Sunday, September 30, 2012

#Radioactive Japan: WBC Result of a Child in Iwaki City, #Fukushima Seems to Suggest Chronic Ingestion of Radioactive Cesium of More than 10 Bq Per Day

Iwaki City in southern Fukushima Prefecture has been testing the residents in higher radiation districts since November last year using the Whole Body Counter (WBC) for internal radiation exposure. On September 25, the municipal government announced the result of the test for about 12,000 residents. (Iwaki City's population is about 330,000.)

Iwaki City's radiation levels are moderately high (it was on the path of the radioactive plume (or cloud) on March 15, 2011), but compared to the municipalities in Nakadori (middle third, including Date City, Fukushima City, and Koriyama City) and northern Hamadori (ocean-side third, including Futaba-machi, Okuma-machi, and Namie-machi) they are much lower. Still, the test has found one child with 3,300 becquerels of radioactive cesium.

Some speculate that this particular child was eating food grown in the home garden. Iwaki City hasn't disclosed the details of the child (age, sex, where he/she lives, what he/she eats, etc.). The date this child was tested hasn't been disclosed.

From Mainichi Shinbun Fukushima local version (9/26/2012):

東日本大震災:いわき・内部被ばく検査 国の基準下回る 妊婦と18歳以下計1万2134人

Iwaki City's internal radiation exposure test on 12,134 pregnant women and children under 18 show radiation exposure below the national standard


Iwaki City announced the result of the internal radiation exposure test it had been doing since last winter on children under 18 and women who had been pregnant by July last year. All 12,134 people tested were below the national standard of 1 millisievert effective dose, which is said to affect health.


The city went to schools with the Whole Body Counter (WBC) mounted on a vehicle [bus], and tested 4,235 children. The maximum internal radiation was 3,300 becquerels of radioactive cesium, and the effective dose for the child in the course of the child's life was 0.34 microsievert.


The city purchased two fixed-type WBC this May, and tested 110 people per day at the city's Health and Welfare Center and Iwaki Kyoritsu General Hospital. Of 8,829 people tested so far (with data totaled up for 7,899 of them), the maximum was 990 becquerels (effective dose of 0.053 microsievert), with 97% people below the detection limit (420 becquerels).


As the city workers have gotten used to handling the WBC, they can now test up to 194 people a day. The city planned to finish the testing of 64,000 people in the city by next summer, but the test will be finished by the end of the fiscal 2012 (March 2013) and expand the test to include all pregnant women.

What this Mainichi article doesn't tell you is the percentage of children found with internal radiation exposure above the detection limit. It only mentions the percentage of pregnant women.

Iwaki City posted this table on their website without further breakdown by age or district. From the Mainichi article above, the first row is children under 18 who were tested by the mobile WBC, and the second row is pregnant women (click to enlarge):

So, internal radiation exposure above the detection limit of 420 becquerels was found in 9.4% of children tested, while in adults, with much bigger sample numbers, it was only 2.8%, with much lower maximum exposure (990 becquerels).

If the child was tested in November when Iwaki City started testing children under 18 in the particular districts within the city known for higher levels of radiation, then it was about 8 months, or 240 days from the time of the accident. Looking at the chart from ICRP publication 111, page 21, in order to reach 3,300 becquerels in 240 days, the child would have to be ingesting much more than 10 becquerels of radioactive cesium per day, more likely over 20 becquerels and possibly close to 30 becquerels per day.

Why were children found with internal radiation exposure at a much higher percentage than adult women? They may absorb more but I thought they would excrete faster.

I remember reading an article about internal radiation exposure and WBC very early in the accident last year. People who worked in the nuclear industry were freaking out that staying for a short time in Fukushima after the accident resulted in thousands of becquerels of radioactive cesium inside the body. So that was a big deal then, and this child having thousands of becquerels of radioactive cesium is not, judging by the reaction in Japan. The focus seems to be on the effective dose, and the thinking is "since it's so low there's nothing to worry about".

By the way, there are sites (both in Japanese and in English) that claim 3,300 becquerels of radioactive cesium has been detected in a pregnant woman and that number is per kilogram. That information is wrong. It was from a child, and it is not per kilogram.


Anonymous said...

People still can't get basic facts right, and can't even disclose important facts... but don't worry, nuclear power is totally safe. Really. If you pretend it is. Like everyone's doing. Yup.

Much confidence we must have in humanity... for we are greater than lowly jellyfish.

doitujin said...


arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

doitsujin, the town wants it, and wants it badly. Addicted to subsidies.

Anonymous said...

