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Fukushima persimmons to be presented to Pope

Wanting to use the Pope visit to slyly promote contaminated food….
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November 21, 2019
A Japanese Catholic from Fukushima Prefecture plans to present local specialty persimmons to Pope Francis during his visit to Japan from Saturday.
Chuichi Ozawa from Koriyama City has been granted an audience with the pontiff next week.
As a member of the Koriyama Catholic Church, Ozawa has worked to support people affected by the 2011 earthquake and Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident.
Ozawa proposed presenting Aizu-mishirazu persimmons to the Pope to help dispel concerns about the safety of Fukushima produce due to the accident.
The Vatican Embassy in Tokyo accepted the offer.
The persimmons are known for their creamy texture and refreshing sweetness.
Ozawa visited a farmer in the Aizu region on Thursday and received more than 50 persimmons specially chosen for their colors and shapes.
He plans to bring the fruit to the embassy on Friday.
Ozawa says if the Pope eats the persimmons, it will lift the spirits of Fukushima farmers.

November 25, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

Dangerous radioactive hot particles span the globe

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November 17, 2019

Citizen scientists are uncovering risks that governments would rather cover up

By Cindy Folkers

When reactors exploded and melted down at the Fukushima nuclear power complex in March 2011, they launched radioactivity from their ruined cores into the unprotected environment.  Some of this toxic radioactivity was in the form of hot particles (radioactive microparticles) that congealed and became airborne by attaching to dusts and traveling great distances.

However, the Fukushima disaster is only the most recent example of atomic power and nuclear weapons sites creating and spreading these microparticles. Prior occurrences include various U.S. weapons sites and the ruined Chernobyl reactor. While government and industry cover up this hazard, community volunteer citizen science efforts – collaborations between scientists and community volunteers – are tracking the problem to raise awareness of its tremendous danger in Japan and across the globe.

After the Fukushima nuclear disaster began, one highly radioactive specimen, a particle small enough to inhale or ingest, was found in a private home where it should not have been, hundreds of miles from its source, in a vacuum cleaner bag containing simple house dust.

This “high activity radioactively-hot dust particle” came from a house in Nagoya, Japan – after it had traveled 270 miles from Fukushima. The only radioactive particle found in the home’s vacuum cleaner bag, it was an unimaginably minuscule part of the ruined radioactive core material from Fukushima – many times smaller than the width of a human hair. We know it came from Fukushima because it contained cesium-134, meaning that the particle came from a recent release, and we know it is a piece of core material specifically because it was so radioactive that it could not have come from any other material.

 

nagoya-hot-particle.png(Image courtesy of Arnie Gundersen/Fairewinds)

Most of the particle’s radioactivity came from cesium-134 and cesium-137. By the time it was collected, some of the particle’s radioactivity, mostly from iodine-131, had already decayed. Named “corium” by scientists, it was still thousands of times more radioactive (5,200,000,000,000,000 disintegrations per second per kilogram — that’s 5.2 quadrillion more than the average activity (26,000 disintegrations per second per kilogram) found in dust and soil samples collected through community volunteer efforts from across Japan — with a focus on areas around Fukushima — since the 2011 nuclear disaster began. By way of comparison, in the U.S., average soil and dust activity is thousands of times lower.

Due to privacy concerns, we are not permitted to know the identities of the Nagoya residents who participated in the dust sampling collection and in whose home the particle was found. Nor do we know how many people lived in the home; if there were children or babies present; or pets; or pregnant women. And we will never know if there were any other radioactive microparticles in the home that did not make it into that vacuum cleaner bag.

We do not know how the particle got there. No one in the home (nor the vacuum cleaner) had any connection to the Fukushima reactors or the exclusion zone. Was the particle transported by a car tire into their city? On someone’s shoes? Did it fly in through a window after being lofted by air currents? Did it arrive by a combination of forces? We do not know if other particles like this travelled just as far in all directions, or who may have taken a breath at just the wrong moment, so that a similar microparticle might be lodged in their lungs.

We do know the residents in Nagoya were notified about the particle’s presence, and that if it had been inhaled or ingested, it could have proven lethal over time. This corium particle would have destroyed tissue near it, potentially threatening the function of any organ that tissue was part of. But the particle’s additional danger would come from what it didn’t destroy – that is tissue that is damaged but survives and can go on to mutate into cancer or non-cancer diseases.

 

fukushima-nagoya-map.pngA map showing the distance between Nagoya, where the radioactive “hot particle” was found, and Fukushima.

We also know that had scientists and citizens not worked together to collect samples, we would never have known a microparticle of corium existed at all at a distance so far away from the Fukushima meltdowns. If the presence of this particle – and its potential for inhalation – had gone unnoticed, any calculations of the doses to residents of this home would have been significantly underestimated. And while the Nagoya particle may simply be an outlier, it shows how inaccurate radiation risk assessment has turned out to be.  All of these microparticles, even ones less radioactive, may pose significant health risks inside the body that are currently uncalculated.

Citizen and scientists collaborations show us that radioactive microparticles are a worldwide problem. Yet action by public health advocates and government officials has been slow to nonexistent in recognizing this danger, much less working to protect people against exposure from it. Detecting radioactive microparticles is extremely difficult, in part because detecting them and proving their danger requires specialized techniques and equipment. But this is no excuse for governments to ignore the problem altogether as they continue to do. When experts tell us what our risks are from radiation exposure, risks from these microparticles remain unaccounted for in every country in the world.  Speculation swirls around these particles and whether the rapid-onset cancers occurring in Japan are possibly due to their presence.

Radioactive particles across the globe

Collections of various samples (home air filters, vehicle engine intake filters, soils, samples of dust from vacuum cleaner bags) have revealed radioactive microparticles from Fukushima made it as far as Seattle, WA and Portland, OR in the U.S.,and to the Western coast of Canada.

