February 25, 2015
Less than one-fifth of evacuees from the Fukushima nuclear disaster say they want to return to their homes, despite government efforts to speed up reconstruction in areas with lower radiation levels.
The finding came from a survey by the Reconstruction Agency conducted between August and October last year that covered about 7,100 evacuee households in Namie; 2,400 in Futaba; 4,000 in Okuma; and 5,600 in Tomioka.
Between 51 percent and 60 percent of the households responded to the poll, including those living outside Fukushima Prefecture.
The four towns, all situated near the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, are divided into three zones based on annual radiation dosage levels: “difficult-to-return zones” with 50 millisieverts or more; “no-residence zones” between 20 and 50 millisieverts; and “zones being prepared for lifting of evacuation order,” with 20 millisieverts or less.
The central government has placed priority on decontaminating and reconstructing infrastructure in the latter zones to enable residents to return to their homes.
However, the survey showed that just 19.4 percent of evacuee households from “zones being prepared for lifting of evacuation order” in Namie wanted to return, while 14.7 percent of those in the zones in Tomioka felt the same.
Among evacuees from no-residence zones, 16.6 percent of households from Namie and 11.1 percent from Tomioka said they plan to return home when they are allowed.
Among those evacuated from difficult-to-return zones, 17.5 percent of households from Namie and 11.8 percent from Tomioka said they hope to resettle in their homes some day.
About 80 percent of all households in Namie and 70 percent of those in Tomioka are from no-residence zones and “zones being prepared for lifting of evacuation order.”
Still, even if the government lifts the evacuation order for these areas, only a handful of evacuees are likely to return, which would crimp revitalization plans for the towns.
Meanwhile, 32.4 percent of households evacuated from no-residence zones in Okuma, which cohosts the crippled plant with Futaba, said they want to return home.
The higher figure reflects preferential construction by the central government and town office of key facilities to promote the town’s reconstruction, spurring hope among residents to return. Decontamination work and restoration of a local highway route are also nearing an end in Okuma.
However, just 3 percent of Okuma residents are from no-residence zones, while the rest are from difficult-to-return zones.
Source: Asahi Shimbun
NHK has learned that at least 1,000 homes in Fukushima Prefecture will be demolished — even after they have been cleaned of radioactive fallout from the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi accident.
Local officials say that’s a waste of time and money. They call on the government to run the decontamination work more efficiently.
NHK polled officials from 9 Fukushima municipalities where demolition is under way. Each municipality remains partly or completely evacuated.
Officials from 3 towns said about 1,080 houses are to be torn down despite being decontaminated as requested by residents. Naraha Town reports the largest number, around 870.
Officials say leaking rain and animal intrusions are damaging the homes while residents remain evacuated. They also say many evacuees have given up on returning and found new homes instead.
The government pays for both decontamination and demolition programs in evacuation areas. The Environment Ministry says decontamination takes about 2 weeks and costs about 8,300 dollars on average.
An official says the ministry tried to speed up decontamination work at local governments’ requests. He says the ministry will now pursue efficiency as well.
Feb 12, 2015
FUKUSHIMA – A child in Fukushima Prefecture has been diagnosed with thyroid cancer in the latest health survey to assess the impact of the triple core meltdown that tainted the region with radiation in 2011.
Seven others in the survey of 385,000 children in Fukushima Prefecture are also suspected of having thyroid cancer but have not received a definitive diagnosis, a prefectural committee said. The survey began in April 2014, three years after the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami crippled the Fukushima No. 1 power plant.
The child diagnosed and the seven others tested negative in the first survey, which covered all 370,000 children in the prefecture who were 18 or younger at the time of the disaster. Those born a year after the meltdowns were not included.
“Despite the new results, I don’t think we need to change our previous view” that they were not affected by the radiation, said Hokuto Hoshi, who heads the panel.
In the first survey, 86 children were confirmed as having thyroid cancer and 23 were suspected of having it.
In both surveys, the thyroid glands were first scanned with ultrasound to measure the size and shape of any lumps, and assigned four grades of severity. Those children assigned the two highest grades were then given blood tests and cell biopsies.
The child confirmed to have thyroid cancer and the seven suspected of having it were between 6 and 17 at the time of the accident, according to Fukushima Medical University, which conducted the survey.
Source! Japan Times
Members of Fukushima Saisei no Kai (Resurrection of Fukushima) drive through Iitate village to measure radiation levels on Jan. 28.
February 08, 2015
On a recent day in late January, a minicar departed from the Iitate village office in Fukushima Prefecture with stickers attached that said, “We are driving slowly because we are measuring radiation levels.”
The vehicle, operated by Fukushima Saisei no Kai (Resurrection of Fukushima), a local residents’ nonprofit organization, is equipped with GPS and radiation measurement equipment, allowing it to record locations and airborne radiation levels.
“Although the level has decreased considerably from immediately after the Fukushima nuclear accident, it is still high,” said Mitsukazu Sugiura, 65, the driver of the vehicle, on Jan. 28.
