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49% of Fukushima nuke disaster evacuees returning home to live are elderly: survey

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Nearly half of people currently living in nuclear disaster-hit areas in Fukushima Prefecture where evacuation orders have been lifted are aged 65 or over, a survey conducted by the Mainichi Shimbun has found.

The population aging rate — the ratio of people in this age group to the population — in these areas is nearly twice the figure before the outbreak of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant disaster in March 2011, as many younger evacuees have not come back to their hometowns for fear of being exposed to radiation or have settled down in areas where they took shelter.

The regional communities in these areas could be endangered because their current population is less than 10 percent of the pre-disaster figure and households in these areas consist of smaller member numbers.

The Mainichi Shimbun surveyed nine cities, towns and villages in Fukushima Prefecture about the situations of areas where evacuation orders had been lifted by this past spring

As of July and August, 5,951 people in 2,970 households have returned to or newly moved into these areas. Of these people, 2,929, or 49.2 percent, are aged at least 65.

According to a national census conducted in 2010 — before the March 2011 disaster — the rate was 27.4 percent in all areas of these nine municipalities.

The latest figure is above the anticipated population aging rate in Japan for 2065, which the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research put at 38.4 percent.

Of all the nine municipalities, the population aging rate in the village of Kawauchi is the highest at 71.3 percent. The town of Naraha has the lowest figure, but it still stands at 37 percent.

The figures in Kawauchi and two other municipalities among these nine are higher than the 60.5 percent in the village of Nanmoku, Gunma Prefecture, which had the highest population aging rate of all municipalities in Japan in the 2015 census.

The number of people who currently live in the areas where evacuation orders have been lifted is less than 10 percent the number of people registered as residents just before the disaster, which was slightly above 60,000.

Members of a growing number of households in these areas are living separately. The average number of members per household is two, almost equal to the figure in Tokyo at 2.02 in the 2015 census, which is the smallest number among all 47 prefectures. In the 2010 pre-disaster census, the average figure in the nine municipalities had been 3.04.

An official of the city of Minamisoma, one of the nine municipalities, expressed concerns about the aging of its population. “There’ll be a growing number of cases where people living by themselves die alone and where an elderly family member has to look after another elderly member,” the official said.

In Minamisoma, only a limited number of medical institutions and nursing care facilities have reopened. “There’s a serious workforce shortage,” the official lamented.

Only about five of 94 members of volunteer firefighters in the village of Katsurao have returned home since the evacuation order was lifted.

An official of the Katsurao Municipal Government voiced fears about the shortage of volunteer firefighters. “We are worried that it will be difficult to mobilize these volunteers if a fire breaks out in the village. As long as there are not enough young people, it’ll be difficult to maintain the fire brigade in the village,” the official said.

Ritsumeikan University associate professor Fuminori Tanba, who was involved in the compilation of restoration plans in municipalities where evacuation orders were issued, noted, “The situation of areas affected by the nuclear crisis heralds the future situation of Japan where the birthrate is declining and the population is aging. Local governments need to join hands across broad areas in addressing challenges that cannot be tackled by a single municipality, such as nursing care and disaster management,” he said.

https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20170909/p2a/00m/0na/004000c

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September 10, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , | Leave a comment

Fukushima national road 114 to open going thru difficult to return zone

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http://www.minpo.jp/news/detail/2017090744864?utm_content=buffer8670f&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

September 7, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | Leave a comment

Contaminated Fukushima Forests: 4µSv/h measured at 1 meter above ground

Measurement date September 6, 2017: Date City, Fukushima Prefecture

September 7, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | Leave a comment

Dying Navy Sailors Push for Trial on Fukushima Meltdown

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SAN DIEGO (CN) – Representing cancer-ridden Navy service members who say they were exposed to radiation on a humanitarian mission in Fukushima, former Sen. John Edwards urged a federal judge Thursday to set a date for trial.

Over a decade after serving as John Kerry’s running mate in the 2004 presidential election, Edwards now represents hundreds of Navy sailors who were aboard the USS Ronald Reagan as part of a humanitarian mission trip to Fukushima, Japan — bringing food and supplies to the city in March 2011 after it was devastated by an earthquake and ensuing tsunami.

We have all these sailors whose case is now five years old, who have died or are in the process of dying right now,” said Edwards, whose firm Edwards Kirby is based in North Carolina.

Edwards noted that some of his other clients have seen their children born with birth defects. He said he made the trip from Raleigh to San Diego to “try to get this thing moving.”

Japan’s earthquake triggered a nuclear meltdown at the power plant run by Tokyo Electric Power Co., and Edwards’ clients say the radiation exposure has caused them to develop cancer and other illnesses.

The suit is one of two pending against TEPCo and General Electric in the Southern District of California — the first filed in 2012 and an additional lawsuit naming more than 150 sailors filed last month.

Thursday’s hearing before U.S. District Judge Janis Sammartino came after the Ninth Circuit ruled in June that the lawsuit could proceed in federal court, rejecting an effort to have the case sent to Japan.