Not surprisingly, microparticles in Japan were much more radioactive than those that made their way to the U.S. and contained more varied radioisotopes, thus posing a much greater health risk. In the case of some filters in Japan, contamination was high enough to be classified as “radioactive waste.”

In addition to catastrophic releases from nuclear power facilities, these particles come from atomic detonations, other nuclear industry processes such as mining and atomic fuel fabrication, and nuclear facility releases of radioactivity, as well as leaking atomic waste dumps. Nuclear workers, First Nations Tribes, and local residents have submitted samples for testing around such facilities. Particles have been detected in the environment and in house dusts in communities around weapons facilities in Los Alamos, NM; Hanford, WA; and Rocky Flats, CO. Thorium, plutonium, and uranium from nuclear facilities were found “outside of radiation protection zones,” including workplaces, workers’ homes and cars. “Given the small respirable size of these radioactive microparticles, they are a potential source of internal exposure from inhalation or ingestion,” according to Dr. Marco Kaltofen of Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

 

rad-shrine.jpgA traditional sacred Japanese shrine, whose backdrop is covered bags of radioactively contaminated soil. (Photo courtesy of Arnie Gundersen/Fairewinds)

In some cases, radioactive particle releases can be higher from nuclear power catastrophes than disasters at atomic bomb facilities. In 1986, Chernobyl also released radioactive particles that still contaminate the environment today. . Forest fires are spreading them further. Current community volunteer citizen science efforts are underway in the environs of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL) – a former reactor test site adjacent to Simi Valley, CA – and the site of several unanticipated and unmonitored nuclear releases, a meltdown, and the November 2018 Woolsey forest fire.

Similar work is being carried out in Pike County, OH, host to a uranium enrichment facility for military and civilian nuclear reactors that has spread radioactive contamination to a nearby middle school, the grounds of which have now been quarantined. The U.S. Department of Energy hid the school contamination for two years, prompting public outrage and calls for health investigations into the high incidence of local childhood disease.

Ignoring danger to human health, environment

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) currently has an existing 10-mile emergency planning radius around commercial nuclear power reactors, a zone the NRC does not place around other nuclear facilities. This 10-mile zone is not large enough to account for exposures that often occur well outside of it.

While the NRC is aware of the radioactive microparticle threat, its dose models fail to provide the extensive, detailed calculations required to actually protect anyone working at or living near these sites. Since radioactive microparticles remain a threat for generations after a catastrophe begins, the NRC should account for continuing exposure to communities and their people for the decades or centuries it takes for such materials to be safe for human or animal exposure.

The author wishes to thank Arnie and Maggie Gundersen at Fairewinds Energy Education for technical and editorial input. Cindy Folkers is the radiation and health specialist at Beyond Nuclear.

Headline photo: “3S0578” by Billy and Lynn is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

https://beyondnuclearinternational.org/2019/11/17/dangerous-radioactive-hot-particles-span-the-globe/?fbclid=IwAR1f6xoC-X36Om7p6anCTPHz9DPeqjcZtP5NX2LYweMyUS3fjnIS1mAB1FA

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November 19, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , | Leave a comment

Hotspots in East Tokyo’s Mizumoto Park

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November 12, 2019
The soil of 12 out of 29 spots in Mizumoto Park (Katsushika-ward, Tokyo city) recorded more than 8000 Bq/kg of radioactive cesium. The highest measurement was over 42,000 Bq/kg.
水元公園かわせみの里残土 地図 Sample115
Here is another measurement data of the highest spot in the Park, which was recorded by a local volunteer in March 2019.

November 19, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

S. Korea, Russia agree to put radiation detectors on ferries

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November 08, 2019
SEOUL, Nov. 8 (Yonhap) — South Korea and Russia have agreed to put radiation detectors on the passenger ships that ply between the countries, Seoul’s foreign ministry said Friday, an apparent move to enhance their watch against Japan’s planned release of radiation-contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean.
The agreement came at the 14th meeting of the South Korea-Russia Joint Committee on Environment Cooperation held in Seoul on Thursday.
“It is aimed at enhancing the countries’ monitoring of radioactive materials,” the ministry said.
The move comes as Japan is widely expected to soon begin dumping waste water from its nuclear power plant in Fukushima, whose reactors experienced catastrophic meltdown in 2011.
Tokyo claims the radiation-contaminated water will have little or no effect on the environment as it will be discharged after being thoroughly treated.
Seoul has strongly opposed the plan, insisting it may destroy the entire ecosystem in the region.
South Korea currently bans any fishery and agricultural products from Fukushima and adjacent areas, and is checking nearly all food imports from Japan for radiation.
As of end-August, about 5 tons of Japanese food imports have been rejected or destroyed due to possible radiation contamination, the government said earlier.

November 19, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , | Leave a comment

Citizens’ group in Fukushima puts out radiation map in English

nov 3 2019.jpgThe cover of “Citizens’ Radiation Data Map of Japan” (Provided by Minna-No Data Site)

November 3, 2019

FUKUSHIMA—A citizens’ group here has released an English radiation-level map for eastern Japan created with input from 4,000 volunteers in response to requests from abroad ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.

“We want people outside Japan to understand the reality of radioactive contamination following the nuclear accident,” said Nahoko Nakamura, a representative of Minna-No Data Site (Everyone’s Data Site), which published the map.

The Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant experienced a triple meltdown in March 2011 after a tsunami knocked out its cooling systems during the Great East Japan Earthquake.

Titled “Citizens’ Radiation Data Map of Japan,” the 16-page booklet summarizes the content of the original Japanese map, released in November last year. It also shows projected declines in radiation levels by 2041.

The Japanese version was based on results of land contamination surveys conducted over three years at the request of Everyone’s Data Site.

About 4,000 volunteers took soil samples at 3,400 locations in 17 prefectures in eastern Japan, including Fukushima and Tokyo, and measured radiation levels. The map was compiled with advice from experts.

