Saturday, October 29, 2011

OT: Comment Section of This Blog - 2

There were Jesuits and Finns and a host of other incomprehensible collections in the comment sections for a while (and that stopped, thank you).

And there are comments that several months later suddenly inspire some people in Japan.

Yes in Japan.

There are people in Japan who come to my English blog. They are mostly expats living in Japan, but a sizeable number of Japanese also come. They not only read the post but also the comment sections, curious to see how people outside Japan look at the situation in Japan.

Tokyo Brown Tabby is one of those Japanese. One day back in June, Tabby made a post quoting and translating a comment left by an anonymous reader on my English blog. Somebody read Tabby's post 4 months later, and tweeted, and that spread. It clearly struck a chord. The comment said the following:

-japanese people are still accomplice of a terrible system

It's time for common japanese people to :
-reject the system

To this date, we have seen nothing.

They act just like sheep, waiting to be slaughtered.

It's impossible to feel pity for people who clearly don't want to save themselves.

Judging by the reaction to Tabby's post, albeit 4 months late, more Japanese are realizing they've been the sheep (or sheeple), and that they don't need to be.

So, thank you, my readers and those who feel strongly enough to comment, whether it is anger toward TEPCO and the politicians, ridicule against government-bought researchers, unique way to solve the Fuku-I accident, or criticism of the Japanese people. (Or occasional Jesuits and Finns which totally baffle them...)

Things don't unfold at a pace most of us would want, which I suspect is much quicker than what's happening in Japan. Slow as it may be, more and more people in Japan are realizing they don't need to be ruled by a handful of elites whom they no longer trust, and that they don't need to take whatever is given to them, whether it is a nuke plant or a free trade agreement with the US.

A good start.

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Crack Found on Spent Fuel Pool Crane

A crack was found in the casing of the axle junction of the ceiling crane in the Spent Fuel Pool at Fukushima I Nuke Plant. I don't remember ever hearing about this facility, other than "everything is normal".

The crack, which wasn't found out until October 27, is about 5-millimeter wide, and goes all around the circumference of the casing.

From TEPCO's handout for the press (10/28/2011):

The Spent Fuel Pool currently contains 6,375 spent fuel rods, according to Asahi Shinbun (10/29/2011). The newspaper also says the crack is considered to have formed after the March 11 earthquake.

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Two Workers Injured (One Badly) after Being Hit by Crane Wire

From Yomiuri Shinbun (10/29/2011):


According to TEPCO, during the dismantling of the large crane [for Reactor 1 covering] at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant, wire (3.6 centimeters in diameter) fell from the crane and hit two workers at about 8:30AM on October 29.


A worker in his 40s broke bones at 5 locations including the chin and both legs, and was air-lifted to a hospital. A worker in his 20s has pain in his shoulder and stomach. TEPCO is investigating how the accident happened.

The 40-something worker broke his chin, both legs, rib cage, and right arm, according to independent journalist Ryuichi Kino, reporting on the TEPCO's press conference. (Some fear for his life, not trusting TEPCO.)

This is TEPCO's current understanding of the situation, from TEPCO's handout for the press (10/29/2011). TEPCO says it was 2.8-centimeter wire weighing 360 kilogram:

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.)

More on Setagaya-ku High Radiation Supermarket: Max Is 170 Microsieverts/Hour

The Ministry of Education and Science is really quick when it comes to Tokyo.. (Or should I say Setagaya-ku?)

It looks like the shoppers at this particular supermarket have been zapped with high radiation for at least 11 years, if what the Ministry says is true (that there is the radiation source buried).

A small problem, though. The same radiation source should be also buried beneath the sidewalk, which measured 110 microsieverts/hour on the surface.

Additional information of the high radiation supermarket in Setagaya-ku. (See my previous post for more.)

From Jiji Tsushin (5:29AM JST 10/29/2011):


Regarding the detection of high radiation in the supermarket compound in Hachimanyama in Setagaya-ku, Tokyo, the Ministry of Education and Science announced in the early hours of October 29 that the maximum 170 microsieverts/hour radiation was detected. The Ministry ordered a temporary measure to reduce radiation in the surrounding areas by piling sandbags, and asked the owner of the supermarket to investigate the radiation source which is considered to be in the ground. The investigation will be done soon.


According to the Ministry of Education and Setagaya-ku, 170 microsieverts/hour radiation was detected on the ground surface near the shrubs about 60 centimeters away from the supermarket building. At 1 meter off the ground, the same spot measured 4.7 microsieverts/hour. At the entrance of the supermarket, about 10 meters away from the high radiation spot, 110 microsieverts/hour radiation was detected on the ground surface, and 10 microsieverts/hour radiation at 1 meter off the ground.


The compound was used as a parking lot since 1961, until the current supermarket was built in 2000. In addition to the two spots with high radiation, there are several locations inside the building on the floor that had the maximum 2.5 microsieverts/hour radiation, higher than the surrounding areas. The Ministry of Education thinks there must be the source of high radiation buried in the compound.

From a Japanese Blog: Female Junior High Student Died of Subarachnoid Hemorrhage in Ichinoseki, Iwate

The story was first broken by a blog writer in Ichinoseki City in Iwate Prefecture, who runs a extracurricular prep school for students for entrance exams for upper schools. He has been criticized by net citizens who think it's highly inappropriate to write about high radiation levels at the school and the student's death in the same blogpost and that he is spreading a "baseless rumor".

Ichinoseki City in Iwate Prefecture is about 170 kilometers north of Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant. The city has an elevated level of radiation and radiation contamination compared to the rest of Iwate Prefecture (see Professor Hayakawa's map to the right, with Ichinoseki City in a red circle at the end of a red arrow).

According to the blogpost, the student attended a junior high school in Ichinoseki City where the max radiation on the school yard exceeded 10 microsieverts/hour, and where the air radiation inside some classrooms exceeded 0.5 microsieverts/hour. She died of subarachnoid hemorrhage last week.

From "Daiken Seminar" blog (10/27/2011):


I agonized for two days whether or not to make this post public. I've asked many parents and students to ascertain the facts. I fully understand how they feel about the issue. But I just couldn't proceed in the face of this shocking revelation.


My heart aches for the parents of the deceased student, and it is not the topic that I could casually write.


