Friday, October 28, 2011

110 Volunteers and Residents to "Decon" High Radiation Area in Fukushima City

Everybody knows the decon doesn't work, everybody rolls with their fingers crossed. Everybody knows the war is over, everybody knows the good guys lost. But so it goes, and everybody knows.

Or not. Maybe not these 110 volunteers from all over the country with good intentions, who chose to go to one of the very high radiation area (Onami District) in Fukushima City in Fukushima Prefecture to do the decontamination work.

Part of Onami District was "decontaminated" back in August as the "model" decontamination by the cleaning contractors hired by the city. In most locations, the radiation was hardly reduced, and in some locations the radiation after the "decontamination" went up. (Take a look at the results of the decon in August in my Japanese blog post.)

As you see in the photo by Yomiuri Shinbun, the district is in the mountains. Radioactive materials will continue to come from the mountains, no matter how (and how many times) they "decon" the roads and houses.

But Japanese media reports the effort by the volunteers and the residents of Onami District of Fukushima City trying to decontaminate, as if it's a good thing. This one from Yomiuri Shinbun (10/29/2011):


On October 29, decontamination work started in Onami District in Fukushima Prefecture with volunteers and the residents participating.


The city plans to decontaminate the entire 110,000 households in the city. Onami District is the first to be decontaminated, and the contractors hired by the city have been working since mid October. However, the city felt it was difficult to proceed only with the government effort, and decided to call for volunteers.


Today, 110 volunteers that applied for the work and the area residents participated. They would do the work in the locations with relatively low radiation. After fitted with gloves, masks and personal survey meters, they went to the private residences or public meeting halls whose roofs and walls had been already washed by the contractors with pressure washers. They collected dead leaves, removed weeds, and put in new soil where the surface of the soil had been removed.


Volunteers came from from all over Japan including the Tokyo Metropolitan area, Hokkaido, Gifu Prefecture, and Osaka. Rie Koike (age 36) came from Kawaguchi City in Saitama Prefecture with her colleagues at work. She said, "The residents are in a different situation not of their making. I wanted to help them in any way I could."

From what I see in the photo, this "decon" looks no different from the one I posted on October 26, calling the house and yard cleaning "decontamination". The difference is that there are radioactive materials in the soil, on the stones, on the house, everywhere, which the flimsy masks and work gloves do not block.

But the volunteers can feel good about themselves for their hard work, the residents can feel as if they've reduced the radiation, and the city and the prefecture and the national government save a good chunk of money. Win-win for everyone.

I personally think it is unconscionable for the city to call for volunteers who are in no way trained in any kind of proper decontamination technique (if there is such a thing, that is). And to have a woman in the child-bearing age , like the one Yomiuri interviewed, do the work like this is totally beyond me.

(On the other hand, if she is 36, she should have known better by now.)


Anonymous said...

They should conscript all the recently pensioned off civil servant baby boomers...or these people should be volunteering, shouldn't they? Or are they all too happy playing golf and drinkies at their hostess bars?

While being well intentioned, these volunteers must have a few screws loose. Culpable fools.

Pro patria mori.

ps you've made me want to dig out my LC music!

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Ah. Dulce et decorum. I only wish the country were worth dying for.

and it's Closing Time for me for the night.

Anonymous said...

Why does the blog's author write that the area decontaminated has high radiation, while the paper (paragraph 3) that it is relatevely low? As for me, the newspaper hasn't mentioned any meter readings, so the words 'relatively low' evoke my suspicions. Is it the same with you? ==Elena==

Anonymous said...

Tepco Requests Government Support for Fukushima Compensation
October 28, 2011, 4:34 AM EDT

Tepco to Ask for $12 Billion From Government, Nikkei Reports
October 27, 2011, 8:05 PM EDT

Dennis Riches said...

The IAEA had some subdued criticism of the decon work. I wrote a critique of it. It's a long post, but it might be of interest to anyone who can suffer further outrage on this matter...

Anonymous said...

"...will continue to come from the mountains..."

At least from Fuku 1 mountains no1., no.2., and no.3., possibly Fuku 2, mountain 2.

However, your earlier sea sediments illustrations down there show a more complex story of this mountain system. Containing also some true photoshop miracles: Onagawa (its mountains 1,2&3) coast is the cleanest place on earth. Hmm. How many zero's to add here?

Anonymous said...

whats the point of decon at this point when you have 3 melted reactor that still haven't had their buildings sealed to prevent further contamination?

Anonymous said...

(cr here)

_Japan to welcome Thai flood refugees_ ?!

"And so it goes"....

Too bad the international PTB
don't want to
make the nuclear power industry stop ruining the planet (and harming everyone on it's future generations).

Anonymous said...

Rarely is a country worth dying for anyway. Living and telling the truth, no matter how few listen, is a greater service to one's countrymen and to mankind.

Anonymous said...

quoting Dennis Riches's site,

"Considering the density of Japanese cities, and even of villages, there is no reason why an individual should not demand that a neighbor make every effort to reduce radioactivity on his property."

And the way to look at that is what entities convinced TEPCO they had to do much more than abandon the reactors after the tsunami?
TEPCO and the govt. will now abandon their role to each the other's neighbor?

"Yes, the IAEA experts express no explicit rebuke that children were put to work cleaning up radioactive soil. However, in the rest of the report there are remarks (see below) hinting that this was unwise, "

Nor a rebuke for feeding little children radioactive food or for the planning to continue doing so.

"Remediation work may generate residues that contain enhanced levels of activities."

This is IAEA-speak for 'we must continue our efforts to convince you the IAEA is doing its job [not]'.

"the intake of food is very likely not an important pathway, "

And this is IAEA-speak for 'we care for your internal health [not], but we now believe "ionizing radiation" is ok for you, and where we formally said internal ionizing radiation should be avoided at all costs, our costs have been met by the Japanese govt.'

"Several socio-psychological elements play an important role .."

They really have opened their conspiracy, haven't they?

"This system is known as clearance."

Orwell would call it negligence.


Your response is well done, Dennis.

Plague of Smiles said...

110 Suicide cases.

Anonymous said...

"110 Suicide cases."

I guess those PhD wielding happy-speak pro-nuke blockheads spoke to soon and too categorically when they all parroted, "Radiation has not killed anyone." Pompous unfeeling asshats.

Anonymous said...

ex skf, I like your intelligent, bitter and sometimes cynical comments of the newspaper articles so much. thank you! Kara from france

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