Wednesday, June 20, 2012

#Radioactive Japan: Tsukuba City, Ibaraki's Official Radiation Test for Food Showed Only One-Third of What Was Actually In the Food (Barley), Says a Citizens' Group

In April this year, a citizen volunteer group in Tsukuba City in Ibaraki Prefecture set up "Ibaraki Citizens Radioactivity Measuring Station" to test food and soil for radioactive materials (iodine, cesium). The group uses AT1320A by ATOMTEX (Belarus) with an NaI scintillation survey meter.

The group says over 100 Bq/kg of radioactive cesium was detected from the barley harvested in 2011, using their detector. From the same barley, Tsukuba City had only detected 35 Bq/kg. Tsukuba City uses Hitachi NaI scintillation survey meter, according to the city's website. (The new safety limit for radioactive cesium is 100 Bq/kg.)

So why the huge difference?

It turned out that the city's measurement time was too short, and the software for the detector was not updated. When the city lengthened the measurement time and did the software upgrade, the city's detector found 115 Bq/kg of radioactive cesium.

What a surprise.

According to their blogpost on May 29, 2012, here's what happened:


At our Citizens Radioactivity Measuring Station, barley harvested in 2011 by one of our staff was found with 110 Bq/kg [of radioactive cesium]. We repeated the measurement a number of times by extending the measurement time, but the result was still about 100 Bq/kg.


The same barley had been tested before, using the detector of Tsukuba City. The result then had been 35 Bq/kg. The two numbers diverged so much, so we had it tested again by Tsukuba City's detector.


The result was 115 Bq/kg.


[Since the previous measurement,] the city lengthened the measuring time from 10 minutes to 30 minutes and did the software version update [for the detector], which allowed their detector to obtain the similar result as ours.



Based on this result, we made an oral request to Ibaraki Prefecture and Tsukuba City to re-test the barley grown in the neighborhood areas [of Tsukuba, I assume], but they said they wouldn't, because the barley was for "personal consumption".


After we had an opportunity to further discuss with them, we submitted the written request [to the prefecture and the city] today.

The group calls for the consistent and continuous monitoring of radioactive materials in food, and prompt and open disclosure of the results. For Tsukuba City in particular, the group is asking the city to (1) test commercially available food if the radioactivity in food for non-commercial, personal consumption exceeds 100 Bq/kg; and (2) test using the germanium semiconductor detector owned by the prefectural government when the radioactivity in food (commercial or non-commercial) exceeds 100 Bq/kg by the group's testing

Mainichi Shinbun (5/30/2012) reported on this written request from this group. In the article, Mainichi says "Tsukuba City stopped publishing the test results for the agricultural products for personal consumption".

This news hasn't got much attention in Japan, and the group's site does not have an update.


Anonymous said...

No surprise here. On another note, Japanese and foreign researchers I know in Tsukuba are in denial.

Anonymous said...

Like it matters

Anonymous said...


This is very important.

It matters greatly as it teaches the Japanese people to QUESTION AUTHORITY!

It reminds that government is NOT infallable.

And it shows that an informed and activist citizenry is vital to our society.

All lessons that the Japanese people need to learn, and as quickly as possible.

Anonymous said...

If researchers, who have scientific credibility, didn't underestimate radioactivity levels and associated risk or if they thought it mattered, they could change the situation and eventually save lives.

Anonymous said...

Excuse the long URL:

^ by taking responsibility I guess they mean "apologize". Sadly, nuclear fallout is not as forgiving as the human memory.

Anonymous said...

I don't think it matters either.
One word-NODULES

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Well, sorry for a worthless post.

Anonymous said...


I hope this link works, is doing the rounds of Facebook and Twitter at the moment:

Anonymous said...

ahh, don't take it personally primavera, m just bein' a dink. Your webpage is a ray of truth and light.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Now that's better...

Anonymous said...

You would think there is a reference object or calibration source to ensure things are measured "the right way". So much for scientific rigour. Well, as long as the results are what you are expecting (or desiring), why change anything, huh?

Anonymous said...

I've often wondered about the barley and other grains that are produced in Japan. Where does the barley end up? The wheat? Worst case would be beer and flour/bread. Anybody have some insight on this?

Anonymous said...

Barley tea (Mugi-cha)? I sure hope not ... children drink it a lot, sometimes every day.

Anonymous said...

For those in the main contamination areas, just the addition of the internal contamination could be the final amount needed for fatal radiation dose. Those officials are responsible for the health and welfare of the citizens (or should be). Purposely covering up or ignoring radiation test results is either man-slaughter or murder.

I hope ALL THE OFFICIALS FAMILIES share in the radiation doses-or are they in Sinapore or one of the new Japanese Cities. One has to think the officials have been told THEY and families can live in the new cities if they help the government coverup and show "true" loyalty...??

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Use of barley in Japan:

- grain (mix with rice, use in miso)
- flour
- beer, sho-chu
- mugi-cha (roasted barley tea)

Anonymous said...

I heard that 90% of Barley is imported from Canada or Australia and US... although more and more is being grown in Japan nowadays... yes Mugicha uses Barley so watch out for it.... also i havent seen any tests done on Beer in Japan, nothing on Securitytokyo site or anywhere.... anyone got any data on Beer testing? ....Exskf do you know?

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