Edwards urged Sammartino to bypass the procedural hurdles, “so we know there’s a deadline over there.”

Instead of just staying still and going with the pleadings and the motions to dismiss, is there a way to get us a trial date and a structure,” Edwards asked.

I hate to see these sailors and say we filed motions, went to the Ninth Circuit, went to Washington, and I hate to say I don’t know when [we’ll get our day in court],” Edwards said.

He asked for a May 2019 trial date.

TEPCo attorney Gregory Stone said the Japanese utility accepts responsibility for the radiation released but maintains the amount Navy service members were exposed to was negligible.

He thanked the service members present at the hearing for their efforts, but said that radiation exposure is not necessarily the cause of 300 to 400 sailors out of 70,000 on the humanitarian trip getting sick.

It only indicates what epidemiologists tell us: people get sick at different times of their lives for different reasons,” Stone said.

We don’t think the exposure was at a level sufficient to cause the injuries,” Stone continued, amid muttered comments from the audience. “They don’t agree with us and are probably talking about it now.”

GE attorney Michael Schissel said the length of the case and trial will be significantly impacted if GE remains a defendant in the case. Unlike TEPCo, GE is not admitting liability over the failure of its Boiling Water Reactors. Schissel said this would then require a liability phase at trial, significantly lengthening the process.

Sammartino called the case a “moving target” as the attorneys threw out different ideas for how best to approach setting deadlines and moving forward. She said she would issue an order setting dates.

In an interview with Courthouse News following the hearing, Edwards said they are pleased the case will be tried in America. If the case were in Japan, Edwards said there was a concern that the possibility of traveling across the world would cause his clients to lose hope.

From the perspective of a lawyer, it’s a wonderful cause,” Edwards said. “Here are these completely innocent people whose lives have been taken away from some of them and they were there trying to help the Japanese people. It was such a just and righteous cause that they were there for and they’ve had their lives changed forever as a result of what happened.”

More sailors are coming forward every week, Edwards added, saying they expect the numbers to continue to go up as the word gets out about the lawsuits.

He said they want to make sure “the truth comes out” and that the “word gets out about the dangers and risks that exist not just in Japan, but in other parts of the world.”

https://www.courthousenews.com/dying-navy-sailors-push-trial-fukushima-meltdown/

 

September 3, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | Leave a comment

Elimination of Fukushima evacuees from list slammed

Screenshot from 2017-09-02 09-25-42.pngThis woman in her 30s lives in Tokyo with her young children after fleeing her home in Fukushima Prefecture following the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in March 2011. Her husband remains in Fukushima Prefecture for his job.

 

The central government has made a large number of people who voluntarily fled the Fukushima area after the 2011 nuclear disaster disappear by cutting them from official lists of evacuees.

Critics are now condemning the move, which went into effect last April, saying it prevents government officials from fully grasping the picture of all who remain displaced to evaluate their future needs.

Accurate data on Fukushima evacuees is essential in gaining a better understanding of their current circumstances and crafting measures to address their problems,” said Shun Harada, a sociology researcher at Rikkyo University in Tokyo, who contributes as an editor for an information publication for evacuees living in Saitama Prefecture.

When only smaller than the real numbers are made available, difficulties facing evacuees could be underestimated and could result in terminating support programs for them,” he complained.

As of July, 89,751 evacuees were living across Japan after fleeing from the nuclear disaster, down by 29,412 from the March tally.

In April, the central government opted to cut “voluntary” evacuees who fled their homes due to fears of radiation despite being from outside the evacuation zone.

It came after the official program to provide free housing to the voluntary evacuees was stopped at the end of March, which was designed to facilitate a prompt return to their hometowns in Fukushima Prefecture. People from the evacuation zone are still eligible to the free housing program.

The central government’s Reconstruction Agency, set up to oversee rebuilding efforts in Japan’s northeastern region after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster, releases the number of evacuees each month, based on figures compiled by local authorities.

The 29,412 drop in the number of official evacuees between March and July includes 15,709 in Fukushima Prefecture, 6,873 in Miyagi Prefecture, 2,798 in Iwate Prefecture, 780 in Tokyo, 772 in Kanagawa Prefecture and 577 in Saitama Prefecture.

Before the change in housing policy, agency statistics showed a monthly decrease in evacuee numbers of between 3,000 and 4,000 in the several months leading up to the end of March.

But the drop in numbers increased dramatically to 9,493 between March and April and 12,412 between April and May.

Kanagawa and Saitama prefectural officials say voluntary evacuees were responsible for most of the declines in their jurisdictions.

A large number of them are believed to be living in the same housing as before but are now paying their own rent.

A 43-year-old woman who has been evacuating in Saitama Prefecture since fleeing from Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, with three other family members said she is angered by the central government’s treatment.

We cannot return to Fukushima Prefecture due to fears of the effects of radiation,” she said. “I feel like I have been abandoned by the state by being denied evacuee status.”

