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Japanese media pushing Fukushima rice as ‘safe to eat’

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A Honnoriya staff member displays rice balls at the company’s Tokyo Station outlet. Honnoriya offers rice balls made with the Aizu Koshihikari brand from Fukushima Prefecture.

After 16 years, Fukushima’s Aizu Koshihikari still the brand of choice for popular Tokyo rice ball shop

 
Oct 14, 2018
A popular rice ball shop stands near Tokyo Station’s Yaesu Central Gate, drawing long lines of customers waiting to buy products made with rice from Aizu, Fukushima Prefecture, known for remaining soft with a touch of sweetness even when it gets cold.
As it takes less than a minute to make the rice balls, customers don’t have to wait long at Honnoriya, a rice ball chain operated by JR East Food Business Co.
From actors, athletes and comedians to politicians and culinary maestros, many say they are fans of the rice balls. After it was featured on the popular TBS television show “Matsuko no Shiranai Sekai” (“The World Unknown to Matsuko”), a rush of traffic swarmed Honnoriya’s website, temporarily shutting it down.
Sadafumi Yamagiwa, president of JR East Food, said the secret of the chain’s popularity is the quality of the rice — Koshihikari rice produced in Fukushima’s Aizu region.
“It’s because the rice tastes good. The Aizu Koshihikari rice is chewy, making it different from other rice,” Yamagiwa said.
The firm uses Aizu Koshihikari in all of its 13 outlets located in Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitama and Chiba. At the main shop in Tokyo, around 7,000 rice balls are sold on busy days. In fiscal 2017, a total of 252 tons of rice were consumed at its 13 stores.
Since Honnoriya opened its first outlet at Tokyo Station in March 2002, it has continued to use Koshihikari brand. Despite having been awarded the top “special A” ranking by the Japan Grain Inspection Association, Aizu Koshihikari is cheap compared with other varieties produced in different regions, Yamagiwa said.
Following the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and the ensuing nuclear meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, many consumers avoided produce from the prefecture. The company also received many inquiries about the safety of the rice, and employee opinions differed over which brand should be used.
But as blanket radiation checks conducted on Fukushima-grown rice found no radioactive material, such concern gradually eased, Yamagiwa said.
He stressed that the company has been using Aizu Koshihikari solely for the reason that it tastes good. “It’s not like we’ve been using the rice to support the disaster-hit regions,” he said.
Each year, the company chooses a rice brand after comparing the tastes of different varieties produced in different parts of the country.
For the past 16 years, there has been no rice that surpassed Koshihikari produced in Aizu, Yamagiwa said, meaning that Aizu Koshihikari has consistently won the internal competition every single year.
This section features topics and issues from Fukushima covered by the Fukushima Minpo, the largest newspaper in Fukushima Prefecture. The original article was published on Sept. 30.
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October 17, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , , | Leave a comment

Residents in Miyagi file suit to block burning of radiation-tainted waste from Fukushima nuclear disaster

Each Fukushima municipality has one incinerator ongoing (18 if I remember well), trying to reduce the volume of accumulated contaminated debris and soil by incineration,but through it continuing nanoparticles air dispersion as it is highly unprobable that those incinerators filters fully block their release..
11 oct 2018 suit against incineration Miyagi pref.
Plaintiffs hold a sign stating their opposition to the burning of radiation-tainted waste as they head to the Sendai District Court to file a lawsuit on Thursday.
Oct 11, 2018
SENDAI – Residents in Osaki, Miyagi Prefecture, filed a lawsuit Thursday seeking to prevent a local public association from burning radiation-tainted waste generated by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis.
Osaki, located about 120 kilometers north of the city of Fukushima, has been keeping some 6,000 tons of tainted grass and rice straw containing radioactive substances in excess of state standards, and the association in charge of waste disposal is scheduled to start burning it from Monday.
The residents filed the suit with the Sendai District Court in the hope of suspending the ¥21.6 million budget for the incineration, claiming the association failed to keep an agreement that it would alleviate residents’ concerns.
“The agreement was a strong message that we would protect the environment for future generations,” said 79-year-old Tadaetsu Abe, who is leading the plaintiffs. “The public administration has ignored the residents’ wishes.”
The association, called the Osaki Area Integrated Administration of a Large Region Office Work Association, declined to comment, saying it has not seen the plaintiffs’ claim.
The Fukushima No. 1 power plant, hit by a major earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011, suffered three core meltdowns and spewed radioactive material into the air, contaminating wide areas of the prefecture.
The waste stored in Osaki contains radioactive substances of up to 8,000 becquerels per kilogram. Each municipality is responsible for radioactive waste disposal.
Some 170 residents opposed to the incineration requested an audit of the city’s budget on the waste disposal, but it was rejected as of Sept. 13.

October 12, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , | Leave a comment

WATCH OUT: Japan is pushing exports of its Fukushima ‘s radiation contaminated sake to other countries

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Free Fukushima “sake” tasting events in NYC.