The group raised 6.23 million yen ($57,500) from 1,288 individuals through a crowdfunding campaign. So far, 15,000 copies have been sold.

Nakamura said the group decided to produce an English version after it received inquiries about the Japanese map from researchers and others overseas in the run-up to the Tokyo Olympics.

Everyone’s Data Site spent about four months creating the English map, working through e-mail and online chats with five volunteer translators overseas, including an American and a Canadian.

The English edition sells for 500 yen, excluding tax. For more information, contact Everyone’s Data Site at (minnanods@gmail.com).

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201911030001.html

November 4, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima is not safe for 2020 Olympics, nuclear scientists warn

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October 30, 2019

Would Russia hold the 1994 Olympics at Chernobyl, the site of the 1986 meltdown? Only 8-years later, do we really think it’s safe to hold the Olympics on Fukushima soil? What would common sense tell us?

But these are very dark times.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC), the Japanese government, and most news media have ignored the risks one of the worst nuclear disasters in world history: the 2011 Fukushima power plant meltdown.

For years afterward, the Japanese government struggled what to do with millions of gallons of contaminated water and tens of thousands of Japanese refugees. Instead of safer measures, they chose the cheapest solution, spinning the truth in favor of profit and national image over human life.

Scientists warned that almost everything on land is contaminated, and this may include Tokyo which sits 100 kilometers from Fukushima.

Radiation levels may beyond what is safe for humans

According to 60 Minutes Australia, many experts are asking for the Fukushima Olympics to be canceled due to radioactive contamination. Yet, when The Washington Post ran an article on the struggles Fukushima and the residents are facing, there is no mention of what dangers Olympians and spectators may face in an area that has radiation levels way beyond what is safe for humans. Such high levels are likely to continue for decades to come.

In fact, in that same article, Simon Denyer wrote that when it rains, the water itself is radioactive. Residents feel forced by the Japanese government to return, as the government cuts pensions if residents refuse, essentially forcing them and their children for increased risk of cancer and other health problems. Childhood cancer is increasing in the affected zones, Denyer reports.

Why the silence? Where is the IOC? Is it okay for athletes and spectators to spend two weeks in a radioactive zone so that the Japanese government can make everyone forget that radiation exposure is no big deal? Such wouldn’t have to do with money over human life would it? Where is the U.S. news media that often looks for just a big story like this to crack? Why the silence?

As for Japan, what choice does it have but to move forward and accept that almost its entire population is inevitably exposed to radiation.

This is not something they can fix, so the government must reinvent Fukushima as a safe and wonderful place, a place where one can eat the vegetables and fruits from Fukushima, and they can live there healthy and happy. What better way than to repackage horrible facts with a new Fukushima, a safer, healthier one? However, they will have to force their residents to come back in order to seal such a wonderful myth.

Smelling a Nuclear Rat?

Dahr Jamail interviewed Arnie Gunderson that oversaw dozens of nuclear power plant projects in the United States. He faults the Japanese government and the nuclear power plant industry in pushing residents to go back to Fukushima before the 2020 Games. Even more surprising is that the IOC is also, according to Jamail, making very light over the known toxicity of Fukushima where the softball and baseball events will be played. Denyer, however, verified that six total events will take place in Fukushima. Gunderson, with 45 years’ experience with nuclear energy companies says that the goal is profit and that public health is not being considered.

Thyroid cancer, Jamail writes, already is increasing within the 310-mile radius of the disaster, and instances of cancer among children is increasing as well.  In fact, the radiation is not decreasing but increasing at the power plants. Dr. Tadahiro Katsuta of Meiji University in Japan makes the Japanese motive clear: the Japanese government is putting its public image and money over the lives of its citizens. The Japanese government is also putting international athletes and citizens at risk with little regard for their health and safety.

Reporters Dave Zirin and Jules Boykoff went through Fukushima with a radioactive tester. They noted that a reading over 0.23 is seen as unsafe for humans. As they neared the Fukushima Daiichi Unit 1 reactor, the needle read 3.77. The Olympic torch is scheduled to pass near this area.

Who Works in Radioactive Zones without Protection? Athletes and Migrant Workers

They witnessed in Fukushima workers without protective suits putting contaminated soil in black plastic bags and piling them in “pyramids.” While some agencies dispute how dangerous Fukushima is, what is clear is that the Japanese government raised the exposure benchmark for radiation from 1mSV a year to 20 MSV per year, the reporters noted. As an international journalist based in Japan stated, the Japanese government is pushing “propaganda over truth.” The IOC seems happy to play along.

Tens of thousands of Japanese refugees are still displaced and not willing to go back. The question is why wouldn’t people back to their homes, many of which whose families lived there for generations, if it were safe? Why would the IOC be so willing to host the games at a questionable site, even if such posed the slightest risks to athletes?

It does not take a nuclear engineer or scientist to understand that radiation contamination lasts for many years. Why build Olympic venues eight years after that very place had a nuclear disaster? Isn’t such a push egregious, irresponsible, and shameful? Common sense would tell any organizer of any event that such an event should not be placed in areas that could potentially put people at risk.

It’s time to hold the Japanese government and the IOC responsible for their hasty and reckless push to ignore the risks facing displaced citizens, spectators, and athletes and demand that the games be postponed and moved from Fukushima.

