Monday, March 26, 2012

Fairewinds' Gundersen Scrapes Soil in Tokyo, Says It's Like Picking Flowers in "Radioactive Waste"

Enenews (3/25/2012) has a post featuring the recent video by A. Gundersen of Fairewinds Associates telling the viewers how he collected soil samples in Tokyo on his recent trip there and found them to be "radioactive wastes" by the US standard.

There is a screen capture from the video at Enenews, showing the result of the soil analysis.

For the Sample NO.1 (Shibuya-ku), the table shows:

cesium-134: 137 pCi/g or 5.069 Bq/g, (or 5069 Bq/kg)
cesium-137: 167 pCi/g or 6.179 Bq/g, (or 6179 Bq/kg)
(cesium total: 11,248 Bq/kg)
cobalt-60: 40 pCi/g or 1.48 Bq/g, (or 1480 Bq/kg)

1 picocurie (pCi) is 0.037 becquerel (Bq).

Now these numbers are way out of line from anything I've seen in the radioactivity measurements of the soil done in Tokyo metropolitan areas for radioactive cesium (no info about cobalt-60, as the nuclide has never been measured by the authorities), unless you measure the rooftop sediments or the dirt near the gutters or the side of the road. So I watched the video.

Mr. Gundersen says when he saw some dirt he just took it, but looking at where he collected the samples they are all locations that tend to accumulate and concentrate radioactive materials - at the root of a big tree, dirt in between the pavements, moss or dirt on the side of the road, etc. In the video he is seen scooping the dirt with a plastic spoon, so I assume it was either loose soil on the very top surface, probably no more than 1 or 2 centimeters or sediments or moss in the crack or on the surface of the pavements.

That makes sense, as these locations tend to concentrate radioactive materials, as we know know after one year.

So, what are the measurements done in Tokyo metropolitan areas in a more standardized way?

Journalist Kouta Kinoshita and his group of volunteers have done an extensive, systematic soil tests in Tokyo metropolitan areas. Let's see what their test results say. They didn't test cobalt-60, so I can only compare cesium-134 and cesium-137.

From Kinoshita's group's test results of the soil samples taken in Tokyo metropolitan areas, three of the locations that might be similar to Gundersen's; their samples were taken from the surface to 5 centimeters deep (standard practice), and none was taken from the rooftops or in between the pavements:


cesium-134: 136 Bq/kg
cesium-137: 182 Bq/kg
cesium-134: 323 Bq/kg
cesium-137: 416 Bq/kg
Zushi (near Kamakura, Kanagawa):
cesium-134: 0
cesium-137: 0

The detection limit is 1 Bq/kg. Pre-Fukushima Shinjuku-ku in Tokyo had 1.5 Bq/kg of cesium-137 in soil (in 2009).

Mr. Gundersen says in his video,

How would you like it if you went to pick your flowers and were kneeling in radioactive waste? That is what is happening in Tokyo now.

That's a rather threatening imagery, although I don't think you go pick your flowers in between the pavements or in the roadside sediments.

The clearance level of radioactive waste in Japan is 1 Bq/gram, or 1000 Bq/kg. Below that level, radioactive waste is not considered radioactive, and can be disposed of as industrial waste.

You may ask "Why is the Ministry of the Environment saying it's OK to bury anything with 8000 Bq/kg of radioactive cesium?" The answer is easy: the clearance level only applies to rad waste inside a nuclear facility (nuclear plant, medical or industrial facility that uses radioactive materials). Once radioactive materials escape into the environment, there was no law or regulation that stipulates how they should be treated. So the Japanese government hastily crafted and passed a law allowing the burying of anything with 8000 Bq/kg of radioactive cesium and below.


Anonymous said...

I find it impossible to believe a reading from Kanagawa did not detectable traces of cesium. Even apples imported from Chile last August had traces of cesium on them. So if this is a more "standardized" method of sampling then I think maybe they were sampling from a sealed two-year bag of potting soil.

I can understand your anger at Gundersen's "flowery" metaphor, but by God somebody needs to stir up the pot and make a little stink. Tepco has lied again and again for nearly 13 months and their control of the situation remains as perilous as it was after the first major radioactive plumes. Those plumes and succeeding major releases blanketed all of Japan...finding no traces of radiation in the prefecture just south of Fukushima is impossible to believe.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

I'm not angry at all. I am amused.

