Thursday, June 7, 2012

Middle Tennessee State U. Students Now in #Fukushima, Will Volunteer in Minami Soma (not Soma) City

Remember those students, and a fierce supporter of them who came to this blog to defend them and trash us? They are now in Fukushima Prefecture. And according to the article below, instead of Soma City they will help clean up MINAMI Soma City where, according to Assemblyman Ooyama the "black dust (substance, bacteria, etc.)" exceeding 10 million becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium is found. Part of Minami Soma City was within 20-kilometer radius "no-entry" zone, another part "planned evacuation zone", another part "evacuation-ready zone", meaning it is rather close to the wrecked nuclear power plant.

According to Fukushima Minpo, a local newspaper in Fukushima, the students are learning exactly what the Fukushima prefectural government want them to learn so that they can disseminate "accurate" information about Fukushima to the world.

From Fukushima Minpo (6/7/2012; link added):


Students from Middle Tennessee State University in the US have arrived in Fukushima as part of the short-term study program started by Fukushima University this fiscal year. The students are cultivating a better understanding of the situation in the disaster-affected areas.


The program is intended to have [foreigners] disseminate accurate information about Fukushima Prefecture to the world through understanding of the situation of the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant accident. 10 students and 2 instructors from the University arrived in Fukushima on June 5.


They attended a radiation protection seminar at Fukushima University on June 6. Kenji Oose, specially appointed assistant professor at the Fukushima Future Center for Regional Revitalization at Fukushima University, explained about the change in radiation levels in Fukushima Prefecture and the different evacuation zones. The students were asking questions such as "What are the health risks caused by radioactive materials?" and "What are the measures to eradicate baseless rumors?"


During their stay till June 15, the students will do volunteer work in Minami Soma City.

Fukushima University's Fukushima Future Center for Regional Revitalization happily tells us the abbreviation of its name is "FURE" - FU from FUkushima and FUture, RE from REgional and REvitalization. That is a bit unfortunate, for the English speakers might associate FU with something else entirely.


jeff said...

Let's hope someone will tell them the truth!

John said...

Hilarious. I simply cannot believe any American student would ever say, "What are the measures to eradicate baseless rumors?" It simply is not American English. Either the newspaper fabricated the comment or the American student read it off a Japanese-government produced note card. I guess the students must be white, because any minority student in the U.S. wouldn't be so trusting of authority. I am speaking as someone who taught college in America.

Anonymous said...

To the Middle Tennessee State U. Students:

I am not an alarmist, but I do follow the radioactive contamination events and I do live in Japan.

Heed this advice: Please DO NOT GO TO MINAMI SOMA. It is too dangerous because we do not know enough about this black dust, the government does not seem to be doing anyting about the black dust, and the black dust has been shown to be very, very hot. You do not want to risk breathing it or touching it.

Anything you hope to accomplish in MINAMI SOMA is simply not worth the risk of going. You would be taking a very big risk for no good reason.

Quit the group. Quit school if you have to. But get out now and do not go to MINAMI SOMA.

Parents of students: contact your university president and make sure he/she is aware of the huge risks the students are being asked to take. Please have him/her recall the group.

If that doesn't work fast enough, plead with your children. This risk is too great. They can do many other things in Japan that can help people without exposing them to the unknown risks that the MINAMI SOMA black dust poses. It is simply not safe. Please do whatever you can to get your kids out now.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with the previous commenter John, as someone who spent 9 years working with researchers, educators, and students in colleges and universities. Such a question doesn't reflect the mindset of a typical American or university student. There is likely some significant manipulation going on.

Accurate information is what the Geiger counters, scintillators, and research tells us. Not what is presented by a government sponsored tour and PR campaign.

I wonder if any of the students have their own Geiger counters or are allowed to take dust samples back for analysis... They probably just get the government pamphlets and some distorted sense of pride for "helping" the disaster affected area by helping them to deny the problem.


Chibaguy said...

You do not send people to fed propaganda. These student will stay there for two weeks while the actual residents are forced there. In my reality, you send people with knowledge tell the truth to those who would like to listen. Every single presentation I have seen from Fukushima denies science. I have heard from very intelligent people that putting a rock on a hot spot solves the problem. I am literally in awe at how stupid people have become. No one can change the truth.

