Thursday, March 1, 2012

(UPDATED) High Radiation Level Near an Elementary School in Yokohama Caused by Adjacent Business Washing Air Filters?

NHK News reports that 6.85 microsieverts/hour radiation detected at one centimeter off the ground at what used to be a sewer right next to the school yard in an elementary school in Yokohama City last month may have been caused by the waste water from a facilities management company on the other side of the drain.

The soil in the sewer was found to contain 62,900 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium (according to Sankei Shinbun, 2/3/2012 in Japanese).

The company has been washing the air filters from air conditioning systems in buildings and factories in Kanagawa Prefecture, and apparently dumping the waste water into the drain.

NHK News (3/1/2012; if NHK link disappears, here's an alternative):


Regarding the high radiation levels detected at what used to be a sewer next to an elementary school in Seya District of Yokohama City, the Yokohama City government announced on March 1 that the high radiation may have been caused by the waste water from washing the air filters for air conditioning systems which had trapped radioactive materials from the Fukushima I Nuclear Plant accident.


On February 3, maximum 6.85 microsieverts/hour radiation was measured at where the sewer used to be, adjacent to the school yard of Futatsubashi Elementary School in Seya District Yokohama City.


The city's investigation revealed that a facilities management company located next to the sewer had been washing the air filters of the air conditioning systems at buildings and factories in Kanagawa Prefecture.


Yokohama City suspects radioactive materials from the Fukushima I Nuclear Plant accident were caught in the air filters, and they flowed into the sewer as the filters were washed with water.


The city has cautioned the company to wash the air filters at a location with a drainage facility, and is going to put the contaminated soil in a concrete container to shield radiation.


The facilities management company says, "It is regrettable that washing the filters from locations far away from Fukushima Prefecture has caused such a problem. We haven't washed the filters since November, and we measure the radiation levels of the filters by a survey meter to make sure we handle them properly."

"Regrettable". Amazing.

Screenshots from NHK News video shows a drain from the facilities company that leads to the side of the school yard. The contaminated soil is under the blue tarp:


Anonymous said...

Seniority in office buildings will be shown by the low man/woman having to sit near the air inlets. Since November? This truly is a horrific nightmare. Vacuum cleaner filters, auto filters, coffee filters, water filters and on and on will need to be treated as hazardous waste.

Smoking Caster

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

To clarify: The company had been washing air filters and dumping the water UNTIL November last year.

Atomfritz said...

Don't have buildings in Japan have underground connections to the sewer system so that it is not necessaty to flush the waste water on the road?

If the sewer on the road is contaminated that massively and an underground sewer connection is existent then I'd suppose the contamination comes not from flushing water.

Maybe it was just dust from openly stored filters on the company's yard that got washed out and contaminated the surface? If so, then this hot spot is only the tip of the iceberg, as most of the radioactivity then would be flushed via the underground sewer connection and not via the road surface?

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

They were washing the filters and dumping the water untreated into the drain.

Atomfritz said...

LaPrimavera, thank you for the photo update (and for your information work in general)!

So this is an open drain channel.
These are very uncommon in Europe, as they'd be clogged with autumn leaves and snow, resulting in floods.

If it would have been a completely underground drain as common in Germany, the contamination would probably never have been discovered.

At least the company has stopped washing filters, so they probably noticed that this is a dangerous work. I suppose there are many similar hot spots yet to be discovered in Japan...

Anonymous said...

Tip of iceberg. There is no way to know if any one location is contaminated, even if first test indicates a low background level of radiation in a preliminiary test. All of Japan (and anywhere the Fukushima fallout goes) is subject to re-contamination. Its not only the containment of the nuclear sites, its the disposal of the contaminated products. With the product being the entire environment. What do the companies think WASHING contaminated items and dumping into drains will do? Just MORE cross-contamination.

Heaven help us if Japan gets a pandemic flu and uses the same processes to "share" the pain. Put a big X over the map of Japan. All the burning, migration of fallout contaminated debris to non-radioactive areas is just spreading cancers. There will no longer be a safe place to live with the man made spread of this poison. And this is supposed to be an organized society? Organized to commit mass suicide promoted by their own government...

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

In defense of "small people" in Japan, if you are under the impression that ordinary citizens of Japan are just accepting what the government has been doing, that's not true. A small but significant enough number of people are speaking up, taking actions, criticizing officials in face-to-face meetings.

And what does the government do? Just do whatever they intend to do, no matter what, whether it is burning the radioactive debris in the residential area in Tokyo or growing rice in the contaminated Fukushima.

Any suggestions what the concerned and increasingly exasperating citizens of Japan should do?

Anonymous said...

There are plenty of fields for growing crops all around Tokyo and areas south. If this theory is to be believed then there must be hot spots in many places far south of Fukushima, Tokyo and beyond.

I'll be changing planes at Narita in a couple of weeks and after the report on one of these sites of conditions found at Tokyo Station I can't help but be worried about the conditions at the airport and aircraft making regular stops there and their air filter systems.

I could never have imagined such obscene indifference to this disaster by the Japanese government and the rest of the world. What history we have left will reflect the incompetence leading to these events, the "handling" of these matters and those in power during these times.

ANGRY Smoking Caster

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

ANGRY Smoking Caster, if you are talking about the outrageous readings of radiation levels in JR Tokyo Station, that's extremely dubious. It spread on Twitter, and died on Twitter just as quickly. I know some English sites translated it.

The person supposedly measured those extreme radiation in Tokyo Station, while many others were posting their readings in the range of 0.06 to 0.10 microsievert/hour.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for that "good" news. I hate to know I read, believed and repeated that report. If you say it was false then I believe you. The high radiation report was carried on another familiar Fukushima site but of all sites I follow yours is the only one I post on and know that your reports are of higher quality. I'm writing this on a small phone so forgive the typos. Thanks

Smoking Caster

Anonymous said...

If the problem is getting the attention of those in industry and the government, then perhaps a general strike is in order. Or a sick-out might assist the businessmen of the country to imagine what it will be like with a large portion of the workforce in ill health.

Anonymous said...

I wrote back earlier but from my mobile and I guess it was kicked out. I am sorry I read, believed and repeated the erroneous reporting I picked up on another Fukushima site. If you say that was bad information then I believe you. This is the only site I post on. I appreciate your efforts.

Kind regards,

Smoking Caster

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Sorry Smoking Caster. Your first comment was most definitely there earlier. I just checked and it was in SPAM.

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