Saturday, January 28, 2012

Now They Tell Us: Detection of High-Level Cesium-134 in Nagasaki City in April 2011

Toshihiro Takatsuji, associate professor at Nagasaki University announced the result of his measurement of radioactive cesium in the air at an international symposium, and said a high level of cesium-134 (11,300 becquerels/kg) was detected from the dust collected in the filter paper in early April last year in Nagasaki City, 1,000 kilometers away from Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant.

It took him 9 months to reveal what he had known in April last year. Not bad, I guess, considering there are many others who still hold back information that they obtained in March and April last year while they eagerly wait for the acceptance of their papers at international peer-review journals. Some information could have made a big difference in how people responded to the nuclear crisis if it had been revealed in a timely manner.

But maybe not in this case, as I cannot compare this number with any other number. How about the measurement of air filter papers in Fukushima or Tokyo during the same time period? How about the measurement in Nagasaki prior to the nuclear accident? What are we comparing this Nagasaki number to?

Chugoku Shinbun (1/26/2012):

福島第1原発から約千キロ離れた長崎市の大気観測所の吸引調査で、事故1カ月後に高い数値の放射性物質が確認されていたことが分かった。広島市南区の広島 大広仁会館で25日にあった同大原爆放射線医科学研究所(原医研)の国際シンポジウムで長崎大の高辻俊宏准教授が報告した。

It has been revealed that the suction survey at an atmospheric observatory in Nagasaki City, about 1000 kilomters from Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant, showed a high level of radioactive materials one month after the nuclear accident. Toshihiro Takatsuji, associate professor at Nagasaki University reported at an international symposium by Hiroshima University Research Institute of Radiation Biology and Medicine (RIRBM) held on January 25 at Hiroshima University in Hiroshima City.


Professor Takatsuji measured the amount of radioactive cesium in the air captured by the air suction apparatus and on the filter paper at the suction entrance every week after the nuclear accident. He reported the results from March 23 to July 27, 2011.


The week beginning on April 6 registered the highest level of radioactive cesium. The density of cesium-134 on the dust caught by the filter paper was 11,300 becquerels/kg, equivalent to the level seen in the soil in Iitate-mura in Fukushima Prefecture.


Professor Takatsuji pointed out that on April 6, 2011, the wind reached from Tohoku to Kyushu (where Nagasaki is located) in an arc sweeping the Pacific side of Japan, according to the data from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). He deemed the radioactive cesium to be of Fukushima origin.

 高辻准教授は「大気中の数値は低くても、空調機のフィルターなどには放射性物質が集積し高くなる可能性がある」と指摘した。  シンポジウムは26日もある。

The professor said, "Even if the amount in the atmosphere is low, it is possible that radioactive materials accumulate in the air filters." The symposium will continue on January 26.

11,300 becquerels/kg of cesium-134. No information about cesium-137, if it was detected at all in the air or on the filter paper.

I dispute the reference to Iitate-mura, though. From what I have read, the density of radioactive cesium in Iitate-mura's soil is much higher (50,000 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium).

As an aside, Professor Takatsuji has been featured in a popular weekly Shukan Gendai magazine (as transcribed in this blog) in which, with Shinzo Kimura he assures the readers that the effect of radiation won't manifest in genes in the next generation, so the fear of expecting mothers in Fukushima is overblown.

But even the two admit that by continuing to live in the areas with elevated radiation levels the gene mutation which normally happens after 10 generations or more may happen within a few generation.


Anonymous said...


That would be 11,300 Bq/Kg. Since the ratio Cs137 to Cs134 was 1:1 the total would be around 22,500 Bq/Kg or so including Cs137.

It would be nice to have the total volume measured during one week to calculate the average concentration in air (Bq/m3) during those days. BRAWM in Berkeley was taking samples of around 26,000 m3 of air during one week in June, but maybe the system used by Nagasaki University is completely different:

Anonymous said...

Hiroshima university has a website for the symposium, but I don't think they would be uploading the results any time soon;

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Thank you, 11,300. Corrected. (My eyes are tired..)

Not sure about whether the familiar ratio of Cs-134 and Cs-137 appeared here or not, after seeing some very strange number for the alleged measurement of ocean soil in Osaka Bay.

TC said...

Why is this even considered scientific research? This is not the kind of announcement that should be reserved for a conference. It is just a measurement, not true science - postulate confirmed or disproved by some experiment. This is public health information which should have been released immediately.

Even if it is considered as science in Japan, there are many ways to release the data more quickly, such as letters to an appropriate journal, rather than a full article.

Anonymous said...


Those numbers from Osaka Bay were very weird to begin with, no reference to the device used or the conditions in which the samples were measured and the supposed source was just a twitter account that the owner closed when pressured to provide answers. All measurements official or independent agree on the 1:1 ratio for Cs137 to Cs134 (now around 1.25:1 because of Cs134 decay), sometimes a bit higher for Cs-137 cause there is still some around from the global fallout, so I'm going to go with it.