These are indeed dark times, where governments and their ties to corporate interests spin truths and make fictions that all of us would like to be real, but sadly money is always at the end of this contaminated rainbow. In the years to come, when the cancer cases mount, these same organizations and governments will pretend they knew nothing. Let’s all remember that.

https://baltimorepostexaminer.com/fukushima-is-not-safe-for-2020-olympics-nuclear-scientists-warn/2019/10/30

November 4, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

Warning on Fukushima fallout for Tokyo 2020 Olympians

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International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons co-founder Tilman Ruff.
October 29, 2019
The Australian Olympic Committee has been urged to inform its athletes and team members about the ongoing health effects of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear ­reactor disaster for those attending the 2020 Tokyo Games.
Tilman Ruff, a public health expert who co-founded the Nobel Peace Prize-winning International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) in Melbourne, said he had written to the AOC to warn that levels of radioactivity in certain areas could be above the recommended maximum permissible exposure level. He said the Japanese Olympic Committee planned to host baseball and softball competitions and part of the torch relay in Fukushima City, 50km away from the ruins of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant.
In 2011, multiple nuclear meltdowns at the damaged facility caused radioactivity to leak out across Japan and the Pacific.
“It was a catastrophe comparable only to the nuclear meltdown of Chernobyl,” he said. While contamination was not as severe as at Chernobyl, “it was widespread and persists”.
At least 50,000 residents have not yet been able to return to the most affected areas in Fukushima prefecture. “The Japanese government is making a concerted ­effort to present the Fukushima nuclear disaster as over and effectively dealt with in the lead-up to the Olympics. Some of these ­efforts are misleading and should not be accepted at face value,” Dr Ruff said.
He said thyroid cancers had notably increased among young people in Fukushima, with a total of about 200 cases.
He has made several visits to Fukushima since 2011, the latest in May when he provided radiation health advice to the Fukushima prefectural government.
Dr Ruff said he then wrote to the AOC urging it to “properly ­inform and safeguard the best interests of the Australian staff and team, and their accompanying families, especially women who may be pregnant and young children”.
He said short-term visits to areas contaminated by radioactive fallout “now involve low to minimal risk”.
“However, if any (AOC) members or athletes plan to be based in Fukushima or neighbouring contaminated prefectures for weeks or months, they should be informed about the health risks of radiation exposure,” Dr Ruff said.
International physician groups have criticised the Japanese government’s decision shortly after the 2011 disaster to increase the maximum permissible radiation dose for Japanese citizens from one to 20 millisieverts. “Eight years later, it has not reversed that decision,” Dr Ruff said. “No other government in the world has ever accepted such a high level of radiation beyond the immediate emergency phase of a nuclear disaster for its citizens.”
An AOC spokesman said Tokyo 2020 provided regular updates to the IOC regarding the situation. “We have been given assurances that radiation levels in Fukushima City are safe, noting that the IOC Co-ordination Team has made several visits to the region and that ongoing monitoring is conducted independently of the Japanese government,” the spokesman said.

November 4, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima pushing its radioactive peaches to Southeast Asian neighbors

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Fukushima peaches gain popularity
11th October 2019
Indonesian importer, Laris Manis Utama (LMU), has teamed up with Japanese fresh fruit and vegetable wholesaler, Showa Boeki, in an effort to increase consumption of peaches grown in Japan’s Fukushima Prefecture.
Promotional campaigns during 2018 were effective in introducing consumers to the fruit and encouraged the two companies to further develop the market.
During August to September of 2019, in-store activations were held in 29 stores across Indonesia. 
A key focus of the in-store activations was to educate consumers on the health benefits of the fruit.
In an interview with Asiafruit in September 2019, LMU’s vice director, Hendry Sim, said healthy living is a top priority for Indonesian consumers.
“Indonesians want to eat better and healthier, and fruits are one of the foods that can contribute to good health,” explained Sim.
Although consumer sentiment for the Fukushima Peach is showing positive signs of growth, the reality is peach imports into Indonesia remain low.
In 2018, 202 tonnes of peaches were imported into Indonesia, the majority sourced from Australia (71 tonnes) and the US (61 tonnes).
Apart from Indonesia, the Fukushima peach is also exported to Thailand and Malaysia.

 

October 20, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , | Leave a comment

Activists urge Japan to avoid Fukushima in Tokyo Olympics

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Oct 10, 2019
South Korean civic groups on Thursday kicked off a global campaign against potential radiation risks during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, demanding that Japan ban Fukushima food products and cancel games at the Japanese city.
 
“We launch an international campaign to protect thousands of athletes and visitors at the Tokyo Olympics from radiation risks and to stop the Japanese government from using the Olympics as a tool” to conceal lingering damages from the Fukushima nuclear crisis, the environmental groups told a press briefing in Seoul.
 
Taking part in the initiative are a handful of Korean environmental organizations, consisting of activists and academics, as well as major environmental and anti-nuclear groups based in Germany, Taiwan and the Philippines.
The civic groups demanded the Japanese government and Olympics organizers refrain from providing food produced near Fukushima and cancel games scheduled to be held in the city. They also urged the torch relay to be held in areas outside of Fukushima, which was hit by the nuclear disaster caused by a 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
 
They also claimed that if Japan seeks to misuse Olympic events for a political or commercial purpose, it would goes against the Olympic spirit.
 
The environmental groups said they plan to collect signatures through an online website and hold international conferences to raise awareness on the risks of radiation.
 
Some baseball and softball games are scheduled to take place at Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium, according to the Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games website.
 
It also shows that a 121-day torch relay will “commence on March 26, 2020, in Fukushima Prefecture and start its journey southwards” in an aim at “showcasing solidarity with the regions still recovering from the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.” (Yonhap)

October 20, 2019 Posted by | Japan | , , , | Leave a comment

The ostriches of Fukushima and what they told us about radiation

hjkklmlm.jpgAn ostrich runs by a bicycle with rusted chain in November 2011 in Tomioka, Fukushima Prefecture.

September 30, 2019

Of all the astonishing sights that unfolded in the aftermath of the 2011 nuclear crisis, the one that took the biscuit was ostriches roaming in one of the towns hosting the stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.

Farmers in the area were forced to abandon their livestock due to mass evacuations ordered after the triple meltdown at the plant, and many departing residents also left their pet dogs and cats to fend for themselves as evacuation shelters would not accept animals.