Distrust of the central government, a need to know to make future plans and a desire to maintain ties with neighbors have led to groups of residents around Fukushima Prefecture taking the initiative to monitor radiation levels on their own.
All of Iitate village, which is divided into 20 districts, has been designated as an evacuation zone.
While the village government measures radiation levels at two locations in each district, it has also commissioned Fukushima Saisei no Kai to conduct more detailed measurements.
The organization’s vehicle is driven by village residents who commute from where they have evacuated to, such as Minami-Soma or Fukushima cities.
Twice a month in each district, group members conduct measurements along almost all areas along roads where residents lived.
Average radiation levels for each 100-meter-square area have been posted on the group’s website.
The near-term goal of the Iitate village government is to encourage residents to return with the planned lifting in March 2016 of the evacuation order. However, residents cannot erase concerns about radiation effects on their health as well as questions about the possibility of resuming agriculture.
Local farmer Muneo Kanno, 64, established Fukushima Saisei no Kai three months after the March 2011 accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant along with scientists and friends. Kanno felt that scientific data would be needed to decide whether to return to Iitate and resume farming.
“In order to tie it with the resurrection of the community, it will be important to have local residents directly involved,” he said.
Residents of the Okubo-Yosouchi district in central Iitate began measuring radiation levels near their homes and in the farm fields from 2013. The catalyst was the monthly meetings that were held for the 14 households in the hamlet that had gone their separate ways after the evacuation order was issued.
At those meetings, residents were curious about the radiation levels. However, some said the central government could not be trusted, so they decided they had to check for themselves what the radiation levels were.
Immediately after the nuclear accident, the residents were slow to evacuate because they were not informed by the central government about the estimated spread of radioactive materials.
Masuo Nagasho, 67, a former village government employee, suggested residents conduct their own measurements.
“The attraction of the village was the people,” he said. “What I most regretted was the destruction of ties between people and the life of the community that had led before to working together for festivals and rice planting.”
In 2014, the monitoring effort spread to the entire district, which has about 70 households. The measurement has provided the perfect opportunity for residents to maintain their neighborly ties by having lunch together. The meals are provided by a local women’s group.
TARGETING WATERS OFF NUCLEAR PLANT
Another citizens’ group, Umilabo, has been monitoring radiation levels off the coast of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant since November 2013.
One member, Riken Komatsu, 35, works at a fishcake manufacturing plant in Iwaki. He was born and grew up in the area, but when customers asked about the safety of the fish being used, he could only pass along data collected by Tokyo Electric Power Co., the Fukushima No. 1 plant operator, and the Fukushima prefectural government.
“I wanted to go out into the ocean and pass along data I was certain about,” Komatsu said.
He and other fishing enthusiasts began the project to collect soil from the seabed and fish, which were taken to the local aquarium for measurement of the amount of radioactive materials they contained.
In November 2014, 10 flatfish were caught about 1.5 kilometers off the coast from the nuclear power plant. Radioactive materials tend to accumulate in flatfish because it lives near the seabed. Although radioactive cesium was detected in five of the 10 flatfish, the concentration was less than half of the standard in the Food Sanitation Law of 100 becquerels or less per kilogram.
There has been no detection of radioactive materials for almost all of the fish born after the nuclear accident.
In the Oguni neighborhood of Date city’s Ryozenmachi district, a resident’s group began taking airborne radiation level measurements from six months after the nuclear accident. Data for each 100-meter-square area were listed on a map, and the information has been updated annually since.
“The radiation has no color or smell, but the map has enabled us to see it,” said Soyo Sato, 66, who heads the group.
The neighborhood has a mix of households that were designated for evacuation because of high radiation levels as well as those that were not so designated. Residents who were exempt from the designation used the data on the map to argue that there was very little difference in radiation levels with areas designated for evacuation.
That led to a settlement with TEPCO for compensation levels that were close to those offered to residents living in the designated areas.
Hideki Ishii, a project associate professor of landscape architecture at Fukushima University, has provided support for self-monitoring efforts.
“When residents see the actual data for their community that they collected, they will think more seriously about whether people can live there and if the compensation levels offered are appropriate,” Ishii said. “It also fosters the ability to not only think about the current situation, but also the future.”
Source: Asahi Shimbun
February 8, 2015
Someone somewhere commented:
“The Evacuate-Fukushima-Now battle cry hasn’t been thought out too well because it fails to recognize the moral questions that arise when non-victims speak for the victims—thinking that it is their job to rescue people who have decided to stay and haven’t asked for help.”
I wish to answer here to that partial judgment. Erroneous because that judgment was made much afterwards competely out of its historical chronological perspective:
The Evacuate Fukushima Now battle cry at the start of the Fukushima catastrophe was well justified and absolutely right in itself.
