Friday, December 9, 2011

"Decontamination" for Next Year's Cherry Blossom Viewing Season in Fukushima City

Where in Fukushima City?

Watari District, where rice with radioactive cesium exceeding the national provisional standard has been discovered, where Professor Yamauchi of Kobe University has said again and again that "decontamination" didn't work and that it even increased the contamination.

I hear it is a very popular place for springtime cherry blossom viewing and partying, with hundreds of thousands of tourists each year visiting the place. Faced with another dismal season, the owner of the land where the trail to the mountain starts decided to "decon".

From Yomiuri Shinbun (12/10/2011):


On December 10, a decontamination experiment was conducted at "Hanami-yama" [cherry blossom viewing mountain] in Watari District of Fukushima City, in preparation for the next year's viewing season.


The place is famous for cherry blossoms, with about 300,000 tourists visiting each year. However, this year, the number of tourists dropped dramatically to only 94,000 because of the March 11 earthquake/tsunami and the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant accident. It is located in the mountains and the radiation levels are relatively high. So the owner of the land where the trailhead to the mountain is located asked a firm in Sasebo City in Nagasaki Prefecture to decontaminate. The firm is noted for its asbestos countermeasures.


The work was done around the trailhead. The workers sprayed the ground with the liquid solution made of sulphur and lime ("ND Lock" solution) mixed with barium sulfate.


It is said that the solution is effective in lowering the radiation levels and preventing the dispersion of radioactive cesium. A 56-year-old director of a company that does decontamination work in the city says, "If it is shown that the solution lowers the radiation levels, I would like to use it to decontaminate mountains and forests.

Mountains and forests. Good luck with that.

On second thoughts, as long as he gets a lucrative contract from the city or from the prefecture, I guess that's all that matters to him, regardless of whether the true "decon" (=removing radioactive materials) is achieved.

According to the manufacturer of the "ND Lock" (ND stands for "no detect"), the solution is used for asbestos treatment, and is the anti-dispersion solution for asbestos. What this has to do with lowering the radiation or preventing the dispersion of radioactive cesium, I have no idea.

But in a "bubble", anything goes, and that's one definition of a bubble - anything goes.

(Photo credit:, with permission)


Anonymous said...

hmm... this ND Lock stuff will turn out to be crap for the environment so crap on top of radioactive elements. Destroy Japan a little faster.

Anonymous said...

Well, that's new...asbestos=cesium. Slipping through the Corexit to the Land of No Detect. Maybe this is the right bubble for the job-

Anonymous said...

Denial is ugly.

Darth3/11 said...

I'm sorry but this sounds ludicrous. Sakura may be pretty but there are some parts of the Fukushima/etc areas that are going to have to face the fact that they ARE contaminated and that NOTHING can be done about it except to abandon the areas for a few decades/generations/centuries. I don't know which! These places should be left alone to let nature take its course. There are really times when the best answer is to "give it UP".

CrisisMaven said...

This is a desperate measure - while "radiation" itself does not immediately change the properties of the soil (because the amount of radioacive particles is so minute as not to change the chemistry of the soil outright) this sulphur solution does change the make-up of the top soil. While the cherry tress might not immediately be affected as trees' roots do not anchor in top soil (only), all surface plants will either be wiped out or the nature of the habitat will probably change dramatically and only sulphur-hardy plants may persist.
In a next step then, the nature of the landscape after enough dousing with 'ND lock' will change for good (!) and then this may have been the last season of cherry viewing in a generation or longer (and, if history is any guide, there will be no revival after a century as fashion und tourism will have turned elsewhere). As for the other decon methods like scraping the soil: if radioactive top soil were removed and then replaced by less radioactive top soil (from where - and what do the thus pilfered regions then do without their accustomed top soil by the way?) that would still mean unearthing a lot of the radioactivity already gone underground (and hence less harmful in terms of surface radiation exposure!) while sometimes not really touching the plant ingested radioactivity. The only way (though probably impractical) could be to sow the affected areas with such plants as are known to collect the radioactive nuclides in question, then "harvest" those for several seasons and dispose of the "harvest" in safe places. After a few seasons radioactivity levels in ceasium, strontium etc. might abate. However, this means that the whole area is being tilled and planted with crops that yield no value at all but rather cost in safe removal. The lesson from all this: nuclear energy is, all told, the most expensive of all energy sources by a very wide margin!