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Fukushima Trade Promotion Council
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According to the following article (of Dec. 2017), “the United States topped the list of export destinations (of Fukushima sake) with 76.9 kl, accounting for 48% of the total, followed by Canada with 10.6 kl (7%) and Hong Kong with 9.4 kl (6%).” http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=871

October 3, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , , | 1 Comment

WATCH OUT: Japan is pushing exports of its radiation contaminated agricultural products to other countries saying there is no radiation anymore in Fukushima

Japanese regions struggle to export farm produce to Taiwan as radiation fears politicized

 

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Information boards explain stringent safety measures taken in Chiba Prefecture east of Tokyo during an agricultural expo held in the northwestern Taiwanese city of Taoyuan in May 2018.
September 30, 2018
TAIPEI, TAOYUAN, Taiwan/BEIJING — Some local governments in Japan are struggling to export their agricultural products to Taiwan as Taipei is expected to conduct a referendum on whether or not to lift a ban on imports from five Japanese prefectures following the 2011 disaster at the Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant.
During a recent agricultural exhibition held in the city of Taouyan in northwestern Taiwan, few participants dropped by a booth run by the government of Chiba Prefecture in eastern Japan, which is one of five prefectures hit by the ban. The remaining four prefectures are Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi and Gunma, all north of Tokyo. In contrast, the stall of Miyazaki was inundated by visitors trying to test the juicy beef the southern Japan prefecture is famous for.
Chiba Gov. Kensaku Morita visited Taiwan in November last year and met with Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan. They agreed that local sweets made from peanuts harvested in Chiba should be made available in Taiwan, too. As Chen is said to be close to Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, an individual who accompanied the governor told the Mainichi Shimbun that the two leaders had “a fairly in-depth discussion” toward lifting the ban.
However, at the agricultural festival earlier this year in Taoyuan, the Chiba government was not allowed to bring in food samples because of the import ban. Officials only had a video and panels explaining the safety of agricultural products in Chiba. “We want the ban to be lifted as soon as possible,” emphasized an official during the event.
Fukushima also wants to resume exports of peaches to Taiwan, which was the biggest overseas market for the fruit before the nuclear accident. The radioactive fallout from the TEPCO power plant contaminated a large swath of land near the facility. The Ibaraki Prefectural Government also sees Taiwan as a promising market for its agricultural items.
Taiwan ranked fourth among overseas markets for Japanese farm and food products last year, importing 83.8 billion yen out of the 807.1 billion yen total value. Hong Kong is the No. 1 importer, followed by the United States and China.
The Tsai administration is positive about lifting the ban, as most Japanese farm products do not contain detectable levels of radioactive materials under a strict screening system. Administration officials say if Taiwan came after China in resuming the import of Japanese farm products, it would be a blow to its relationship with Japan, which is vital for Taipei, along with its ties with the U.S., to counter Beijing. China regards Taiwan as a renegade province and is trying to bring the island back into its fold eventually.
But people close to the ruling Democratic Progressive Party say Taiwan’s largest opposition party Kuomintang is using the issue to wage a political attack on the ruling party, fanning up public fear toward farm products from the five Japanese prefectures as “nuclear food.” The November referendum is expected to be called after the opposition collected some 470,000 signatures, more than the legally required number, to conduct the vote.
Taiwan is not alone in blocking Japanese agricultural products from entering the domestic market. It wasn’t until July this year that Hong Kong lifted its ban on agricultural items from four Japanese prefectures, but it still keeps its door closed to Fukushima produce.
China also continues to deny the import of agricultural and food items from 10 prefectures in the Tohoku and Kanto regions in the northern and eastern parts of the country, respectively, including Tokyo. The country accepts produce from other Japanese regions only if the goods come with certificates saying they are radiation free.
The Japanese government and business community have repeatedly demanded that Beijing relax the regulations, and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed in May to set up a joint panel of experts to discuss the removal of the restriction.
The reason behind the intransigence indicated by some Asian countries and regions in denying Japanese farm produce is public concern. A survey of consumers in 10 countries and regions in the United States, Europe and Asia in February last year found that 81 percent of respondents in Taiwan said they were “worried about Fukushima produce.” The ratio stood at 69.3 percent in South Korea, followed by China with 66.3 percent. But a domestic poll in Japan by the Consumer Affairs Agency in February 2018 found that people hesitating to buy products from Fukushima was just 12.7 percent.
According to associate professor Naoya Sekiya of the University of Tokyo, a specialist in disaster information studies who conducted the 10-country/region survey last year, “the negative image caused by the 2011 nuclear accident just stuck, and people are not aware of food safety checks.” Only 10 percent-plus of people in South Korea responded that they knew about the complete radiation checks on all Fukushima rice carried out by the prefectural government. The ratio was just more than 20 percent for Taiwan, while 40 percent of Japanese respondents said yes.
Farmers in areas affected by the nuclear disaster have made efforts to reduce radiation, including the use of potassium to prevent the absorption of radioactive cesium from the fallout. Seventeen prefectures as well as agricultural cooperatives and shipment companies are testing their farm products. During the past three years, more than 99 percent of tested items did not contain detectable levels of radiation. In Fukushima, too, no rice was found to contain radiation above acceptable levels.
“Just telling people how tasty the food items are is not enough,” said Sekiya. “You also have to convey that airborne radiation levels are completely different from those right after the accident, no radioactive materials have been detected in food items, and the checking system functions with no problems.”

October 3, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima Radiation causing U.S. Insurance Companies to EXCLUDE all Coverage for Radiation Claims

REPOST from February 2014
February 2, 2014 — (TRN) — Insurance Companies in the United States have begun notifying customers they will no longer have ANY coverage whatsoever for anything relating to nuclear energy claims. Fallout, radiation sickness, property damage from radiation – all EXCLUDED. This begs the question: If the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima power plant in Japan is as harmless to Americans as the government and “scientists” are telling us, why are Insurance companies specifically EXCLUDING coverage for nuclear energy related claims? (Hint: The government is lying about the danger.)
TRN has a PDF of one such notice being sent by Traveler’s Insurance Company. You can read it for yourself below.
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Letters being sent by U.S. Insurance companies are notifying policy holders of an important change to their coverage. Letter sent by one major insurance company read as follows:
 
Dear Policyholder;
Thank you for choosing Travelers. We are providing advance notice of changes affecting your renewal policy or notification of renewal premium. Please consult Travelers Service Center for guidance in reviewing the information contained in this notice.
 
