Thursday, May 3, 2012

#Radioactive Holidays in Japan: Volunteers Clean Out Sludge in the Side Drain in Former "No-Entry Zone" in Minami Soma, #Fukushima

Deja vu. Groundhog Day. As if nothing nuclear happened last year. What am I doing here, writing a blog about the nuclear accident and radiation contamination? What accident? What contamination?

NHK reports many volunteers gathered in Minami Soma City's Odaka District for the Golden Week holidays for the cleanup work after the March 11, 2011 earthquake/tsunami. Wearing flimsy masks and regular clothes, the volunteers removed debris from inside the house and scooped out the sludge from the side drain.

Odaka District is within 15 kilometer from Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant, and until April 16, 2012 it was inside the "no-entry zone".

And now? NHK and the volunteers interviewed don't even mention "radiation" or "nuclear accident". All is well in Minami Soma. Stop worrying about these people. They say the cumulative annual radiation exposure (external) in most of Odaka District will be less than 20 millisieverts, and therefore not a problem.

From NHK News (5/4/2012):


Using the Golden Week holidays, many volunteer workers have entered a district of Minami Soma City in Fukushima Prefecture where the "no-entry zone" designation was lifted last month, and are clearing the debris that is still left more than one year after the March 11, 2011 disaster.


The "no-entry zone" designation was lifted from Odaka District of Minami Soma City, about 15 kilometers from Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant, on April 16. However, there is still disaster debris to be removed and the houses to be repaired. Even after more than 1 year since the disaster, the damaged houses and wrecked automobiles from the tsunami are left unattended.


There were about 80 volunteers from all over Japan for the GW holidays at this location. After being instructed by the homeowner whose house was damaged by the tsunami, they carried out household items and scooped out the sludge in the side drain.


The homeowner said, "There are some household items that we can still use. We really appreciate the volunteer work like this."


A man who came as a volunteer from Tokyo for the first time said, "I cannot come on weekdays, so I decided to participate using the GW holidays. Now that I've seen it myself, I feel the recovery is still far away."


According to a group that organized volunteers, there is a shortage of manpower to do the cleanup. The group will continue to recruit more volunteers.


Anonymous said...

Personally, I always struggle with the terms "clean-up" and even "decontamination" since they may give the illusion that one can actually eliminate radiation (vs., at best, minimize exposure). This especially since I have been asked by a number of people (honest to God truth) questions such as if one cannot simply put contaminated items in boiling water to "clean" them or use rubbing alcohol and the likes to "kill" the radiation. NOTHING eliminates radiation other than natural decay. Any decontamination or clean-up only moves radioactive materials from point A to point B, whereby point B in the best case might be a place that is less dangerous to the biosphere. As the discussions about disaster debris and its burning alone have shown, such a point B is not exactly easy (or cheap) to find, nor might it indeed be safe.

I just wish everyone would finally understand that - although one can attempt to spread it thin - radiation is a devil that you cannot put back in the box once it is let out.

Anonymous said...

I'm not particularly excited about witnessing all the grotesque deformations and mutations that will undoubtedly surface in Japan over the coming decades.

Karen Sherry Brackett said...

Putting it in water would be very bad. However putting it in something that is ion hungry like alcohol, ammonia or acid will help to basically eat up the ions which do lower its half life. If it's low level it may in fact clean it up completely. However in this region which is so close to Fukushima there is potential for coming into contact with areas of very strong high level particles and these should be dealt with by professionals who have done the lab work to know what is there and the appropriate acids and cleaners to use.

Now if you over use your fluid to the point that it becomes saturated or worse case it becomes super saturated and salts begin to form then all you have done is move the radiation from point A to point B. The perfection is in avoiding the overkill of your clean up. If you avoid overkill then you have actually converted radiation into another form which is no longer radioactive.

The nuclear industry makes money off of clean up but over time makes more money off of the storage of nuclear waste. Money wise it is in their interest to saturate and/or super saturate because then they may provide a on going service and charge accordingly.

Anonymous said...

We know a Japanese man approching his forties, looking good, who had a brain cancer removed recently - a big and nasty one.

* Is in Miyagi, not Fukushima.
* Would always eat out.
* Volonteered to clean up the tsunami mess right after it happened.

Caveat volentor.

Anonymous said...

While not in the JAPAN area, was in the Chernoybl area in 1985/86 for several years. I go to hospital May 11, 2012 for one more throat surgery --that is operation # 12 since 2000 (and I did not count the times without major surgery)! This is the legacy the Japanese victims will face as well. While I live, I face uphill battle to be mobile/useful,and face uncomfortable health conditions.

