Friday, April 6, 2012

What Is the Radiation Safety Limit for Regular Garbage Disposal in the US and in Europe?

Readers in the US and Europe, do you know whether your country has a safety limit for radioactive cesium in regular garbage disposal for burning, burying, or recycling? Does your country allow the mixing of regular garbage with materials contaminated with radioactive cesium? If so, what amount of radioactive cesium is allowed?

Japan's Chunichi Shinbun (based in Aichi Prefecture where the governor wants to accept and burn 1 million tonnes of disaster debris) has been quite supportive of wide-area disposal of disaster debris even as they admit they are contaminated with radioactive materials. But they say in their article on April 7, 2012:

"Why don't we just accept the debris to help people in the disaster area? As long as the radiation level of the debris is low, such as 100 becquerels/kg or less (which is half of what the Ministry of the Environment has set as standard), and there is no effect on health at that level, it's the right thing to do."

As if cesium density remains 100 becquerels/kg after incineration. They continue,

"That standard (100 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium) is much stricter than the standards in the US and Europe."

Please comment if you know there's a standard for radioactive cesium in the regular garbage disposal in your country.

Trashing people who oppose the wide-area disposal of disaster debris is getting more shrill and illogical (to the people who oppose) by the day. Right on cue, Governor of Tokyo Shintaro Ishihara says "Those people opposing the debris, even when the national government says there is no radioactive material on it, are not Japanese."

Professor Hayakawa continues trashing anyone who oppose the wide-area debris disposal on Twitter, calling them "racists". Here we go. Professor Hayakawa immensely dislikes people who oppose the wide-area debris disposal, because in his mind these same people never speak up against contaminated food coming out of Fukushima because they want to be nice to the farmers. But they oppose disaster debris because it is easier to do so, as no human beings like farmers are involved. It never enters his mind, it seems, that there are people against both contaminated food and contaminated debris. When someone points that out to him, he says the number is so small that he's not aware of them at all.

At least someone threw a packet of tissue paper at Goshi Hosono at the PR campaign at the JR Kyoto station the other day.


jcm said...

You will find some informations here, in french sorry... :

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

For US, note that it is not only Cesium that the regs are concerned about. Further, since this stuff was sprewed out of a reactor and not something that was manufactured/isolated for medical use (like Cs137 disposed of after medical use), it would be difficult to determine what all is actually in the waste. It will have parts of many different radionuclides. Usually stuff that was inside the reactor would be classified as the most dangerous class of waste regardless of the results of a test.

Anonymous said...

Oh those kind, thoughtful people at the Chunichi Shinbun. There are better ways to help the people of Tohoku. And if you were truly caring people, you also should be thinking of the emotional distress you are causing to the LARGE number of Japanese who have been through hell thanks to the nuclear village and do not want to risk wide area debris disposal. Perhaps you could find a way to HELP Tohuku without terrorizing the rest of the Japan population. What is wrong with you people?! Stop terrorizing the intelligent people in your country that want to stop wide area debris disposal.

mike in tokyo rogers said...

Been wondering when you were going to ask that question. Actually Japan's regulations on radiation levels are MUCH stricter than the west. I think it's because of Japan's history (Hiroshima and Nagasaki) plus the fact that, as with a parliamentary government, compromise is necessary with traditionally left leaning and somewhat socialist parties in order to form a governing coalition... But that's merely conjecture on my part. Here's info and a chart: "Japan’s Safety Standards Stricter than IAEA and EU Requirements". : I also recommend Wade Allison's Radiation and Reason demonstrating that even IAEA standards are extremely conservative. This site has many good downloads: "Wade Allison". Don't misunderstand why I send these links along. They are just for reference. I am against burning of debris and wish we could find a better solution... Just, though, merely answering your question and hope people will do some research.

Viola said...