Your renewal policy will provide changes in coverage because of underwriting judgment based on an evaluation of your
individual risk exposures and/or loss history.
 
The following is changed on your renewal:
Coverage Change Details
IL 00 21 09 08 NUCLEAR ENERGY LIABILITY EXCLUSION ENDORSEMENT FORM HAS BEEN ADDED TO YOUR POLICY
 
 
The accompanying paperwork gets very specific about what they mean. It says, in part:
 
1. The insurance does not apply:
 
A. Under any Liability Coverage, to “bodily injury” or “property damage”:
 
B. Under any Medical Payments coverage, to expenses incurred with respect to “bodily injury” resulting from the “hazardous properties” of “nuclear material” and arising out of the operation of a “nuclear facility” by any person or organization.
 
2. As used in this endorsement:
 
“Hazardous properties” includes radioactive, toxic or explosive properties. “Nuclear material” means “source material”, “special nuclear material” or “by-product material” . . . . Spent fuel . . . . Waste . . . . .
 
The letters further make clear:
 
“Property damage” includes all forms of radioactive contamination of property.”
 
 
That last item, about radioactive contamination of property, THAT’s the “biggie.” THAT is the issue that will shortly become evident to people who live on the west coast of north America. One day, when folks in places like San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego wake up and hear evacuation orders on radio and TV telling them to run for their lives because the radiation levels from the Pacific Ocean have made their homes uninhabitable, THEN all those folks will understand the implications of this nasty little change in Insurance coverage.
 
The Turner Radio Network has been warning people about the coming radiation from Fukushima. For months, we have been issuing radiation alerts when local background radiation levels start “spiking.” For months, we have been closely monitoring developments at the Fukushima disaster site and publishing news stories about those developments and the dangers they pose to North America.
 
Sadly, for months, critics have claimed our coverage was “sensationalism” or “designed to scare people.” That was never the case, but it didn’t stop the critics from claiming such.
 
So here we are, February, 2014, and Insurance Companies are now specifically EXCLUDING coverage for radioactive contamination of property. Let’s be clear about what this means; if you have to move away from your home because the area is contaminated with lethal levels of radiation, don’t bother calling your insurance company. YOU HAVE NO COVERAGE AT ALL for this type of event. Of course, you still have to pay your mortgage for the house you can no longer live in, but that’s your problem, right?
 
Now, stop and think for a moment about other types of disasters. Homes in “Tornado Alley” in the USA routinely suffer horrific destruction from tornadoes. Have any insurance companies stopped covering such damage? No. They may charge a higher premium in those geographic areas, but they don’t flat-out EXCLUDE coverage. How about places that routinely suffer wildfires? California, Arizona, New Mexico come to mind. Have you ever heard of any insurance companies specifically EXCLUDING coverage for wildfires for people who live in those area? Nope!
 
So why, if the government and so-called “experts” are all publicly telling us that the radiation from Fukushima will be diluted by the Pacific Ocean and will not harm us, are Insurance companies beginning to absolutely and specifically EXCLUDE coverage for radiation-related damage, injuries and claims?
 
Could it be that the radiation from Fukushima, which has been spewing into the Pacific Ocean since March 11, 2011, is not nearly as “diluted” as the government and “experts” would have us believe? Could it be that the Insurance companies know (maybe from their pals in government) that entire STATES on the west coast of North America may have to be evacuated because of the incoming radioactive water in the Pacific? Does this start to make more sense to you now? Such events would utterly wipe out Insurance companies. You know it, the government knows it and the insurance companies darn sure know it. THAT is why insurance companies are excluding coverage; they KNOW what’s coming and they don’t want to be wiped out by it. Can’t blame them, but where does that leave you?
 
Some advice: If you live on the west coast of north America, sell your house fast and cheap to some illegal aliens. Get whatever you can for the house, take the money, and run like hell.
 
Whatever you get for the house will be more than you’ll get from your insurance company once the radiation arrives. Oh, about the illegal aliens to whom you sell . . . . well . . . . who cares what happens to them, they shouldn’t be here anyway!
Click HERE to read a PDF of the actual notice being sent to policy holders by Traveler’s Insurance Company

September 24, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , | 1 Comment

Dairy farmer resumes operations 7 1/2 years after Fukushima disaster

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Tetsuji Sakuma, right, unloads a cow from a truck in the Fukushima Prefecture village of Katsurao on Sept. 13, 2018, as he resumes operations at his dairy farm for the first time since the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant disaster.
 
September 19, 2018
KATSURAO, Fukushima — A 42-year-old man resumed operations at his dairy farm on Sept. 13 with the arrival of eight cows at his barn, after an evacuation order for the 2011 nuclear crisis was lifted in most parts of the village here.
 