An official with the Tokyo-based Japan Civil Network for Disaster Relief in East Japan, a private entity that functions as a liaison unit for a nationwide network of groups supporting victims of the disaster six years ago stressed the need for local authorities to have an accurate understanding of the circumstances surrounding evacuees.

Of the evacuees, the elderly and single-parent households tend to be left in isolation and many of them are likely to become qualified to receive public assistance in the near future,” the official said. “Local officials need to know they are evacuees (from Fukushima).”

The official added that it will become difficult for support groups to extend their help if voluntary evacuees are taken out of the official tally.

But the Reconstruction Agency said it will not reconsider the definition of evacuees.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201708280053.html

 

 

September 2, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , | Leave a comment

No-go zones keep kin from burying deceased Fukushima evacuees at ancestral gravesites

n-fukushima-a-20170825-870x678Buddhist monks offer prayers for victims of the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami in Namie, Fukushima Prefecture, in March 2014.

 

In Fukushima, 3/11 fallout forcing remains to be stored at temples, ancestral gravesites to be moved

FUKUSHIMA – The remains of Fukushima’s deceased evacuees are being left in limbo because radiation is preventing them from being buried.

In municipalities that remain off-limits because of the fallout from the triple core meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant in March 2011, the inability of residents to return has put burials for their loved ones on hold.

Instead, many relatives are opting to leave remains in the hands of temples or moved their family graves out of their hometowns.

Choanji, a temple in a no-go zone in the town of Namie, is keeping the remains of about 100 people at a branch facility that was set up in the prefectural capital after the nuclear crisis began.

At the branch, a swordsmanship training room was renovated to enshrine remains that should have been buried in Namie.

Evacuees don’t want to bury the remains of family members in places with high radiation levels,” said the branch’s chief priest, Shuho Yokoyama, 76.

A 66-year-old resident of Minamisoma visited the temple branch on Aug. 12 for the Bon holidays to pray for her elder sister, who died after evacuating the area.

Her remains are kept there because her family’s grave is located in a no-go zone in Namie; the remains of her sister’s husband, who died before the disaster, are already in the family grave.

I am sorry that she is separated from her husband. I want their remains to be buried together,” the woman said.

To enter the no-go zone, residents need to submit applications to the municipal government in question.

The woman is unhappy with the system as she wants permission to enter the areas freely, at least during Bon, the traditional period for commemorating one’s ancestors. Since the disaster began, she has been unable to visit the grave of her brother-in-law.

At Choanji, 20 percent of some 500 families in the congregation have moved their ancestors’ graves to other areas.

Isao Kanno, 50, who hails from Namie but now lives in Tokyo, was in the area just before the remains of his father, who died two months before the meltdowns, were scheduled to be interred.

I can’t be evacuated alone and bury the remains in the grave” in a no-go zone, Kanno said. “I’m considering moving the grave somewhere else.”

Some, however, worry their hometown ties could fade if they move their graves.

Despite being designated a no-go zone, it is my hometown,” said a 57-year-old Tokyo resident who left the remains of one of his relatives at the temple branch.

It is the land of my ancestors, so I’ve never considered moving the grave,” he said.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/08/24/national/no-go-zones-keep-kin-burying-deceased-fukushima-evacuees-ancestral-gravesites/#.WZ71vxdLfrc

August 24, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , | Leave a comment

Radioactive Hot Particles in Japan: Full Radiation Risks not Recorded

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Radioactively-Hot Particles in Japan; New Study Shows Full Radiation Risks are not Recorded

The article details the analysis of radioactively hot particles collected in Japan following the Fukushima Dai-ichi meltdowns. Based on 415 samples of radioactive dust from Japan, the USA, and Canada, the study identified a statistically meaningful number of samples that were considerably more radioactive than current radiation models anticipated. If ingested, these more radioactive particles increase the risk of suffering a future health problem…

http://www.fairewinds.org/newsletter-archive//press-release-radioactively-hot-particles-in-japan

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Radioactively-hot particles detected in dusts and soils from Northern Japan by combination of gamma spectrometry, autoradiography, and SEM/EDS analysis and implications in radiation risk assessment

by Marco Kaltofen (Nuclear Science and Engineering Program, Department of Physics, Worcester Polytechnic Institute) and Arnie Gundersen (Fairewinds Energy Education), Dec 2017 :

Radioactively-hot particles detected in dusts and soils from Northern Japan… Radioactive particles from Fukushima are tracked via dusts, soils, and sediments; Radioactive dust impacts are tracked in both Japan and the United States/Canada; Atypically-radioactive particles from reactor cores are identified in house dusts… After the March 11, 2011, nuclear reactor meltdowns at Fukushima Dai-ichi, 180 samples of Japanese particulate matter (dusts and surface soils) and 235 similar U.S. and Canadian samples were collected and analyzed… Samples were collected and analyzed over a five-year period, from 2011 to 2016.