It was very soon countered by the Japanese government orchestrating a gigantic campaign about « decontamination » thru all the media, constructed and directed by government contracted big advertising-PR companies, playing very well on all the « furuisato » (hometown attachment) feelings of the Fukushima people ; their attachment to their lands, to their own history, to their own Fukushima dialect and cultural traditions, to their family ties etc., brainwashing the people that after a possible-to-be-made-decontamination program paid by government everyone everything would go back to the life of before, normal as before.
Due to that government huge mediatic campaign to control the situation, to keep the people to stay, promising them full decontamination, lying to them continuously that everything in Daiichi was under control, just a very local technical problem to resolve, they cut in the bud any possible evacuation idea.
The Government well-orchestrated mediatic campaign knew very well how to play on the Furuisato feelings of most the Fukushima people to manipulate them, resulting in the majority of people in Fukushima willingly participating in the brainwashing and PR campaign. The support Fukushima campaign came from the bottom up as much as from the government.
It is the same in every contaminated community: the deniers always outnumber those who understand the danger and want out. They get intimidated, bullied and silenced. All one can do is leave at one’s own expense.
To not forget that the majority of those Fukushima people did not have the financial means on their own to abandon everything behind to attempt to evacuate adventurously with their whole family in another prefecture, and that the government did all it could to deter them from evacuating, the people losing any possible damage claims if evacuating out of the prefecture, their properties devalued, their house credits still to be paid.
Due to all this the Evacuate Fukushima battle cry became very soon an empty battle cry, the Japanese anti-nuclear movement itself abandoned it very early to the benefit of the other battle-cries of « Kodomo wo Mamore » (protect the children), «Genpatsu Iranai » (we don’t need nuclear) and « Saikado hantai » (We are against the restart of nuclear plants).
The « Evacuate Fukushima Now » battle-cry was absolutely right, it was so damn right that the Japanese government spent millions on a mediatic campaign to cut it in the bud, to defeat that idea, to keep the people from evacuating, to make them stay by all means living with radiation, in contaminated environment. To after 4 years push now the evacuees of the 20kms evacuated zone to return to live in high radiation.
February 4, 2015
- The study reviewed foods testing for cesium 137 contamination and also strontium 90 contamination.
- Official assumptions had been than there was a set ratio of cesium 137 to strontium 90 across all foods.
- This is even more problematic as testing for actual strontium 90 in foods is done less often due to the complexity of the testing method.
- What was found is that over time the ratio of strontium 90 in foods had increased.
- A new study in the journal Environmental Science & Technology looked at governmental food testing in Japan.
In an unprecedented food monitoring campaign for radionuclides, the Japanese government took action to secure food safety after the Fukushima nuclear accident (11 March 2011). In this paper we analyze a part of the immense data set, in particular radiocesium contaminations in food from the first year after the accident. Activity concentrations in vegetables peaked immediately after the campaign had commenced, but they decreased quickly, so that by early summer 2011 only few samples exceeded the regulatory limits. Later, accumulating mushrooms and dried produce led to several exceedances of the limits again. Monitoring of meat started with significant delay, especially outside Fukushima prefecture. After a buildup period, contamination levels of meat peaked by July 2011 (beef). Levels then decreased quickly, but peaked again in September 2011, which was primarily due to boar meat (a known accumulator of radiocesium). Pre-Fukushima 137Cs and 90Sr levels (resulting from atmospheric nuclear explosions) in food were typically lower than 0.5 Bq/kg, whereby meat was typically higher in 137Cs, and vegetarian produce was usually higher in 90Sr. The correlation of background radiostrontium and radiocesium indicated that the regulatory assumption after the Fukushima accident of a maximum activity of 90Sr being 10% of the respective 137Cs concentrations may soon be at risk, as the 90Sr/137Cs ratio increases with time. This should be taken into account for the current Japanese food policy as the current regulation will soon underestimate the 90Sr content of Japanese foods.
Source: Environmental Science & Technology
February 4, 2015
According to NRA (Nuclear Regulation Authority), Last December’s fallout level of Cs-134/137 increased 3.7 times much as December 2013 in Fukushima.
From their report “Readings of environmental radioactivity level by prefecture” released on 1/30/2015, the fallout level in Futaba county was 6,200 MBq/km2・month in December of 2014.
It was 1,657 MBq/km2・month in December of 2013.
The readings of other areas in Fukushima prefecture are not reported.
NRA hasn’t made any announcement on this rapid increase in fallout level.
Source: Fukushima Diary
Fukushima resident Chieko Shiina, supporter of the Fukushima Collaborative Clinic (translated by Carole Hisasue), Jan 24, 2015
- At 8:00 — Already, 85 children have had surgeries for thyroid cancer, there are 112-113 children who are suspected of having cancer. When children get cancers it progresses very quickly. The former person in charge of health, Yamashita Shunichi, said it would be only a 1 in a million chance of children getting any kind of cancer because of radiation. But he was lying. Right now, it’s like 1 in 3,000 — it’s an epidemic… The head of the National Cancer Research Center estimated right now in Fukushima the rate of cancer has gone up 61 times. And yet the gov’t and also the hospitals related to the gov’t are saying this is not because of radiation… How long does the gov’t think that we’ll be silent about this? In light of this epidemic, my anger will never die down. And then to think about the parents of the small children – how worried they must be.