Tetsuji Sakuma, who is aiming to ship milk for public sale from the beginning of next year, restarted his business for the first time in 7 1/2 years after the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant disaster. He did not give up hope of resuming his work even after being forced to evacuate and losing all his cattle as a result. “I hope to restore my finances and to lead this area (to recovery),” said the farmer, taking one step toward the reconstruction of his hometown.
Sakuma unloaded the cows from a truck into his barn with the help of his 68-year-old father Shinji. Sakuma laughed bitterly as he suddenly felt old, realizing he had “lost strength after not doing such work for 7 1/2 years,” but flashed a smile as he watched the cattle graze.
Sakuma took over running the ranch when he was just 20 years old. He successfully increased the number of cows and barns, and was raising a total of 129 dairy cattle before the nuclear crisis struck. He grew corn and grass to feed the cows, which he raised from when they were calves, and brought them up in a stress-less environment to produce large quantities of high quality milk. The cows were like members of the family and he used to ship the largest amount of raw milk among farmers in Fukushima Prefecture.
After the deadly quake struck on March 11, 2011, a tanker did not come to collect his milk the next day, forcing him to discard it. Dairy cattle can die if they are not milked and Sakuma thought that “cows sacrifice themselves to produce milk, and throwing it away is like wasting their lives.”
Everyone in the village was advised to evacuate on the night of March 14, 2011. Sakuma let his wife and child evacuate to Gunma Prefecture while he took shelter in the city of Fukushima with his parents. Ten of his cows were found dead when he returned on May 18.
Some 25 of his young cows were sent to a ranch in Hokkaido in June that year and the rest were shipped off to be culled for their meat following inspections. “People can evacuate, but cows have nowhere to escape,” the distressed farmer thought as he apologized to the cows.
Sakuma moved into a temporary housing complex in the town of Miharu in Fukushima Prefecture with his wife and child. He helped his friend’s civil engineering work while serving as a village assembly member, and waited for a chance to start farming again. Restrictions on shipments of milk were lifted in December 2016, half a year after the easing of the nuclear evacuation order. Sakuma rushed to prepare for the reopening of his dairy farm, such as repairing milking machines.
The excited farmer bought eight dairy cattle at an auction in Hokkaido on Sept. 11, exactly 7 1/2 years after the Fukushima disaster. Sakuma will check the level of radiation in the cows’ milk once a week, to accomplish his goal to ship milk for public sale from the beginning of next year. His future dream is to have 300 cows graze on his farm.
His wife gave birth to three more children while they lived as evacuees and this spring, the family moved into a new home he built in the place where their old home used to stand in the town of Katsurao. The father of four feels proud every time his eldest son Ryoji, 13, says he wants to “become a dairy farmer.”
Sakuma never once thought of shutting down his dairy farm. “I don’t want to be perceived as someone who quit in exchange for compensation. If I stop farming, I would feel like I have lost to these circumstances,” he stated. Sakuma has to repay a 100 million yen loan he took out to resume operations at his dairy farm and to work to eliminate damage caused by harmful rumors, as well as face many other challenges. “This is the point of no return,” said Sakuma, as he rolled up his sleeves to start his difficult journey.
(Japanese original by Rikka Teramachi, Fukushima Bureau)

September 24, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , | Leave a comment

‘Nuclear food referendum’: Taiwan’s softening of Fukushima ban under threat amid ballot calls

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10-Sep-2018 By Pearly Neo
Japan’s hopes that the Taiwan government will lift the current ban on foods from Fukushima and surrounding areas has hit another hurdle after Kuomintang, the largest opposition party in Taiwan, submitted a referendum request on what has been dubbed ‘anti-nuclear food’.
Read more at:

September 10, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , , | Leave a comment

Hong Kong partially lifts food safety restrictions imposed after nuclear disaster

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Food  from Japan to Hong Kong is now being imported under eased and  newly effective food safety protocols.

According to the Hong Kong Center for Food Safety (CFS), the 7-year-old order in response to the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster was recently amended. The CFS is a unit of Government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China.

The Fukushima disaster, a 2011 nuclear power plant failure stemming from a massive earthquake and tidal wave, caused Hong Kong to restrict food imports from that area and four other Japanese prefectures: Chiba, Gunma, Ibaraki and Tochigi.

Hong Kong recently completed a review of these risk management restrictions based on recent surveillance results and expert opinion from international organizations.

Based on that work, the new arrangement for import control on Japanese food went into effect on July 24.

In summary, import restrictions on food from Fukushima remain unchanged. Vegetables, fruits, milk, milk beverages, and dried milk from the other four prefectures are allowed to be imported with the condition that they are accompanied by both a radiation certificate and an exporter certificate issued by the Japanese authority.

The radiation certificate shows which of the four prefectures each consignment of products come from and attests that the radiation levels do not exceed standards set by the Codex Alimentarius.

Codex is a collection of internationally recognized standards, codes of practice, guidelines, and other recommendations relating to foods, food production, and food safety

According to the Codex, food is considered safe for human consumption if the radiation levels do not exceed those levels.

The exporter also must hold and produce exporter certificate which certifies the foods exported to Hong Kong by the exporter involved are fit for human consumption as far as radiological protection is concerned and are readily available for sale in Japan implying that the radiation levels do not exceed the Japanese standards which are more stringent than Codex levels.

Two levels of food safety clearance 

Two levels of gatekeeping are involved in the current arrangement. At the export level, the Japanese authority that issues the radiation certificates and exporter certificates must ensure that each consignment of those products do not come from Fukushima and attest that the radiation levels of the food products do not exceed the Codex levels as well as the more stringent Japanese levels.

At the import level, the Centre for Food Safety (CFS) will continue to conduct radiation tests on every consignment of food products imported from Japan. Food products can only enter the local market after radiation testing has been performed. The CFS will strengthen inspection and testing on vegetables, fruits, and milk products from the four prefectures. The radiation test results will continue to be updated on the CFS’s website every working day for public access.

Updates by the Center for Food Safety on its radiation testing of food imported have been available since March 16, 2011.

https://www.foodsafetynews.com/2018/08/hong-kong-partially-lifts-food-safety-restrictions-imposed-after-nuclear-disaster/

August 22, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , | Leave a comment

Estimates of highly radioactive cesium-rich microparticles released by Fukushima disaster

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August 14, 2018

Scientists have for the first time been able to estimate the amount of radioactive cesium-rich microparticles released by the disaster at the Fukushima power plant in 2011. This work, which will have significant health and environmental implications, is presented at the Goldschmidt geochemistry conference in Boston.
The flooding of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (FDNPP) after the disastrous earthquake on March 11 2011 caused the release of significant amounts of radioactive material, including cesium (Cs) isotopes 134Cs (half-life, 2 years) and 137Cs (half-life, 30 years). Initially scientists thought that all Cs was released in soluble form. Now however, they have realized that a part of the released Cs was in the form of glassy microparticles, formed at the time of the reactor meltdown; these particles were thrown over a wide area, but until now there has been no reliable estimate of how much radioactive cesium-rich microparticles was deposited in the surrounding area, and how this material was distributed.