But I feel the facts should be recorded, and here they are, though I'm withholding the real names.


Last week, a 3rd-grade student [there are three grades in Japanese junior high schools] in a junior high school in the city collapsed in the school building. She was taken to the hospital, but died without ever regaining consciousness. The cause of death was subarachnoid hemorrhage.


There was a high radiation contamination spot in the school yard, exceeding 10 microsieverts/hour. The deceased student belonged to an athletic club, and the club activities often involved using the school yard.


The school didn't inform the students and parents about the high radiation spot until it was reported in the newspaper. [In the comment section, he says the school didn't know about it until October.]


These are the objective facts. I will not comment or speculate further.


According to the students at this school, the teachers there also read my blog regularly. They said in some classrooms the air radiation level exceeds 0.5 microsievert/hour.


I was beyond upset. After I heard this story, on the way back from my school, I cried. Tears of deep regret.

He says in the comment section that the student had an underlying health issues [though she belonged to an athletic club...]. All the more reason, he says and I agree, that radiation should be avoided.

In his next post, he cites the official announcement of Ichinoseki City about radiation measurements in schools in the city (the latest update on October 20), and I have verified the source at the city's website.

The blog owner cut and pasted from the official announcement to show the locations that tested over 10 microsieverts/hour. One nursery school and three junior high schools registered 10 microsieverts/hour, and the annotations (the last column) say "maximum measurable with the instrument" (I added red circles to identify these schools). The city's instrument went overscale:

#Radiation in Tokyo: Setagaya-ku Has 110 Microsieverts/Hr Super-Hot Spot

On par with the radiation near Koriyama JR Station in Koriyama City in Fukushima (80 to 120 microsieverts/hr spot, see my post from yesterday).

Setagaya-ku is where the tubes of radium were found to have been emitting strong radiation. The radiation level was 4.7 microsieverts/hr.

The Ministry of Education and Science, again very quick to act, suspects something radioactive is buried on the spots. There are two spots, one is emitting 110 microsieverts/hour radiation on the sidewalk, the other 30 to 40 microsieverts/hour at the supermarket entrance. They are both paved with asphalt.

The photograph is from Sankei Shinbun, of the 110 microsieverts/hour spot on the sidewalk. As you can see, it's just an ordinary stretch of a sidewalk.

From Sankei Shinbun (10/29/2011):


Setagaya-ku, Tokyo announced on October 28 that maximum 110 microsieverts/hour radiation was detected in the supermarket compound and on the sidewalk surface near the supermarket in Hachiman-yama in Setagaya-ku. The Ministry of Education and Science doesn't think the high radiation is caused by radioactive materials from the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant accident, judging from the situation on the scenes.


According to Setagaya-ku, 110 microsieverts/hour radiation was detected near the sidewalk shrub on the backside of a supermarket. It was 4.7 microsieverts/hour at 1 meter from the ground. 30 to 40 microsieverts/hour radiation was detected from the surface of the ground in the supermarket compound near the main entrance.


On October 28 afternoon, a resident informed the Setagaya government that high radiation was detected, and the Ministry of Education and Science went to measure. The supermarket told Setagaya-ku that it had no idea why the radiation was so high.


Setagaya-ku piled sandbags at these 2 locations so that people would not go near.


According to the Ministry of Education and Science, both locations are paved with asphalt, and there were no side drains or soil sediments nearby where radioactive materials were likely to accumulate. Therefore, the Ministry has concluded that it is likely that certain radioactive materials are buried there.


In Setagaya-ku, high radiation was measured on the road in front of a private home on October 12. Later, bottles with radium were found from under the floor of the home.

Two locations, paved with asphalt, nowhere near the drain or pile of dirt. What could that be this time?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

France's IRSN New Estimate on Amount of Cesium-137 into the Pacific Ocean: 27,100 Terabequerels, or 20 Times TEPCO's Estimate

From Jiji Tsushin (10/28/2011):

フランス政府系の放射線防護原子力安全研究所(IRSN)は27日、東京電力福島第1原発事故後の3月21日から7月半ばまでに海に流出した放射性セシウ ム137の総量は2.71京ベクレル(1京は1兆の1万倍)で、東京電力が6月に発表した推計値の20倍に達すると推定した調査報告書を公表した。

On October 27, the Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN, Institut de Radioprotection et de Surete Nucleaire) of France announced its research report in which the researchers estimated the total amount of radioactive cesium-137 leaked from Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant into the ocean was 27,100 terrabecquerels from March 21 to mid July. The IRSN estimate is 20 times as much as the estimate announced in June by TEPCO.


According to IRSN, it is the largest amount of radiation leak in a single accident. 82% of the leak took place by April 8, because of the spraying of water to cool the reactors.

The research paper (in French) is here.

(I don't have energy to look for TEPCO's estimate. But here's the paper (English) by Japan Atomic Energy Agency that put its estimate as 4 times as much as TEPCO's for cesium-137.)

Early April was when someone finally noticed the highly contaminated water from Reactor 2 had been leaking through the "crack" near the water intake canal. Remember the "tracer" (bath salt) to identify the location of the leak? Ah the good old days...

Lifetime Cumulative Limit of Internal Radiation from Food to Be 100 Millisieverts in Japan

That's the formal recommendation of the experts on the government's Food Safety Commission.

External radiation is not counted in this number, as opposed to their draft plan in July which did include external radiation, and it is in addition to the natural radiation exposure (by which is meant pre-Fukushima natural).

The experts on the Commission didn't rule on the radiation limit for children, leaving the decision to the Ministry of Health and Labor as if the top-school career bureaucrats in the Ministry would know better.

Yomiuri and other MSMs are spinning it as "tightening" the existing provisional safety limits on food.

From Yomiuri Shinbun (10/27/2011):


The Food Safety Commission under the Cabinet Office has been deliberating on the health effect of internal radiation exposure from the radioactive materials in food. On October 27, it submitted its recommendation to set the upper limit on lifetime cumulative radiation from food at 100 millisieverts.


On receiving the recommendation, the Ministry of Health and Labor will start setting the detailed guidelines for each food items. They are expected to be stricter than the provisional safety limits set right after the Fukushima I Nuclear Plant accident. The Radiation Commission under the Ministry of Education will review the guidelines to be set by the Ministry of Health and Labor, and the new safety limits will be formally decided.