- At 12:00 — It’s not only children. There are many things happening to adults as well. Increased rates of thyroid cancer, heart attacks, leukemia, cataracts – many, many health problems, where they are wondering… there’s something definitely wrong.
- At 16:00 — I can’t forgive the gov’t, they’re murderers. This is definitely a holocaust.
- At 20:00 — Media won’t report on it. Everything’s just being swept under the rug.
- At 26:00 — A TV program called ‘Hodo Station’… they went to Fukushima City to interview people and they also came to my clinic… The director that made this program also made a follow up show and contacted one of the interviewees telling her, ‘We’ll be airing it soon.’ But before it was aired, it was taken off the program. This director died. This director apparently told one of the interviewees, ‘If you do hear that I died, please believe that it was not a suicide, no matter what you might hear.’ There is no truth in the media in Japan today. There are all sorts of these mysterious events happening that are still unexplained and uninvestigated.
- At 43:00 — Even today the gov’t is insisting the rise in pediatric thyroid cancer rates are not due to the accident…Why are they being so insistent? It’s because the moment they admit the reality of what’s going on, then they obviously can’t restart any of the nuclear plants and must change their entire nuclear policy.
Carole Hisasue, translator (at 1:15:00): It’s disappeared from the media, it’s disappeared from people’s consciousness. There’s this big culture of denial going on outside of Fukushima. They want to pretend like it never happened. I can’t talk to my own family about radiation contamination… They don’t want to hear it. They go, ‘You don’t understand because you don’t have to live here, we have to live here.’… It’s like ‘see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil’… just trying to ignore it and pretend life is the way it was before 3/11. It’s frightening, it’s very very frightening… [My sister-in-law] is completely brainwashed by the gov’t who says, ‘Oh no, it’s fine, fine, fine’… she believes it, even though her son suffers from a lot of nosebleeds — and I think that’s a serious problem. If I mention it to her, or even to my own mother, they get very offended. They go, ‘Oh no, no. He’s always been like that. It’s nothing to do with radiation.’ Talk about denial, it just hurts my heart.
Youtube: Report From Fukushima And The Abe Government Expansion And Export Of Nuclear Plants
Enenews: Cancer epidemic underway in Fukushima — Rates up 6,000% says head of cancer research center — “This is definitely a holocaust… everything’s being swept under the rug” — “Very, very frightening… my family members are brainwashed”
February 04, 2015
Pressure exerted by tectonic plate movement off Tohoku that triggered the 2011 earthquake and tsunami has returned to pre-disaster levels, seismologists say.
“Large earthquakes might occur more randomly distributed in time than conventionally expected,” said Bogdan Enescu, an associate professor at the University of Tsukuba.
Researchers from the university and Switzerland-based Eidgenoessische Technische Hochschule analyzed seismic data collected by the Japan Meteorological Agency since 1998.
As part of the study, the team calculated b-values, a ratio comparing the occurrence of small earthquakes in a specific area with larger ones.
Because the b-values decline to under 1 when the frequency of large quakes increases, they assumed values of less than 1 are indicative of high plate stress in the areas being studied.
Although readings in the region at the center of the 2011 earthquake hovered around 0.8 to 0.9 from 1998 until 2005, the b-values dropped to around 0.6 to 0.7 in mid-2005. Those figures then surged to 1 or higher after the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11, 2011.
But the b-values started to decline again around 2013, and returned to around 0.8 by the fall of 2014–almost the same level registered prior to the magnitude-9.0 quake.
“Observing b-values could be useful in improving the accuracy of massive earthquake forecasting,” said Enescu.
The findings were published in the British scientific journal Nature Geoscience on Feb. 3.
Source; Asahi Shimbun
Preparatory work to build an interim storage site for radioactive waste is under way at the Okuma east industrial park (front) in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, on Feb. 3. The crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant stands in the background.
February 04, 2015
The government has begun prep work on a parcel of land near the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant to receive its first delivery of radioactive debris from decontamination work in the area.
The Environment Ministry began the work for the interim storage site on Feb. 3, following its announcement last month that it had secured 60,000 square meters of land in industrial parks in the towns of Okuma and Futaba as a first step.
The move comes as companies owning large lots of land in the industrial parks are ready to sell their plots for the storage project.
While the plots owned by the companies account for just 2 percent of the total land needed to build storage site in Okuma and Futaba, which co-host the plant, the move will allow the government to begin shipping tainted debris by its target of March 11, the fourth anniversary of the nuclear disaster triggered by the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.
The ministry plans to transfer 43,000 cubic meters of radioactive soil and other debris stored at 43 localities in the prefecture over a year on a trial basis.
The secured plots take up about 70 percent of the Futaba industrial park and Okuma east industrial park’s combined 440,000 square meters of land.
The Asahi Shimbun found that eight of the 13 companies that own property in the parks are willing to sell their land to the government and have already notified the appropriate officials of their decision.