Now a group of international scientists, led by Dr. Satoshi Utsunomiya (Associate Professor of Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan) has been able to give the first accurate estimates of the amount of the radioactive microparticles in the environment. This work describes the significance of the microparticles to current radiation levels, and provides fundamental data for a future re-evaluation of health risks from the highly radioactive microparticles which remain in the local environment.

“Most of the glassy microparticles are only a few microns in size, and were spread alongside the soluble cesium. The soluble cesium is generally bound to clay minerals after wet deposition, with the clay minerals also forming particles, so it was difficult to distinguish the cesium-rich microparticles from cesium absorbed on clay.” said Dr. Utsunomiya, “However, we realized that the cesium-rich microparticle has an extremely high radioactivity ~1011 Bq/g compared with the much lower radioactivity for cesium-sorbing clay particles, and this can be used to distinguish the two types. So we have established a novel procedure to quantify the cesium-rich microparticles by applying a quantitative autoradiography method”.

Autoradiography exposes a photographic film or detector to a radioactive source, which causes the radiation to show up on the film (medical X-rays is the most common autoradiography technique). The team determined the threshold radioactivity for Cs-rich microparticles in the sieved fraction based on the relation between photostimulated luminescence signal and radioactivity. They applied this method to soil samples from 20 affected areas.

Dr. Utsunomiya continued “In certain areas, these glassy particles are highly concentrated, so they are a major concern. We have found up to 318 of these particles in just 1 gram of soil, near the Fukushima Daiichi power plant. Most of these particles are still in the ambient environments, indicating the high stability.

Since the Fukushima accident we have been gradually coming to understand how the microparticles were distributed, and what this might mean to health and the environment. As you would expect, there are more radioactive particles nearer the reactor: we believe that there was a proportion of cesium released as soluble material, but we have found that the area south of the reactor contains a higher proportion of glassy particles. Our estimate is that around 78% of radioactive cesium was released as glassy particles. Many of the microparticles have been washed down from roofs and from plants, and have now gathered in radioactive hot spots.

Now that we have a better idea of the quantities involved and how the radiation has been distributed, it gives our team a better idea of how to approach the effect on health, which is obviously a major concern. This work does not imply that there is any additional radiation which has been missed—the total amount of cesium released at Fukushima remains the same. However, the glassy particles have concentrated the radiation, which means that there is still much new work to be done to understand how this concentrated radiation might affect health”

Commenting on the work, Dr. Ken Buesseler (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution) said:

“The idea of microparticles has not been ‘missed’ in the assessment of total cesium levels in soil after Fukushima; it has been included, although this work highlights the fraction found in cesium microparticles. So we shouldn’t think that there is additional radiation to worry about, but nevertheless in this highly concentrated form it may have different health impacts. These researchers have done a fine job of developing new tools to quantify these microparticles, and that is an important story to tell”

More information: Ryohei Ikehara et al. Novel Method of Quantifying Radioactive Cesium-Rich Microparticles (CsMPs) in the Environment from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, Environmental Science & Technology (2018). DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.7b06693

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2018-08-reliable-highly-radioactive-cesium-rich-microparticles.html#jCp

August 17, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , | Leave a comment