Anonymous said...

Après Fukushima les morts se multiplient
Leucémies, pneumonies, saignements de nez, des diarrhées, de la toux, des thyroïdes enflées.
Même la famille impériale est touchée.

jmdesp said...

@Anonymous - 5:21 AM : Sorry to say that, but no study has shown a link between radiation and throat cancer. Leukemia, yes. Lung for uranium miners, yes. Throat, no.
OTOH there's a gazillion studies showing the link between throat cancer and alcohol/tobacco even at not very high dose.

PS: my father had surgery for throat cancer last year. Saying it's very likely not the radiation does not mean I'm downplaying your disease and suffering.

@Karen: Dilution of the radiation can lower it to a level similar to the natural environment, so that it's no more a significant worry. But nothing else can change anything.

Chibaguy said...

As someone here I can state that decontamination is a myth. Can't be done especially when nothing is over. The best qoute I read on this blog is something to the effect that farmers now despise rain. Where I live, they decontaminated and all of the soil is still sitting in vinyl bags with no boundary. I measured these along with the actual park ground and the ground at the park was higher than the removed soil. This being said, the removed soil still sits there and kids play on top of it. Admitting the truth would lead to a more beneficial outcome.

I have never seen any report that states half lives can be shortened. You can only dilute them line Tepco has decided.

Atomfritz said...

Karen's advice:
Drink more vodka! (or sake or whatever!)

Darth3/11 said...

Why are people so willfully ignorant about "decontamination" and what radiation and radioactivity actually are? Just frustrating to read these examples of near criminally ignorant behavior by parents, volunteers, and kids. Why haven't they googled or wiki'd for even the simple answers?

Much less KSB dropping gems of supersaturating the ions away. S/he has no credibility here. At this point, perhaps we should not respond as s/he probably posts only for the glory of the backlash.

Anonymous said...

I hope this has been repeated and debunked?

"A prophet of doom is my choice."

"Then suddenly IN THE
the baby mice were born
deformed. The deformed
mice were allowed to

Anonymous said...

I think even the peanut gallery is getting bored with Karen Brackett's crapola.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, need a laugh after all this?

"Doctor's Moustache
Was Radioactive"*ignore*%7C*ignore*|||l-word=*ignore*%7C*ignore*|||sortby=dateAsc

Karen Sherry Brackett said...

If you supersaturate you have only moved radiation from point A to point B which just like the bags of soil Chibaguy mentions really does not accomplish anything.

It's like putting a teaspoon of sugar into a glass of tea. It changes form and melts away.

However, if you keeping adding too much sugar, at some point you will supersaturate and your sugar will no longer dissolve and may even force dissolved sugar to re-crystalize. At this point you have only moved your sugar from the teaspoon into the glass. Or you have only moved the soil from the ground into a bag. It's wasted work. Unless of course your desire is too move the "sugar" from a mangled reactor into a storage barrel. Then your work might not be totally wasted. You still just moved the radiation from point A to point B but you have at least moved it into an environment you can contain and manage.

Until the reactors are capped there is no point in bagging soil or burning debris. The reactors will continue to contaminate the rain and poison the environment.

The good news is that there is a method for moving forward. You just have to recognize it. Don't get discouraged. I believe in Japan's ability to do this. Don't give up.

Also, as far as throat cancer goes it can be caused by radiation. The only reason smoking causes cancer is because of the radiation it gives off.

Anonymous said...

If there really are advanced might be a good time to step in and give a helping hand return, we have volunteers to come to your Christmas party, and we'll bring lube.

Anonymous said...

"The only reason smoking causes cancer is because of the radiation it gives off."

Huh????? The ONLY reason??? What about the 3000 different chemicals or so found in tests done on commercial cigarettes? What about nicotine tar? What about the strong addictive substance that causes some to smoke two or three packs a day?

Karen Sherry Brackett said...

It is those 3,000 chemicals that are giving off the radiation as they burn in a cigar, or cigarettes and as they dissolve like in chewing tobacco. Radiation can be ionizing or non-ionizing.

Karen Sherry Brackett said...

I don't know about asking aliens for help but I do know about asking God for help through his son Jesus Christ. Prayer has saved my life many times. Actually, you can not even make nuclear fuel if you remove God from the equation. He is after all the ultimate energy source of life.

Anonymous said...

Prayer meeting again!

Please, God, send a small asteroid Karen's way. Amen.

Anonymous said...

Those 3000 chemicals are also being absorbed transdermally through skin of hands and/or fingers, and through the mucosa(lips-tongue-mouth) without even having to light up.

I second the asteroid. Amen.

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