  • Alpha, beta and gamma radiation: 41.72 microsieverts/hour

Toward the end, he writes:


The residents never expected to see these kind of numbers.
They thought the radiation levels could be high, but never suspected they were this high. When their children came back for the weekend, they told me they let the children play outside.
Everywhere I measured, the radiation was high.


This is the municipal housing run by Minami Soma City. This is the truth of Minami Soma City.


Is this Chernobyl?
I wonder.

He says he has informed the city government about the high radiation in the complex. Looking at the map, it is in the high radiation area in Minami Soma City where the city is going to reopen 2 elementary schools and one junior high school next February, now that the nuke plant has achieved "cold shutdown state" and "evacuation-ready zone" is no more.

What's even sadder, if it's true, is that these schools will reopen at the requests from the parents.

What's so important about sending their kids to school in an area that has over 40 microsieverts/hour total radiation?

"Night that never ends" - what a great title.


Anonymous said...

taxing the donation money they received?,
"Night that never ends" - a great title.

Anonymous said...

Everyone must be very careful of the atmosphere around him or her. Radiation is an invisible killer and therefore we must stay far away from the place affected by radiation until the place is declared to be 100% by competent authority.

I just stumbled upon this study detailing high altitude radioactive contamination from Fukushima. It uses TEPCO and MEXT emission data to develop dispersion models of the radiation. If the models are correct the concentrations of contamination at upper altitudes are orders of magnitude higher than the concentrations at near ground levels.

Anonymous said...

That's 320 millisieverts per year! What?! That is over the limit that even Yamashita says is "safe"! Arnie Gunderson predicts a million cancers in Japan. Moving back to South Soma is a DEATH SENTENCE especially dangerous to children, no?

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