German law:
permitted limit:
Activily in Bq: 1 E+4
specific activity in Bq/g: 1 E+1

Activity HRQ/1/ 100 A1 in Bq: 2 E+10
Surface contamination in Bq/cm2: 1

unlimited approval of:
solid and liquid substances in Bq/g: 5 E-1
Construction rubble, excavated soil of more than 1 000 t/a in Bq/g: 4 E-1
Floorage in Bq/g: 6 E-2
Buildings for reuse, further use in Bq/cm2: 2

Approval of
Solid substances up to 100 t/a for removal at disposal sites in Bq/g: 1 E+1
solid and liquid substances up to 100 t/a for removal at incineration plants in Bq/g: 1 E+1
Solid substances up to 1 000 t/a for removal at disposal sites in Bq/g: 8
solid and liquid substances up to 1 000 t/a for removal at incineration plants in Bq/g : 3
Buildings for demolition in Bq/cm2: 1 E+1
Metal waste for recycling in Bq/g: 6 E-1

§ 79 Exclusion of evading action
Nobody can escape the duties in § § 72-78 in that he removes radioactive waste from activities subject to licensing pursuant to § 2 para 1, No. 1, without permission, claiming the provisions of § 8 paragraph 1 by dilution or distribution in quantities of allowances eliminate, or can allow their removal. § 29 paragraph 2, sentence 4 shall remain unaffected.

The last paragraph is a google translation, as I'm not at all common with english law terms. The"Activity HRQ/1/ 100 A1 in Bq" line seems to mean the daughter nuclide activity is already included...

See the original german here

Viola said...

@ mikeintokyorogers:
well, well - this kind of contradicts you...
By the way - the current limits for food are different from what you linked. You can find them here:

Chibaguy said...

@mikeintokyo, sincerely what the hell are you talking about? Your links are invalid and your sources are corrupt. Dig in and research. Specifically, look at what is allowed for infants. At least you are against wide area of debris burning. If this is true, you may as well get on the bandwagon of not further contaminating Japan. Tokyo is reading higher than places in Tohoku.

As for professor Hayakawa, I do not know if he has been silenced or has gone to la la land. How can one not associate people being against the wide spread of contamination and not associate with concerns of the food chain? If you have a chance to interact act with him please ask him which is worse - "being exposed to unknown radionuclides externally or internally. I will ask him as well.

Anonymous said...

EPA doc
Radiation and Mixed Waste Incineration
Background Information Document
Volume 2:
Risk of Radiation Exposure

hope this fat link works-^%22520191010-2%22&QFieldYear=&QFieldMonth=&QFieldDay=&UseQField=pubnumber&IntQFieldOp=1&ExtQFieldOp=1&XmlQuery=&File=D%3A\ZYFILES\INDEX%20DATA\91THRU94\TXT\00000000\10000C7U.txt&User=ANONYMOUS&Password=anonymous&SortMethod=h|-&MaximumDocuments=10&FuzzyDegree=0&ImageQuality=r75g8/r75g8/x150y150g16/i425&Display=p|f&DefSeekPage=x&SearchBack=ZyActionL&Back=ZyActionS&BackDesc=Results%20page&MaximumPages=1&ZyEntry=1&SeekPage=x

see ~ p.60
arevamirpal, please delete if link doesn't work

Anonymous said...

QUESTION @ Chibaguy: You said "Tokyo is reading higher than places in Tohoku". That's interesting, what are your sources for that info?

Cheers, JP

Anonymous said...

What the fuck is up with Professor Hayakwa? I thought he was a good guy, seems he is caving in to the propaganda and the status quo... as for Ishihara of Tokyo, i wish he would just kill himself..fucking lowlife and this is a guy who people in Tokyo keep voting in? fuck tokyo

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

@Viola, "t/a" means tonnes per annum?

@miketokyorogers, thanks for the links but I was wondering about the standards at the regular garbage incineration plants and regular recycling facilities (as opposed to nuclear), what radiation contamination levels that countries allow.

About Professor Hayakawa, he is still a "good" guy, and you don't need to agree with him 100% as if he is some kind of "idol", which many Japanese do. I sure don't, but I agree with his stance on contaminated food.

It's almost sad to see people on twitter in Japan trying to modify their thinking so as to fit the view of the experts they adore, whether it is Hayakawa, or Koide, or Gundersen, Busby, or Wade Allison.

Anonymous said...

