Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Yokohama City Stopped Using Zeolite after Only One Month at Its Final Disposal Site on Tokyo Bay

Yokohama City, which has been dumping the radioactive ashes with low radioactivity from burning household garbage at its final disposal landfill (Minami Honmoku) on Tokyo Bay since September last year, has said the runoff water is safely treated by the cesium absorption towers with zeolite.

Well they lied. They used the absorption towers for one month and stopped using them, but never bothered to tell they stopped using them.

In one month, they used 5500 kilograms of zeolite, which absorbed 5000 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium. In other words, 27.5 million becquerels of radioactive cesium was effectively caught. So the city thought "Oh that's good", and stopped using zeolite.

From Sankei Shinbun Kanto local version (3/6/2012):

セシウム浄化装置の使用停止説明せず 横浜市

Yokohama City didn't explain why it stopped using the cesium absorption system


It was revealed on March 6 that Yokohama City had stopped using the system to absorb radioactive cesium using zeolite in November last year at the city's Minami Honmoku Final Disposal Site (in Naka-ku, Yokohama). The city continued to tell residents about the zeolite absorption system in the meetings to explain the ashes from the sewer sludge being buried in the final disposal site, even after they stopped using the system. The official says, "We are sorry if the residents were misled into thinking the system was still used."


The Minami Honmoku Final Disposal Site is on Tokyo Bay, encircled by the seawalls. When the ashes are dumped on the ocean [inside the seawalls], the displaced water go through the absorption system and is discharged into the ocean [outside the seawalls]. The city started to use 5500 kilograms of zeolite in October last year to process the water, and stopped the usage about one month later. 5,000 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium was found in the zeolite. The city explains that it was only an experiment to see how effective zeolite was in absorbing [radioactive cesium], and that the radioactivity of the exhaust water is very low.


The city will start cesium absorption treatment at the garbage incineration plants in the city. At the Minami Honmoku site, they will conduct the test of a new system using zeolite to absorb radioactive cesium in September.

According to Yokohama City Assemblywoman Sakura Inoue, the city official in charge said he was impressed with zeolite's ability to absorb radioactive cesium, but he stopped the use anyway because the radioactivity of the treated water was below the national safety level.

Here's a hilarious exchange between the official and Assemblywoman Sakura Inoue during the recent Assembly meeting, as Ms. Inoue relates in her blog:

Inoue: Why did you stop treating water with zeolite?

Official: It was to see the effect of zeolite.

Inoue: I am asking you why you stopped treating the water.

Official: No detection of radioactive cesium in water coming in to the absorption system or in water coming out of the system into the ocean.

Inoue: It's not "no detection", but "below detection limit". Since the ashes were dumped into a large amount of seawater, when you look at the density it may be below the detection limit. But it doesn't mean there was no radioactive cesium. In fact, what was the radioactive density of zeolite after 26 days of use?

Official: 5,000 becquerels/kg.

Inoue: What did you think of the number?

Official: I thought zeolite was quite effective.

Oh boy. But wait, it gets worse:

Inoue: Why did you give misleading explanation? Did you tell the residents, fishermen and harbor workers that you stopped using the zeolite absorption system?

Official: We explained to them that radioactive cesium was not detected.

Inoue: It's not the matter of density but the absolute amount. A large amount of radioactive cesium is being dumped into the bay. Treatment with zeolite should be resumed.

Official: There's no problem, as it is below the national safety standard. We are not going to use zeolite.

Inoue: Why then are you building a new embankment as a new countermeasure against radiation?

Official: To be safer...

Inoue: How much does it cost to build the embankment, and how much does zeolite cost?

Officla: It costs 130 million yen to build the embankment, and 1.2 million yen for one zeolite tower. [Kanagawa Shinbun says it is 1.2 million yen for 2 zeolite towers.]

Here's my take, in an effort to make sense:

  • The city doesn't want to have highly radioactive (over 8,000 becquerels/kg) zeolite after absorbing radioactive cesium, because they cannot dump zeolite in the landfill if the radioactivity exceeds 8,000 becquerels/kg.

  • Building the embankment costs a lot more money, and the city wants to spend more money as it is able to distribute money and jobs to the well-connected contractors.

What "national safety limit" of exhaust water is this official talking about? It turns out (according to Kanagawa Shinbun 3/7/2012) to be 60 to 90 becquerels/liter.

Well guess what kind of "safety limit" it is.

Those numbers happen to be the allowed density of radioactive cesium in exhaust water of a nuclear power plant. Cesium-134: 60 becquerels/liter, and cesium-137: 90 becquerels/liter.


Anonymous said...

How much quantity of radionuclides can be dump?
It has nothing to do with their concentration.
Even if the concentration is small (50 bq), if you dump a lot, the water will become dangerous.

Yosaku said...


I think her blog actually reads: "堤防の建設費は1億3,000万円。ゼオライトは一塔で120万円です。。"

一塔, rather than 二塔.

Obviously still night and day from a cost perspective, however.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

@Yosaku, thanks. Her blog said 1.2 million yen per tower, and Kanagawa Shinbun said 1.2 mil for two towers. I got mixed up. I don't know which is correct, though. I guess I could ask Ms. Inoue.

Chibaguy said...

Ever since I became aware of this man made disaster I have been unable to come to terms with calling it an accident. I am also appalled that officials speak with such disregard to the calamity of this event. It is like they are talking about some other country or fiction book.

It would be very easy to bring the government to its knees here. It involves just not getting on the train. However, this will not happen in Japan until someone close to them is affected. Preaching to the choir here, but what is wrong with taking a week off in protest?

Anonymous said...

What about the international community? Anyone ready to ask JAPAN to filter the radiation this S.T.P.U.I.D. group DUMPED into the ocean we all share? I sure hope all the fish caught by the fishermen were eaten by his family...better his family than the others.

Oh..did anyone check fish contamination? NO...well there you go..at least hope it was all kept in Japan....Sounds terrible..but its up the Japan citizens to fix this disaster as much as they can...but feel so terrible for the innocent children...

CaptD said...

Well connected GANGS are making a killing off these radioactive waste projects and they stand to make the most money from the Trillion Dollar Eco-Disaster at Fukushima; this will enable them to "RUN" Japan as never before!

No wonder the Japanese people are powerless to stop these GANGS from doing whatever they want...

no6ody said...

There is no telling where the lies begin or end. Perhaps the zeolite was unable to absorb as much cesium as claimed due to all the other salts in the runoff water--even tho 'they' have no problem with throwing zeolite into contaminated dirt and calling it 'decontamination.'

Chibaguy is right--time to get off the (metaphorical) train before it kills far too many. Sadly, most people won't do any such thing until they are personally affected and it is too late. Divide and conquer... it works.

Stock said...

We know for a fact that a serious amount of uranium was launched in the explosions. EPA RADNET data and my calculation to turn density in air into mass prove it.

If you haven't checked it out, do so now. It will take you 10 minutes to understand it, then you will understand beyond a shadow of a doubt, that we been dosed, and we been lied to. And we need to get angry and effective.

They knew, we KNOW


arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

@anon at 6:39AM, yes they've been testing fish from early on. They are finding cesium in farm-raised fish in Kyushu, which means the feed is contaminated with cesium that came from outside Kyushu.

carl can said...

Sounds very interesting! I will check this out! reparo de para-brisas

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