An area of 20 kilometers radius of the plant was declared off-limits immediately after the accident, and the creatures left behind became feral.

It was not uncommon for later visitors, wearing protective gear because of high radiation levels, to see cattle and pigs wandering through the streets of Futaba and Okuma, the now-empty towns that co-hosted the nuclear power plant.

Masato Kino, now 50 and an economy ministry official in charge of decommissioning and radioactive water issues, returned to the area on Sept. 23, 2011, six months after the magnitude-9.0 earthquake that hit the northeastern Tohoku region, triggered devastating tsunami which in turn knocked out cooling systems at the plant and caused the nuclear crisis.

He was flabbergasted to come across an ostrich peeping into a private home from its yard in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture.

That day, Kino, who at the time also served as an official of the government’s local nuclear accident control headquarters, was accompanying returning evacuees on their visits to tend to family graves.

The ostrich was observed as Kino and three colleagues were driving back.

Although he wondered what the ostrich was doing there, he had the wherewithal to scatter dog food out of the car window for the big bird to tuck into.

Each time Kino came across dogs and cats in the restricted area, he would scatter dog food he had prepared in his car. He saw himself as a “lonely volunteer.”

It later emerged that the bird had escaped from an ostrich park in Okuma, situated 7 km from the Fukushima No. 1 plant. The facility was opened in 2001 by Toshiaki Tomizawa, now 81, a former assemblyman of Futaba, Fukushima Prefecture, to draw tourists to the region.

KEEPING OSTRICHES ALIVE

The ostrich park had nine birds when it opened. But the figure quickly rose to 30 and a restaurant was set up on the premises to serve ostrich meat. Soon after that, the nuclear crisis struck.

Following the disaster, Tomizawa moved to Saitama Prefecture to live with his daughter.

When he returned to the park three months later, more than half of the ostriches had died. The remaining 10 or so became feral in the no-entry zone.

Many sightings of the species were reported, drawing complaints from people, who on temporary return visits, were frightened to encounter ostriches near their homes.

Tomizawa trapped six ostriches in late 2011 with help from the farm ministry and other parties.

Farm ministry officials told him to kill them, so Tomizawa contacted ornithologists and other experts to find ways to “make full use of them.”

One of them, Yoshihiro Hayashi, director-general of the National Museum of Nature and Science, who was involved in research on animals affected by the disaster, asked ornithologist Hiroshi Ogawa, an animal husbandry professor at the Tokyo University of Agriculture, for advice.

In response to the offer, Ogawa began examining how the six ostriches trapped in January and May 2012 had absorbed radioactive substances.

It was assumed the feral birds feasted on contaminated plants, bugs and rainwater, so Ogawa tried to see if there was a way of reducing radioactive substances in their bodies by feeding them radiation-free dog food and well water.

Although the ostriches should have been kept in an area where radiation levels were significantly lower, transferring animals from the no-entry zone was prohibited. As a result, they were cared for at Tomizawa’s stable in the restricted area.

The birds displayed a radiation reading of 4.6 microsieverts per hour when the research started in March 2012. To lower the figure, Tomizawa frequented the stable from Saitama Prefecture once every one or two weeks to give them clean food and water.

The six ostriches were finally euthanized and dissected one month, two and a half months, nine and a half months and 14 months after they were caught, respectively, so that changes in radiation levels in their bodies could be analyzed.

SIGNIFICANT FINDINGS

The results showed that almost no radioactive substances other than radioactive cesium derived from the Fukushima crisis remained in their bodies, meaning that they were free from strontium and other more dangerous materials.

According to the findings, cesium is more easily absorbed through skeletal muscles than organs. It turned out to be difficult to rid muscle tissue of the substance.

The cesium reading began dropping nine and a half months after the birds were captured, which suggests the radiation level will drop if the animals are kept under low-radiation conditions.

The research provided insights into internal radiation exposure and drops in the radiation level of wild animals,” Ogawa said.

Tomizawa, who still lives in Saitama Prefecture, described his ostrich park as having “reported successive losses and posing many problems.”

But Tomizawa also has good memories of that time. Because the overseas media gave the escaped ostriches more extensive coverage than in Japan, Tomizawa was treated like a TV celebrity when he visited Indonesia, Australia and elsewhere after the disaster.

I met many people thanks to the ostriches,” Tomizawa said. “I feel things worked out right in the end.”

OSTRICHES AT NUCLEAR PLANT

Tomizawa decided to open the ostrich park in 2001, two years after Tokto Electric Power Co. began keeping four ostriches at its Fukushima No. 1 plant.

The reasoning behind TEPCO’s bizarre move was that the high productivity rate of the bird species resembled that of reactors.

An ostrich reaches adulthood within two years on a meager diet of wheat and corn, yet grows to 2 meters tall and weighs more than 100 kilograms. A female ostrich lays eggs for 40 years, starting from the age of 2.

This feature is similar to the characteristic of nuclear power plants that can generate a lot of electricity from a small volume of uranium fuel,” reads a promotional pamphlet issued by plant operator TEPCO around that time.

As ostriches are called Strauss in German, TEPCO said it wanted the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant to be nicknamed “Strauss power plant” in the document.

However, those efforts appear to have fallen flat as few TEPCO officials were aware of the nickname.

TEPCO hired a veterinarian to look after the ostriches, but as the species is ill-tempered it was decided that the three ostriches still alive should be sent to Tomizawa to look after.

While a TEPCO public relations official said the utility could not offer a detailed explanation as to when and why the utility stopped keeping the birds “due to an absence of relevant documents,” at least one thing can be said about the project: what it touted as “highly productive” turned out–just like the nuclear power plant–to be difficult to deal with.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201909300003.html?fbclid=IwAR18JGMk7r6HVK19KMoYYskcS9lpul-Mp2urIiZV1uOq6CCTcXJWkndOyNI

October 7, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , | Leave a comment

CITIZENS’ RADIOACTIVITY DATA MAP OF JAPAN

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September 19, 2019

This booklet shows the actual amount of radioactive contamination caused by the March 2011 Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident, as revealed by Japanese citizen scientists.