WTF indeed, remember this is the English version of the blog a basic explanation of strictly Japanese sites would be nice.

Anonymous said...

Anon above, what is it exactly that you want? English version of what blog? Basic explanation of Japanese sites is what this blog does, among others.

Anonymous said...

Here's your basic explanation:

You could use Google Translate too.

Anonymous said...

>Why were children found with internal radiation exposure at a much higher percentage than adult women?

Cause the kids were tested earlier. Had they started testing in September like in Minamisoma, the percentage of kids over detection limits would have most likely been higher:

Anonymous said...

The whole "let's hang around and wait, then test to see if everyone's okay" is a horribly flawed course of action.

If they're not okay, then obviously they're screwed. Even if the tests show they're okay, those tests could be unreliable, or the results could be manipulated. There's no way they'd tell us that we're screwed. The whole purpose of "tests" is to make it look like they're actually doing something, and to ease people's minds and keep them quiet.

It's pathetically sad how, even in times like this, we can't trust authorities. It's not even because we were distrustful of them to begin with, it's because they've been proven to constantly lie and conceal information. Their priorities are all horribly wrong.

Anonymous said...

@ 11:14 There are two versions of this blog (EX-SKF) one is written in Japanese and one is in English this is the English version.

"Basic explanation of Japanese sites is what this blog does"

Yes, all except for the links posted in the comments section all I wanted was something like "Aomori citizens want new nuclear construction". I don't expect a full translation but a pointer would be nice then I could try to hunt down an English version of the story.

@anon 4:17 Thanks for the pointer as for Google translate I think I'd have better luck asking random hobo's to translate most Japanese sites. Translation of words is OK but when you string them together most translations look like a game of scrabble.

Anonymous said...

By the way, the city of Hakodate, which is less than 40 km from Oma, across Tsugaru straits, is planning to sue in order to prevent the continuation of the construction of a npp in Oma.
Also, newly appointed ministry of science and education, 文科省, Tanaka Makiko stated that "hurdles are high" for reaching zero nuclear reliance in 2040.
The no-immediate-danger-for-health minister, Edano, declared that the goverment policy is to "make it possible" not to rely on nuclear energy by 2040, hence continuing to build the Oma npp, which would operate until after 2050, is not contradictory with the goverment policy. (He is a lawyer...)

Anonymous said...

Anon at 6:19AM and earlier who wants information as he likes it, why don't you pay for such a nice set of info? Information may want to be free, but it's rather arrogant to demand that people compile it for you for free by coming to this blog like this and complain.

Anonymous said...

Since when do we report the internal radiation in Bq/kid ? I though it should be clear (even to Japanese bureaucrats) that these values have to be reported as Bq/kg of course. Same with the mSv value, it has no real meaning if they do not let us know over which time period, as in mSv/h or mSv/year or mSv/month,... . As a result of this 'deliberate' omission, the numbers are pretty useless (probably desired).

By the way, especially considering the 'anti-baseless-rumour' flyer the Japanese government will distribute in the kindergartens all over Japan to 'educate' the mothers soon (reported on this blog recently - how come that more kids have higher internal exposure than tested adults. According to this great flyer, kids have a much lower risk of contamination from food, since they 'EAT LESS'!! That's the same reason why kids usually get higher concentrated medicine, right? (sarcasms)

Sometime I would really like that a hell exists in the afterlife for people who invent such creative explanations. How can such people look into a mirror?

Anonymous said...

Internal radiation for humans is not expressed in becquerel/kg. That's how it is.

Anonymous said...

No matter if kids eat more or less. A child's body is just growing. During this buil-up-process those elements are needed and used for the "construction" of the body. If elements are radioctive the body will absorb and incorporate them as well. Here is the reason while kids have higher internal dose at the end compared to a non-growing, adult person.

Apolline said...

Hi, these are some results of the EU stress tests : simply horrendous !

Anonymous said...

Random hobo scrabble. Sounds like the stuff politicians come up with. Does this craftpiece look like it's dangerous?!

You can tell if something is more than a baseless rumor if the government jumps on it, otherwise they probably wouldn't care.

Reading about kids eating radiation reminds me of that dimwit over at the ex-pat cafe, who argued that continuously ingesting infinite amounts of man-made radioactive waste is as safe as the natural radiation already in our stomachs, and that anyone who dares doubt his statements is a conspiracy theorist who buys magical bracelets.

Then there's that mentally-challenged woman who commented on an article I happened to come across. She argued that a nuclear meltdown is the same as eating a banana.

We never see the government up in arms about those kinds of "baseless rumors". I think that says a lot.