@ mikeintokyorogers:

Be honest and fess up, you must be a foot soldier hired by the JP Govt / TEPCO money. Don't pretend to be what you are not.

Your source, the Nippon Foundation, is one of the contractors of JP Govt misinformation campaign. You think you can come to this site and fool everyone, sorry we can see through you.

You are trying to incite confusion by presenting false numbers and commingling overseas emergency stadards with the Japanese numbers that are arbitrarily set high by the politicians and used for daily limits for Japanese citizens including babies.

If you are actually a concerned citizen, your thinking capacity is beyond repair, because you seem to still entertain non-sequitur ideas that somehow the main island of Japan, smaller than the state of California, escaped large contamination from the multiple explosions and meltdowns of one of the world's largest nuclear facilities and continuous emission for the last 13 months.

If a nuclear plant in San Diego explodes, how many Americans would still entertain the thought of vacationing in San Francisco? The two cities are at least 500 miles apart.

The Narita International Airport is only 90 miles from Fukushima Daiichi. Tokyo is only 150 miles.

Anonymous said...

The document "Radiation And Mixed Waste Incineration" presented under the following link from the Environmental Protection Agency of the US may also have some info. (Unfortunately, I'm having PC trouble and can't get it to load.)

mike in tokyo rogers said...

Nippon Communications Foundation is owned by Jiji Press and is one of Japan's oldest news services. No, I am not a foot soldier for TEPCO. Viola, the Nippon Communications Foundation information I linked to is newer than your link... Mr. Anonymous, your notions are the nonsense... "Your source, the Nippon Foundation, is one of the contractors of JP Govt misinformation campaign." You are just talking out of your hat. Where's your proof? the Nippon Foundation is a Jiji News subsidiary (a private company????) Where's your proof to back up idiotic claims?... Get serious or admit that you're just a troll. We're not talking about "ifs" we're talking about facts.
I'm not acting like there's no radiation in Tokyo. There's radiation everywhere! If you smoke a cigarette, you inhale radiation. When you walk in a city or in a forest, you absorb radiation. The shit is still bad enough in Tohoku with 20,000 dead and still many tens of thousands (including children) without a home without clowns like you spreading fear and misinformation... This issue here was radiation safety standards in Japan vs. the west. Stay on subject.

mike in tokyo rogers said...

@JP you'll quickly find that too many people here fail to back up claims at all and go quickly to ad hominem attacks since they cannot debate the issues in an adult manner nor can they back up their claims. The guy you asked for verification will, as usual, be unable to link and verify.

mike in tokyo rogers said...

@arevamirpal::laprimavera I have requested that one of the TV Tokyo news section chiefs (whom I used to work for) find the information that you want. I'd like to see it too. He said he couldn't guarantee getting it but would try. Personally, I am against any burning of any debris at all and wish there were some better solution. I keep hearing that we are all against this plan but hear no other practical solutions. How about some practical ideas?... Though, it might not matter anyway... That everyone wants the nuke plants all shut down is going to come true anyway... What comes after is what people need to think seriously about. It's a sort of "be careful for what you wish for" (especially if you live in a country with zero natural resources like Japan): "Japan's Collapse Will Be Absolute and it Cannot be Stopped - Here's Some BIG Reasons Why". ... Got gold?

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Japan Echo Good business with government agencies and big businesses.

Mike, the person was simply confusing Nippon Foundation with Nippon Communication Foundation you were talking about.

Please, people, don't be over-eager to call people "trolls" or "shills", whatever your stance is.

Anonymous said...

miketokyorogers, did you back up your claim that there was no radioactive plume that came to Kanto? The plume came, didn't it? Or are we still imagining things and it never came?

Atomfritz said...

yes, t/a means tons/annum. The limits vary, if you carry in less mass, the mass is allowed to be of higher "value".

The "Strahlenschutzverordnung" is actually quite complex. Big part of the law is a table, showing the allowable values for hundreds of different isotopes.

I just translate the column descriptions, the table itself doesn't need translation.