[ Table of Contents ]

Page 2 – 3: Why Measure in Becquerels?
Page 4 – 5: What is the East Japan Soil Becquerel Measurement Project?
Page 6 – 7: 2011 Radioactivity Map of 17 Prefectures in Eastern Japan
Page 8: 2020 Cesium Contamination Map
Page 9: 2010 Radioactivity Level Before the Fukushima Accident
Page 10 – 11: Estimate of Radioactive Cesium Contamination Over 100 Years
Page 12: What is Minna-no Data Site?
Page 13: Minna-no Data Site Measurement Accuracy Control
Page 14 – 15: Minna-no Data Site Participating Measurement Laboratories
Page 16: Glossary, Credits, and Acknowledgments

Specifications

Pages:16
Oversized book
500 yen (tax exclude)

About CITIZENS’ RADIATION DATA MAP OF JAPAN – Digest Edition

This booklet shows the actual amount of radioactive contamination caused by the March 2011 Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident, as revealed by Japanese citizen scientists.
In the aftermath of the accident, citizens around Japan began to question the Japanese government’s initial radiation exposure assessment, the scope of their radioactivity measuring, and their method of information disclosure. With the aim of reducing citizen exposure to radiation, we established Minna-no Data Site, an independent nonprofit network of radioactivity measuring laboratories, to conduct extensive food measurements and release this information to the public.

More specifically, over a three-year period starting from October 2014, we measured the concentration of radioactivity (cesium 134 and cesium 137) in the soil (in Bq/kg) as part of the “East Japan Soil Becquerel Measurement Project” and publicized the results online as a collection of maps.

According to legislation enacted five years after the Chernobyl accident, Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus were responsible for measuring both air dosage (μSv/h) and soil concentration (Bq/m2).
And using these measurements, the authorities were required to establish criteria for relocation and compensation.
The Chernobyl legislation guarantees relocation and recuperation rights to residents from areas where the exposure dose was estimated to be above 1mSv/year.
In contrast, after the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident, soil measurements were more or less not conducted outside of Fukushima Prefecture, and the government has only published estimated numbers of the deposition amount of radioactive cesium and the air dose rate one meter above the ground. The soil concentration figures released by the government are nothing more than estimates, and because the method of display was just an approximation, it is impossible to correctly ascertain the actual amount of contamination
in areas where citizens actually live.

In order to address this unsatisfactory state of affairs, we solicited the cooperation of citizens from around the country to help us carry out this soil measurement project in an attempt to
fully grasp the total amount of radioactive fallout which fell on eastern Japan (excluding Hokkaido) as a result of the triple
meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi NPP.

As a result of this investigation, we determined that the radioactive contamination was by no means limited to Fukushima Prefecture and that one hundred years from now there will still be several highly-contaminated areas where humans should not live.

Now, eight years after the accident, not only has the government yet to establish a criterion for radioactive concentration in the soil, but the authorities are continuing to enforce the policy of compelling people to return to their homes if the air dose rate goes below 20 mSv/year.
Seen from the standpoint of international standards of public health and radiological protection we cannot turn a blind eye to this unacceptable situation. With the Summer Olympics and Paralympics scheduled to be held in Tokyo in 2020, we decided to publish this booklet in order to respond to questions and concerns from people around the world about the current
state of radiation contamination in Japan.

This book is a digest version of our bestselling Japanese book, Illustration: 17 Prefecture Radioactivity Map & Close Analysis which was self-published in November 2018, and was awarded the Japan Congress of Journalists Prize in July 2019.

With the publication of this English booklet, we are hopingto inform people around the world about the actual amount of contamination in Japan, and at the same time, we are calling on the Japanese government to correct the following two problems:

CORRECTION OF THE DOUBLE STANDARD CONCERNINGRADIOACTIVE MATERIALS 100 Bq/kg AND 8,000 Bq/kg
With regards to the clearance rule for radioactive materials, prior to the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident if the level of radioactivity was more than 100 Bq/kg there was a strict storage obligation.
However, with regards to radioactive contaminants derived from the Fukushima accident, the government is permitting anything less than 8,000 Bq/kg to be incinerated or disposed of as ordinary waste; an irresponsible policy which leads to the unnecessary spread of radioactive materials.
We are calling on the Japanese government to correct this double standard and are demanding a return to the preaccident clearance level of 100 Bq/kg.
Also, with regards to soil contamination, we are asking the government to not rely simply on the air radiation dose (sieverts) as they have been doing up until now. Instead, we are calling on them to guarantee appropriate rights of evacuation and compensation that meet international standards based on zone classification depending on the soil concentration
of radioactive material.

RESTORING THE ANNUAL PUBLIC DOSE LIMIT FROM20 mSv TO THE PRE-ACCIDENT LEVEL OF 1mSv A YEAR.
The Japanese government has not yet cancelled the nuclear power accident state of emergency declaration, which was enacted on March 11th, 2011.
Based on this declaration, the public dose limit was raised from 1mSv/year to 20 mSv/year and the government is forcefully requiring evacuees to return to their homes in areas where the dose limit does not exceed 20 mSv/year.
We are calling on the authorities to abolish the 20mSv standard repatriation policy and to return to the pre-accident public standard annual dose limit of 1mSv.

Minna-no Data Site
September 2019
Citizens’ Radiation Data Map of Japan Digest Edition Project Team

https://en.minnanods.net/mds/e-digest.html?fbclid=IwAR0dIUuqd4GESdmVHSKTOlapOm_Pn5XbQ8Iql0nsN1ImV-dMiePhz_OstxM

September 26, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

Vietnamese trainees sue Fukushima firm over decontamination work

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(Workers involved in decontamination work in the northeastern Japan town of Namie offer silent prayers to mourn victims of the March 2011 massive quake and tsunami on March 11, 2016.)
 