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Detectable levels of 134Cs and 137Cs were found in 142 of 180 (80%) Japanese particulate matter samples… U.S. and Canadian samples had detectable 134Cs and 137Cs in one dust sample out of 32 collected, and four soils out of 74… The mean in Japan was skewed upward due to nine of the 180 (5%) samples with activities > 250 kBq kg− 1 [250,000 Bq/kg]… 300 individual radioactively-hot particles were identified in samples from Japan; composed of 1% or more of the elements cesium, americium, radium, polonium, thorium, tellurium, or strontium.

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Some particles reached specific activities in the MBq μg− 1 level and higher [1,000,000,000,000,000 Bq/kg]… Some of the hot particles detected in this study could cause significant radiation exposures to individuals if inhaled. Exposure models ignoring these isolated hot particles would potentially understate human radiation dose.

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http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969717317953?np=y&npKey=ae4b9f4116b6874eaa549d53528bc26460935d9178063240f633554071f1b295

http://audioslides.elsevier.com/viewersmall.aspx?doi=10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.07.091&source=0

August 8, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , , | Leave a comment

7 summers later, weeds engulf Fukushima’s abandoned areas

 

The startling effects of the passage of time come into sharp focus in aerial images taken of Fukushima’s “difficult-to-return zones” in the seventh summer since the March 2011 nuclear disaster.

The bird’s-eye view pictures were captured in abandoned areas near the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in Okuma and Futaba in Fukushima Prefecture.

The disaster unfolded after the magnitude-9.0 Great East Japan Earthquake spawned a tsunami that devastated coastal areas of the Tohoku region, including Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 plant.

The Okuma outlet of Plant-4, a large shopping mall located 3 kilometers away from the nuclear plant along National Route No. 6, had been bustling with visitors before the disaster.

Today, weeds grow from the cracks of the asphalt-surfaced mall parking lot, slowly creeping through the expanse of space.

One striking image shows the exterior of the TEPCO-owned condominium building, which housed its employees in Futaba, is becoming covered with rampant weeds that have reached the second floor.

Another photo shows cars that cannot be recovered are partially buried, appearing as if they are sinking into a sea of green.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201708010034.html

August 3, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , | Leave a comment

Blast from the Past: Plutonium Contamination from Fukushima Daiichi Unit 3

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From Majia’s blog

I was reviewing my notes regarding plutonium found at Fukushima and I found this news story worth remembering:

Amina Khan (of the Los Angeles Times). (March 8, 2012). Plutonium near Fukushima plant poses little risk, study says Published: Thursday, March 8, 2012 http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20120308/NEWS02/703089849

The levels of radioactive plutonium around Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant aren’t much higher than the amount of plutonium remaining in the environment from Cold War-era nuclear weapons tests, and it probably poses little threat to humans, a new study indicates.

The paper, published Thursday in the journal Scientific Reports, provides the first definitive evidence of plutonium from the accident entering the environment, the authors say. It examines the area within a roughly 20-mile radius of the plant and details the concentration of plutonium isotopes deposited there after explosions ripped open multiple reactors.

At the three sites examined, the levels for certain isotope ratios were about double those attributed to residual fallout from above-ground nuclear tests conducted by the U.S. and former Soviet Union at the dawn of the Cold War….

Robert Alvarez, who has served as a senior policy adviser in the U.S. Energy Department, said he would have been surprised if researchers had not found evidence of plutonium contamination near the plant. “They were irradiating plutonium in Unit 3, which experienced the biggest explosion,” he said. In fact, the explosion was so massive that investigators found fuel rod fragments a mile away, leading to speculation that a supercritical fission event may have also occurred, Alvarez said.

The article is referring to a study by Zheng et al. Here is my synopsis of the study’s findings:

A study released in Scientific Reports published by Nature titled ‘Isotopic evidence of plutonium release into the environment from the Fukushima DNPP accident’ by Zheng et al found that a wide array of highly volatile fission products were released, including 129mTe, 131I, 134Cs, 136Cs and 137Cs, which were all found to be ‘widely distributed in Fukushima and its adjacent prefectures in eastern Japan.’[i]

The study also found evidence of actinides, particularly Pu isotopes, on the ground northwest and south of the Fukushima DNPP in the 20–30 km zones. The study called for long-term investigation of Pu and 241Am dose estimates because of findings of ‘high activity ratio of 241Pu/239+240Pu (> 100) from the Fukushima DNPP accident.’

The study concluded that in comparison to Chernobyl, the Fukushima accident ‘had a slightly higher 241Pu/239Pu atom ratio, but lower ratio of 240Pu/239Pu.’ Unit 3 was seen as the likely source for the high Pu detections.

[i] J. Zheng, K. Tagami, Y. Watanabe, S. Uchida, T. Aono, N. Ishii, S. Yoshida, Y. Kubota, S. Fuma and S. Ihara (8 March 2012 ) ‘Isotopic Evidence of Plutonium Release into the Environment from the Fukushima DNPP Accident,’ Scientific Reports, 2, http://www.nature.com/srep/2012/120308/srep00304/full/srep00304.html.

http://majiasblog.blogspot.fr/2017/07/blast-from-past-plutonium-contamination.html

August 3, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

No human rights in terrifyingly contaminated Namie in Fukushima

The evacuation orders of the most populated areas of Namie, Fukushima were lifted on March 31, 2017.