Anonymous said...

They have no idea what they're getting into.

This is a very sad situation that could have been avoided if the mainstream media both in Japan and internationally had taken the time and effort to learn about radiation and bio-concentration, and then report the truth.

Anonymous said...

US EMBASSY used to have a travel warning in place (expired September 2011 I think). It said:

While the situation at the Fukushima Daiichi plant remains serious and dynamic, the health and safety risks to land areas which are outside a 50-mile radius of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant are low and do not pose significant risks to U.S. citizens.

Out of an abundance of caution, we continue to recommend that U.S. citizens avoid travel to destinations within the 50-mile evacuation zone of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant. U.S. citizens who are still within this zone should evacuate or shelter in place.

Not sure why this would have expired (maybe political reason?). Basically nothing much has changed much at the site. Radiation is still high. If anything, the bioaccumulation that is underway (black dust) would seem to make the situation worse.

MINAMI SOMA is well within this 50 mile radius. Makes no sense to send a bunch of college students into this zone for any reason. Irresponsible that the Japan government would allow this and that the US government would not be warning against unnecessary travel to this area.

m a x l i said...

I totally agree with John. That baseless-rumor question smelled fishy to me (before I read your comment), and english is not even my language.

I would have loved to hear the answer to the other question: "What are the health risks caused by radioactive materials?"

Let me guess! "Nuclear power is clean, cheap, safe and necessary. No immediate danger..."

flyingcuttlefish said...

Who ARE these kids? Do their parents work for the Tennessee Valley Authority (US Federally funded nuclear energy program) by any chance?

Kids up in Washington State near the infamous Hanover facility used to sport nuke bomb symbols on their school sweatshirts etc. They had a filter on their information provided by nuke industry owned local press and tv no doubt.

Who will monitor the health of these students when they return?

flyingcuttlefish said...

Checking the local campus newspaper just now shows NO mention of this trip or discussion of the safety of the students.
This article is illuminating -

Tennessee bans the word 'evolution' in science classes and uses "Biodiversity and Change" to apease the anti-science segment.

I guess having no science education is helpful when looking for nuke industry friendlies.

Anonymous said...

All my attempts to send emails to 'Sidelines' the MTSU campus paper bounced back after the students left (!) or over the weekend before they left. Is there any way to get in touch with the parents of these kids? The seriousness of their exposure is something the parents should absolutely be cognizant of. Sadly, the community there in middle TN might also believe, as well, that climate change is a hoax being perpetrated by godless heathens.

Anonymous said...

Is the danger of their exposure to radiation really that great considering the fact that they are all ready brain dead?

Anonymous said...

How do we know these "students" really exist? It could all be a fabrication of the mainstream "news" people. And you know who I mean.

flyingcuttlefish said...

Anon - I think anyone can post to the University news blog here:

Giving it a try, if the post doesn't show up it means the moderator is banning critical comments.

Anonymous said...

@ Flyingcuttlefish

MTSU is only about 150 miles from Oak Ridge National Laboratories, they make the TVA look like a trailer park when it comes to all things nuclear. Oak Ridge was part of the original Manhattan Engineering District during WWII Hanford was Pu materials production facility and Oak Ridge produced and enriched uranium then they converted it into extremely precise bomb parts.

I'd imagine some of the students are looking to beef up their resume for possible employment at ORNL in the future not to mention the nuclear industry would be happy to pay these kids to speak at their annual back-slapping sessions. As for warning the parents or students or trying to post stuff to the University website I wouldn't waste my time. MTSU has a relationship with ORNL so I doubt they'll be rocking the boat and I doubt these kids or their parents are going to be swayed by mostly anonymous advice not to go.

flyingcuttlefish said...

update - cannot post comments due to issues

.... have at it anyone!

Anonymous said...

you can email the Nashville newspaper at

Anonymous said...

Here's another person to contact. His email appeared in a nashville newspaper article about the student trip to Fukushima:

flyingcuttlefish said...

2 Updates -
1,000 U.S. high school students to start volunteer work in tsunami zones

The president of the University in Tenn. responded to a query about radiation with a brush off. It is at the bottom of this page (a North Carolina paper, next to Tenn.)

flyingcuttlefish said...

correction - salem-news is from Oregon - not next to Tenn.

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