Those people have no trouble looking into the mirror because they have no morals, no conscience, and piles of cash. It's a common misconception that most humans have compassion, but in reality it's actually a very rare trait.

Atomfritz said...

And this is the sad explanation why kids are so much more vulnerable to incorporated radiation than old people.

Either the kid got a hefty internal contamination by, say, eating a few mushrooms collected in the wild or the such, or it is just one of the few children who still are lucky enough to live an once-normal countryside life and don't believe that food grows in plastic packages like the ones sold in the supermarket.

You know, industrial food production can prevent much of the radioactive food contamination by over-fertilizing. But this is neither ecological nor sustainable.

Anonymous said...

First thing I suspected was school lunch, a dumping ground for unwanted food stuff in Japan.

Anonymous said...

Just saw this:

What? Edano is saying something? Can't understand him over all that bullshit that floods out everytime he opens his mouth. Same with all those other politicians and bureaucrats.

I'd like to take his book and shove it down his throat, and then shove another copy up his ass where it belongs. Oh, shit... I just violated the anti-terrorism laws of the country I live in, again. Hurray for democracy, freedom and free speech! I feel safer already.

Anonymous said...

If it was 240 days after the explosions, probably some of the inhalation exposure from the first weeks was still there (cesium is water soluble so it goes from the lungs to the bloodstream.) Plus, yeah, some wild boar with shiitake mushrooms stew would definitely help.

Anonymous said...

Off Topic but....
THERE WAS a M 6.2 QUAKE near Fukushima about an hour ago!!!

Anonymous said...

Just heard about the quake too.

They still expect the reactors to hold out until they can clean them up, despite the constant quakes in the region? It's been almost two years (although it feels like yesterday to me), they've barely made any progress and still don't know what happened.

I can't help but feel that they'd have made more progress if they didn't waste so much time and money lying about the situation all the time.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Anon above, TEPCO has no money, the Japanese government is beyond broke, and the radiation is extremely high around Reactor 3...

Yosaku said...


It’s been awhile, but it seems that you are still doing a good job with getting the word out. I saw this post linked to from another site and had a couple of questions:

1. In the Mainichi article, wouldn’t a better translation of the first sentence of the third paragraph be “… tested 4,235 people” instead of “4,235 children”?

2. This leads to my bigger question, which is why you labeled the two rows in the table from Iwaki City’s website as “children” and “pregnant women”. Isn’t a better translation, “previous testing” and “current testing”, respectively? According to the first sentence on the webpage, it seems that the “previous tests” were carried out on “children, etc.”, not just children. Also, here’s a local newspaper article from November 2011 talking about the new tests in Iwaki and saying that they were testing both children and pregnant women:

Maybe I’m just missing something? Curious to hear your thoughts.

Anyway, thanks for the good work, as always.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Yosaku, 4,235 children were tested at schools, no adults. As to the labels in Iwaki City's table, they weren't meant as translation but indicating which number was for children, and which was for pregnant women.

Yosaku said...

Laprimavera, Thanks. How do you know that there were no adults? I can't seem to find that.

Anonymous said...

Yosaku, feel free to contact Iwaki City directly.

Yosaku said...

Laprimavera, Thanks. I did so, and the Iwaki City representative I spoke with said that the previous tests and the current tests included both pregnant women and children. You may want to give them a ring to get a better break down.

Anonymous said...

@ Hélios

Thanks for the link I can't say I'm surprised whenever there is a problem with anything nuclear they make bold pronouncements that on closer inspection are total fluff. Stuff like "we'll clean up the contaminated water in one year or we've achieved a new version of cold shutdown" is forgotten by most. The moment they made the stress tests voluntary and non-binding it totally negated their usefulness. Isn't it funny how money was cited as the reason for not completing the needed safety measures when all the while the nuclear industry acts like nuclear power is cheap? It's cheap because they don't preform required maintenance much less the needed safety upgrades.

I'm sure the "stress tests" they put on the banking system had the same "rigorous" oversight.

Centipede said...

I think the Japanese article's reading of the graphs is wrong. A body reading of 3,300 Bq should result in an effective exposure of .34 mSv, which is milliSieverts, not micro (micro would be written as uSv, of course). Makes a lot more sense considering the total body dose. Also, it is perfectly acceptable to list a total radiation dose as just 0.34 mSv rather than mSv/hr because this figure represents the total accumulated dose the body will receive from this amount of radiation before it is purged from the body. I really wish I had a link to show, but you can calculate total doses from consumed (and inhaled) radiation rather easily if you have the charts to look at. I have them saved on my iPad at home.

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