According to the draft of the recommendation in July, the Food Safety Commission was aiming at setting "100 millisieverts lifetime limit" that would include the external radiation exposure from the nuclides in the air. However, based on the opinions from the general public, the Commission decided that the effect of external radiation exposure was small and focused only on internal radiation exposure from food.


If we suppose one's lifetime is 100 years, then 1 millisievert per year would be the maximum. The current provisional safety limit assumes the upper limit of 5 millisievert per year with radioactive cesium alone. So the new regulations will inevitably be stricter than the current provisional safety limits.


In addition, the Commission pointed out that children "are more susceptible to the effect of radiation", but it didn't cite any specific number for children. The Commission explained that it would be up to the Ministry of Health and Labor and other agencies to discuss" whether the effect on children should be reflected in the new safety limits.

Oh boy. So many holes in the article.

First, I suspect it is a rude awakening for many Japanese to know that the current provisional safety limits for radioactive materials in food presuppose very high internal radiation level already. The Yomiuri article correctly says 5 millisieverts per year from radioactive cesium alone. The provisional safety limit for radioactive iodine, though now it's almost irrelevant, is 2,000 becquerels/kg, and that presupposes 2 millisieverts per year internal radiation. From cesium and iodine alone, the provisional safety limits on food assume 7 millisievert per year internal radiation.

(The reason why the radioactive iodine limit is set lower than that for radioactive cesium is because radioactive iodine all goes to thyroid gland and gets accumulated in the organ.)

I am surprised that Yomiuri even mentioned the 5 millisieverts per year limit from cesium exposure alone. I suspect it is the first time ever for the paper.

Second, the article says the Commission decided to exclude external radiation from the "100 millisieverts" number because of the public opinion. Which "public" opinion are they talking about? Mothers and fathers with children? I doubt it. If anything, the general public (at least those who doesn't believe radiation is good for them) would want to include external radiation so that the overall radiation limit is set, rather than just for food.

Third, and most importantly, if the proposed lifetime limit of 100 millisieverts is only for internal radiation from FOOD, then the overall internal radiation could be much higher. Why? Because, pre-Fukushima, the natural internal radiation from food in Japan was only 0.41 millisievert per year (mostly from K-40), or 28% of total natural radiation exposure per year of 1.45 millisievert (average). Of internal radiation exposure, inhaling radon is 0.45 millisievert per year in Japan, as opposed to the world average of 1.2 millisievert per year.

Now, these so-called experts in the government commission are saying the internal radiation from food can be 1 millisievert per year (assuming the life of 100 years), in addition to the natural internal radiation from food (K-40) which is 0.41 millisievert per year. Then, you will have to add internal exposure from inhaling the radioactive materials IN ADDITION TO radon which is 0.45 millisievert per year.

Winter in the Pacific Ocean side of east Japan is dry, particularly in Kanto. North wind kicks up dust, and radioactive materials in the dust will be kicked up. The Tokyo metropolitan government will be burning away the radioactive debris from Iwate Prefecture (Miyagi's to follow) into the wintry sky. So-called "decontamination" efforts all over east Japan will add more radioactive particles in the air for people to breathe in.

Don't be fooled by this 100-millisievert lifetime number. It's bogus.

For your information, the comparison of natural radiation exposure levels (the world vs Japan), from the Nuclear Safety Research Association Handbook on treating acute radiation injury (original in Japanese; my translation of labels). Japan has (or had) markedly lower radon inhalation than the world average, and much lower external radiation from the ground and from cosmic ray. It makes it all up by overusing the medical X-rays and CT scans, and even the Nuclear Safety Research Association who issued the following table says Japan tends to use too many X-rays and scans and that the medical professionals should make effort not to overuse them.

Type of exposure
World average
(UN Science Commission)
Japan average
Natural radiation
From ground
Cosmic ray
Ingestion (K-40, etc)
Inhaling radon
Artificial radiation
World average
Industrial nations
Medical X-ray, CT
Dental X-ray
Nuclear medicine diagnostics

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: 2,600 Bq/Liter Tritium in Water Being Sprayed in the Plant Compound

On October 24, TEPCO quietly released the analysis of the water being sprayed in the plant compound, supposedly for fire and dust suppression.

The water comes from the basements of Reactors 5 and 6, and is treated, apparently, by the system that uses reverse osmosis. TEPCO assures us the water is safer than the seawater cleared for ocean bathing, though it does exceed the WHO standard.

One notable nuclide that does remain after the RO treatment is tritium (H3). From TEPCO's handout for the press (10/24/2011):

In fact, the treated water is so safe that a cabinet officer of the Noda administration has vowed to drink up the water (link in Japanese) to appeal safety. Seriously.

Apparently, TEPCO at Fuku-I plant is getting ready to shoot the video of water collection for the officer, according to the tweet from a plant worker. The worker is a bit cross with this performance by the politician and TEPCO's willingness to accommodate him.

I hope this officer knows that tritium is a beta emitter, and not really recommended for ingestion.

#Radiation in Japan: 80 to 120 Microsieverts/Hr Bush in Koriyama City, Fukushima

It's been over 7 months since the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant accident started, and it does look like natural concentration of radioactive materials may be happening in eastern Japan.

57.5 microsieverts/hour radiation from the soil in the city-owned land in Kashiwa City, Chiba sounded extraordinarily high when first reported, but maybe not so.

Fukushima Chuo Television (FCT) reported that the radiation level near the ground in a bush right by the railroad station was found to be 80 to 120 microsieverts/hour in Koriyama City, Fukushima Prefecture.

It is also possible that the radiation on that particular spot has always been high, and is being discovered only now, as more citizens are armed with personal survey meters measuring everywhere.

Koriyama City is 60 kilometers west of Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant. Kashiwa City is 200 kilometers south, in the Tokyo Metropolitan suburb.

From FCT news (10/27/2011):


This afternoon, radiation exceeding 80 microsieverts/hour was detected from the soil near the roadside bush near the JR Koriyama station.


High school students use the road for commuting. Immediate decontamination is desirable.


This afternoon, a viewer informed FCT that a high level of radiation was confirmed on the soil near the bush located near the west entrance of JR Koriyama station.