Most of the companies are in the pharmaceutical and machinery industries and based in Tokyo.
“We doubt products we make here will sell anyway, even if we can someday resume operations,” said an official with a company that owns a factory in the Okuma park, referring to its decision to sell off the land. “We are afraid that (radiation-related) fears about products and produce from this area will linger.”
An official with a company in the Futaba park that also agreed to sell its land said: “We set up the factory about 20 years ago and hired many residents. We are more than happy to offer our land to help rebuild the local area.”
Residents of the two towns, where radiation levels remain high, continue to live outside the area after it was evacuated following the outbreak nuclear crisis.
Plots in the industrial parks were among the ministry’s first targets for the interim storage site. It is expected to be easier to start building the site on these plots because they house fewer buildings compared with other land.
Still, the ministry expects a prolonged battle to secure the 16 square kilometers needed for the storage site. “It will take a very long time,” said a senior ministry official.
The storage facility to be built in the towns will be designed to hold radioactive waste for up to 30 years.
Source: Asahi Shimbun
February 03, 2015
Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), the operator of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, has agreed to pay some 420 million yen in compensation for property damage to residents who live in a radiation “hotspot” area, the Mainichi Shimbun has learned.
Fifty-two residents of 10 households living in parts of Minamisoma, Fukushima Prefecture, which is designated as a recommended special evacuation zone due to radiation hotspots, and another nine people of one household in a neighboring district sought compensation from TEPCO over property damage via an alternative dispute resolution process.
Attorneys representing the residents told the Mainichi Shimbun on Feb. 2 that TEPCO has agreed to pay some 420 million yen, a large portion of the compensation payment recommended by the government-backed dispute resolution center.
However, as the utility refused to pay compensation to the one household which is located outside the recommended evacuation zone, the plaintiffs will not accept the payment until TEPCO agrees to pay everyone who filed the claim.
The dispute resolution center presented a settlement proposal over property damage in the recommended evacuation zones to TEPCO in December last year. It was the first case for the center to accept such a claim filed by a group of residents in those areas.
TEPCO rejected the damage claim filed by the one household (about 10 million yen in compensation), saying that the utility will not handle dispute resolution requests from residents outside the radiation hotspot areas in the same manner as those filed by people living in the recommended evacuation zones.
February 3, 2015
By 1/30/2015, Ushiku city government of Ibaraki announced 48 of 89 children were given A2 or B diagnosis in their thyroid inspection.
A2 is given when they find thyroid nodule (≦5.0mm) or cysts (≦20.0mm), B is given when they find thyroid nodule (≧ 5.1mm) or cysts (≧20.1mm).
Since last August, 50 more children had the inspection. 40 children were given A2, 8 children were given B in total.
Only less than half of the testees turned out to be free of any abnormality.
Ushiku city government states 40 children of A2 don’t need any follow-up inspection.
Source: Fukushima Diary
Feb 2, 2015
Tetsu Kariya, author of the gourmet manga “Oishinbo,” says in the series’ latest edition that radiation is so high in Fukushima Prefecture it is causing nosebleeds among local residents.
The theme echoes one in a previous story that critics panned when Kariya had the main character suffer a nosebleed after visiting the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
The controversial episodes ran in Shogakukan Inc.’s Big Comic Spirits magazine last May. But when the manga was compiled into book form, critical passages, including one linking nosebleeds and radiation exposure, were watered down.
In his latest book, published by Yugensha, Kariya questions the Environment Ministry’s assertion that radiation is unlikely to be causing nosebleeds locally. He cites surveys that found that “many people” have been suffering nosebleeds in the prefecture.
Kariya has written extensively about the plight of Fukushima farmers and fishermen, whose troubles he has studied at first hand. He has visited places around the nuclear power station.
He said he altered some controversial episodes in the new book to prevent misunderstanding and to protect real people who were identifiable in previous episodes and who others criticized.
In the final chapter, Kariya emphasizes that the reconstruction of the lives of the people is far more important than the recovery of the land of Fukushima.
“It is only you who can protect yourselves,” he said, addressing them in general. “Please have the courage to flee from Fukushima.”
Source: Japan Times
Monday, January 19, 2015
Marine defaunation: Animal loss in the global ocean.
Science 16 January 2015: Vol. 347 no. 6219
DOI: 10.1126/science.1255641 Review
Douglas J. McCauley Malin L. Pinsky Stephen R. Palumbi James A. Estes Francis H. Joyce Robert R. Warner
[excerpted] Wildlife populations in the oceans have been badly damaged by human activity…. Human dependency on marine wildlife and the linked fate of marine and terrestrial fauna necessitate that we act quickly to slow the advance of marine defaunation….