September 4, 2019
Three Vietnamese men on a foreign trainee program in Japan have sued a construction company for making them conduct radioactive decontamination work related to the March 2011 nuclear disaster in Fukushima Prefecture without prior explanation, supporters of the plaintiffs said Wednesday.
The lawsuit, dated Tuesday and filed with a branch of the Fukushima District Court, demanded that Hiwada Co., based in Koriyama in the northeastern Japan prefecture, pay a total of about 12.3 million yen in damages, according to the supporters.
The case is the latest in a string of inappropriate practices under the Japanese government’s Technical Intern Training Program which has been often criticized as a cover for cheap labor.
According to Zentouitsu Workers Union, a Tokyo-based labor union that supports foreign trainees, Hiwada made the plaintiffs conduct decontamination work in the cities of Koriyma and Motomiya in Fukushima Prefecture between 2016 and 2018.
The Vietnamese, who arrived in Japan in July 2015, also did pipe work in the town of Namie while evacuation orders were still in place.
The plaintiffs’ contracts only said they would be engaging in reinforcing steel placement and formwork installation.
Hiwada did not provide them with detailed explanation on decontamination work beforehand, and it did not offer sufficient training either.
“We were not told that it was dangerous work. I am very worried about my future health,” said one of the plaintiffs, a 36-year-old, in a written statement.
In separate instances, foreign trainees have said they were inappropriately involved in decontamination work in Fukushima, including a Vietnamese man who said in March last year that he was hired by a construction firm in Morioka, Iwate Prefecture.
The Justice Ministry and the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare have said decontamination work does not fit the purpose of the trainee program.

September 8, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

Nearly 17 Tons of Radioactive Materials Detected in Japanese Food Imports

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August 30, 2019
Anchor: Amid a renewed radiation scare sparked by news Tokyo could be considering dumping radioactive water from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster into the Pacific Ocean, KBS has obtained a list of Japanese food imports from which radioactive materials were detected over the past five years. The list includes household food items like coffee and chocolate.
Choi You Sun reports.
 
Report: The office of South Korea’s minor opposition Bareunmirae Party Rep. Chang Jung-sook said nearly 17 tons of radioactive materials were detected in more than a dozen processed food categories imported from Japan between 2014 and June of this year.
 
Documents from the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety on Thursday showed the 19 food categories include roasted coffee, tea, chocolate, fish jerky, peanuts, and processed fish products.
 
There were eleven cases of detection in 2014, six in both 2015 and 2016, four in 2017, six last year and two this year through June.
 
KBS has learned popular Japanese chocolate, candy and drip coffee brands were on the list; the drip coffee is currently being sold at Japanese food supply stores in South Korea.
 
Some of the products, such as talcum powder used to make chewing gum and bilberry extract in dietary supplements, were found to have been manufactured in the nuclear-hit Fukushima and seven other prefectures subject to Seoul’s ban on fish product imports.
 
While the Food Ministry assured all the imports with radiation detection were returned to Japan and were not distributed or sold in the country, experts say the ministry’s current 30-minute-long tests should be extended to three hours to detect smaller levels of radiation.
 
Amid mounting concerns over the safety of Japanese food products, Rep. Chang urged the ministry to seek ways to calm public anxieties over food safety and to disclose information about imports from Fukushima as it had previously announced.
 
The Seoul city government, meanwhile, plans to inspect 160 items ranging from Japanese fishery products to confection made from Japanese food ingredients over the next month and post the outcome on its official website.
Choi You Sun, KBS World Radio News.

September 1, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

Sports bodies need to make own assessments of Fukushima: Greenpeace nuclear specialist

“The first thing is … don’t trust the Japanese government, educate yourself. If you’re an organizing body, get independent verification and independent information about what the relative radiation levels are, what the risks are,” Burnie said.”
Nuclear specialist warns of unknown long-term health, environmental risks from Japan’s radioactive water disposal plan
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Shaun Burnie, senior nuclear specialist with Greenpeace Germany, speaks about Tokyo’s plan to discharge a massive amount of radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean during an interview with The Korea Herald at Greenpeace Seoul’s office in central Seoul last week. (Greenpeace Seoul)
Aug 21, 2019
With less than a year to go until the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics, concerns are growing over the safety of the baseball and softball venues in disaster-hit Fukushima.
 
Seeking to break away from Japan’s association with high levels of radioactivity, the Abe government has branded the 2020 Olympics the “Recovery Games.”
 
But health and environmental risks from high levels of radiation persist in parts of Fukushima after the 2011 nuclear meltdown.
 
According to Shaun Burnie, a senior nuclear specialist with Greenpeace Germany, those visiting Fukushima for the Summer Games next year should take a proactive approach to educating themselves on which areas of Fukushima are affected by radiation and on the impact of exposure to radiation.
 
“In terms of safety, there are certain areas of Fukushima where we would certainly not advise athletes or spectators to spend any time. Those are areas particularly close to the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, including where the torch processions will be taking place,” Burnie said in an interview with The Korea Herald at Greenpeace Seoul’s office in central Seoul last week.
 
“They are areas that are not safe for people to live. If you visit, you need to follow a radiation protocol. It is a bizarre situation that you are having Olympic events where people are concerned about radiation,” he added.
 
While noting that not all parts of Fukushima should be off limits, Burnie said athletes and sports bodies need to seek independent assessments on Fukushima, rather than relying on information provided by the Japanese government.
 
“It’s dangerous to just dismiss the whole of Fukushima as a radioactive disaster zone. It’s much more complex than that. The first thing is … don’t trust the Japanese government, educate yourself. If you’re an organizing body, get independent verification and independent information about what the relative radiation levels are, what the risks are,” Burnie said.
 