FCT went and measured the radiation, and it was maximum 80 microsieverts/hour at 5 centimeters off the ground.


Also, when we measured the same spot with a personal survey meter of a JR personnel, it registered 120 microsieverts/hour.


The soil at this location looks to have a different color [from the soil in the area nearby], and it is considered that the high radiation is only at this location.


The location is near the bicycle parking lot, and many high school students use the road. The quick response from the authorities is desired. Koriyama City is sending the city personnel to investigate further.

If someone stays on that spot with 80 microsieverts/hr 24 hours a day for one year, the external radiation would be 700 millisieverts.

By mentioning the soil is in a different color, FCT may be indicating that someone brought the highly contaminated soil and dumped it there. It could be. But that was the suspicion for the Kashiwa City's spot, too, which proved to have been wrong.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

This Is What Passes as "Decontamination" in Fukushima (for That Matter, in Japan)

Date City in Fukushima Prefecture, 60 kilometers northwest of Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant and with high radiation areas and spots all over the city, has started the city-wide "decontamination" effort on October 26, according to Fukushima Minyu newspaper (10/27/2011). According to the article,


In today's decontamination work, the cleaning contractor hired by the city removed the sludge in the rain gutter at a residence, and washed the frontage of the house with a power washer.

That's called "decontamination" in Japan, instead of "yard cleaning".

So I looked for any video footage of "decontamination" in Date City. I didn't find the latest effort, but I did find the ones from this summer, when the city carried out decontamination with the help of volunteers and the advice from Dr. Shunichi Tanaka, former acting commissioner of the Japan Atomic Energy Commission (under the Cabinet Office) and current decontamination advisor to Date City.

Much touted (by the Minister of the Environment Goshi Hosono) new Japanese decontamination technology amounts to hand-scraping the soil by volunteers with hardly any protection.

First, the video at Co-op Fukushima of the decontamination effort in July in the very same district in Date City:

The Co-op page says "We're looking for more decontamination volunteers."

Also from July, in a different district of Date City:

Date City is where a researcher claims to have found a large amount of neptunium-239 of Fukushima I Nuke Plant origin. In nearby Fukushima City, Greenpeace researchers found cobalt-60 in soil in a park.

They don't look too worried in the videos.

(Oh I forgot. The Oxford professor has said max 100 millisieverts per month radiation is safe...)

Must Read: Asahi Shinbun "Trap of Prometheus" Series Part 1 - Men in Protective Clothing (11,12) "Who Were Those Men?"

(Installment 1, Installments 2 and 3, Installments 4 and 5, Installment 6, Installments 7 and 8, Installments 9 and 10, Installments 11 and 12)

Asahi Shinbun's series "Trap of Prometheus" - Men in Protective Clothing documents what happened in Namie-machi in Fukushima Prefecture right after the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant accident.

Installment 12 says the district chief still remains in Namie-machi. Part regret, part frustration that his community is now gone. He wonders, along with Mizue Kanno, why the authorities did not tell them about high radiation, when they could and should. The district chief also regrets that he didn't take the warning of the men in protective clothing, as told by Mizue, seriously.

If you read Japanese, you can read all installments (1-12) in one location, at this blog.

Even if the series is written by a reporter at a major Japanese newspaper, not many Japanese are aware of it, which, after the initial launch, was buried in the 3rd page of the printed version. (For more on the "3rd page", go to the note before the Installments 9 and 10, here.)


防護服の男(11) あの2人のおかげで

Men in Protective Clothing (11) Thanks to those two men


25 people who evacuated to Mizue Kanno's house were able to escape from a dangerous situation by evacuating again thanks to the information from the "men in protective clothing" and Mizue's urging.


It was a period of emergency when a large amount of radioactive materials were being dispersed and endangering the residents. But neither the national government nor TEPCO told the residents about it.


However, these 25 people have acted calmly, without panic.


Mizue now lives in the temporary housing in Kori-machi, near Fukushima City.


"Take a look over there", Mizue says, pointing to children in the open space.


"Small children like that will have to live with the hardship as evacuees. What if they've been irradiated on top of it..."


Who were those men in white protective clothing anyway? Mizue still wonders.


At that time, radiation monitoring cars from the Ministry of Education and Science, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan Atomic Energy Agency, TEPCO, and Tohoku Electric Power were all over Fukushima Prefecture.


There was even a monitoring car from Niigata Prefecture. Around the time when the men in white protective clothing visited Mizue in the evening of March 12, the car from Niigata passed through Tsushima District.


Two personnel from Niigata Prefecture came to Fukushima in a wagon in order to support the effort to deal with the nuclear plant accident. They proceeded on Route 114 to enter Namie-machi, and passed through Tsushima District. About 4PM, they were stopped by the police in Kawabusa District and turned back.


The reporter was able to talk with the two. However, they asked me to withhold their names because they suffered internal radiation.


According to them, their radiation survey meter was constantly beeping and they were fretting.


When they passed through Tsushima District, they saw a lot of cars parked. They assumed it was an evacuation shelter.

 「防護服? いいえ、着ていませんでした。車を降りてもいません」

"Protective clothing? No we weren't wearing. We didn't get out of our car, either."


In the early hours of March 14, a monitoring car from National Institute of Radiological Sciences was passing through Tsushima District. There were still many evacuees remaining.


The car carried the radiation measurement equipoment, but according to their PR department, "The purpose was to carry the equipment, and they didn't measure the radiation level."


The two that Mizue met are likely to have been one of those survey teams.


"Because of the warning of the two men, we were able to escape. Why didn't the national government or TEPCO give a warning like that? So many more could have escaped."

(Reporting by Motoyuki Maeda)



Men in Protective Clothing (12) District chief remained


On March 13 when the 25 evacuees at Kanno's house re-evacuated, Hidenori Konno (age 64), district chief of Shimo Tsushima, heard about what the men in white protective clothing had told Mizue, who came to visit him.


But he stayed. He thought he should not run around in confusion without solid information. More than anything else, as the district chief, he felt he couldn't escape before anyone else.


At 10AM on March 15, he was called to the headquarters for countermeasures at the Tsushima Branch, and was told that the Branch would move to Nihonmatsu City.