According to Kinoshita's group's measurement (as linked in the post), there are several other locations where cesium detection was zero (=below detection level of 1 bq/kg) in Kanagawa which is not "just south" but about 250 kilometer south of Fukushima.

Anonymous said...

I apologize for inferring you were angry at Arnie... It is true he "flower-picked" some choice spots for his samples so it would have been utterly amazing if he also had found zero traces. I would have been far more suspicious of that.

I know where all the prefectures are in Japan... I have looked at the map of Japan many times. Just south of Tokyo is to me very close to the devil pit. I am 10,000 kilometers away and have bloody nosebleeds and now some skin splotches so I remain skeptical of zero readings anywhere in Japan proper.

380 plus days of fallout from Nukashambles tends to make me a trifle edgy so please again accept my apology and forgive my skepticism. Like the minke whales, seals, sea lions, and even the mighty tuna I have no fear of radiation (Tepco will be glad to hear it). I do suffer from fallout illnesses so I guess I have not been thinking enough happy thoughts!


arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

@SP, there are Japanese people who say exaggeration and even falsehood are needed, to rouse those who don't seem to care about radiation contamination or the nuclear accident.

I'm starting to think there may be some physical deficiencies in Japanese people that prevent them from waking up from a stupor and encourage them to take totally unnecessary and outsized risks (like building nuke plants all over Japan on fault zones or trying to spread radioactive debris from Hokkaido to Okinawa).

Very sorry to hear about your health problems.

Anonymous said...

The locations he picked might not be "representative" of the average environment, but that doesn't take away from the fact that the stuff is out there, flowers or no flowers. (Perhaps even worse because it might get kicked up and inhaled during the next ekiden race).

Anonymous said...

I still think the same thing would happen anywhere else. It's not just the Japanese that are in a stupor. People in general just want to get on with their lives, "ignorance is bliss". They find it hard to accept reality and go into denial to hold onto their confidence and security.

If I ever tell anyone about what's going in Japan, almost everyone just says stuff like "Why do you care? It's got nothing to do with us. It's far away. It won't affect us. I'm sure they'll be fine."

Anonymous said...

Out of sight, out of mind. The censorship of the Japanese radiation nightmare (and far beyond its borders) is a masterpiece propaganda chapter in the 60-year history of the nuclear era. Once again the Dr. Frankenstein spinmeisters almost pulled off the perfect coverup of a massive nuclear radioactive accident.

I say "almost" because they didn't have near total control of the media this time. The IT Revolution has put a glitch in their plans (actually it seems they never have much of a plan... They react to situations instead of anticipating issues).

Social media may not be reaching Joe Sixpack or most of the billions of Chinese, African, Indian, and South American average citizens. But cell phone use and Internet access has fueled a massive audience and that audience will swell even more in coming years.

The old maxim is that good news travels fast, but bad news travels faster. The news of Japan's ecological collapse is spreading very, very fast indeed. One person with Internet access tells 100 who have none... They tell more and the story is growing in world awareness. Yet we know bullets trump pixels and despite the Arab spring the entrenchment of dictatorships across the globe remains the rule rather than the exception.

That may be the real test of the power of the Internet. Can pixels of light influence dictators to pull the plug on the nuclear industry proliferation? We shall see.


kintaman said...

Ex-skf, you did not mention about the Uranium (U235) that Arnie's results show to be found in all his samples Hibiya, Kamakura and Chiyoda-ku). It was trace amounts but still detected.

Anonymous said...

How is it possible that no one has detected Cobalt-60 so far? There are a bunch of independent labs all over east Japan and no one has detected that one. Since they are using gamma spectroscopy it would be difficult to miss:

Anonymous said...

So you accuse Mr. Gundersen to cherry-pick his samples? You are maybe one of those who would want to remove the evidence of this radioactive waste dust in the blink of an eye?

Maybe that Mr. Gundersen should have asked you, TEPCO or your criminal government where he could take his samples?

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Oh great. I'm a TEPCO shill and the criminal Japanese government shill again! Yippie!!!!!!!!!!

@kintaman, I didn't mention because I had no data to compare. A few becquerels/kg of U235 exists in soil in Japan from the atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons.

@anon at 8:09AM, I don't know. The only people who measured cobalt-60 are Greenpeace in Fukushima City.

Anonymous said...