Three lessons emerge when comparing the marine and terrestrial defaunation experiences:
- today’s low rates of marine extinction may be the prelude to a major extinction pulse, similar to that observed on land during the industrial revolution, as the footprint of human ocean use widens;
- effectively slowing ocean defaunation requires both protected areas and careful management of the intervening ocean matrix; and
- the terrestrial experience and current trends in ocean use suggest that habitat destruction is likely to become an increasingly dominant threat to ocean wildlife over the next 150 years.[end excerpt]
[Majia writes] Consensus holds that Fukushima constitutes the greatest radiological release into the ocean ever to occur. According to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, levels of radioactive cesium reached more than 100,000 becquerels per cubic meter in early April of 2011.[i] The World Nuclear Association suggests that 169 Petabecquerels of Iodine-131 equivalent were releases into the ocean from Cesium-137, Cesium-134, and Iodine-131from March 26 to September 30th.[ii] This figure does not include March releases into the atmosphere, which the World Nuclear Association calculates at 1020 petabecquerels from March 12 to March 31, 011. The French Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN) described Fukushima as the world’s worst nuclear contamination event ever for the ocean,[iii] reporting that from March 21st to mid-July 27, 27.1 petabecquerels of cesium-137 contaminated the ocean. One peta becquerel is equivalent to a million billion becquerels, or 10^15. [iv]
Atmospheric and direct ocean releases occurring as contaminated water spilled from reactors into the ocean caused radionuclide levels to spike offshore. Woods Hole scientist Ken Buessler revealed (12/12/2011) that Fukushima cesium-137 radiation in the sea near the plant peaked in April 2011 at 50 million times above normal levels (http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffmcmahon/2011/12/12/fukushima-ocean-radiation-was-50-million-times-above-normal-but-no-threat-scientists/).
In a separate interview with Straight on October 28, 2011, Ken Buesseler stated that Fukushima was by far the greatest accidental release of radiation into ocean waters, the magnitude of which in April 2011 was over one hundred times Chernobyl’s contamination of the Black Sea.[v]
These comments reflect concerns based on ocean emissions during the first few months of the disaster. Ocean contamination did not however end in the first months of the disaster. The releases of radioactive water from the plant into the ocean have been, in this writer’s opinion, ongoing because of the need for continuous cooling of melted reactor corium and the inability to effectively de-contaminate cooling water.
Reactors 1 through 3 have been continuously cooled since March of 2011 with water injections. The World Nuclear Association reports that by the end of March 2011 all water storage tanks – the condenser units and condensate tanks – around units 1 through 4 were full of contaminated water pumped from the buildings.[vi] Tepco built a wastewater treatment facility to decontaminate the water but has struggled with decontamination and storage given the volume of water being pumped into the reactor buildings and the level of contamination. During the summer of 2011 Tepco installed concrete panels designed to seal water intakes of units 1 through 4 in order to prevent contaminated water from reaching the ocean. In October 2011, Tepco installed a steel water shield wall between the units and the ocean.[vii]
Yet, despite these efforts ocean contamination has continued because the site is literally saturated from the ongoing water injections. In 2012, Tepco reported water injections as follows: five tons per hour at Unit 1reactor; seven tons per hour at unit 2; seven tons per hour at unit 3.[viii] No information was provided about any water injections into unit 4 or the common spent fuel pool. At 456 tons a day of water going into the units, we can expect substantial ongoing leakage into the ocean. In November of 2011,Tepco admitted that its filtration system at the plant dumped more 11,000 tons of water contaminated with cesium 134, 137, and Iodine 131 into the sea.[ix] Tepco stated that it had been spraying about 70 tons of water around the Daiichi compound a day since early October and that water in some trenches measured at 10,000 millisieverts an hour, which is 10 sieverts an hour, a fatal dose.[x]
Ken Buesseler speaking in March 2012, described the data from his international research cruise off Japan that took place in June 2011:
Despite the announcement in December that operators of the power plant had achieved cold shut down, we know they are still using tons of water to cool the reactors and that not all the water has been collected or treated. As a result, the ground around the site is like a dirty sponge, saturated with contaminated water that is leaking into the ocean. He noted that other scientists had confirmed his 2011 findings of radiation levels 400 miles offshore Japan. He pointed out that little was known about radiation levels at seafloor levels but evidence exists that marine sediments are collecting radioactive contamination at higher concentrations than in the water. He said that little information was available about the radiation levels of groundwater.
He tells the public that information about the extent of releases of contaminated water are lacking:
Other measurements show trends that are more worrisome. Levels of radioactivity found in fish are not decreasing and there appear to be hot spots on the seafloor that are not well mapped. There is also little agreement on exactly how much radioactivity was released or even whether the fires and explosions at the power plant resulted in more radioactive fallout to the ocean than did direct releases of radioactivity caused by dumping water on the reactors to keep them cool.[xi] The Mainichi reported on April 3, 2012 that “Cesium up to 100 times levels before disaster found in plankton far off nuke plant” and that the “high concentration of cesium, which is believed to derive from the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant, suggests that radioactive substances that have leaked from the complex are spreading extensively in the sea.” http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20120403p2a00m0na009000c.html
Cesium-134 deposits in marine snow gathered 2000 kilomters away from the plant at depths of 5000 meters measuring 1,200 Becquerels per kilogram indicate that radiation contamination from Fukushima spread far and wide.
Lack of certainty about the extent of initial and ongoing atmospheric and ocean releases of radiation from the plant complicates extrapolations of effects. Tepco has provided no concrete information about the extent of damage to the nuclear fuel in the reactors and pools. Mr. Yastel Yamada, a retired engineer and founder of the volunteer Fukushima Skilled Veterans Corps commented that the fuel from the reactors may possibly be in powder form.[xii]
The radiation contamination of the Pacific will be an ongoing problem. One study that modeled dilution declines of Cesium-137 published in Environmental Research Letters predicted that after seven years the “total peak radioactivity levels would still be about twice the pre-Fukushima values” off the coastal waters of North America”[xiii]. That study did not factor in ongoing contamination.
The risks from contaminated ocean water are not restricted to marine and coastal life. Long-lasting radioactive isotopes, such as Cesium-137 and Plutonium-239, will bio-accumulate in marine life in the same fashion that mercury bio-accumulates currently. Marine animals at the top of the food chain and birds that feed on marine life will become highly contaminated radioactively. The Canadian Museum of Nature notes that orcas are often considered toxic waste when they die based on their high toxicity.[xiv]
Furthermore, contaminants in the ocean do not necessarily stay in the ocean….
The Pacific Ocean was imperiled before Fukushima: what have we wrought?
Pacific Ocean tipping points? http://majiasblog.blogspot.com/2014/11/pacific-ocean-tipping-points.html
Bioaccumulation: Cesium is One Among the 1000 Radi…
[i] Cited Hiroko Tabuchi. Fears Accompany Fishermen in Japanese Disaster Region The New York Times (2012, June 25): http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/26/world/asia/fears-accompany-fishermen-in-japanese-disaster-region.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20120626
[ii] World Nuclear Association Fukushima Accident (2012, September last update), http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/fukushima_accident_inf129.html
[iii] Fukushima nuclear pollution in sea was world’s worst: French institute. Japan Today Oct. 28, 2011 – http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/fukushima-nuclear-pollution-in-sea-was-worlds-worst-french-institute
[iv] “Fukushima Disaster Produces World’s Worst Nuclear Sea Pollution. The Maritime Excective (2011, October 28) http://www.maritime-executive.com/article/fukushima-disaster-produces-world-s-worst-nuclear-sea-pollution.
[v] Alex Roslin http://www.straight.com/article-491941/vancouver/what-are-officials-hiding-about-fukushima?page=0%2C2
[vi] World Nuclear Association Fukushima Accident (2012, September last update), http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/fukushima_accident_inf129.html
[vii] World Nuclear Association Fukushima Accident (2012, September last update), http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/fukushima_accident_inf129.html
[viii] Sep 1 2012 TEPCO reports drop in water injection rate at N-plant. Yomiuri (2012, Sep 1), http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/T120831004812.htm
[ix] Robert Mackey and Ravi Somaiya (November 1, 2011) 14 Japanese Official Drinks Water From Fukushima Reactor Buildings. The New York Times By ROBERT MACKEY and RAVI SOMAIYA http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/01/japanese-official-drinks-water-from-fukushima-reactor-buildings/
[x] Robert Mackey and Ravi Somaiya (November 1, 2011) 14 Japanese Official Drinks Water From Fukushima Reactor Buildings. The New York Times By ROBERT MACKEY and RAVI SOMAIYA http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/01/japanese-official-drinks-water-from-fukushima-reactor-buildings/
[xi] Ken Buessler What Fukushima accident did to the ocean By Ken Buesseler, Special to CNN March 11, 2012 http://www.cnn.com/2012/03/10/opinion/buesseler-fukushima-ocean/index.html
[xii] “I Don’t Know What Would Happen”: Fuel from Fukushima reactors may be powder — If so, work almost impossible (AUDIO). Enenews (2012, ) http://enenews.com/dont-happen-future-fuel-fukushima-reactors-be-powder-work-almost-impossible-video/comment-page-1#comment-291586Mr. Yastel Yamada, a retired engineer and founder of the Fukushima Skilled Veterans Corps
Uploaded by: OccupyUkiah Filmed: July 30, 2012 Uploaded on: Sept. 27, 2012
[xiii] Erik Behrens1, Franziska U Schwarzkopf1, Joke F Lübbecke2 and Claus W Böning1 Model simulations on the long-term dispersal of 137Cs released into the Pacific Ocean off Fukushima Erik Behrens et al 2012 Environ. Res. Lett. 7 034004
[xiv] Canadian Museum of Nature. Diving in (2011, March 3), of http://nature.ca/explore/di-ef/wcef_tfw_e.cfm.
Source: Majia’s Blog
Jan 18, 2015
All 2014 Fukushima rice cleared radiation tests, thanks to fertilizer
For the first time since the triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 plant throttled the agriculture-reliant prefecture, all rice produced there last year cleared the required radiation tests.
The Fukushima Prefectural Government last year checked every bag of rice produced in the prefecture — some 10.75 million bags — based on the Food Sanitation Law, which bans the sale of rice radiating more than 100 becquerels of cesium per kilogram.
The tests found all bags checked from January 2014 through December 2014 had lower than standard radiation levels, in contrast with those tested in 2012 and 2013, which had a small percentage of rice unfit for shipment, the prefectural government said.
Officials said they hope the results will help raise consumer confidence in Fukushima rice, which was devastated by the nuclear disaster. Experts attribute the achievement to efforts to prevent cesium from entering rice fields during cultivation, and to the use of fertilizers based on potassium chloride, which prevents the grain from absorbing the isotope.
The tests, introduced in 2012, screen the bags on a conveyer belt. Bags sniffed out by the initial screening are tested further with precision instruments. Bags over the 100-becquerel cesium limit are discarded.
In 2012, a total of 10.35 million bags were tested and 71, or 0.0007 percent, failed.
In 2013, the failure rate was reduced to just 28 bags, or 0.0003 percent of the 11 million bags tested.
In 2014, 29 bags were flagged as suspicious by initial screening but later found to be below the cesium threshold.
Given that 867 bags were weeded out by initial scans in 2012, the 2014 results represent a major advance, they said.
To date, the rice farmers, prefectural government and local JA cooperatives have made joint efforts to promote fertilizers based on potassium chloride, which prevents rice from absorbing cesium.
The prefecture is shouldering all costs for the fertilizers. In 2014, it distributed ¥1.61 billion in subsidies to farmers to buy enough potassium chloride-based fertilizer to treat 68,000 hectares of paddies.
Research has shown putting potassium in soil prevents rice from taking in cesium. But it is important to keep the potassium levels high while rice is young. So farmers have been told to keep adding it.
Keisuke Nemoto, a professor at the University of Tokyo’s Laboratory of Crop Ecology and Morphology who is studying how cesium gets into rice, said the 2014 test results represent the fruit of the joint effort.
But Nemoto said his experiments showed that rice grown without potassium-based fertilizers still breaks the 100-becquerel cesium limit.
“Unless farmers keep adding potassium to soil every year, the chemical’s density in soil will decline and rice could start absorbing cesium again,” he warned.
This section, appearing every third Monday, focuses on topics and issues covered by the Fukushima Minpo, the largest newspaper in Fukushima Prefecture. The original article was published Jan. 9.
Source: Japan Times
Comments from Marushka France
STEP BACK AND READ, ANALYZE and CONSIDER:
1) Agricultural practices such as these, adding lime, potassium, phosphorus and/or organic materials to contaminated soils is… I repeat IS…. appropriate kind of measure to take!!
2) Testing rice with the appropriate equiment is very important.
Measuring the rice from outside a bag does not tell us the alpha and beta IN THE FOOD, very important that HOW food is tested and with what equipment… Very important
3) because Internal exposure – food and water — is 1,000X worse than external, according to WHO
4) Testing agricultural lands , treating with organic soils amendments after assessing the level of radioisotope contamination and the needs of the soils – and making that public information – is critical… for saving our planet, our food and water supplies and our lives.
It is the only way to restore confidence – in government and in media…. We have been lied to our entire lives. Only honest and full disclosure can restore and repair relationships.
Government . People . Journalism…
Reassess ourselves, reassess for one major reason
“Environmental problems…. contamination from multiple human activities like oil, gas, nuclear, petrochemicals, petroleum based agriculture
Poison, unbalanced, unsus-ainable, all of them
Incorporating an application of organic and mineral fertilizers reduces the levels of Cs137 and Sr-90 accumulation three- to fivefold in herbage grown in mineral soils. Such radical treatment of hayfields on peat soils sharply reduces Cs-137, but is less effective for Sr-90.
5) Owing to degradation of cultivated hayfields, repeated grassland renovation with an application of fertilizers is needed every 3 to 6 years.
As noted above, radiation protection measures are effectively applied in large stateowned and collective farms. In small privatesector households and farms, which in Belarus account for more than 50% of agricultural production, these measures are incidental.
Generally for each cow on a private Belarus farm
there is about 1 hectare of hayfield and improved pasture. This is not sufficient to sustain the animal so the farmers have to get hay
from grassy forest glades and unarable lands that are contaminated with higher levels of radioactivity than cultivated hayfields.
Thus a significant number of settlements, even 23 years since the catastrophe, had inadequate radiation protection for agricultural production.
There are more than 300 such settlements each in Belarus and Ukraine, and more than 150 in Russia (Kashparov et al., 2005). page 312 “Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment” by Alexey Yablokov, Vasily Nesterenko and Alexey Nesterenko
NY Academy of Sciences, Volume 1181, 2009.
5,000 Slavic language studies reviews, over 1,400 cited.
Hard copy now available at Greko Printing P:734.453.0341;
Japanese version available at Amazon.jp – Chapter 4 (parts12-15) have not been included, ‘too long’.