California’s Wildfires and Nuclear Radiation – – A Personal Story

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August 7, 2018
When I purchased a commonly available radiation detector right after the Fukushima disaster in 2011 I never would have dreamed how it would impact the way I saw the world. Since then I would periodically test the level of radioactivity around my home here in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. Nothing was ever out of the ordinary, and my own readings were generally in the 30 to 50 counts per minute (cpm) range. Perfectly safe, or so I thought.
That all changed this Spring, when by chance I happened to remember that testing on an air filter could show the presence of “hot” particles. Since I happened to own two air cleaners with HEPA air filters, I got out my detector and laid it down on one of the HEPA filters. Immediately the detector went into a wild frenzy of clicking punctuated by the flashing of the red light each time it was bombarded by ionizing radiation. Thinking something had to be wrong, I tried again only to have the same result. I tried again on the other air cleaner and found an even higher result of over 800 cpm.
Since I had at that time been working with Akio for about a year, and had been introduced to several of his nuclear experts by email, I reached out to them asking what could possibly be causing this disturbing result. All agreed this was a high result, and the prime suspect was radon gas. Radon gas is common in this area, and can be threat to health. I promptly obtained test kits for my indoor air and well water, sent them in, and within a week I had the results – – all completely negative. At this point, concerned for the health of my family, I began testing everything I could think of to try to determine the source. Floor tiles, countertops and a few other things registered higher than the ambient level, but I was assured that this wouldn’t contribute more than about 30 cpm to the total.
After about a week or so, I remembered reading that many years after the Chernobyl disaster, people living there who heated their homes with wood, like we do, released radiation into the atmosphere once again in the burning process. We have two woodstoves in our home, one large one in the living room and a smaller one in the master bedroom. Since the fine particulate material of the ash might contaminate my detector, I laid down some sheets of paper towels on the ash below the stove in the bedroom, and switched the detector on. Immediately it registered far higher than ambient levels and beyond. Same in the living room. Same at a neighbor’s house. The source apparently was the fire wood – – mostly cut on my own land. Most of my neighbors heat with wood too, at least as a backup. Wood smoke, as I was well-aware, is composed of extremely small particulates that are easily breathed into the body and absorbed.
The implications of this discovery were disturbing. There were radioactive particles in the air that we were all breathing, apparently in large quantities. These particles had apparently been bio-accumulating in the woods around my home for many years, and were re-suspended when burned.
I immediately began monitoring my indoor air regularly, and took a reading on the HEPA filters whenever I could, generally hourly when I was home. Since the level of radiation was much lower without wood smoke indoors, I decided to put one air cleaner outdoors and leave the other indoors. I got out a fresh legal tablet and started a protocol where I would take a reading on each filter, take a picture of the result on my radiation detector with my smartphone, and write down the results. This quickly showed that there was not a much difference between the readings indoors or outdoors.
What I did not know at this point was if this was a localized problem, or whether it was more widespread. With fire season approaching, I abandoned taking two readings, and focused on carefully taking readings outdoors, recording them, and taking a picture of the sky when smoke or clouds were present. Knowing that a fire event was likely going to happen in the upcoming months, I wanted to be ready to see if smoke from wildfires outdoors would result in similar levels of radioactive particles as I had found indoors.
I never could have suspected that the wildfires in California would be as epic as they have been this year. We live in an area vulnerable to fires, and we take them seriously. We had been evacuated in 2014 as a fire approached to within a half mile of our home driven by strong winds, and were only saved by a massive air attack from a virtual fleet of air tankers lined up dropping water and fire retardant. This left a deep impression on us. My stepson has since become a fireman, and has just returned from a deployment to several fires, and after nursing an injury and getting clearance from his doctor, will be back on the fire lines.
As horrific as this season’s fires have been so far, with all the destruction of homes and loss of lives, what disturbs me most is what I have just recorded in my logs, photos and readings. At the peak of the fires and smoke just a few days ago, the readings were significantly higher – – and not by just a little. I recorded a peak reading of 1,333 cpm on the morning of July 31st, and had multiple readings above 1,000 cpm during that period. And, none of the fires is even close to us this time. The likely source of much of the smoke here is a fire near Yosemite National Park, over a hundred miles away. I suspect heavier concentrations of smoke would yield higher results.
Has the vast bulk of the 40 million population of California just been unknowingly exposed to high concentrations of radioactive particles? What are the constituents of these particles? How hazardous are they? It was recently widely reported that radiation from Fukushima, in the form of Cesium-137, was detected in small quantities in California wines. There can be little doubt that Cesium-137 from Fukushima has also been absorbed by all the vegetation here, and when burned, is re-released.
This situation cries out for serious study. I have no experience or academic training in this field. There may well be alternative explanations. I can see from what I have recorded that there are nuances and variances over the course of the day that probably reflect complex processes. All I know is that what we have been breathing shows indications of being contaminated with radioactive particles. It is strongly implied that this radioactivity has been silently concentrating in the plants around us, and is presumably in the food we eat, and in what we drink as well.
If that is correct, this is a situation far worse than we have ever been told. It is likely a global problem, as the exotic and unnatural particles that never existed on this planet previously until the dawning of the nuclear age have now found their way into the air, the oceans, and every living thing. With California on fire, my hope is for all of us to burn away our own complacency, and reignite our own passion to serve life itself in each moment. We can all do something to help according to our abilities, as Akio has selflessly done for many years using his gifts in bringing together international leaders for important common goals. Time is short, and the problem is measured in lifetimes. And potentially for some of us, shortened lifetimes at that.
 
Gregg Lien is an environmental and land use attorney practicing at Lake Tahoe in California. He is a former prosecutor, and was a former assistant county counsel specializing in land use issues before moving to Lake Tahoe in 1980. He was a participant in the first Presidential Summit on the Environment, hosted by then President Clinton and Vice-President Al Gore, and has been interviewed over the years in various media, including National Public Radio. He has been a frequent participant in regulatory negotiations and battles over resources in the Sierras. He lives with his wife, Heidi, and whichever of their children needs a place to stay now that the youngest has turned 18. He is fascinated by electronics and has a collection of meters and gadgets for his amateur radio and musical hobbies, some of which are actually useful in practical application – – or so he claims.

August 17, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , | 1 Comment

Fukushima Prefecture as if nothing has happened

Fukushima Pref. beach opens to swimmers for 1st time after tsunami, nuclear disasters

 

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Children play at Haragamaobama Beach, which opened for swimmers for the first time in eight years in the city of Soma, Fukushima Prefecture, on July 21.
July 21, 2018
SOMA, Fukushima — Haragamaobama Beach here was opened to swimmers on July 21 for the first time in eight years after the area was struck in March 2011 by a massive tsunami following the Great East Japan Earthquake.
The beach is the first in the northern part of the prefecture to reopen after the disaster. Three beaches earlier opened in the southern city of Iwaki.
Haragamaobama Beach attracted about 56,500 people in 2010. However, 207 people in the area died in the March 11, 2011 disaster, and the tsunami littered the beach with debris.
The beach is about 45 kilometers away from the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant, which was struck by meltdowns following the quake and tsunami. The city has not found any detectable levels of radioactive substances in seawater quality tests it started in 2016. It reopened the beach after preparing tsunami evacuation routes.
Sayaka Mori, 29, a nursing care worker in the northern prefectural city of Minamisoma, came to the beach with her 3-year-old daughter and played at the water’s edge. “I grew up at my home in front of the sea. It was natural to play at the beach. I want my child to know the delight of playing in the sea,” she said.