EX-SKF, thank you, a million times over, for the unparalleled dedication and rigor that you continuously bring to the task of keeping the world informed about Fukushima/Japan. I discovered this site and have been reading it, daily, since early on in the crisis. I was glad that Arne Gundersen subsequently recommended EX-SKF and ENENEWS a few months ago when he was interviewed by CNN.

I'm confused as to why you are being critical of Gundersen for the way in which he recently collected radiation-testing samples in Tokyo. His methodology was completely transparent and self-evident, both in the video and in the transcripts. Gundersen expressly states how the samples were taken: "I just went around with five plastic bags and when I found an area, I just scooped up some dirt and put it in a bag. One of those samples was from a crack in the sidewalk. Another one of those samples was from a children’s playground that had been previously decontaminated. Another sample had come from some moss on the side of the road. Another sample came from the roof of an office building that I was at. And the last sample was right across the street from the main judicial center in downtown Tokyo. I brought those samples back, declared them through Customs, and sent them to the lab. And the lab determined that ALL of them would be qualified as radioactive waste here in the United States and would have to be shipped to Texas to be disposed of".

Granted, as you say, these may be: "locations that tend to accumulate and concentrate radioactive materials". We understand that there may be many other areas within Tokyo where radioactivity is less concentrated. However, with the exception of the rooftop, Gundersen's samples were all taken from highly trafficked areas that are readily accessible to the public at large: man, woman, child.

In other words, it appears these are places that people would routinely come into close contact with in their daily lives. I believe that was the point Gundersen was trying to make when he asked his viewing audience how they would feel about "picking flowers" amidst "radioactive waste" -- in their own city.

You characterized those particular remarks as: "Rather threatening imagery, although I don't think you go pick your flowers in between the pavements or in the roadside sediments". Perhaps Gundersen was speaking more metaphorically than literally. However, if one is walking around a densely populated, paved inner-city area in North America, there's a high probability that you'll take notice of flowers sprouting up through cracks in the sidewalk and in dirt by the side of the road. Maybe that's what Gundersen had in mind when he tried to 'bring it home' to us in the way that he did.


arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

@JP, he is free to take his samples wherever he chooses and present the results anyway he likes.

What you may be missing is the extremely gullible nature of the Japanese people. When they see these numbers coming from people like him, they worship the information as absolute, indisputable truth, without even looking at how the samples were collected and wondering if the concentration had occurred in those locations.

Marita said...

At this point in time Gunderson is just compounding a bad situation by stating misleading information.

The "Nuclear Waste" Gunderson selectively gathered
and presented as being found everywhere in Tokoyo does not help the situation the people in Japan have to contend with and how to fix it.

If he was being honest he would have done hundreds(if no thousands)of samples and presented a map showing the type and quantity of the contamination found.

The people of Japan deserve better form their Government , Businesses and the so called "Experts".

Anonymous said...

How should Gunderson finance the sampling and testing of thousands of samples????

As JP pointed out, Gunderson was transparent in his video where he picked his samples. Nevertheless, I think it might have been better if he would have added an additional sentence stating, that these were locations, where radiation would collect (a.k.a. hot spots).

Up until now I liked his calm and more technical approach, especially during the initial period of the crisis. I think that is the thing where he is really good at.

Anonymous said...

@anonat 3:29PM, Gundersen may be transparent, sort of, in his video as to where he picked the samples, but the recipients of the news may not care to know the subtle but important difference.

He's a nuclear plant engineer, and his expertise is inside the nuke plant, not outside. And definitely not in the field of medicine.

His "believers" in Japan defend him no matter what, and cling to everything he says.

Anonymous said...

@laprimavera, you don't really test for Cobalt-60 specifically. With gamma spectroscopy you get a representation of the whole energy spectrum and you can detect anything that generates a gamma signal (this is an example, but it's from a snow sample back in January:

There are several citizens' labs in Kanto an no one has detected those levels of Cobalt-60 so far. The ratio of Cs-137 to Cs-134 seems to be a bit off also if the samples were analyzed this month.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

@anon at 3:56PM, thanks. I am asking Security Tokyo and others about cobalt-60.

That snow "scare" was bit too much for many even in Japan. That, and neutron "detection" in Tokyo and Chiba.

Marita said...

March 27, 2012 3:01 PM
Anonymous said...

How should Gunderson finance the sampling and testing of thousands of samples????