We are publishing the most recent soil surface density map of Namie created by a citizen’s measurement group named the “Fukuichi Area Environmental Radiation Monitoring Project“(http://www.f1-monitoring-project.jp/index.html). Their members are mainly from Tokyo metropolitan region.

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Their map is simply terrifying. This is far much higher level of radio-contamination than in the Radiation Control Zone. Any area becomes designated as such when the total effective dose due to external radiation and that due to radioactive substances in the air is likely to exceed 1.3mSv per quarter – over a period of three months, or when the surface density is likely to exceed 40,000Bq/m2. In the Radiation Control Zone, it is prohibited to drink, eat or stay overnight. Even adults, including nuclear workers, are not allowed to stay more than 10 hours. To leave the zone, one has to go through a strict screening.

Namie’s radio contamination is far over these figures! The average soil contamination density of the total of 314 points where the soil was collected and measured is 858,143Bq/m². The maximum value was 6,780,000Bq/m², and the minimum was only 31,400Bq/m²!

And people, including infants and pregnant women, are told to go back to these areas to live, because it is supposed to be safe. Basically the Japanese government does not recognize the fundamental human right to live in a healthy environment. The population is facing a tough future, for the compensation will be cut off soon, and the housing aid by the central government finishes at the same time. As for the auto-evacuees who fled from areas which are not classified as evacuation zones but are nevertheless radio-contaminated, they had only very little compensation and the housing aid was cut off at the end of March 2017. Continuing to live as nuclear refugees is becoming more and more difficult. We consider that this is a violation of basic environmental human rights.

Let us not forget to thank the members and volunteers of the Fukuichi Area Environmental Radiation Monitoring Project team. They are mostly elderly people over 60 years old. However, that doesn’t mean that they can be exposed to radiation. We thank them and pray for their health.

2Measurement devices

 

3Kit for soil collection

 

4Kit carried on the back

 

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8Collected soil samples

 

9Analysing the soil samples

 

You might think that Japanese just endure their fate without complaining. This is not true. Many people are fighting and protesting. Let us cite, among numerous on-going trials, the one called the “Trial to require the withdrawal of the 20mSv dose as the limit for evacuation” filed by residents of Minamisoma city in Fukushima, who are against the lifting of the evacuation order when the radiation dose decreases below 20mSv/year. Let us remind you that the Japanese government has adopted 1mSv/year, the internationally recognized dose limitation for public recommended in 1990 by ICRP (International Commission on Radiological Protection), and this is still the limit for the public all over Japan EXCEPT in Fukushima. This is one of the reasons why many people from Fukushima ask themselves: “Is Fukushima really a part of Japan?” or “Are we the people abandoned by the State?”

Related articles of this site :

Forest fire in the exclusion zone in Fukushima: Why monitoring the radiation dose is not enough for radioprotection

The scandalous deficiency of the health scheme in Fukushima

Incredible contamination in Namie, Fukushima

New data show massive radiation levels in Odaka, Minamisoma

Source: https://fukushima311voices.wordpress.com/2017/07/31/no-human-rights-in-terrifyingly-contaminated-namie-in-fukushima/

July 31, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | Leave a comment

Study: Radioactive Hot Particles Still Afloat Throughout Japan Six Year After Fukushima Meltdowns

Radioactive particles of uranium, thorium, radium, cesium, strontium, polonium, tellurium and americium are still afloat throughout Northern Japan more than six years after a tsunami slammed into the Fukushima Daiichi Power Plant causing three full-blown nuclear meltdowns. That was the conclusion reached by two of the world’s leading radiation experts after conducting an extensive five-year monitoring project.

Arnie Gundersen and Marco Kaltofen authored the peer reviewed study titled, Radioactively-hot particles detected in dusts and soils from Northern Japan by combination of gamma spectrometry, autoradiography, and SEM/EDS analysis and implications in radiation risk assessment, published July 27, 2017, in Science of the Total Environment (STOLEN).

Gundersen represents Fairewinds Associates and is a nuclear engineer, former power plant operator and industry executive, turned whistleblower, and was CNN’s play-by-play on-air expert during the 2011 meltdowns. Kaltofen, of the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), is a licensed civil engineer and is renowned as a leading experts on radioactive contamination in the environment.

415 samples of “dust and surface soil” were “analyzed sequentially by gamma spectrometry, autoradiography, and scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive X-ray analysis” between 2011 and 2016. 180 of the samples came from Japan while another 235 were taken from the United States and Canada. The study further clarifies, “Of these 180 Japanese particulate matter samples, 57 were automobile or home air filters, 59 were surface dust samples, 29 were street dusts (accumulated surface soils and dusts) and 33 were vacuum cleaner bag or other dust samples.”