Only 24 of 70 beaches reopen to public since 2011 tsunami

 

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A family plays on Hirota public beach in Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture, on July 20.
July 20, 2018
RIKUZENTAKATA, Iwate Prefecture–A public beach officially opened here July 20 for the first time in eight years, underscoring the destruction of sites along the Tohoku coast that bore the initial brunt of the 2011 tsunami.
Hirota beach in Rikuzentakata, a city that was devastated in the disaster, is one of 24 beaches that will be officially open to the public this summer in the prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima.
That figure is only about a third of the 70 that were available before the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami struck the Tohoku region on March 11, 2011.
Miho Mitsui, who lives in Rikuzentakata’s Hirotacho district, visited Hirota beach with her two young daughters on the morning of July 20.
“Until this year, we were disappointed at being unable to go into the sea, especially with the water so clear,” the 28-year-old homemaker said. “I want to come here every day.”
Before the 2011 disaster, Hirota and the city’s other public beach, Takata Matsubara, were key parts of social life among the locals.
Takata Matsubara beach became known as the site where a pine forest was wiped out by the tsunami, leaving only one “miracle pine tree” standing. The tree has since died, and the city is still trying to restore sand at the beach, which is still not officially open to the public.
For “officially opened” beaches, municipal governments and other operators provide maintenance and other care, check the water quality to ensure safety, and operate necessary facilities.
But at some of the sites in the Tohoku region, the beaches have essentially disappeared.
In the village of Tanohata, Iwate Prefecture, more than 100 kilometers north of Rikuzentakata, the two public beaches have been closed to the public over the past eight years for the construction of seawalls.
Tanohata Mayor Hiroshi Ishihara decided to use the Tsukuehama beach as a temporary public beach from July 26, saying it is “undesirable to deprive children, who live in the coastal village, of the experience of swimming in the sea.”
Haragamaobama beach in Soma, Fukushima Prefecture, about 40 kilometers north of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, is also scheduled to reopen for the first time in eight years on July 21.
But south of the nuclear plant, in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, the city government in May decided that Kattsuo beach could no longer be considered a public beach. Much of the sandy area of the beach disappeared in plate movements caused by the offshore earthquake as well as the construction of seawalls.
Nobiru beach and the surrounding area in Higashi-Matsushima, Miyagi Prefecture, will remain closed for now.
A city government official said the beach area will reopen once “escape routes are set up (for possible future tsunami).”
The Iwate prefectural government has set up a technical review committee to explore the feasibility of restoring sand at Negishi beach in Kamaishi and Namiita beach in Otsuchi that were hit hard by the tsunami.

July 23, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima’s nuclear signature found in California wine

The Japanese nuclear disaster bathed north America in a radioactive cloud. Now pharmacologists have found the telltale signature in California wine made at the time.
Throughout the 1950s, the US, the Soviet Union, and others tested thermonuclear weapons in the Earth’s atmosphere. Those tests released vast quantities of radioactive material into the air and triggered fears that the nuclear reactions could ignite deuterium in the oceans, thereby destroying the planet in a catastrophic accidental fireball.
Atmospheric tests ended in 1980, when China finished its program, but the process has left a long-lasting nuclear signature on the planet. One of the most obvious signatures is cesium-137, a radioactive by-product of the fission of uranium-235.
After release into the atmosphere, cesium-137 was swept around the world and found its way into the food supply in trace quantities. Such an addition is rarely welcomed. But in 2001, the French pharmacologist Philippe Hubert discovered that he could use this signature to date wines without opening the bottles.
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The technique immediately became a useful weapon in the fight against wine fraud—labeling young wines as older vintages to inflate their price. Such fraud can be spotted by various types of chemical and isotope analysis—but only after the wine has been opened, which destroys its value.
Cesium-137, on the other hand, allows noninvasive testing because it is radioactive. It produces distinctive gamma rays in proportion to the amount of isotope present. Dating the wine is a simple process of matching the amount of cesium-137 to atmospheric records from the time the wine was made. That quickly reveals any fraud. Indeed, if there is no cesium-137, the wine must date from after 1980.
There is one blip in this record, though. The Chernobyl disaster in 1986 bathed much of Europe, and other parts of the world, in a radioactive cloud that increased atmospheric levels of cesium-137 again. Hubert and colleagues can see this blip in their data from wines.
And that raises an interesting question about the Fukushima disaster of 2011, an accident of Chernobyl proportions caused by a meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan following a huge earthquake and tsunami. It released a radioactive cloud that bathed North America in fissile by-products.
Is it possible to see the effects of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in California wines produced at the time?
Today we get an answer, thanks to a study carried out by Hubert and a couple of colleagues. “In January 2017, we came across a series of Californian wines (Cabernet Sauvignon) from vintage 2009 to 2012,” say Hubert and company.
This set of wines provides the perfect test. The Fukushima disaster occurred on March 11, 2011. Any wine made before that date should be free of the effects, while any dating from afterward could show them.
The team began their study with the conventional measurement of cesium-137 levels in the unopened bottles. That showed levels to be indistinguishable from background noise.
But the team was able to carry out more-sensitive tests by opening the wine and reducing it to ash by evaporation. This involves heating the wine to 100 degrees Celsius for one hour and then increasing the temperature to 500 degrees Celsius for eight hours. In this way, a standard 750-milliliter bottle of wine produces around four grams of ashes. The ashes were then placed in a gamma ray detector to look for signs of cesium-137.
Using this method, Hubert and his colleagues found measurable amounts of cesium-137 above background levels in the wine produced after 2011. “It seems there is an increase in activity in 2011 by a factor of two,” conclude the team.
That probably won’t be very useful for fraud detection in California wine—the levels of cesium-137 are barely detectable, and even then, only if the wine is destroyed.
But the result does show how nuclear disasters can have unexpected consequences long after the fact.
Ref: arxiv.org/abs/1807.04340 : Dating of Wines with Cesium-137: Fukushima’s Imprint

July 20, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , | 1 Comment

Study: Cesium from Fukushima flowed to Tokyo Bay for 5 years

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A photograph taken from an Asahi Shimbun helicopter shows the Edogawa river emptying into Tokyo Bay.
 