Anonymous said...

the world trade center was loaded w/ asbestos. Too bad the NYC didn't request them to come in for that cleanup.

Anonymous said...

Good luck with the decon of cherry trees..after they scrape off the bark, (cherry blossoms are in that area..), spread diseases due to chopping and damaging tree trunks, spray the ND (want to bet Cherry Trees dont LIKE it?)..they will be lucky to have LIVE cherry trees..let alone blossoms. The first year..for the blossoms that survive..may have a desperate flush of blooms..but blooms require living trees. Good with THAT decontamination contract.

Atomfritz said...

I feel really sad...
Did Japan turn into a madhouse?

As CrisisMaven and anon 4:03 said, the "decon" will have only negative effects.

Maybe next year these idiots believing in the "Yes, we can decon!" ideology will say "look, so many blossoms we hadn't for long time! See yourself how well it worked out!".

How sad they'll be when they recognize the year after that most trees are dead or dying, after, already being damaged and weakened, exhausting their last energies in their attempt to rush producing seeds before dying...

Japan's slow self-destruction, it's so sad, as people will only start realizing what they have lost when things have become irreversible...

Anonymous said...

Spraying the paths with something to fix the dust is a reasonable thing to do.

That way, people will not be inhaling it when they walk around. External vs internal contamination etc etc

But maybe they should just skip flower-watching for a decade or so?

no6ody said...

I suppose a business person who is watching his/her way of earning a living go down the tubes will try anything. At least this isn't too toxic.

However, barium sulfate plus carbon makes barium sulfide, which glows in the dark. "Barium sulfate is reduced to barium sulfide by carbon."
Maybe there will be cherry blossoms during the day and 'Ghost Mountain' during the night? In my opinion, a HEPA gas mask would make that worth seeing.

Atomfritz said...

@ no6ody


I just imagined the Fukushima tourist bureau advertising "Visit the miraculous Glowing Gardens of Fukushima!"

no6ody said...

LOL! But I since found out that Barium Sulfide plus water makes hydrogen sulfide, H2S, or the 'rotten egg' smelling gas. Nasty stuff, and it would get thru a HEPA mask. I guess that's why all my glow-in-the-dark stuff has the Barium Sulfide encased in plastic.

Meanwhile, eleswhere in Japan...
Radioactive water leaks at Kyushu Electric's Genkai reactor

At least this nuclear reactor was idled when they discovered the leak. This is also a short version, as the full version requires a subscription.

Anonymous said...

when fukushima first got into trouble i wanted to sell
"Radi-Cleanse" just relabeled dishsoap.

i figured a cool blue color would sell.

it appears the Japnese have their own version

Stock said...

I started a new page called the best lies of nuclear.
This is original material created by me, not just regurgitation. Stop by, visit, leave a comment, klik some ads each click is worth around a buck, and that helps pay the bills to fight nuclear.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

When you enter a new paradigm it is so very difficult to let go of the old one. People will writhe and wriggle trying to resist the changes. But it is no good. It's like dressing a corpse.

It's an interesting phenomenon to see the parallels between post nuclear Fukushima and the global financial holocaust we have now entered. Those in charge think 'let's do anything to get back the good old days'. Even if it makes the situation worse in the long run (more debt to fix a debt problem, 'decontamination' programs to fix and reassure the minds of those that *want* to go back to the old paradigm, rather than fix the contamination problem-Yo, unfixable guys!) etc...The trouble is that it aint gonna work out like that. These hopes are simply cosmetic surgery. The corpse is dead. There ain't no use pretending.

So, make good use of the time it takes them to work it all out. Mothers with kids are leaving Tokyo in droves NOW- months after the disaster. They have lost trust and given up hope in their government. THEY have realized the new paradigm and it is this. Your country and leaders are lying to you. Mothers know this by now. This is the real tragedy. Not the damn cherry blossoms. Sadly the whole place should be razed to the ground as a reminder to WHAT HAS BEFALLEN THIS PLACE. Not pathetic attempts to obfusticate or cover up the truth.

'You better start swimming or you'll sink like a stone...'

Good Luck and Gambatte with that decon stuff. Jobs for the boys, eh?

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