Thursday, January 5, 2012

#Fukushima to Test Every Single Bag of Rice This Year (Meaning They Will Definitely Grow Rice in 2012)

If they do it, they should have done in 2011. Damage done.

Who is going to eat Fukushima rice? Probably the same people eating it now, at schools, hospitals, at family restaurants, convenience stores. Oh and the increasingly unpopular prime minister, Yoshihiko Noda, who demanded that the Japanese citizens eat Fukushima rice like he did every day.

For people who say "The Fukushima JA didn't ship rice that was found with any amount of radioactive cesium", it's true. The problem is that the Fukushima JA handles only 23% rice grown in Fukushima. (The link is in Japanese.) The rest goes directly from rice farmers to the distributors or to the end customers.

From Yomiuri Shinbun (1/6/2011):


The Fukushima prefectural government has decided to test all bags of rice for radioactive materials for the 2012 rice to be grown and harvested in Fukushima Prefecture with the help from the JA [agricultural producer co-op] and other organizations.


The prefectural government will subsidize the cost when the JA introduces high-precision instruments [to measure radioactive materials]. This is in response to the detection of radioactive cesium in rice exceeding the national provisional safety limit (500 becquerels/kg) in part of the 2011 rice grown in Fukushima.


The prefectural government figured that all bags of rice would need to be tested this fall in order to secure the trust of the consumers. It will encourage the producers and distributors to purchase the instruments.


In testing the 2012 rice, the prefectural government will conduct sampling tests as it did in the 2011 harvest season. In addition, the JA and others will check all the bags of rice at the time of shipment. However, the estimated harvest this fall in Fukushima Prefecture is about 360,000 tonnes in 12 million bags, far exceeding the current capacity of testing (1,200 bags per day). The prefectural government will introduce the instrument that uses conveyer belt to shorten the inspection time. Depending on the performance of the instrument, over 100 such instruments will be needed to test every single bag of rice.

360,000 tonnes of rice. That's slightly more than what was produced in 2011 (353,600 tonnes, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries). So they are all eager to grow as much as they did last year, knowing full well this time that they are growing on highly contaminated soil (except for most but not all of Aizu region).

Before the accident, Fukushima produced about 450,000 tonnes of rice each year as the 4th largest producer of rice behind Hokkaido, Niigata, and Akita. Last year, it dropped in ranking, but it was still the 7th largest producer.

Fuji Electric has a belt-conveyer radiation detection system that it sells for 4.3 million yen, but detection limits are rather high for a speedy 12-second testing (meat 140 becquerels/kg, rice 90 becquerels/kg, leafy vegetables 250 becquerels/kg). The system clearly needs upgrade as the new and improved safety limit for cesium for food will be 100 becquerels/kg starting on the April Fool's Day. (No joke.)

It has been rumored that Shimadzu, the largest analytical instrument company in Japan, is close to introducing the similar product with higher precision and probably costing a whole lot more.

But they will only measure radioactive cesium (134, 137) and nothing else. The government is absolutely silent on radioactive strontium (which has a much higher transfer coefficient than radioactive cesium) or other nuclides that fell on the farm soil in Tohoku and Kanto regions.

Everything done in Fukushima for the sake of "recovery and reconstruction" is paid by the national government, but the national government is broke and it bills TEPCO. TEPCO runs out of money and asks the national government for money to pay for the bills that the national government gives them. The national government gives TEPCO the money, and collect the money by raising taxes for all citizens.

And the citizens get to eat safe Fukushima rice as a reward for supposedly helping Fukushima people.


Anonymous said...

As a returning visitor to Taiwan post Fukushima, the $50TWD lunch is less worrisome after reading that Taiwan is exporting record amounts of rice to Japan

Living in a rice exporting nation only gives me slight comfort at lunch time as I am surrounded by 3 nuclear plants on a very tectonically active island.

The local rice here really is good though.

I said it in late 2007, all "wealthy" nations are going to need to print more money. Print money and put people to work doing useful things.

Steveo said...

methinks that was some serious uranium and Plutonium being launched from Fuku, tens of tons at least. It showed up in the air testing at many sites, as an engineer with a master degree from Michigan, I did some calcs on the Gov data (before they stopped publishing the data) and the results indicated a massive launch of Uranium and Plutonium

Here is the data.

Anonymous said...


you couldnt make it up!

bravo noda! bravo tepco! bravo bravo, encore encore! just eat it eat it!

Anonymous said...

"This is in response to the detection of radioactive cesium in rice exceeding the national provisional safety limit (500 becquerels/kg) in part of the 2011 rice grown in Fukushima."

^ That right there is the problem. They should be doing it in response to the disaster, not in response to each new discovery of contamination. They've had plenty of chances to cut the problem off at its source, but instead they decide to wait until people are seriously harmed before they do anything about it. Their priorities are all wrong. Prevention is better than cure, better safe than sorry, etc. It's simple logic.

I always remember this story. It's a great example of what people SHOULD be doing.
It's a shame that the mayor didn't live to see his decision save the entire village. Interestingly, his motivation to build the wall was based on his past experience of surviving a tsunami. This highlights the core problem: people need to experience and remember a disaster before they'll attempt any prevention of it. This is why nuclear technology is a danger in the hands of humans.

I laugh (cry?) at people who claim that nuclear energy has a good saftey record. Yeah, only two major irreversible disasters per century! Both have been shown to have affected a large portion of the planet. How much sooner will the entire planet be destroyed if we have two major irreversible disasters every century? I'm even expecting an increase in accidents as people continue to prioritise profits, cut on manufacturing and maintenance costs, and slack on security procedure. There are too many factors that could easily lead to severe accidents. Until we find a sufficient countermeasure to possible accidents, we should not be using the technology. It's too risky.

Atomfritz said...

"That right there is the problem. They should be doing it in response to the disaster, not in response to each new discovery of contamination."

I actually have the impression that they hoped nobody would look into the contamination thing and believe the official tranquilization, so that the covering-up would have a chance to succeed.

And I am happy that this didn't work out.
This clearly shows that the Japanese slowly stop being cattle that mindlessly believe and obey their shepherd.
This makes hopeful. My respect to all these who stand up!

@anon 4:56
I agree with you. However, the Damocles sword of the masses of used nuclear fuel that is being stored "temporarily" all over the world will stay looming above mankind forever (in perspective of human life time). It's finally time to stop producing more of this dangerous stuff.

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