Well if Mr. Gunderson wants to go to Tokyo and do 5 test samples and proclaim that Tokyo is contaminated then he has an OBLIGATION to do it properly.

Either he does it properly , finding funds from wherever he needs to , or he stops making these outrageous claims.

Remember his video proclaiming Building 4 was leaning and about to fall any minute , well it wasn't and is still standing.

If he has FACTUAL info to present I'm more that willing to listen but putting out sensational information is helping no one and just causing confusion to those less aware.

I'll leave his 2 man "Fairewinds Associates" in my bookmark folder with the UFO's and Bigfoot until he proves himself as a source of reliable information.

Anonymous said...


Respectfully, here's the scenario, as I see it. Journalist Kouta Kinoshita had previously taken samples, exclusively from soil in Tokyo (0-5 cm deep), and ensuing lab results showed relatively LOW levels of radioactivity. Arne Gundersen recently took samples from various sites and surfaces in Tokyo and subsequent lab results showed HIGH levels of radioactivity. In brief, Kinoshita and Gundersen got very different results because they were looking at very different things. Hence, their respective findings cannot be directly compared and one cannot be used to discredit the other.

I do appreciate that you have high regard for Kinoshita's methodical conduct of the soil sample tests and I appreciate that you see fit to remind us of the results he obtained at the time. However, soil sample tests are clearly not the entire picture, nor is it the end of the story. Accordingly, I believe it is imperative for the public to be made aware if, on a daily basis, they can routinely expect to come into contact with commonplace areas where there is a significantly high level of radioactivity. For instance, those areas sampled by Gundersen in Tokyo: a crack in a city sidewalk; the base of a tree in a previously decontaminated playground; a rooftop garden; and moss from the side of a road.

You have noted that radioactivity is likely to be more highly concentrated in these specific types of places and you are concerned that the public will assume that their entire environment is completely contaminated to that degree. However, from an opposing perspective, it would also be highly unfortunate if the citizens of Tokyo have misconstrued Kinoshita's prior soil sample tests to mean that there is no radiation risk in their environment whatsoever. Rest assured, your point is well-taken; although it certainly isn't constructive to cast aspersions on Gundersen in the process of validating Kinoshita. Perhaps the public would be best served by reportage that dispassionately presents these respective findings within the context of one another; as complimentary parts of the whole, rather than disparate and conflicting bits of information.

Anonymous said...

@anon at 5:55PM, I don't think people in Tokyo are taking Kinoshita's numbers as low.

Informed Japanese would know that Gundersen picked up from concentrated "hot spots", while the majority wouldn't. Worse, half-informed people in the US think, from Gundersen's video, that the entire Tokyo is like that. See this one for example, quoted at other sites:

Anonymous said...

Reply to @anon at 6:06 PM -- Perhaps on some indie blogs, like Washington's Blog, there are a few individuals who give the impression that Tokyo may be significantly contaminated. However, within North America as a whole, the mainstream media and the public at large have given us virtually ZERO indication that they believe Tokyo has anything at all to fear from Fukushima radiation.

For the record, I didn't say that people in Japan think of Kinoshita's soil radiation levels as low. I merely said Kinoshita's numbers were "relatively low"; meaning in relation to the levels Gundersen got from the areas he sampled.


Anonymous said...

@JP, if Kinoshita's group scraped only the top 1 centimeter of soil, they might have gotten the similar result.

Anonymous said...

Reply @anon at 7:28 -- You raised an intriguing point. Do you suppose Kinoshita conducted separate tests for various levels of soil? Like, 0-0.5 cm; 0.5-1 cm, etc. If so, were the results reported individually for each level; for each location -- or were they aggregated? The Ex-Skf link to Kinoshita's report is in Japanese, hence, I can't read it for myself.


arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Kinoshita's data is only for soil from 0 to 5 cm.

JAEA researchers did a survey of soil at different depths, but not sure how finely they studied. There was a news report on that, but I couldn't find the actual paper.

IAEA did Iitate-mura's soil analysis in late March last year, and they did it at 1-2 centimeters, and found 20 million Bq/kg of radioactive iodine.

Anonymous said...

Reply @anon at 3:44 -- We can sit here till the cows come home and split hairs as to whether Gundersen was sufficiently thorough in explaining his choice of areas to sample. Certainly, that is one way to kill time.