Why? Wasn't Tsushima safe, being 30 kilometers away from the nuke plant? He couldn't grasp the situation for a while.


The TV was showing the press conference by the national government. Instruction to stay indoors for the residents in 20 to 30 kilometer radius from the plant. The branch personnel were staring into the TV screen. Was this the reason?


In the afternoon, he went to each of the 50 households in Shimo Tsushima, and asked them to evacuate.


Curtains were drawn in most houses and people had already evacuated, but 10 households still remained. He urged evacuation, but was refused. 3 households said to him, "We can't go anywhere because of our cows". There was a bedridden old man.


Konno evacuated his wife (age 55) and his eldest daughter (age 23), and remained in Tsushima.


The district, which had been crowded with many evacuees , went completely silent. At night, rain turned to snow, and the roads were covered with white snow. It was quiet.


There may be households who happened to be away yesterday. So, on March 16, he visited the 50 households again. 5 families who had evacuated had come back.


In one household, they told him they had come back because the wife was wheelchair-bound, and had a hard time at the shelter even to go to the bathroom. The husband said, "It's OK if there's radiation. We're old. We will live here". Konno told them of another shelter that was wheelchair-friendly.


"The community will disappear."


Running around in the empty district in his car, Konno was frustrated.


Konno used to be an official at the prefectural government. He was planning to be active in preserving the local traditional performance art. But his dream was gone now.


Konno borrowed a survey meter from Namie-machi, and he's been measuring the radiation level at each house in the district since July. He mails the results to the residents at their temporary addresses.


It's not that he was asked to do so by the prefectural government or Namie municipal government. It is from his regret. When he heard about the men in protective clothing, if he had known that Tsushima had a high radiation, he would have told people to evacuate more strongly.


Compared to a month ago, weeds infest the front yard of the houses in the district. The plant in the garden of his house died; his late father, who died three years ago, had grown the plant with great care.

(Reporting by Motoyuki Maeda)

New "Decon" Experiment in Iitate-Mura: Burn Radioactive Soil

The Japanese government has just started a new experiment in the very highly contaminated Iitate-mura in Fukushima Prefecture where the soil contamination exceeds 50,000 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium, with a host of other nuclides including strontium and neptunium which has since decayed into plutonium.

What's the experiment? To burn the radioactive soil to reduce the bulk for disposal.

What's this Japanese obsession with "decontamination" and with "incineration"? Do they think they can somehow "purify" the radioactive fallout by burning? (Hint: this is a rhetorical question. Answer is yes of course.)

The nuclear researchers at the government's JAEA seem to think burning the soil will revive the soil.

It will kill the soil.

From Kyodo News Japanese (10/26/2011):


On October 26, Japan Atomic Energy Agency (located in Tokai-mura, Ibaraki Prefecture) showed off its new experiment to see if radioactive cesium could be effectively removed by burning the farm soil in Iitate-mura in Fukushima Prefecture. The experiment is aimed at reviving the farm fields contaminated by the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant accident.


It is part of the soil remediation technology development as assigned by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. JAEA and National Agriculture and Food Research Organization (in Tsukuba City, Fukushima Prefecture) are jointly conducting the research. The result of the experiment will be known in 2 to 3 weeks.


According to the Ministry of Agriculture, if all the farm soil with 5000 becquerels/kg and higher [of radioactive cesium] is removed in Fukushima Prefecture, it would fill 2 to 3 Tokyo Domes, or about 3 million tonnes. How to dispose the removed soil is a big issue.

Let's assume the lowest number, 5,000 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium in the Fukushima farm soil. 1 tonne is 1000 kilograms. So,

  • 1 tonnes contains: 5 million becquerels of radioactive cesium

  • 3 million tonnes contains: 1.5 x 10^13, or 15 terabecquerels, or 15,000,000,000,000 becquerels.

If the national government's much-publicized past experiments (like planting sunflowers to absorb radioactive materials in soil) in Iitate-mura are any indication, this one may also fail.

Besides, by strongly encouraging farmers outside the no-entry evacuation zone and the planned evacuation zone (like Iitate-mura) in Fukushima to grow crops as usual, the soil was probably turned deep, mixing radioactive materials with deeper, clean soil. So, removing the top 5 centimeters are likely to do hardly anything other than making people feel good that they have done the "decontamination".

There are areas and spots with high radiation outside Fukushima Prefecture, but those are none of the concern for the national government, although it has said it may consider the national-level decontamination for the areas with expected annual radiation exposure (external only) of more than 1 millisievert.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

TEPCO's Compensation for Bamboo Shoot Farmer in Ibaraki Prefecture: 333 Yen

for the damage from "baseless rumor" that the bamboo shoots from his farm may be contaminated with radioactive materials from the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant accident.

The information is from a radio talk show in Japan on October 26, and it is all over Twitter in Japan today. The radio show comment is captured here. (Link in Japanese)

333 yen is about US$4.37, or 3.15 euro, or 2.73 pound sterling. 135 Thai Baht, 27.87 Chinese yuan, or 2.76 IMF Special Drawing Rights. It is enough to buy Big Mac (320 yen).

Nature: New Study Shows Fukushima Fallout Much Larger Than Japanese Government Estimate

The amount of cesium-137 is more than twice the official number, and the amount of xenon-133 55% more, according to a new study using a larger data set, says Nature.

The study claims the amount of cesium-137 from Fukushima is half of that from Chernobyl, and the amount of xenon-133 from Fukushima far exceeds Chernobyl.

As the reason why the Japanese government numbers were low: the Japanese government probably only accounted for the radioactive fallout within Japan. So the large amount that went over the Pacific Ocean, reaching North America and Europe was never considered by the Japanese government.

The new study also claims that the Reactor 4 Spent Fuel Pool emitted a large amount of cesium-137.

From Nature News (10/25/2011):

Fallout forensics hike radiation toll: Global data on Fukushima challenge Japanese estimates. (Geoff Brumfiel)

The disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in March released far more radiation than the Japanese government has claimed. So concludes a study that combines radioactivity data from across the globe to estimate the scale and fate of emissions from the shattered plant.

The study also suggests that, contrary to government claims, pools used to store spent nuclear fuel played a significant part in the release of the long-lived environmental contaminant caesium-137, which could have been prevented by prompt action. The analysis has been posted online for open peer review by the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics.

