Monday, May 7, 2012

#Radioactive Japan: Wild Monkeys to Be Fitted with Dosimeter in Minami Soma, Fukushima to Study Radiation in Mountain Areas

Female monkeys in the mountain areas in Minami Soma City in Fukushima will be fitted with dosimeters so that the researchers at Fukushima University can collect data on radiation levels in the mountainous areas inaccessible to humans.

From Yomiuri Shinbun (5/6/2012):


The research group headed by Takayuki Takahashi, vice president of Fukushima University (robotics) will fit wild Japanese monkeys with collars with dosimeters in order to study the radiation contamination in mountains and forests due to the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant accident. The experiment will start this month.


The purpose is to map the radiation levels to assist in decontamination.


The collar weighs 350 grams, and equipped with dosimeter and GPS. The collar will be fitted around the neck of a monkey to collect information on air radiation dosage and locations. Currently, the radiation levels in mountains and forests are measured from the air. It is hoped that by "deputizing" the work to the monkeys the radiation measurement in the deep mountain areas becomes possible.


Vice President Takahashi focused on the habit of monkeys to stay inside a territory as a group. If a monkey is fitted with dosimeter, it is possible to map the radiation levels within a certain territory. His group will catch female monkeys who are more likely to stay within the group and fit the collars. The collars will automatically come off after sending the signals, and they will be collected 2 weeks later for data analysis.


The experiment will be carried out in the southern Minami Soma City, which was inside "no-entry zone" until April 16 and has relatively high levels of radiation. As more monkeys become fitted with the collars, it is hoped that the wide-area mapping of radiation levels is possible.


Takahashi says, "Radioactive cesium in mountains and forests move with the flow of rainwater, and it is hard to fully understand the levels of contamination. By mapping the radiation levels this way, we hope to use it to protect wild life.

ICRP recommends that the radiation work be done under full understanding of the risks and full agreement among participants. Even though the communication between the species is not yet possible, I hope the monkeys will be rewarded with some contamination-free food.

Some of my Japanese twitter followers live in Fukushima Prefecture. One of them retweeted my tweet linking the article with his/her comment, "They can borrow my cat for radiation monitoring in the urban area." He/she lives in Fukushima City. The way he/she said it was resigned, slightly sarcastic maybe, and humorous. Sense of humor is a good thing to have, but I hope that person lives in a lower radiation area.

But where were these researchers last year? They could have done this last year. The only study on wild life last year in Fukushima was the study on birds in Fukushima by Professor Mousseau of University of South Carolina, and that result wasn't disclosed until February this year.


Anonymous said...

They should just use the "guinea pigs" they already are using..the people living in Fukushima. Babies, children, adults are all part of a "great experiment" by Japan --anyone remember the "medical experiments" done in China during WWII by Japan? Human "guinea pigs" were used -- Sure hope the current Fukushima medical tests do not vivisect THEIR current study subjects! Monkeys OR people.

Anonymous said...

Or the US injecting plutonium in people.

Atomfritz said...

Thank you, LaPrimavera, for this again-excellent article.

If I were a Fukushima resident, I'd volunteer as "monkey".

But, as wildlife is being used as camouflage for depicting humans since ancient fables, I believe the (probably shocking) results will be downplayed as "not applicabke to humans".

At least, this experiment's insights will provide good knowledge for people that are not too entangled by today's technocratic hubris.

I really hope the results of that experiment won't get classified like the Hanford animal testing results.

Anonymous said...

So in Japan school kids and monkeys will now 'enjoy' a similar level of exposure monitoring.... sadly

Anonymous said...

RT news Gotta feel sorry for these cute little guys!

Anonymous said...

Children and Monkeys used to collect data, only Japanese could be so cruel and cold hearted to use kids like this...

Anonymous said...

@anon at 9, LOL. You don't seem to know much about anything.

Anonymous said...

Yeah what do you know then, Twat

Anonymous said...

I hope they share the data. The nuclear industry is the bad guy here not the nation.

Mike said...

>>Takahashi says, "Radioactive cesium in mountains and forests move with the flow of rainwater, and it is hard to fully understand the levels of contamination. By mapping the radiation levels this way, we hope to use it to protect wild life."

How has the data from the dosimeters distributed to children been used to protect humans?

Anonymous said...

an elegant idea, if every bit as cynical as fitting schoolchildren with badges they themselves can't read

Anonymous said...

Failure to evacuate a much larger area to take Japanese people to safer areas... and moving and incinerating radioactive debris ... are bad policies, harming the health of Japanese people... for economic considerations. Failure.

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