Wednesday, May 16, 2012

#Radioactive Debris: Kitakyushu City to Test Burn, First in Kyushu

Kitakyushu City has been heavily polluted in the past from numerous steel mills and other heavy industries. Now, the city government is eager to risk polluting the city with radioactive materials.

From a few tweets from residents in the city who called the city government and spoke with the people in the section that deals with the debris burning, the national government has been exerting a heavy pressure on the city to proceed with the test burn and acceptance of the debris (which is just a foregone conclusion).

Kitakyushu City, which literally means "city in northern Kyushu", is located on the northern-most tip of Kyushu Island. It used to be 5 separate cities, but they consolidated themselves into one giant city in 1965 for the added benefits of being designated as "ordinance-designated city". It is the largest city in western Japan. According to the city's website, it wants to be the most "ecological", "green" (i.e. low-carbon) city in the whole wide world.

From Yomiuri Shinbun Kyushu version (5/16/2012):


Kitakyushu City has decided to conduct the test burn of the disaster debris from Ishinomaki City in Miyagi Prefecture from May 23 to 25. Mayor Kenji Kitahashi announced the plan during the press conference on May 16. It will be the first, west of Kansai, if the city formally accepts the debris after the test burn.


The disaster debris to be test burned will be 80 tonnes, mostly wood debris. The sorting has started in Ishinomaki since May 15, and the debris will arrive in Kitakyushu City by land on May 22.


The debris will be mixed with the household garbage collected in the city. Starting May 23, 32 tonnes will be burned at the Hiagari incineration plant in Kokura Kita District of the city, and 48 tonnes at the Shin Moji incineration plant in Moji District starting May 24. They will burn the debris for 24 hours before they measure the radioactivity of the ashes to see if it is below 330 bq/kg [of radioactive cesium], the city's own standard to bury the ashes. The ashes [from the test burn] will be stored in a warehouse in Kokura Kita District. If the city officially accepts the debris [after the test burn], the ashes will be buried in the final disposal site in Wakamatsu District.

The mixture ratio is 9 (household garbage) to 1 (disaster debris), according to May 2 Yomiuri Shinbun article. The ashes from burning the household garbage in Kitakyushu City do not contain radioactive cesium above the detection levels, according to the city's measurement.

Judging by the fact that they will burn 24 hours straight, the incinerators must be those that require the continuous 24-hour burn in order to properly operate.

According to the data from the Ministry of the Environment, the wood debris in Ishinomaki City proper has been found with 35 bq/kg of radioactive cesium, but the wood debris in part of Ishinomaki City in Ojika Peninsula has been found with 85 bq/kg of radioactive cesium. If the debris that Kitakyushu City will test burn is the fine particles (less than 5mm in size), which are basically the crushed wood debris, they test 207 and 360 Bq/kg respectively.

So they are using how many special trucks to transport this debris from Ishinomaki to Kitakyushu? 900 miles?? (Kitakyushu City is much closer to Korea than to Ishinomaki.) The transportation cost is all paid by the national government (i.e. taxpayers of Japan, whether they like it or not) of course.


Anonymous said...

I'm sure there are people fighting against this in KitaKyushu. Please remind them that the government of Saipan has offered to take ALL of the debris and store it on a deserted volcanic island in their country. There is NO NEED TO CONTAMINATE KYUSHU with this waste. It is only a money grab by waste management companies with the support and encouragement of a corrupt DPJ-led government.

Call them on this. The DPJ is cheating the Japan taxpayers and they are badly polluting one of the only remaining regions in Japan that can produce food relatively free of radioactive contamination.

When free trade agreements begin, and more non-Japan produce is available in Japan, then even Kyushu agriculture will be shunned by the public. This will hurt your local economy as well as your environment.

Stop the test burn. Just say NO to the burning of radioactive waste in Kyushu. Kick DPJ out of office.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for reporting this.

Anonymous said...

OT perhaps, will the people making these decisions end up like the people hired to work at all these U.S. facilities doing their "patriotic" duty...
There might be a paycheck today, but no industry or government is willing to pay the extraordinary bill that comes due later.

Anonymous said...

Most of the wind blows back up mainland Japan.
Still, a stupid policy move. Guess Kitakyushu must be broke too.

Anonymous said...

Do not burn radioactive substances.

This is how to avoid a fire in Chernobyl area as apposed to starting one on purpose in Japan. Radionuclides just love a good burn off so they can spread further.

Japan should insist on containment not burning.

Anonymous said...

In 1945, they dodged the bomb (which ultimately went to Nagasaki). Now they seem intent on bringing it on themselves...

Ampontan said...

As a resident of Kyushu knowledgable about Kitakyushu, I see that this post is as slanted as you accuse the media of being.

Forget the rant that they used to be polluters and they "want" to be ecological. It probably is the most ecologically conscious large city in Japan; their efforts in this sector have been recognized internationally.

There seems to be no suggestions around here about what to do with the debris. It exists, something has to be done with it, and that something does not include ranting.

One can understand the concerns about nuclear energy, but this (particularly your last sentence) is just hysteria.

Instead of preaching to the converted, you might better spend your time analyzing the blog posts of Ikeda Nobuo at Agora/Blogos, who argues the pro-nuclear energy side quite elequently. Without hysteria.

And what is the point of telling people that Kitakyushu means "North Kyushu". Do you feel the need to tell your readers that Tokyo means "East Capital"? Besides, the present-day Tokyo Metro District is just as much a created jurisdiction as Kitakyushu.

Anonymous said...

Ampontan, looks like you are exactly what your name suggests.

Anonymous said...

Get lost, Ampontan. Ikeda Nobuo who said cesium would disappear if you burned it? No thank you.

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