Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Greenpeace Slams Japanese "Decontamination" Measures in Fukushima, Finds 3 Microsieverts/Hr Radiation in Schools and Parks in Fukushima City

3 microsieverts/hour radiation is 100 times as much as pre-nuclear-accident level in Fukushima.

From News24, citing AFP (10/23/2012; emphasis is mine):

Greenpeace slams Japan anti-radiation action

Tokyo - Government radiation monitoring in areas near Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant is unreliable, Greenpeace charged on Tuesday, with heavily populated areas exposed to 13 times the legal limit.

The environmental group said authorities were wasting time cleaning up evacuated areas and should prioritise decontamination efforts in places where people live, work and play.

Greenpeace found that in some parks and school facilities in Fukushima city, home to 285 000 people, radiation levels were above 3 microsieverts (mSv) per hour. Japan's recommended radiation limit is 0.23mSv per hour.

"We also found that official monitoring posts placed by the government systematically underestimate the radiation levels," said Rianne Teule, Greenpeace's radiation expert, adding that some machines are shielded from radiation by surrounding metal and concrete structures.

Decontamination efforts

"Decontamination efforts are seriously delayed and many hot spots that were repeatedly identified by Greenpeace are still there," Teule said.

"It is especially disturbing to see that there are many hot spots around playground equipment, exposing children who are most vulnerable to radiation risks," she said.

In tests carried out over four days last week, Greenpeace also found that radiation levels in Iitate village, where the government is hoping to soon return evacuated residents, are still many times over the limit, with decontamination efforts patchy.

Greenpeace's Japan nuclear campaigner Kazue Suzuki said attempts to clean up were "misguided".

"One home or office may be cleaned up, but it is very unlikely that the whole area will be freed of radiation risks within the next few years," given the mountainous and heavily forested nature of the region, she said.

"The government continues to downplay radiation risks and give false hope [of returning home] to victims of this nuclear disaster," said Suzuki.

A huge tsunami, sparked by a massive undersea quake, swamped the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in March in 2011.

Reactors went into meltdown, spewing radiation over a large swathe of Japan's agriculture-heavy northeast, in the planet's worst atomic disaster for a generation.

The natural disaster left around 19 000 people dead or missing.

However, no one is officially recorded as having died as a direct result of the nuclear catastrophe, but thousands of people have been displaced and many livelihoods wrecked.

Scientists caution it could be decades before the plant is fully decommissioned and the areas around it are safe to live in again.

Professor Hayakawa has also reported that the radiation measurement done at the monitoring posts in Fukushima differs, sometimes significantly, from the measurement done nearby.


Atomfritz said...

"some machines [measurement posts] are shielded from radiation by surrounding metal and concrete structures."

This is not much different to workers putting dosimeters into lead cases to massage the numbers.

Anonymous said...

Makes you yearn for a little Italian justice doesn't it?

Anonymous said...

Stationary measuring stations are easy to fool this blog reported a survey unit a while back that was giving artificially low reading because of spot decontamination near the device. We've seen with the crop contamination that hot spots don't respect hopes and wishes. If the JGOV really wanted an accurate radiation survey they would be working to attach radiation detection equipment to the neural net quad copters or little bug bots. Japan should be leading the world in highly accurate radiation detecting robots especially after such a big accident. They don't need a Gundam just an army of little bug like bots that seek out radiation like bees hunt flowers. The reason these robots are nowhere to be found is because the people in charge are doing their best not to know because the truth is too expensive to contemplate.

Anonymous said...


Just want to point out something in your post that could lead to confusion. You wrote, "radiation levels were above 3 microsieverts (mSv) per hour. Japan's recommended radiation limit is 0.23mSv per hour."

Can you correct this? Note: microsievert is abbreviated not as 'mSv',
but as 'µSv'. mSv is milliesievert, 1000 times larger than microsievert.

On a Mac: µ is made by holding down the 'option' key and typing 'm'. (It makes the Greek mu). On a PC in word: insert, insert symbol.

Thank you for the great service you provide!

To help make sense of radiation units, I made this page awhile back, perhaps also helpful to some of your readers: http://allegedlyapparent.wordpress.com/radioactivity/radiation_units/


Michaël VB

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Michaël VB, I will alert AFP news agency.

Atomfritz said...

Actually, writing mSv instead of (correctly) µSv seems quite common. But, why?

At least this will be very useful to avoid panic in case of a new, worse-than-Fukushima nuclear accident, when people don't recognize that they are actually exposed to millisieverts instead of the supposed microsieverts.

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