1: Radioisotope
2/3: Freigrenze (limit that is allowed to not to have that item being forced to be stored in a nuclear waste storage site):
2: Total Bq (specific activity)
3: Bq/g
3a: Activity HRQ/1/100 A1 (don't understand yet what this means)
4: surface contamination in Bq
5-8: unlimited release allowed:
5: Bq/cm2 solid and liquid material
6: Bq/g construction debris or soil if more than 1000 t/a
7: Bq/g surface soil
8: Bq/g buildings to be (re)used
9-12: limited release allowed:
9a: Bq/cm2 solid materials up 100 t/a to be deposited on normal waste deposits
9b: Bq/g of solid and liquid materials up 100 t/a to be incinerated
9c: Bq/g solid materials up to 1 000 t/a to be deposited on normal waste deposits
9d: Bq/g solid and liquid materials up to 1 000 t/a to be incinerated
10: Bq/g buildings to be dismantled
10a: Bq/cm2 scrap metal to be recycled
11: decay half-time

Table is here (thx, Viola):

Please note that German laws are usually very complicated, there are many side notes and descriptions (for example, how these values have to be metered and weighed, and much more), so there are quite some more details which allow for quite some backdoors for nuclear criminals in the "Atomgesetz" and the "Strahlenschutzverordnung".

At least it doesn't help to avoid the cancer clusters around the German nuclear plants (the safest of the world, according to the German nuke industry).

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

JP, you can go to MEXT or local government websites and look at the air radiation measurement.

Here's Tokyo:
Edogawa (0.122 microsievert/hr) is more than twice of Shinjuku.

Here's Yamagata, for example:

Edogawa, Tokyo is decidedly much higher than Yamagata locations.

Atomfritz said...

Excuse me for spamming, but I'd like to provide a slightly better translation than the goofle (typo intended) translation of the circumvention prohibition paragraph in the German Radiation Protection Decret ("Strahlenschutzverordnung") Viola mentioned:

§ 79 Prohibition of circumventory action:
"Nobody is allowed to elude himself from his obligations due to §§ 72 to 78 by diluting or separating [into smaller charges/batches that can be released freely] of nuclear wastes without special permission..."

So, without "special permission" no NPP would be allowed to create cancer clusters here in Krautland...

Anonymous said...

The Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS) site has a lot of useful information on radioactive waste disposal in the US. I was really sad to learn that the US is almost just as bad as Japan, spreading and burning radioactive waste, trying to lower standards so the waste can be recycled into everyday goods. Quite depressing really...

Anonymous said...

Here is more information on how the US deals with its waste.

Karen Sherry Brackett said...

The U.S. still has progress to be made to be certain. At the facility where I worked however incineration of waste was banned years ago.

Lothar M Schmitt said...


Lothar M Schmitt said...

In Deutschland gibt es Landessammelstellen für schwach radioaktive Abfälle. Radioaktive Abfälle unterliegen den Atomgesetz. Man unterscheidet zwischen
- schwach(<10E+11 Bq pro m³) ,
- mittel (10E+10 bis 10E+15 Bq pro m³) erfordern Abschirmmaßnahmen, aber kaum oder gar keine Kühlung und
- hochradioaktiven Abfällen(> 10E+14 Bq pro m³; diese erzeugen erhebliche Zerfallswärme (typisch 2 bis 20 Kilowatt/m³.
Schwach- und mittelradioaktive, die überwiegend aus Krankenhäusern, Forschung, etc.stammen sollen zukünftig (ab voraussichtlich 2019) im Schacht Konrad in der Nähe von Salzgitter endgelagert werden. Diese Abfälle werden /nicht/ verbrannt. Für hochradioaktive Abfälle gibt es noch kein endgültiges Endlager.

Für kontaminierte "Reststoffe", die z.B. bei einem Strahlenunfall anfallen, gibt es - soweit bekannt - keine einheitliche Regelung. Lt. Bundesumweltministerium ist davon auszugehen, dass Anlagenbetreiber, also Entsorgungsunternehmer, nur dann bereit sind kontaminierte Abfälle zur thermischen Verwertung, also zur Verbrennung oder zur Beseitigung anzunehmen, wenn die Schadlosigkeit der Verwertung oder die Gemeinwohlverträglichkeit der Beseitigung im Einzelfall behördlich bescheinigt wird.

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