However, at the end of the day, the fact remains: Gundersen's lab results show high levels of radioactivity in a number of readily accessible outdoor places like roadsides, rooftop gardens, cracks in pavement, etc. Yes, we know, radioactivity tends to accumulate in these types of places relative to levels that others have detected in soil from other sites. Bottom line: Gundersen should not be trounced for directing our attention to these problem areas; nor should activist journalist Kouta Kinoshita be trounced for choosing to focus his radiation tests solely on "standardized" soil sampling. It would best behoove us to ask: WHAT THE HELL IS BEING DONE TO ALERT THE PUBLIC AND REMEDY THE HAZARDS that Kinoshita and Gundersen have brought to light?

BTW, you might want to rethink the claim that Gundersen shouldn't be taken seriously, because according to your rash assessment: "He's a nuclear plant engineer, and his expertise is inside the nuke plant, not outside. And definitely not in the field of medicine". By that metric, what then do you make of Kinoshita, or our Ex-Skf blog host -- neither of whom is a doctor nor a nuclear engineer?


Anonymous said...

Who are you, JP? Associate at Fairewinds?

Anonymous said...

Just leave Gundersen alone. He is on his way to make a fortune out of Fukushima by selling his books to gullible Japanese.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Don't take me seriously.

Anonymous said...

He says he wasn't cherry-picking, just happened to check the crack in the pavement. Right.

Anonymous said...

Didn't he use a geiger counter to chose the sampling points?

By the way, Kinoshita didn't present his data as "low" at any point. He actively calls for the evacuation of the whole Kanto area.

Anonymous said...

speaking of radioactive waste..

Mike said...

What strange comments this post has attracted. Perhaps this goes to show how Fukushima has altered the perspective of those who closely follow the disaster.

The idea that choosing a crack in the sidewalk or roadside or the foot of a tree, or the surface soil, was "cherry picking" to skew the sample, and that therefore people should not be worried by the results, strikes me as odd.

How many cracks in the sidewalk are there in Tokyo? Home many roadside gutters, rooftops, trees? For that matter (if someone really wanted to "cherry pick" sampling locations), how many raingutter downspouts, drainage ditches, piles of dead leaves? These are not uncommon or isolated features in any urban environment.

Then there is the idea that gullible people will be fooled by these test results, and that if they only knew about the "cherry picking" of sample locations, they would not be worried. I imagine this dialogue:

Scientist: "We have found hazardous radioactive waste scattered around your neighborhood."
Citizens: "Oh no!"
Scientist: "But we only found it in cracks in the sidewalk, by the roadside, on the rooftops, and under trees. And we only tested the dirt on top, not the dirt 5 centimeters down, so it's probably only a thin layer of radioactive waste."
Citizen 1: "Oh, in that case, no problem."
Citizen 2: "Yeah, I'll just avoid sidewalks, roads, and roofs. And when I go to the 'decontaminated' park, I'll stay away from the trees."

I don't think that is how my neighbors would respond.

Thanks as always to Laprimavera for his diligent reporting.


Anonymous said...

Mike, in case of Tokyo in particular, the dialog goes like this:

Citizens: We have found hazardous radioactive waste scattered around our neighborhood.
Scientist employed by the government: So?
Citizens: We want you to remove it, it is in cracks in the sidewalk, by the roadside, on the rooftops and under trees.
Scientist: So? Is the air radiation level 1 meter off the spot is more than 1 microsievert/hour higher than the surrounding area?
Citizens: Well, no, but the surrounding area is 0.08 microsievert/hour and 1 meter above the spot it is more than 0.50 microsievert/hour!
Scientist: See, it's not more than 1 microsievert/hour higher. It's safe. Nothing will be done.

I don't think anyone is saying ""cherry picking" to skew the sample" because Gundersen didn't take samples other than those concentrated ones. Nothing to skew. I don't think anyone is saying "therefore people should not be worried" either.

It's just loose talk from a supposed "expert" that irks some people.

Gundersen is slightly better than another US nuclear "expert" who said "Reactor 4 is leaning like the Tower of Pisa."

Anonymous said...


FWIW, I have the utmost respect for your authority on this subject and I greatly admire the work you cited by Kouta Kinoshita.

I find it unfortunate that, in this particular post, you have cast aspersions on Arne Gundersen who is also held in high esteem by many people who are deeply concerned about the overwhelming downside of nuclear power.