As the senior nuclear specialist with Greenpeace Germany, Burnie has followed the Japanese government’s handling of the tsunami and earthquake in March 2011 that resulted in the meltdown of three nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant.
 
In a report published in January, Burnie alleged that Tokyo plans to dispose of some 1 million metric tons of contaminated water by discharging it into the Pacific Ocean after the Summer Olympics.
 
If Japan follows through with the move, radioactive water is expected to be present in Korea’s East Sea a year later.
 
“For the past five years we’ve been accessing the process, the discussions, the documents submitted by Tepco (Tokyo Electric Power Company) … we were reviewing some of Tepco’s data (last year) and we looked at it and went ‘there is something wrong here with Tepco’s processing,’” Burnie said.
 
“It became very clear there has been bad decisions made, not really surprising, by Tepco, by the (Japanese) government over the last five or six years and how to manage the water crisis.”
 
Last year Tepco acknowledged its Advanced Liquid Processing System, or ALPS, had failed to purify contaminated water stored in tanks at the Dai-ichi power plant.
 
A committee under Japan’s Ministry of Economy in 2016 put together five scenarios for the Japanese government to deal with the massive volume of pollutants stored at the Fukushima No. 1 plant.
 
The amount of water stored at the plant is to reach its full capacity of 1.3 million tons by the end of 2020, with about 170 tons accumulating daily.
 
According to Burnie, Tokyo has chosen to discharge the radioactive water instead of acting on any of the other four suggestions because “it is the most cheap and fast.”
 
Besides increased levels of radioactive cesium found in Fukushima and in the East Sea, Burnie warned of “cesium-rich micro particles” extremely small in size and inhaled through breathing.
 
Cesium is one of the largest sources of radioactivity from the 2011 disaster and has a half-life of 30 years.
 
“There is evidence from samples … some scientific literature has published the results and they found concentrations of these particles in areas 20-30 kilometers from the plant. … The problem is these particles can be inhaled. Then some of them lodge inside your lung at which point you are getting an internal dose, a very focused, very localized, relatively high-exposure dose to individual cells,” Burnie said.
 
“That’s a real problem because there is very little known about how cesium in that form will affect your long-term health. … Again, the people most at risk are those returning to live in areas of Fukushima affected by these particles. But the Japanese government has not taken into account in any of its assessments what those risks are,” he added.
 
Stressing that the risks of exposure to radiation should not be exaggerated, Burnie noted there is no safe level of radiation exposure and the long-term effects are unknown.
 
“The effects you will only see over decades. It won’t be instant, it’s not an acute radiation exposure, it’s low-level radiation,” Burnie said.
 
“The country that will be next impacted will be Korea, because it’s the geographically closest. … There is no safe threshold for radiation exposure. … Why should you be exposed when there is a clear alternative, which is you store?”

August 22, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , , , | Leave a comment

South Korea to increase radiation testing of Japanese food

My respect to South Korea: the one and only country to protect its population from Japanese radiation contaminated products and to protest against japan’s plan to dump all the Fukushima radioactive water into our Pacific ocean. I would like to hear the countries protesting and our elected politicians have at heart to defend as well the health of their citizens!
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South Korea to increase radiation testing of Japanese food
August 21, 2019
SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea said on Wednesday it will double the radiation testing of some Japanese food exports due to potential contamination from the tsunami-damaged Fukushima nuclear plant.
Relations between the two U.S. allies are at their worst in years, with a trade row rooted in a decades-old dispute over compensation for South Koreans forced to work during Japan’s wartime occupation of the Korean Peninsula.
South Korea has stepped up demands this month for a Japanese response to concerns food produced in the Fukushima area and nearby sea could be contaminated by radiation from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant that was severely damaged by the 2011 tsunami.
South Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) said on Wednesday that it will double the frequency of testing of any food products with a history of being returned in the past five years after trace amounts of radiation were detected.
“As public concerns about radioactive contamination have been rising recently, we are planning a more thorough inspection starting August 23,” said Lee Seoung-yong, director-general at MFDS.
The affected food imports from Japan will be relatively minimal, as only about two tonnes are returned out of about 190,000 tonnes of total Japanese food imports annually, Lee said.
An official at Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said Japanese food products were safe and the increased radiation testing was unnecessary.
“Safety of Japanese food items has been secured and no additional restrictions are necessary. Many countries have agreed with this and got rid of import restrictions completely … It is very regrettable that these additional measures will be implemented,” the official told Reuters.
The 2020 Tokyo Olympics organizers said on Tuesday that South Korea’s National Olympic Committee had sent a letter expressing concern at the possibility of produce grown in Fukushima prefecture being served to athletes in the Olympic village.
South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday summoned the economy minister from the Japanese embassy in Seoul over media reports and international environmental groups’ claims that Japan plans to release contaminated water from the Fukushima plant into the ocean.
In April, South Korea won the bulk of its appeal in a dispute at the World Trade Organization over import bans and testing requirements it had imposed on Japanese seafood in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima disaster.
 
 
S.Korea to tighten checks on food from Japan
August 21, 2019
The South Korean government says it will tighten radiation checks on food products imported from Japan.
Following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant accident in March 2011, South Korea banned imports of marine products from eight Japanese prefectures and farm products from 14 prefectures. Other food items are tested for radiation upon arrival in South Korea.
South Korea’s Food and Drug Safety Ministry announced on Wednesday that 17 food products that have tested positive for even minute amounts of radiation in the past will be screened twice, starting on Friday. The items include processed seafood, blueberries, tea and coffee.
South Korea’s government announced earlier this month that it is stepping up radiation checks on coal ash and three types of recyclable imports from Japan.
On Monday, South Korea’s Foreign Ministry summoned a senior Japanese Embassy official for an explanation of Japan’s plan to release into the ocean water containing radioactive substances generated at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.

August 22, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , , , , | Leave a comment