Anonymous said...

By the way, not related but check this:

Masashi Goto and Hirotmitsu Ino on the stress tests. Nothing specially groundbreaking, but they talk about how the stress tests are being conducted and point fingers at concrete companies and individuals during the Q&A.

CaptD said...

People in the Western World, need to reexamine the "way" they view Japan and that includes not only how that Country is governed but what actual "say" the Japanese people have in their Governments process!

It has taken almost a year to realize that Japan is actually being "run" by its Powerful Utility Companies and this "business" relationship extends in a "Control Continuum" that extends at one end, from actual Utility direct financial support of the highest Government Leaders in the Country, to the widely known use of organized gangs to keep citizens in line at the other!

The idea that individual Japanese people actually have a say in how they are governed, much less the way their Energy is generated, is just a well publicized fantasy that the Utilities uses to put a nuclear "smily face" on the grim reality that ever facet of Japanese life is less important than what is good for these Utilities! These Powerful Utilities ARE Japan, and the Japanese people are only "forced" customers of these Utilities since they have no other choice of providers when it come to basic needs like electricity, at lest until now! Solar panels have allowed many to get the electricity they need and this is a huge threat to these Utilities, that must be "crushed" ASAP if they are to maintain their complete control over the Japanese people!

Ever since 3/11, the rest of the World's attention has been focused on the Trillion Dollar Eco-Disaster at Fukushima and Japan's response to their triple melt down. What we have learned is that the Government has allowed TEPCO to not only remain in Control of this debacle but they have actually enabled the Utility to place huge numbers of Japanese citizens at risk rather than demand that the Utility think first of human health instead of Corp. shareholder profits. The fact that radioactive pollution has now spread Globally and is affecting the rest of the Planet is hardly mentioned in MSM which points to an even greater problem for the rest of mankind; we are helpless and as yet unable to demand any "better" treatment from Japan because our own Leaders are for the most part are in full support of the those Utility backed Leaders in Japan.

Kudos to Germany and many other Countries for pointing the finger at Nuclear Power and the Trillion Dollar Eco-Disaster RISK every nuclear complex now represents! People globally now are becoming informed and starting to demand answers to basic questions and once people start asking questions perhaps change will occur, even if not for the Japanese themselves... one thing is for certain, the Japanese people will be affected by their Trillion Dollar Eco-Disaster for much longer than the estimated 40 to 100 years that it will take to "tidy up" after Fukushima...

Anonymous said...

In the Japanese academic world, research money is distributed based on the evaluation of the project, and the evaluation is done by some panel of politically well-connected government bureaucrats and big name professors who has a tie with the national Tokyo University. Naturally the research that supports the government policy and the political and economic wallet of the evaluators receives a priority.

Professors at national universities are also required to publish a certain number of papers every year in peer-review publications. Obviously that was the top priority of Professor Toshihiro Takatsuji, not the public safety even in the nuclear crisis. On top of that, he appears ill-prepared on the science of radionuclide measurement, as pointed out by other commenters. If what he reported in the paper was simply the measurements (and did not even use a proper unit of measurement), it is only as scientific as a homework paper written by a third grade student.

A similar incident happened in December 2011 when a University of Michigan professor published a presentation/paper on the Fukushima nuclear accident. He simply collected photos and analysis that have been widely discussed online by many and were available since Spring 2011, compiled them in a neat presentation, put a rubber stamp of the U of M, and tried to pass it as if he is one of the respected voices. The tactics was not well received by the folks who frequent '', they're smarter than the professor and said "what does this add to the discussion what we've been having here since April 2011?"

CapD is right on the spot. Political anarchy has been a norm there. People look down on volunteer activists at election times, many Japanese often vote on the appearance of the politicians, the media report as if it is a hot trend to be followed, and the politicians welcome this because it saves them from revealing how little brain they have and how corrupt they are with big industries. Traditionally a lot of political cat fights and very little meaningful discussions on actual policies. The majority of Japanese think (or used to think) it's someone else's job to form Japanese policy and lead the country. I know, because I'm a Japanese.

If one positive change is to come out of the Fukushima experience, now there are more Japanese citizens who are waking up. But Tokyo people seem harder to convince of changes, after all they are the ones who most benefited from the Fukushima nuclear power generation. They are also one of the top shareholders of TEPCO. Currently there is a citizen's proposition ballot campaign on nuclear energy. Osaka people collected enough signatures in just one month. But Tokyo campaign is taking two months but still may fail to collect enough signatures. This seems to say that Tokyo people in general prefer status quo, they somehow think the nuclear and energy issues are someone else's problems, they are ok with their beneficial position even as Fukushima people are dying... I could be wrong, but then why are so many of they refusing to support the ballot?

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