108 of the Japanese samples were taken in 2016, while the other 72 were gathered in 2011 after the meltdowns. Gundersen and Kaltofen tapped 15 volunteer scientists to help collect the dust and soil — mostly from Fukushima Prefecture and Minamisouma City. “A majority of these samples were collected from locations in decontaminated zones cleared for habitation by the National Government of Japan,” the study revealed. For the 108 samples taken in 2016, an “International Medcom Inspector Alert surface contamination monitor (radiation survey meter) was used to identify samples from within low lying areas and on contaminated outdoor surfaces.”

A Fairewinds Associates’ video from 2012 features Gundersen collecting five samples of surface soil from random places throughout Tokyo — places including a sidewalk crack, a rooftop garden, and a previously decontaminated children’s playground. The samples were bagged, declared through Customs, and brought back to the U.S. for testing. All five samples were so radioactive that according to Gundersen, they “qualified as radioactive waste here in the United States and would have to be sent to Texas to be disposed of.” Those five examples were not included as part of the recently released study, but Gundersen went back to Tokyo for samples in 2016. Those samples were included, and were radioactive, and according to Gundersen were “similar to what I found in Tokyo in [2012].”

 

Furthermore, 142 of the 180 samples (about 80 percent) contained cesium 134 and cesium 137. Cesium 134 and 137, two of the most widespread byproducts of the nuclear fission process from uranium-fueled reactors, are released in large quantities in nuclear accidents. Cesium emits intense beta radiation as it decays away to other isotopes, and is very dangerous if ingested or inhaled. On a mildly positive note, the study shows that only four of the 235 dust samples tested in the United States and Canada had detectable levels of cesium from Fukushima.

Cesium, due to its molecular structure, mimics potassium once inside the body, and is often transported to the heart where it can become lodged, thereafter mutating and burning heart tissue which can lead to cardiovascular disease. Other isotopes imitate nutritive substances once inside the body as well. Strontium 90 for example mimics calcium, and is absorbed by bones and teeth.

“Different parts of the human body (nerves, bones, stomach, lung) are impacted differently,” Kaltofen told EnviroNews in an email. “Different cells have radio-sensitivities that vary over many orders of magnitude. The body reacts differently to the same dose received over a short time or a long time; the same as acute or chronic doses in chemical toxicity.”

In contrast to external X-rays, gamma, beta or alpha rays, hot particles are small mobile pieces of radioactive elements that can be breathed in, drunk or eaten in food. The fragments can then become lodged in bodily tissue where they will emanate high-intensity ionizing radiation for months or years, damaging and twisting cells, potentially causing myriad diseases and cancer. The study points out, “Contaminated environmental dusts can accumulate in indoor spaces, potentially causing radiation exposures to humans via inhalation, dermal contact, and ingestion.”

The study also explains, “Given the wide variability in hot particle sizes, activities, and occurrence; some individuals may experience a hot particle dose that is higher or lower than the dose calculated by using averaged environmental data.” For example, a person living in a contaminated area might use a leaf blower or sweep a floor containing a hefty amount of hot particle-laden dust and receive a large does in a short time, whereas other people in the same area, exposed to the same background radiation and environmental averages, may not take as heavy a hit as the housekeeper that sweeps floors for a living. People exposed to more dust on the job, or who simply have bad luck and haphazardly breathe in hot radioactive dust, are at an increased risk for cancer and disease. High winds can also randomly pick up radioactive surface soil, rendering it airborne and endangering any unsuspecting subject unlucky enough to breath it in.

Hot particles, or “internal particle emitters” as they are sometimes called, also carry unique epidemiological risks as compared to a chest X-ray by contrast. The dangers from radiation are calculated by the dose a subject receives, but the manner in which that dose is received can also play a critical factor in the amount of damage to a person’s health.

“Comparing external radiation to hot particles inside the body is an inappropriate analogy,” Gundersen told EnviroNews in an email. “Hot particles deliver a lot of energy to a very localized group of cells that surround them and can therefore cause significant localized cell damage. External radiation is diffuse. For example, the weight from a stiletto high heal shoe is the same as the weight while wearing loafers, but the high heal is damaging because its force is localized.”

Kaltofen elaborated with an analogy of his own in a followup email with EnviroNews saying:

Dose is the amount of energy in joules absorbed by tissue. Imagine Fred with a one joule gamma dose to the whole body from living in a dentist’s office over a lifetime, versus Rhonda with exactly the same dose as alpha absorbed by the lung from a hot particle. Standard health physics theory says that Fred will almost certainly be fine, but Rhonda has about a 10 percent chance of dying from lung cancer — even though the doses are the same.

External radiation and internal hot particles both follow exactly the same health physics rules, even though they cause different kinds of biological damage. Our data simply shows that you can’t understand radiation risk without measuring both.

Some isotopes, like plutonium, only pose danger to an organism inside the body. As an alpha emitter, plutonium’s rays are blocked by the skin and not strong enough to penetrate deep into bodily tissue. However, when inhaled or ingested, plutonium’s ionizing alpha rays twist and shred cells, making it one of the most carcinogenic and mutagenic substances on the planet.