It's disheartening to see that comments on the thread have devolved into an anti-Gundersen pile-on. Moreover, snotty ad hominem insults are being directed toward commenters, like me, who dare suggest that they have high regard for both the life-work of Gundersen and Kinoshita.

This is the kind of scene that divides and conquers people who are supposed to be fighting on the same side, for a higher set of goals and objectives. Let's see if it turns around.


arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

@JP, if my effort to clarify what Gundersen tested and meant in his video is "aspersions" to you, I don't know what more to say.

a female Faust said...

"Andersen says that the soil samples he took in Japan were so irradiated, that they would be classified as low level radioactive waste in the U.S. Like a lot of folks, the claim struck me as rather odd given reported radiation levels in Japan, so I dialed up Ralph Andersen, NEI's resident health physicist for his take on Gundersen's claim. Here's what Andersen told me.

In order to classify anything as radioactive waste, it takes more than simply triggering a Geiger counter. When it comes to NRC licensees who need to dispose of items that have become irradiated -- in the case of nuclear power plants we're most often talking about water purification filters and resins, tools, protective clothing and other plant hardware -- there are two options. In the first case, you can ship the waste to a disposal site. However, there are cases where the levels of radioactivity are so low that you can actually petition the NRC to dispose of it in an alternate manner.

However, if someone finds materials that have been irradiated and they're not a licensee, all sorts of different regulations come into play. In the case of Japan, the levels of radiation found beyond Fukushima Prefecture -- and that includes the Tokyo metropolitan area -- are so low that Ralph told me that he can't imagine any criteria that would require the soil there to be disposed of. Furthermore, without seeing the report from the lab that Gundersen used, it would be impossible for any radiation protection professional to completely evaluate his claims.

When you look at it in those terms, it can be easy to see why the fact that the AP reported Gundersen's findings was so alarming. If an actual radiation professional can't properly evaluate Gundersen's statements unless the lab results are available for scrutiny, then how in the world could the reporter who wrote the story?"


Anonymous said...

Reply @Mike at 12:03 pm. I couldn't agree more with EVERYTHING you have said. It's hard to tell whether some comments are minimizing the problem of radiation, or whether they're minimizing the "US expert" who recently redirected attention to the problem. In other words, it's hard to tell whether some comments are objecting to the message, the messenger, or both. Like you, I see it as an odd turn of events in this context.


Anonymous said...

Is there a some kind of rule that says a blogger has to always side with one or the other? If he's concerned about radiation contamination (as the blogger here clearly does), does he always have to agree with experts like Gundersen uncritically?

Anonymous said...

Reply @EX-SKF at 1:23...

It's good to hear you say that you did not intend to cast aspersions on Gundersen when you wrote this post; and that the intent was to "clarify what Gundersen tested and meant in his video".

Perhaps, it would clarify matters further if you were to expound on whether you think there is actually any merit to the radiation sampling Gundersen did in Tokyo; also whether his ongoing commentary about Japan/nuclear accidents is of net benefit in your view.

Anonymous said...

What is this, a thought police?

Anonymous said...

Obviously he thinks there is some merit in it, otherwise he would not have posted it.

Hats off to Primavera for following what has now become a very arcane, yet emotionally-charged debate about the safety of nuclear power plants, and the very complicated business of assessing the risk of living in an area with tens or thousands or millions of becquerels of cesium atoms per square meter.
If anybody cares, I live in Tokyo and have absolutely no fear of any of the numbers I have seen so far. My health is fine, and I don't live in fear of the cancer bogeyman.

Anonymous said...

Reply @ a Female Faust at 1:33 pm...

Good lord girl! The blog you quoted above, NEI Nuclear Liner Notes, is from the Nuclear Energy Institute which is a NUCLEAR INDUSTRY LOBBY GROUP; whose board is made up of reps from 27 US nuclear utilities and various industry insiders.

From Wikipedia: "In 2012, the NEI quoted Kathyrn Higley, professor of radiation health physics in the department of nuclear engineering at Oregon State University, who described the health impact of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident to be "really, really minor", adding that "the Japanese government was able to effectively block a large component of exposure in this population"..."

Long story short: you can count on the NEI to jump all over anybody who dares suggest there may be a radiation problem that could get in the way of business as usual. Double "duh".

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