June 7, 2018
Radioactive cesium from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant continued to flow into Tokyo Bay for five years after the disaster unfolded in March 2011, according to a researcher.
Hideo Yamazaki, a former professor of environmental analysis at Kinki University, led the study on hazardous materials that spewed from the nuclear plant after it was hit by the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011.
Five months after disaster caused the triple meltdown at the plant, Yamazaki detected 20,100 becquerels of cesium per square meter in mud collected at the mouth of the Kyu-Edogawa river, which empties into Tokyo Bay.
In July 2016, the study team detected a maximum 104,000 becquerels of cesium per square meter from mud collected in the same area of the bay, Yamazaki said.
He said cesium released in the early stages of the Fukushima disaster remained on the ground upstream of the river, such as in Chiba Prefecture. The radioactive substances were eventually washed into the river and carried to Tokyo Bay, where they accumulated in the mud, he said.
On a per kilogram basis, the maximum level of radioactivity of cesium detected in mud that was dried in the July 2016 study was 350 becquerels.
The government says soil with 8,000 becquerels or lower of radioactive cesium per kilogram can be used in road construction and other purposes.
The amount of radioactive cesium in fish in Tokyo remains lower than 100 becquerels per kilogram, the national safety standard for consumption.

June 7, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , | Leave a comment

Intensive campaign from Japanese diplomats to push other countries to lift their ban on Japanese contaminated produce

they say that food
Japan requests Hong Kong to lift ban on food from Fukushima, vicinity
March 25, 2018
HONG KONG (Kyodo) — Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono met with Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam on Sunday and requested the territory lift a ban on imports of agricultural products from Japanese prefectures near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
 
Hong Kong has banned imports of fruit and vegetables from Fukushima Prefecture and four surrounding prefectures, citing the nuclear disaster at the plant triggered by a massive earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.
 
The Japanese government hopes to enhance economic ties with the territory by paving the way for Hong Kong to lift the import ban. Tokyo also hopes Hong Kong’s action would lead China to relax similar restrictions, as Beijing has banned food imports from 10 Japanese prefectures.
 
Kono and Lam also affirmed cooperation in preventing North Korea from evading sanctions through ship-to-ship cargo transfers in international waters.
 
A Hong Kong-flagged vessel is believed to have secretly transferred oil to a North Korean vessel in October in a ship-to-ship transfer prohibited by the U.N. Security Council.
 
It is the first time in 21 years that a Japanese foreign minister has visited Hong Kong apart from international conferences. During their meeting, Kono and Lam also agreed to accelerate cooperation on tourism.
 

March 25, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , | Leave a comment

Amount of food with radioactive cesium exceeding gov’t standards ‘dropping’, so they claim

So they say…..But why should we believe such study coming from the Japanese Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry research team to be true? Especially when we know that their main policy has been a constant denial of the existing risks for the past 7 years…..
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March 22, 2018
The number of cases in which radioactive cesium exceeding Japanese government standards was found in food items dropped to less than 20 percent over a five-year period from fiscal 2012, a health ministry study has found.
 
The government standards for radioactive cesium came into effect in April 2012, which assumed that half of distributed food products contained the radioactive element generated by the 2011 disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant. It is set at 100 becquerels per kilogram for common food items, 50 becquerels per kilogram for baby food and cow milk and 10 becquerels for drinking water.
 
Based on central government guidelines, 17 prefectural governments, counting Tokyo, check food products in which radioactive cesium is likely to be detected, including items that have been distributed, for the radioactive element. Other local governments have also been independently inspecting such food products to confirm their safety. A Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry research team analyzed data compiled by local governments, excluding that of beef, which has an extremely low detection rate for cesium, as well as products that go through bag-by-bag inspections such as rice from Fukushima Prefecture.
 
As a result, the number of cases that exceeded the threshold set under the Food Sanitation Act totaled 2,359 of 91,547 food products inspected in fiscal 2012. In fiscal 2013, it was 1,025 out of 90,824 products, 565 out of 79,067 in fiscal 2014, 291 out of 66,663 in fiscal 2015 and 460 out of 63,121 in fiscal 2016.
 
Broken down by categories, 641 cases of food items among agricultural produce were found to have exceeded the government standards for radioactive cesium and 1,072 cases were detected among fishery products in fiscal 2012, but the figure had dropped to 71 and 11, respectively, in fiscal 2016. For fishery products, this is believed to be attributed to the reduction of cesium concentration in the seawater as the element had diffused in the ocean. It is also believed that the concentration in agricultural items had dropped as a result of decontamination work and other efforts.
 
At the same time, the number of cases exceeding national standards totaled 493 for game meat in fiscal 2012, and 378 in fiscal 2016. Researchers suspect that because wild animals continue to feed on wild mushrooms and plants with high concentrations of radioactive cesium growing in forests that have not been decontaminated, the figure does not drop among game meat products.
Almost all the foods that exceeded the government standards for radioactive cesium had not been available to consumers as the contamination was detected during inspections before being shipped to markets. However, Akiko Hachisuka of the National Institute of Health Sciences Biochemistry Division who headed the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry research team says game meat and wild mushrooms need to be prioritized in inspections for the time being and also in the future.
 
Among wild mushrooms and other products that had been distributed to markets, 19 cases exceeding government standards were reported in fiscal 2012, seven in fiscal 2013, 11 in fiscal 2014, 12 in fiscal 2015 and 10 in fiscal 2016.
 

March 22, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , , , , | Leave a comment