“Measuring radioactive dust exposures can be like sitting by a fireplace,” Dr. Kaltofen explained in a press release. “Near the fire you get a little warm, but once in a while the fire throws off a spark that can actually burn you.”

“We weren’t trying to see just somebody’s theoretical average result,” Kaltofen continued in the press release. “We looked at how people actually encounter radioactive dust in their real lives. [By] combining microanalytical methods with traditional health physics models… we found that some people were breathing or ingesting enough radioactive dust to have a real increase in their risk of suffering a future health problem. This was especially true of children and younger people, who inhale or ingest proportionately more dust than adults.”

“Individuals in the contaminated zone, and potentially well outside of the mapped contaminated zone, may receive a dose that is higher than the mean dose calculated from average environmental data, due to inhalation or ingestion of radioactively-hot dust and soil particles,” the study says in summation. “Accurate radiation risk assessments therefore require data for hot particle exposure as well as for exposure to more uniform environmental radioactivity levels.”

https://www.environews.tv/072917-study-plutonium-hot-particles-still-afloat-throughout-japan-six-year-fukushima-meltdowns/

July 31, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima: New Study Shows Full Radiation Risks Are Not Recorded

Today, the scientific journal Science of the Total Environment (STOTEN) published a peer-reviewed article entitled: Radioactively-hot particles detected in dusts and soils from Northern Japan by combination of gamma spectrometry, autoradiography, and SEM/EDS analysis and implications in radiation risk assessment. Co-authored by Dr. Marco Kaltofen, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), and Arnie Gundersen, Fairewinds Energy Education, the article details the analysis of radioactively hot particles collected in Japan following the Fukushima Dai-ichi meltdowns.

Based on 415 samples of radioactive dust from Japan, the USA, and Canada, the study identified a statistically meaningful number of samples that were considerably more radioactive than current radiation models anticipated. If ingested, these more radioactive particles increase the risk of suffering a future health problem.

“Measuring radioactive dust exposures can be like sitting by a fireplace,” Dr. Kaltofen said. “Near the fire you get a little warm, but once in a while the fire throws off a spark that can actually burn you.”

The same level of risk exists in Japan. While most people have an average level of risk, a few people get an extra spark from a hot particle.

According to Dr. Kaltofen, “The average radiation exposures we found in Japan matched-up nicely with other researchers. We weren’t trying to see just somebody’s theoretical average result. We looked at how people actually encounter radioactive dust in their real lives. Combining microanalytical methods with traditional health physics models,” he added, “we found that some people were breathing or ingesting enough radioactive dust to have a real increase in their risk of suffering a future health problem. This was especially true of children and younger people, who inhale or ingest proportionately more dust than adults.”

Fairewinds’ book Fukushima Dai-ichi: The Truth and the Way Forward was published in Japan by Shueisha Publishing, just prior to the one-year commemoration of the tsunami and meltdowns. “Our book,” Mr. Gundersen said, “which is a step-by-step factual account of the reactor meltdowns, was a best seller in Japan and enabled us to build amazing relations with people actually living in Japan, who are the source of the samples we analyzed. We measured things like house dusts, air filters, and even car floor mats. Collecting such accurate data shows the importance of citizen science, crowd sourcing, and the necessity of open, public domain data for accurate scientific analysis.”

Fairewinds Energy Education founder Maggie Gundersen said, “We are very thankful to the scientists and citizen scientists in Japan, who sought our assistance in collecting and analyzing this data. We will continue to support ongoing scientific projects examining how people in Japan and throughout the world experience radioactive dust in their daily lives.”

The complete peer reviewed report and project audio description by Dr. Kaltofen are available here at the Science of the Total Environment website.

Interactive data and the supporting materials are available here at the Fairewinds Energy Education website.

http://www.dianuke.org/fukushima-new-study-shows-full-radiation-risks-not-recorded/

July 31, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | Leave a comment

Soil Radioactive Contamination Measurements of Namie, Fukushima.

Some maps of the “Environmental Radioactivity Project around the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant” project, a measurement group of Japanese citizens based in Minamisoma, Fukushima Prefecture, are published in the blog “Fukushima 311 Voices “, https://fukushima311voices.wordpress.com/

 

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Some maps of the “Environmental Radioactivity Project around the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant” project, a measurement group of Japanese citizens based in Minamisoma in Fukushima Prefecture, are published in the blog “Fukushima 311 Voices “.
This is the area in Namie-cho where the restrictions on living were recently lifted by the government (March 31, 2017).


It is the measurement result of Namie Town in the area which was evacuated, from this spring.


About 10 days from April to July, we measured the air dose rate, surface contamination count rate, and soil contamination density of 314 points, which were the approximate center points of the mesh divided into 375 m × 250 m.

But for the soil contamination density, the numerical value was less than 40,000 Bq / (which is the designated standard of a radiation control area) at only 3 points.


