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Fairewinds in the News: Gendai Business Online Feature Article

arnie gundersen 14 june 2016.jpg

 

Gendai Business Online’s top ranked article is an exclusive interview with Fairewinds Chief Engineer Arnie Gundersen titled, American nuclear expert warns: “There is a possibility that now in Fukushima recontamination is occurring.” With more than 10,000 likes on Facebook, this Japanese article delves into the truth about nuclear contamination from Fukushima Daiichi as uncovered by Arnie Gundersen during his most recent trip to Japan. Fairewinds, with the help of Japanese translators, provides you with an English translation:

On a mid-February morning, just before the 5th anniversary of the triple meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi, a group of young girls in the city of Minami-Soma rode their bikes to school past a shocked and saddened pedestrian. That upset observer was Arnie Gundersen, nuclear reactor expert and Chief Engineer with Fairewinds Associates. Mr. Gundersen has 45 years of experience as a design, operations, and decommissioning nuclear engineer. He has engaged in research of the effects of the meltdown at Three Mile Island (TMI) and conducts independent research of the triple meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi. Mr. Gundersen is in ongoing conversations with both the US and Japanese media concerning the dangers of nuclear reactors and nuclear power operation. Invited by “Peace News Japan” and several other civil groups, Mr. Gundersen visited the Fukushima prefecture five years after the catastrophe at Fukushima Daiichi.

What surprised me at this visit to Japan [his third since the meltdowns] is that the decontaminated area is contaminated again,” Mr. Gundersen said while explaining why it was such as sad shock to witness the girls on their bicycles. “This was not what I had expected. I had thought that we would not find such high doses of radiation in the decontaminated area. But, sadly, our results prove otherwise.”

During his Japan visit, Mr. Gundersen collected samples of dust from the rooftop of Minami-Soma city town hall, the floor mat of a 7-Eleven convenience store, and the roadsides of Minami-Soma city. Although the official data cannot be released before the publication of formal scientific papers, it is evident that high doses of radiation, usually found in nuclear waste, was detected from these samples.

 “This means that highly radioactive dust is flying around the city. In other words, the decontaminated land is contaminated again. Little girls are affected by the radiation 20 times as much as adult men. The Japanese government’s standard of 20 mSv is based on exposure assessments for adult men. The girls on their bicycles are actually being affected by a radiation dose equivalent to as much as 400 mSv.”

Mr. Gundersen also pointed out that human lungs are heavily affected by internal exposures to radiation.

At this visit, I wore a radiation proof mask that can filter out 99.98% of radiation for six hours. I sent my filter to the lab, and they found a high dose of Cesium. But, unfortunately, the Japanese government only cares about the number on a Geiger counter and does not consider the internal exposure. This has resulted in a hazardous downplay of this kind of data and human lungs are affected by the serious internal exposure.”

Why is the recontamination happening? One of the reasons is that the government did not decontaminate thoroughly. Mr. Gundersen witnessed first-hand the poor decontamination of the prefecture.

In the house I visited, only half of the garden area was decontaminated because only that half fell into the category of a contaminated area. It should not be like that. The other half would be contaminated too. Furthermore, one person discovered highly radioactive dust in their driveway where decontamination had occurred. So, of course, this person notified the related offices but the related offices told them that it was not necessary to decontaminate the driveway again because it had already been done once.  It’s unbelievable. This person’s house is located near a ravine and the opposite side of the ravine is designated a non-habitable zone.”

Another reason for recontamination is that the radiation from the mountains are coming back to the city by way of wind and rain. Mr. Gundersen noted the extreme radioactive contamination of the mountains.

We tracked wild monkeys in the mountains and found a high dose of radiation in their feces. I received the meat of a wild pig as a gift and since I could not bring it back to the US [it is illegal to bring meat back to the United States from Japan], tested the meat on a Geiger counter. The meat showed 120 counts/min. I think that the Japanese government should spend more money to decontaminate the mountains but they don’t appear to have that kind of political will. I also worry that contamination in the rivers is not monitored as rain from the mountains flow down into the rivers.” 

Due to the heavy radiation contamination of the mountains, vegetables grown in that area exceed the government’s standard by 1500 Bq. These vegetables were sold at the MichinoEki in Tochigi prefecture, and the bamboo shoot grown in this contaminated region was used for elementary school lunches in Utsunomiya. These school lunches contained more than twice as much radiation as the government’s standard.

Recontamination is happening due to poor decontamination and residents of Kawauchi village in Fukushima prefecture claim that the decontamination in the forests is not enough. However, the government continues to push for the end of people’s relocation and force the return to recontaminated areas.

If I had a little child, I would never let them live there,” Mr. Gundersen pointedly states.

Mr. Gundersen also found that Tokyo remains contaminated. He measured dust collected from the sidewalk in front of MITI (Ministry of International Trade and Industry) and found a high dose of radiation. That dust is in the air that will be inhaled by the visitors and athletes of the 2020 Olympic Games. Needless to say, the current residents are inhaling it every day. “Mr. Abe should not take the advice from IAEA, MITI and TEPCO seriously,” Mr. Gundersen insists. “Instead, he should have an independent organization conduct research and listen to the advice from them.”  

http://www.fairewinds.org/nuclear-energy-education//fairewinds-in-the-news-gendai-business-online-feature-article

June 15, 2016 - Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , ,

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