Andreas Stohl, an atmospheric scientist with the Norwegian Institute for Air Research in Kjeller, who led the research, believes that the analysis is the most comprehensive effort yet to understand how much radiation was released from Fukushima Daiichi. "It's a very valuable contribution," says Lars-Erik De Geer, an atmospheric modeller with the Swedish Defense Research Agency in Stockholm, who was not involved with the study.

The reconstruction relies on data from dozens of radiation monitoring stations in Japan and around the world. Many are part of a global network to watch for tests of nuclear weapons that is run by the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization in Vienna. The scientists added data from independent stations in Canada, Japan and Europe, and then combined those with large European and American caches of global meteorological data.

...The latest report from the Japanese government, published in June, says that the plant released 1.5 × 10^16  bequerels of caesium-137, an isotope with a 30-year half-life that is responsible for most of the long-term contamination from the plant. A far larger amount of xenon-133, 1.1 × 10^19 Bq, was released, according to official government estimates.

The new study challenges those numbers. On the basis of its reconstructions, the team claims that the accident released around 1.7 × 10^19 Bq of xenon-133, greater than the estimated total radioactive release of 1.4 × 10^19  Bq from Chernobyl. The fact that three reactors exploded in the Fukushima accident accounts for the huge xenon tally, says De Geer.

Xenon-133 does not pose serious health risks because it is not absorbed by the body or the environment. Caesium-137 fallout, however, is a much greater concern because it will linger in the environment for decades. The new model shows that Fukushima released 3.5 × 10^16  Bq caesium-137, roughly twice the official government figure, and half the release from Chernobyl. The higher number is obviously worrying, says De Geer, although ongoing ground surveys are the only way to truly establish the public-health risk.

Stohl believes that the discrepancy between the team's results and those of the Japanese government can be partly explained by the larger data set used. Japanese estimates rely primarily on data from monitoring posts inside Japan, which never recorded the large quantities of radioactivity that blew out over the Pacific Ocean, and eventually reached North America and Europe. "Taking account of the radiation that has drifted out to the Pacific is essential for getting a real picture of the size and character of the accident," says Tomoya Yamauchi, a radiation physicist at Kobe University who has been measuring radioisotope contamination in soil around Fukushima.

Stohl adds that he is sympathetic to the Japanese teams responsible for the official estimate. "They wanted to get something out quickly," he says. The differences between the two studies may seem large, notes Yukio Hayakawa, a volcanologist at Gunma University who has also modelled the accident, but uncertainties in the models mean that the estimates are actually quite similar.

The new analysis also claims that the spent fuel being stored in the unit 4 pool emitted copious quantities of caesium-137. Japanese officials have maintained that virtually no radioactivity leaked from the pool. Yet Stohl's model clearly shows that dousing the pool with water caused the plant's caesium-137 emissions to drop markedly (see 'Radiation crisis'). The finding implies that much of the fallout could have been prevented by flooding the pool earlier.

(The article continues.)

Elevated Radiation Level in the Center of Tokyo, in Ginza

An elementary school located in Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo was found with a 0.80 microsievert/hour radiation spot, and a kindergarten, also in Chuo-ku, was found with 0.56 microsievert/hour spot. So-called "decontamination" effort using a power washer achieved only a modest success in lowering the radiation levels.

In both cases, the asphalt surface resisted decontamination effort, indicating radioactive materials are no longer on the surface after more than 7 months since the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant accident started.

From Tokyo Shinbun Tokyo local edition (10/25/2011):


Chuo-ku announced on October 24 that Taimei Elementary School (located in 5 Ginza) and Chuo Kindergarten (2 Minato) had high radiation spots that exceeded the level that the national government uses as standard for doing decontamination (0.23 microsievert/hour). It also said the decontamination was carried out.


According to Chuo-ku, 0.31 microsievert/hour radiation was measured on October 21 in part of the drain on the school yard of Taimei Elementary. Decontamination was carried out on October 22 using a high pressure washer, and the radiation level dropped to 0.22 microsievert/hour. However, the asphalt surface next to the drain measured 0.80 microsievert/hour, and despite the decontamination it only dropped to 0.56 microsievert/hour.


At Chuo Kindergarten, two locations under the rain gutter were found with 0.56 microsievert/hour and 0.42 microsievert/hour respectively on October 21. After decontamination, one location dropped to 0.22 microsievert/hour, but the other location, asphalt surface, remained high at 0.46 microsievert/hour.


The city carried out measures to keep pupils out of the area, and is planning to replace the asphalt surface.


In response to the reports of high radiation spots being discovered, the city started on October 21 to measure radiation levels in the drains and shrubs in schools and parks.

Armenian Public Radio: Metsamor Nuke Plant Can Withstand M10 Earthquake

The Turkey earthquake, which registered M3 at the plant in Armenia, is nothing, according to the Public Radio of Armenia. However, There's a rumor that radioactive materials have leaked in the surrounding area. (Actually, it is reported by the Iranian state Japanese radio broadcast on October 25, quoting the Turkish newspaper Zaman which supposedly quotes the Turkish government source.)

Armenia's Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant is often called "the most dangerous nuke plant in the world", as it is one of the few nuke plants in the world without primary containment structures, and is in the earthquake-prone region without ready access to water as reactor coolant in case of plant damage by the earthquake.

From Public Radio of Armenia (10/24/2011):

The earthquake in Turkey has not caused and could not have caused any harm to the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant (ANPP), since it is designed to resist an earthquake measuring 9-10 on the Richter scale, the Armenian Ministry of Emergency Situations said in a statement.

The epicenter of the earthquake was located about 160 km away from the ANPP, the quake measured 3-5 on the territory of Armenia.

It did not cause any damage to any settlement or building on the territory of the Republic of Armenia, the Ministry said.

ANPP Director General Gagik Markosyan says the quake measured 2-3 at the plant, adding that the ANPP had been stopped for planned reconstruction works from September 11.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Must Read: Asahi Shinbun "Trap of Prometheus" Series Part 1 - Men in Protective Clothing (9, 10) "500 Microsieverts/Hr Radiation"

(Installment 1, Installments 2 and 3, Installments 4 and 5, Installment 6, Installments 7 and 8, Installments 9 and 10, Installments 11 and 12)

Asahi Shinbun's series "Trap of Prometheus" - Men in Protective Clothing documents what happened in Namie-machi in Fukushima Prefecture right after the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant accident.

In these 9th and 10th installments, the Namie-machi residents learn all too late that the radiation levels of their area were extremely high (in hundreds of microsieverts/hour) but the authorities (police, Self Defense Force, etc.) did not tell them because the government told them not to reveal.

If you read Japanese, you can read all installments (1-12) in one location, at this blog.

Even if the series is written by a reporter at a major Japanese newspaper, not many Japanese are aware of it, which, after the initial launch, was buried in the 3rd page of the printed version.

"To be buried in the 3rd page" is symbolic in the context of the history of Japanese newspapers. Traditionally, particularly before the newspapers were beefed up with many pages, the articles that appeared in "the 3rd page" of a newspaper was considered "insignificant" - with "significant" or "important" articles being politics (1st page) and economics (2nd page). The "3rd page" was filled with "other" articles - crimes, corruption, sex, gossips, and articles that the newspaper editors didn't want to attract much attention from the public. The newspaper would fulfill its social obligation of reporting the news but the news is "buried in the 3rd page" so as not to attract too much attention.

That's where this series appears in Asahi Shinbun, I was told.


Men in Protective Clothing (9)


It's been 55 years since Yasuko Sanpei (age 77) married and moved from the neighboring Iitate-mura. She lived in Akogi District of Namie-machi. She and Mizue Kanno were members of a "minyo" [traditional Japanese folk music] singing circle.


Yasuko lived in her home at the end of a narrow mountain road all by herself, until the beginning of August.


Right after the earthquake, she and her eldest daughter and the daughter's son moved to a 1-room (plus dining and kitchen) apartment of her granddaughter in Kanagawa Prefecture.


However, you could hear the noise of the next-door neighbors, and you would have to be careful not to offend people around you [in a big city]. "I cannot adjust to city living at my age." She went back to Akogi at the end of April. She wanted to take care of her dog and her cat, too.


Around that time, there were still a few families remaining in the district. But one family left, then another, and finally there was none. When the police started to control traffic at around 30 kilometers [from Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant], there was no car passing through the district.


She felt lonely. There was no light. No matter how she tried not to think about things, her hands shook, and she couldn't eat much.


She went for a ride in her car to relax. But on the way back from the drive she saw dark houses with no light. If her car fell off the cliff in the mountain, no one would come to rescue her. She became afraid of driving.


On Sundays, men in work clothes with "Ministry of Education and Science" on the back came to measure the radiation. Every time when their car came, Yasuko would go out and ask "How much is it today?"


"15 microsieverts/hour", answered the man.


"Can you measure my house?"


On another Sunday, the man measured around her house. 10 microsieverts/hour outside the house, 5.5 microsieverts/hour in her living room. They far exceeded the normal level.


The man wrote down the number on a piece of paper and handed it to Yasuko.


On one Sunday in early June, the man told Yasuko unexpectedly.


"It was over 100 microsieverts/hour here, in the beginning. I couldn't tell you at that time. I am sorry."


Afterwards, the man gave Yasuko the map that had radiation levels in various locations for her reference.


However, Yasuko ended up stayin Akogi until early August.


"You can't see radiation. Besides, I didn't know what the numbers meant."


She left Akogi in early August when she was selected for the temporary housing in Nihonmatsu City.


But she still commutes to her home by car, 25 kilometers from Nihonmatsu, every 2 days.


To feed her dog and her cat.

(前田基行) (Reporting by Motoyuki Maeda)



Men in Protective Clothing (10) Policeman who was told to be quiet


Kazuyo Sekiba (age 52) moved to her relative's house in Aizu Wakamatsu City on March 14. Her house was in Minami Tsushima in Namie-machi, close to Mizue Kanno's house.


But since there was no formal instruction to evacuate, she came back home on April 2. Several days later, a Self Defense Force jeep stopped in front of her house, and a SDF soldier alighted from the jeep. He said he came to make sure the residents were safe.


Around that time, it was being reported that the radiation level in Namie-machi was high. Worried, she asked the soldier nervously.


"What is the radiation level around here?" The solder smiled brightly, and answered it was all right.


"We are fitted with dosimeter. We know how much radiation we get every day." Kazuyo was relieved. She stopped staying indoors all the time, and went about in the neighborhood.


April 17. When she was on the bridge near her house, a man approached her. He was Naomi Toyoda (age 55), a freelance journalist. Kazuyo asked him if he could measure the radiation at her house. Toyoda started to measure at various locations at her house.


After he measured the level under the rain gutter at the front entrance, Toyoda stood up in surprise, shouting "Oh my goodness!"


Kazuyo begged the hesitant Toyoda. "Please tell me the truth."


"If you stay here for 2 hours, you will get 1 millisievert", answered Toyoda.


According to Toyoda, the radiation level was over 500 microsieverts/hour. If one remained there for 2 hours, he/she would get more than 1 millisievert which was the annual radiation exposure limit set by the government.


On hearing the actual number for the first time, Kazuyo realized this was a big deal. She hastily packed her belongings and fled the house as Toyoda saw her off.


Several days later, she came back to get her cat. A police patrol car came in.


"So the radiation was high here, wasn't it?" She tried to draw information out of the policeman who looked in his 30s.


"Yes it was. But we couldn't tell you because the government told us not to."


The policeman answered.


Kazuyo was shocked. Then what was it that the SDF soldier had told her?


"Would he have said the same thing to his family members? No. He would have made them escape as soon as possible. But us, we are just strangers, I guess."


In July, the Chinese government was found hiding the evidence of the high-speed rail accident. The Japanese media heavily criticized the response by the Chinese government. Kazuyo was angry.


"It's the same thing in Japan."

(前田基行) (Reporting by Motoyuki Maeda)


It's the same thing, or worse in Japan, for the pretense that what they have is so-called "democracy".

NISA Presents TEPCO's Severe Accident Operation Manual

It is available at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry's website, along with the "event-based" operation manual.

Severe Accident Operation Manual:

Event-Based Operation Manual:

But as I posted here already, it didn't matter. The severe accident manual still assumed some form of electricity would still be available in case of a severe accident. It wasn't available (station blackout), and the company couldn't use the manual.

I believe TEPCO's and NISA's initial unwillingness to submit the documents without redaction may have come from two considerations:

  • security reasons, not particularly for Fukushima I Nuke Plant or for TEPCO, but for the similar plants with multiple BWRs in other parts of Japan and the world which may have very similar operation manuals;

  • on-going national policy and effort to sell nuclear power plants with operational expertise (by TEPCO) overseas, particularly in developing countries like Turkey which just had an earthquake that have killed hundreds.

Curiously, the US nuclear regulator NRC issued an updated version of its paper "Regulatory Effectiveness of the Station Blackout Rule (NUREG-1776)" on March 13, 2011, two days after the Fuku-I accident started on March 11. It affirms the effectiveness of the NRC regulation concerning the station blackout. I'm sure it's effective until the actual station blackout hits...

Sunday, October 23, 2011

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Low-Contamination Water Being Sprayed (Video)

TEPCO is running out of space for the water storage tanks for ever-increasing treated water. (Remember 450 tonnes of groundwater coming in to the turbine and reactor buildings, every single day.) So the company has been spraying the treated water (still radioactive) on the compound, ostensibly to suppress dust and prevent fire.

TEPCO released the video of that first spraying on October 7. What they are spraying is the water from Reactors 5 and 6, supposedly not as contaminated as the water in other Reactors. But no one clearly knows because the company hasn't released the nuclide analysis for the water in Reactors 5 and 6, except to say it is well below the limit for release from a nuclear facility.

(I still wouldn't want to be anywhere near.)

Mayor of Yokohama City and Ruling Coalition Assemblymen to Go to Frankfurt to Play Soccer (Football)

Residents of Frankfurt, Germany, boo them down if you see them in your football stadium.

A delegation from Yokohama City, where kindergarteners and small school children were fed with radioactive cesium beef, where a significant amount of radioactive strontium was found, along with high level of radioactive cesium, on top of an apartment building, where school teachers are forcing pupils to clean the school yards of radioactive sludge and radioactive fallen leaves, are going to Frankfurt, Germany.

Why? To sign a sister city agreement with Frankfurt, and to play football (soccer).

For this important trip, the city will spend 30,000,000 yen (US$393,000) of tax money from the Yokohama residents, many of whom are totally incensed. I think the cost to fly the mayor and her staff is separate, and it is 5 million yen (US$65,470).

It is nothing compared to what the US president and his family spend on their numerous trips, but in Yokohama City that's a lot of money that the residents rather see spent on testing radiation in food or decontaminating the high radiation locations.

Instead, they are set on going to Frankfurt to play football to strengthen the ties with the sister city.

Signing the sister city agreement could have been done when the mayor of Frankfurt visited Yokohama a short while ago. But no, this mayor and her assemblymen (ruling coalition members of course) have to fly to Frankfurt on a business class (which is another point that irks Yokohama citizens).

One 38-year old assemblyman said this on his tweet, as irate citizens sent him tweets criticizing the trip and his insistence on flying business class:


There is no need to change from business class. What's more important is what kind of result I will get from the trip, and whether it will have added to the city's governance. If you don't think much of it, then you can choose not to elect me. That's the power of the voters.

In another tweet, he said "I will go no matter what you (taxpayers) say".

According to Tokyo Shinbun's article (10/13/2011), the trip will be from November 4 to 19. After playing football in Frankfurt, the 24-person delegation will split into 4 groups, and each group will visit different countries that include other European countries, South Africa, Turkey, Brazil, and the US.

An accident should never derail the set schedule, whether that is the school yard cleanup or the overseas trip by the major and her entourage.

Ministry of Education's Quick Learning Curve on Kashiwa's Radioactive Dirt

First it was "it cannot be from Fukushima I Nuke Plant" when the radiation measured was 57.5 microsieverts/hour.

Then it was "it may be from Fukushima I Nuke Plant, and it may not be" when the density turned out to be 276,000 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium. But since the density was very high, the suspicion was voiced all around (including me) that someone secretly dumped the radioactive sludge or dirt, possibly from cleaning out his yard, onto that location.

The Ministry's current position: "It is highly likely that radioactive cesium is from Fukushima I Nuke Plant, and radioactive cesium has been condensed at that particular location because the storm drain nearby was broken."

So radioactive cesium from Fukushima I Nuke Plant has been naturally concentrated by elements, 200 kilometers away from the plant, to the density level on par with those found in Fukushima. The Kashiwa City's dirt contains almost as much radioactive cesium in the dirt in the location in Watari District (link is in Japanese) in Fukushima City where 300,000 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium was found (also near the drain).

Points from the Ministry's announcement on October 23, 2011 "Result of the investigation of Kashiwa City's location with high air radiation" (my translation, not the Ministry's):

On receiving the result of the soil analysis on October 22 where maximum 276,000 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium was detected, the Ministry sent two officials, along with three experts from Japan Atomic Energy Agency on October 23 to Kashiwa City to consult with the local officials in charge of radiation countermeasures.

The Ministry's survey of the location included measuring air radiation levels at the location and nearby, and investigating the surroundings to figure out what caused the high radiation level.

Survey result:

  • Maximum 2.0 microsieverts/hour 1 meter off the ground
  • Maximum 4.5 microsieverts/hour 50 centimeter off the ground
  • Maximum 15 microsieverts/hour on the ground

Typical air radiation levels in the surrounding area at 1 meter off the ground was 0.3 microsievert/hour.

A 50-centimeter wide breach was found in the side drain (30-centimeter deep) next to the location with the high air radiation. This breach was close to the spot where cesium-134 (half life 2 years) was detected. We therefore presume that the rainwater containing radioactive cesium that came from the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant accident flowed in from the breach in the side drain, and radioactive cesium was condensed and accumulated in the soil at that particular location.

Asahi Shinbun (10/23/2011) has the picture of the broken side drain.

OT: Placido Domingo Sings "Furusato (Home)"

From his concert on April 10, 2011 in NHK Hall. Instead of the third verse, he repeated the first verse.

(This is the song that the Fukushima evacuees Monma and his wife, from "Trap of Prometeus" episode, couldn't sing.)