Incidentally, the average of the soil contamination density is 858,143 Bq /
(maximum is 6,780,000 Bq / , the minimum is 31,400 Bq / ), the average of the air dose rate at 1 m above the ground is 1.12 μSv / h, the surface contamination count rate was 1,199 cpm, which was very high.


Even the Japanese government, even radiation workers, have been given restrictions on staying time, meals, age, etc. in the areas of 40,000 Bq /
or more, but people who were to be affected by even more severely radiation-contaminated areas (including pregnant women and others) were supposed to return home.


I would like many people to know this reality. Furthermore, I would like to ask for such a great support as we share the thought of Minami-soma who are fighting in trials against such a high evacuation standard setting of 20 mSv / yr by the Japanese government.

Fukuichi Surrounding Environment Radiation Monitoring Project

https://www.facebook.com/fukuichi.mp/

Special thanks to Mr Ozawa, and to Nick Thabit for his translation.

July 31, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

Increases in perinatal mortality in prefectures contaminated by the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident in Japan

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While fetal and neonatal deaths within the first week of life (termed perinatal mortality) have been decreasing in Japan consistently since 2002, data examined in Fukushima-affected areas during 2012-2015 show a break in this trend with an increase that, as of 2015, had not reversed.

This recent study examines numbers of perinatal deaths in areas affected by the ongoing Fukushima nuclear catastrophe and compared these data to other areas of Japan supposedly unaffected.

This research is just the latest showing a perinatal mortality increase following Fukushima. A number of studies in Europe also showed similar increases following the Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe.  

Increases in perinatal mortality in prefectures contaminated by the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident in Japan

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5044925/

July 27, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

Ethical Foundations of Radiological Protection

“The economic and societal factors of the population living in contaminated territories are not the same as the ones of the other parts of the country.”

It even applies to antinuclear activists. Immediately after 311 the priority for the Fukushima activists was the evacuation of the Fukushima children whereas the priority for the other Japanese antinuclear activists was to keep all Japan’s nuke plants from being  restarted.

Sadly at national level the second priority prevailed over the first priority, and no measures were in the end taken to evacuate or to protect the Fukushima children from continuous radiation exposure nor from prolonged internal exposure thru local foods.

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“..Regarding existing exposure situations after a large-scale nuclear accident, the economic and societal factors of the population living in contaminated territories are not the same as the ones of the other parts of the country. For example, the former want to sell their agricultural production and the later avoids internal contamination….”
“…ICRP recognize that the assessment of beneficence and non-maleficence is a key challenge but has nothing else to propose than recommending, “that such an assessment [should] be transparent about what was included, recognise disagreements where they arise, and go beyond a simple balancing of direct health impacts against economic costs.” ICRP provides no example of good practice arising from these recommendations that are rarely implemented….”
“…Moreover some categories of people are more sensitive to radiations than others. It is particularly the case of children and infants. Justice would mean a better protection with lower limits for them. This is a strong request from families living around the Fukushima dai-ichi nuclear power plant. Some of them evacuated without any support in order to protect their children.
Similarly, individuals are not all equal in terms of genetic heritage and part of this population of hypersensitivity to the adverse effects of radiation (1 to 3% are heterozygous for ataxia telangiectasia). The radiation protection system cannot be built to protect the majority of citizens, but all citizens…..”
“…CRP does not address this issue of individual health in its draft report. How can it expect to answer to the demands of the populations and be understood by them?

Intergenerational justice has been addressed by the Commission for the management of radioactive waste […]. The Commission introduces responsibilities towards future generations in terms of providing the means to deal with their protection”. Justice could also be extended spatial consideration by forbidding the export of radioactive waste to foreign countries that did not benefit from the electricity production.

Implementation of radiological protection requires democracy to avoid abuses. Nevertheless, democracy is not considered as a core ethical value by ICRP….”
“…ACRO strongly supports the implementation of these three procedural values and considers that they should be implemented from the justification stage. This is not mentioned in the draft report, although it is a requirement the Aarhus convention for environmental issues. This should be extended to radiological protection….”
“…Most of citizen living around the Fukushima dai-ichi nuclear power plant still do not trust authorities. “Accountability” and “transparency” have being ignored by Japanese authorities. The arbitrary evacuation limit of 20 mSv/y has never been explained nor justified. People refusing this limit might have no other choice than remaining in contaminated territories due to economical constrains.

It is a pity that the ICRP has never tried to grasp the situation in contaminated territories as whole and has limited its so-called “dialogues” to a limited number of people that agrees with the Commission. It would have learned much more about the consequences of its recommendations in talking to all categories of people.

As conclusion, ACRO considers that studying the ethical basis of the radiological protection is a necessity but it is not achieved in the present draft report. It should be submitted to various stakeholders and discussed by other means than a simple public consultation on the Internet….”

http://www.acro.eu.org/fondements-ethiques-de-la-radioprotection-ethical-foundations-of-radiological-protection/

 

July 25, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment