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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.

namie-20170722-1.jpg

 

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

 

5

 

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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

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/

 

namie cho july 22 2017.jpg

 

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

Fukushima town, Namie, to receive compensation

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NHK has learned that a town near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is to receive compensation for a drop in the value of its land that was caused by the 2011 nuclear accident.
The plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, will pay Namie Town 2.5 billion yen, or more than 22 million dollars.
This is the first time that the operator has agreed to compensate a municipality for assets that were affected by the accident.
In June of last year, Namie officials asked the company to pay about 104 million dollars in compensation for damage to 262 hectares of land owned by the town. Evacuation orders for parts of the town remained in effect for over 6 years.
The officials say they will negotiate with the power company over the remainder of the requested amount.
The Fukushima prefectural government says the town of Futaba has made a similar request and that other municipalities may follow suit.
Tokyo Electric is paying individuals and businesses compensation for damage to properties located in areas where evacuation orders were issued.

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20170606_03/

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

Evacuation Orders Lifted for Iitate, Kawamata, Namie, Tomioka

The Japanese government has lifted evacuation orders for zones it had designated as “areas to which evacuation orders are ready to be lifted” and “areas in which residents are not permitted to live” as a result of the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident. The orders were lifted in Iitate, Namie and the Yamakiya district of Kawamata on March 31 and in Tomioka on April 1. Evacuation orders for “areas where it is expected that residents will face difficulties in returning for a long time” (or, more briefly, “difficult-to-return zones”) remain in place. The evacuation orders originally affected a total of 12 municipalities, but had been lifted for six of those as of last year. The latest rescission of orders has brought the ratio of refugees allowed to return to their homes to about 70%, with the area still under evacuation orders reduced to about 30% of its original size. TEPCO intends to cut off compensation to these refugees, with a target date of March 2018, roughly a year after the evacuation orders were lifted. Additionally, the provision of free housing to “voluntary evacuees,” who evacuated from areas not under evacuation orders, was discontinued at the end of March 2017.

 

Lifting of Orders Affects 32,000 People

The number of people forced to abandon their homes due to the Fukushima nuclear accident reached a peak of 164,865 people in May 2012, when they had no choice but to evacuate. Now, even six years later, 79,446 evacuees (as of February 2017) continue to lead difficult lives as refugees.

In the six municipalities for which the evacuation orders were lifted last year, the repatriation of residents has not proceeded well. Repatriation ratios compared to the pre-disaster population have been about 50 to 60% for Hirono and Tamura, about 20% for Kawauchi, and not even 10% for Naraha, Katsurao and the Odaka district of Minamisoma, where radiation doses were high (see Table 1).

Capture du 2017-06-04 14-36-01

 

The number of evacuees affected by the current lifting of evacuation orders for the four municipalities is 32,169. The ratio of positive responses to a residents’ opinion survey conducted by the Reconstruction Agency from last year to this year saying they would like to be repatriated was rather low, with about 30 to 40% for Iitate and Kawamata, and less than 20% for Namie and Tomioka. During the long course of their evacuation, spanning six years, many of the residents had already built foundations for their lives in the places to which they had evacuated.

 

House and Building Demolition Proceeding (Namie)

A total of 15,356 evacuees (as of the end of 2016) are affected by the rescission of evacuation orders for Namie, amounting to about 80% of the town’s residents. Results of an opinion survey published by the Reconstruction Agency in November showed 17.5% of the residents saying they wanted to return to Namie. Most replied that they did not want to return or that they could not return yet.

A temporary shopping center named “Machi Nami Marushe” has been newly opened next to the main Namie Town Office building, where the evacuation orders have been lifted. The rail service on the Joban Line to JR Namie Station was restored when the orders were lifted. In the area around Namie Station and the shopping center in front of it, houses and buildings are being demolished and decontamination and road repair work are proceeding at a high pitch.

Meanwhile, Namie’s residents say their houses have been made uninhabitable by damage from various wild animals, including boars, raccoon dogs, palm civets, raccoons, martens and monkeys. Many houses have been ruined, necessitating their demolition.

 

‘Forward Base’ for Reactor Decommissioning (Tomioka)

A total of 9,601 evacuees (as of January 1, 2017) are affected by the rescission of evacuation orders for Tomioka, about 70% of the town’s residents. Results of a residents’ opinion survey show no more than 16% of them wishing to return to the town.

Last November, a commercial zone called “Sakura Mall Tomioka” was established along National Route 6. A supermarket and drug store opened for business there at the end of March. Nearby is the “Energy Hall”—TEPCO’s nuclear power PR facilities. Right next door to that, housing is being built for reconstruction workers, consisting of 50 detached houses and 140 apartment complex units. There are plans to relocate JR Tomioka Station to a position near these.

The town will play a role as a “forward base for reactor decommissioning.” The Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) is promoting the construction of an international research center for the International Research Institute for Nuclear Decommissioning (IRID), scheduled for completion by the end of March. It will carry out research on human resource development and methods for the disposal of radioactive wastes. These facilities are not meant for returning residents. Instead, they are being promoted as part of plans for a new “workers’ town” and will have decontamination and decommissioning workers move in as new residents along with decommissioning researchers.

On the other hand, the “difficult-to-return zones” of about 8 km2, including the Yonomori district, famous for its cherry tree tunnel that used to be lit up at night, will remain under evacuation orders. At a residents’ briefing, people expressed worries about matters like having to see the barricades to those zones on a daily basis.

 

Non-repatriating Residents Cut Off (Iitate)

The village of Iitate, located about 40 km northwest of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, is making a massive decontamination effort across its entire area, including agricultural fields, to prepare for repatriation of its residents. About 2.35 million large flexible container bags into which contaminated waste is stuffed are stacked in temporary storage areas, accounting for about 30% of the total 7.53 million bags overall in the special decontamination area (for decontamination directly implemented by the national government). Prior to rescission of the evacuation orders, Iitate Mayor Norio Kanno made the controversial remark, “We will honor support from residents who repatriate to the village.” This brought an angry response from the residents, declaring that they were adamantly opposed to an attitude of treating those not returning as non-residents. The village’s position on repatriation is that it should be up to the judgement of the villagers themselves.

 

Three Requirements for Lifting Evacuation Orders

On December 26, 2011, Japan’s government determined three conditions needed to be fulfilled before evacuation orders could be lifted. These were (1) certainty that the accumulative annual dose at the estimated air dose rate would be 20 mSv or less, (2) that infrastructure and everyday services had been restored and decontamination work had proceeded sufficiently, especially in environments where children would be active, and (3) that there had been sufficient consultation with the prefecture, municipalities and residents. In May 2015, the government decided on a target of March 2017 for lifting the evacuation orders for all but the “difficult-to-return zones.” They proceeded with the decontamination work and provision of infrastructure for the residents’ return, but gaining consent was a hopeless cause.

 

Requirement 1: Coerced Exposure The annual 20 mSv standard the government established is puzzling. The ICRP’s recommendations and laws such as Japan’s Nuclear Reactor Regulation Law stipulate a public radiation exposure limit of 1 mSv a year. The government is repatriating the residents even at radiation doses exceeding this, and of most concern is how this will affect their health. The residents argue, “We cannot return to places with such a high risk of exposure.”

Trial calculations of the radiation doses received by individuals staying in Namie and Tomioka to conduct preparatory work were published prior to the rescission of evacuation orders for those towns, showing annual doses of 1.54 mSv for Namie and 1.52 mSv for Tomioka. These are below the government’s standard of 20 mSv a year (3.8 μSv per hour)* for lifting evacuation orders, but both exceed the annual limit for public exposure. They are not conditions ensuring “safety and security” as the government says.

At the residents’ briefings, the government explained that its basis for lifting the orders was that decontamination had been completed. However, even if the annual radiation dose has not fallen below 1mSv (the government’s decontamination standard, equivalent to an hourly dose of 0.23 μSv) after decontamination, they will press ahead with lifting the evacuation orders anyway. This drew strong reactions from the residents who said, “Are you making us return just because of the decontamination?” and “Are you forcing us to be exposed?”

 

Requirement 2: Shopping Close By

Prior to the earthquake and tsunami disaster, the Odaka district of Minamisoma, where the evacuation orders were lifted last July, had six supermarkets, two home centers, six fish shops and three drugstores. All of those, however, were lost in the disaster. At last, after the evacuation orders were lifted, two convenience stores opened, but they are far from the residential area near JR Odaka Station, and cannot be reached on foot. A clinic reopened, but since there is no pharmacy, there is no way for patients to buy prescribed medicines. Repatriated residents have to travel for about 20 minutes by car to the adjacent Haramachi district about 10 kilometers away to supplement their shopping and other necessities. Residents without cars, such as the elderly, have difficulty living there. They say, “Nobody wants to reopen the stores because it is obvious that they’ll run at a loss.” A vicious cycle continues, with stores unable to open because the residents who would be their customers are not returning.

 

Requirement 3: Spurn Residents’ Wishes Almost none of the residents attending the residents’ briefings have been in favor of lifting the evacuation orders. Nine or more out of 10 have expressed opposition. They are always given the same canned explanation, with the national and municipal governments brazenly and unilaterally insisting on lifting the orders.

“It is too soon to lift the evacuation orders,” complained one resident at Namie’s residents’ briefing on February 7. The 74-year-old woman living as an evacuee in Tokyo had been getting by on 100,000 yen a month in pension payments and compensation for mental anguish and was living in a single-bedroom public apartment (UR Housing) in Tokyo that qualifies as post-disaster public-funded rental accommodation. Her compensation will be cut off, and if she chooses to continue living in the housing where she currently resides, the rent is expected to exceed 100,000 yen. She considers how many years she could continue paying and doesn’t know what she would do if she became unable to pay. Such constant thoughts increase her anxiety. The minute the evacuation orders are lifted, she too will be rendered a “voluntary evacuee.”

The woman said, “Even if they tell me to go back to Namie because it is safe, I will not return.” They have finished decontaminating her house, but high levels of radiation remain, measuring 0.4 μSv per hour in her garden and 0.6 μSv per hour in her living room. With regard to this, Namie Mayor Tamotsu Baba keeps repeating the same response that “the environment is in good order for people to come back and live in our town.”

A multitude of residents expressed a litany of angry opinions, such as, “If the government says it is safe, they ought to send some of their officials to live here first,” “Say we come back, but if we are going to live next to where dangerous decommissioning work is going on, are they still going to cut off our compensation?” and “The government and town officials say they are striving for the safety and security of the residents, but we can’t trust them at all.” Following this briefing, though, on February 27, the town of Namie accepted the national government’s policy of lifting the evacuation orders, formally deciding on the end of March as the date for rescission. They pooh-poohed the views of many of the town’s residents opposed to lifting of the orders.

 

Conclusion In a Cabinet Decision on December 20, 2016, the Japanese government adopted a “Policy for Accelerating Fukushima’s Reconstruction.” This policy promotes the preparation of “reconstruction bases” in parts of the “difficult-to-return zones” and the use of government funds for decontamination toward a target of lifting the evacuation orders for these areas in five years and urging repatriation. “Difficult-to-return zones” span the seven municipalities of Futaba, Okuma, Tomioka, Namie, Iitate, Katsurao and Minamisoma. By area, they account for 62% of Okuma and 96% of Futaba. The affected population numbers about 24,000 people.

The government’s repatriation policy, however, is resulting in bankruptcies. Rather than repatriation, they should be promoting a “policy of evacuation” in consideration of current conditions. Policies should be immediately implemented to provide economic, social and health support to the evacuees, enabling them to live healthy, civilized lives, regardless of whether they choose to repatriate or continue their evacuation.

 

Ryohei Kataoka, CNIC

 

* This calculation is based on a government approved formula which assumes that people will be exposed to 3.8 μSv per hour only for 8 hours per day when they are outside the house. It is assumed that they will be indoors for 16 hours per day and the screening effect will reduce the exposure rate to 1.52 μSv per hour. On a yearly basis, this calculates to slightly less than 20 mSv per year.

http://www.cnic.jp/english/?p=3855

June 4, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mount Juman forest fire in Namie

Namie-Fire-Nippon-TV.jpg

 

A forest fire has been burning in the no-entry zone of Namie in Fukushima since April 29th, and is now in its fourth day. This has been the subject of many news reports of varying quality, and we are following the situation closely.

The site is among the most highly-contaminated by the Fukushima disaster, well within the “difficult-to-return” zone. Clicking this link will center the Safecast web map on the site of the fire at Juman-yama, which we derived by comparing terrain in news videos and in Google Earth.

To summarize what has been reported so far:

The fire is in a mountainous area of Namie Town called Juman-yama, about 10 km from the Fukushima Daiichi plant. The Daiichi plant itself is not at risk from this blaze.

The fire appears to have begun on Sat. April 29, caused by a lightning strike.

Fire-fighters used helicopters to dump water on it, and it appeared to have largely died out on the morning of April 30, but high winds revived it shortly after.

The burned and burning area has been growing, and as of May 2 was approximately 20 hectares.

We don’t have much information about wind direction, which is variable, but predominant winds would blow the smoke eastward towards the ocean (generally over the Daiichi plant site and the towns of Okuma and Futaba).

The most informative news report we’ve seen so far is from Fukushima Chuo TV, on May 1. Prof. Kenji Namba from Univ. of Tokyo notes that the fire can be expected to spread radioactive cesium from the trees in smoke and ash, a general risk pointed out by many experts in the past. He also notes that a monitoring post at Tomioka Station, about 15 km to the southeast of the fire site, has shown what appears to be a very small increase in radiation levels there since the start of the fire. We believe that data from many more points should be examined before ascribing any significance to this kind of reading.

Our closest Pointcast fixed sensor in the area is in Namie, about 7.8 km to the east-northeast of the fire. Its readings have remained relatively constant since the start of the fire, with no appreciable change in radiation levels detected. The time series graph for this sensor showing the change in radiation over the past 30 days can be accessed here.

We also have Pointcast sensors in the nearby towns of Tomioka and Odaka. Neither these nor any other Pointcast sensors show any appreciable increase in radiation levels so far.

Examining readings from government radiation monitoring posts shows what appear to be noticeable “bumps” at some locations around May 1. But these are not large spikes, and in general appear to be within the range of the variation seen in recent months. However, any detection at all would depend on the direction the wind is blowing the smoke plume.

Though any increases in radiation dose rates seen so far appear to be very small, inhaling the smoke from this fire could lead to an internal dose of radioactive cesium. We strongly suggest that people avoid inhaling this smoke. The area surrounding the fire where such risks would be highest are in fact closed to the public and therefore inaccessible, but the additional radiation risk to firefighters is making it difficult to send adequate personnel to battle the blaze.

News videos here:

NHK, Sun. April 30, 2017

Nippon Television, Tues. May 2, 2017

http://blog.safecast.org/2017/05/mount-juman-forest-fire-in-namie/

May 3, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , , | 2 Comments

Wildfires in Namie

Wildfire is raging in the highly radio-contaminated area in Namie, Fukushima prefecture. Japanese authorities are minimizing the radiation risk. It is time to provide information from civil movement point of view. We are publishing here the translation of an article by Suzuki Hiroki, a freelance journalist.

What is happening in Namie, the 74th month after the Fukushima Daiichi accident?

There is a wildfire in the forest in the “difficult-to-return zone” causing rising concerns about the secondary dispersion of radioactive substances.
“Is it safe?” Voices of rage from the townspeople towards the central and local governments that hurried the evacuation order lifting.

A forest fire broke out on 29 April in Namie Town, Fukushima Prefecture, where one month had passed since the evacuation orders were lifted from a large part of the town. Moreover, it happened in the “difficult-to-return zone” where radio-contamination is especially high even in Namie town. Strong winds and high concentrations of contamination have made it difficult to fight against the fire and the fire has not been extinguished as of the night of May 1. Although the evacuation orders have been lifted as “the environment for everyday life is sufficiently in order”, it has been made clear that Namie has a perpetual risk of secondary dispersion of radioactive materials in the future. The fact that there is no means to prevent internal irradiation of firefighters as well as of returning residents brought home again the “reality” of the nuclear power plant accident.

[Firefighters cannot get close to the scene]

At the Sports Center near Japan Railway Joban Line Namie station fire-fighting helicopters in Fukushima and Miyagi prefecture land in the parking lot every few minutes. Water is put in the tanks with the hose connected to the fire hydrant. In the direction where the helicopter flew, smoke was still rising from the ridge of the mountain. Only the sound of the propeller echoes in the city empty of its population. Since April 29, the day when “Namie Town Security Watch Corps” rushed to the fire station, the feared forest fire is still ongoing 2 days later. The concern of secondary dispersion of radioactive materials is heightened.

The burned area has exceeded 10 hectares. Although the fire is weakening, the fire department is cautious in declaring the judgment of “repression” and “extinguishing” of fire, for the fire became strong once again after it was judged being “repressed”. On May 2, since 5:00 am, BABA Tamotsu, the mayor of Namie, and OWADA Hitoshi, head of the headquarters of the Futaba Regional Communities Area Union Fire Department, have been busy inspecting the area from the sky by helicopter.

Jyumanyama” (altitude 448.4 meters), where lightning caused the fire, is located in the Ide district, which is designated as a “difficult-to-return zone”. Although the evacuation orders were partially lifted on March 31 from Namie, the “difficult-to-return zone” is still severely restricted from entering. The town’s fire brigade was called up, but its members cannot go close to the scene. It takes two hours on foot from the entrance of the mountain trail to the site, according to the headquarters of the Futaba Regional Communities Area Union Fire Department. The spot could not be specified easily. As soon as it was localized from the sky by the helicopter, firefighters climbed the steep slopes without trails while receiving the guidance of the Forestry agency and Iwaki Forest management office staff. In the meantime, smoke fueled by strong winds reduced visibility like a dense fog. But it’s not just smoke that is dangerous – there is the danger of radioactivity as well The effect of the absorption can attached to the protective mask only functions up to three hours. The exchange in the contaminated smoke is accompanied by the irradiation risk. Considering the health hazards of the members, it is not a good idea to enter the virgin forest without a discussed plan. On April 30 at noon, UCHIBORI Masao, the governor of Fukushima Prefecture requested to dispatch the 6th Division of the JGSDF (Yamagata Prefecture) for the disaster. The amount of water spray exceeds 400 tons by GSDF alone.

However, it is not possible to stop the secondary dispersion of the radioactive material even by the SDF. This is the specificity and danger of this forest fire.

photo-1.jpeg(Top) At the Namie Regional Sports Center parking lot, fire-fighting helicopters came back one after another for water supply. The extinguishing activity from air is scheduled again on May 2 in the morning.

photo-2(Middle) From Jyumanyama mountains there was still smoke.
Secondary dispersion of radioactive materials is concerned. (Taken on May 1 around 11 a.m.)

photo-3(Bottom) Firefighters entered the field in protective gear and masks, but ” practically, there are no means to prevent the exposure to the radiation”.

 

The radiation of the firefighters is unavoidable”.

The secondary dispersion of radioactive materials is an alarming thing, but it has been expected. Judging that ‘the living environment is generally in order’, evacuation orders have been lifted, but once the wildfire starts, this is what happens. Did the government lift the evacuation orders after presenting these risks to the townspeople? I do not have any confidence in the central government nor in the local administration. They are good at appealing that everything is going well in this country. It was the same during the war. In that sense, it is a system of ‘self-responsibility’. I have no choice but to take care of myself”, said a man in his 40s, who was evacuated from the Hiwatari-Ushiwata administrative district. No active effort to announce the secondary dispersion of radioactive materials associated with forest fires was made by the town. It was delivered at last in the Mail magazine of the town at 10:00 a.m. on May 1. The following warning sentence was diffused: “Please do not approach carelessly, for it is dangerous”. It was not known to the townspeople for more than a full day because the fire report is dated Saturday evening. “The administration is difficult to move on Saturdays and Sundays,” said the General Affairs Disaster Security Division. On May 1 at 7:00 a.m., the same content was announced to the entire neighborhood by the disaster prevention radio, and “Notice of forest fire conditions” was published on the town homepage. However, there was no call for wearing a mask related to secondary dispersion of radioactive materials.

No emergency calls have reached the town council members. A certain council member said, “It is a good thing that I happened to learn about it by the television news. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have been able to answer when questioned by the townspeople about this. I want to request to make a contact system because the forest fire in the “difficult-to-return zone” is an emergency situation.”

This council member says, “it is only a personal opinion, but it is natural to assume that radioactive cesium will scatter with smoke and ash, and the fire extinguishing activity should be carried out while measuring how much radioactive material there is in the one square meter. However, it is not realistic, and I have to say that it is not possible to prevent internal irradiation exposure after all.” Another council member also said, “the risk was not examined when the evacuation order was lifted. The danger has been proven by the forest fire this time.” He is ready to take the matter to the Town Council.

As for the irradiation risk of the fire brigade, the headquarters of the Futaba Regional Communities Area Union Fire Department admit that while they can make a point “not to carry out the contaminated materials from the area”, there is no means to prevent the exposure of the fire brigade member. They can only try to shorten the time of stay in the “difficult-to-return zone”, but in reality it takes time to reach the site, and it is difficult to reach it. We have to admit that the exposure is unavoidable.” I wonder if we can consider the situation as “nuclear accident is under control”?

 

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photo-5

 

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There was a warning about forest fires since even before the nuclear accident. The airborne radioactivity of Tsushima District, which is designated as “difficult-to-return zone” like Ide district, is still high. It is sad to say, but the risk of secondary dispersion of radioactive materials with a fire is high.

 

Difficulty to monitor fine particles

There is no significant fluctuation in the airborne radioactivity measured by the monitoring posts installed inside and outside the town. The local media also actively convey the point. However, Mr. Yoichi Ozawa of the citizen’s group in Minamisoma City, “Fukuichi Environmental Radiation Monitoring Project”, pointed out that “radioactive particulates cannot be caught by a dosimeter or monitoring post.” In response to the forest fire, the above Project and the Citizen Radioactivity Monitoring Center “Chikurin-sha” (Hinode Town, Nishitama County, Tokyo) put several linen cloths in the town of Namie. It is thought that the secondary dispersion situation can be estimated by examining the adhesion of the fine particles that cause the internal irradiation.

The central government also faces a cautious posture about the secondary dispersion of the radioactive materials by combustion. On April 20, at the meeting with the residents of Iitate village the person in charge of the Cabinet Office asked the villagers “not to burn the field until the results of experimentation and analyses about how much radioactive materials scatter and adhere to crops etc. come out.” It is a reality that even the bureaucrats of the central government who rushed the evacuation order lifting are not able to affirm that it is safe.

According to the research by Mr. Ozawa and his colleagues, radioactive cesium of 17,000 Bq/kg was found in the fallen leaves near the Ogaki dam last autumn in the “difficult-to-return zone”. “The radioactive material is concentrated by several dozen times by burning. Some experts have pointed out hundreds of times”, says Ozawa. However, neither the central government nor Fukushima prefecture nor the Namie town warn about the internal irradiation at all.

They lifted the evacuation order saying that it is safe and secure, but it’s not at all,” says a 70 year old resident angrily. A lot of worries about the exposure risk were voiced at the residents consultation meeting just before the lifting of evacuation orders. Some say, “it is useless to worry all the time. Since the nuclear power plant accident has happened, we have to think in a constructive way now”, but unfortunately many townspeople’s worries have become real. Moreover, it’s quite possible that the forest fire was caused by lightning. Namie will have to take the same risks in the future. The fire site continues smoldering. Radioactive materials are slowly spreading.

Published in Taminokoe shimbun, May 2, 2017.

https://fukushima311voices.wordpress.com/2017/05/02/wildfires-in-namie/

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

Sparking Fears of Airborne Radiation, Wildfire Burns in Fukushima ‘No-Go Zone’

Contaminated forests such as those outside fallout sites like Fukushima and Chernobyl ‘are ticking time bombs’

greenpeace_fukushima.jpegKendra Ulrich, senior Global Energy campaigner for Greenpeace Japan on the Asakaze, a research vessel chartered by Greenpeace Japan, doing radiation survey work off shore of Fukushima Daiichi.

 

A wildfire broke out in the highly radioactive “no-go zone” near the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant over the weekend, reviving concerns over potential airborne radiation.

Japanese newspaper The Mainichi reports that lightning was likely to blame for sparking the fire Saturday on Mount Juman in Namie, which lies in the Fukushima Prefecture and was one of the areas evacuated following the 2011 meltdown. The area continues to be barred to entry as it is designated a “difficult-to-return zone” due to continually high radiation levels.

Local officials were forced to call in the Japanese military, the Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF), to help battle the blaze, which continued to burn on Monday. At least 10 hectares of forest have burned so far.

“A total of eight helicopters from Fukushima, Miyagi and Gunma prefectures as well as the SDF discharged water on the site to combat the fire,” The Mainichi reports. “As the fire continued to spread, however, helicopters from the GSDF, Fukushima Prefecture and other parties on May 1 resumed fire extinguishing operations from around 5 am [local time].”

An official with the Ministry of the Environment said Monday that there has been “no major changes to radiation levels” in the region, according to the newspaper, but added that they will “continue to closely watch changes in radiation doses in the surrounding areas.”

In a blog post last year, Anton Beneslavsky, a member of Greenpeace Russia’s firefighting group who has been deployed to fight blazes in nuclear Chernobyl, outlined the specific dangers of wildfires in contaminated areas.

“During a fire, radionuclides like caesium-137, strontium-90 and plutonium rise into the air and travel with the wind,” Beneslavsky wrote. “This is a health concern because when these unstable atoms are inhaled, people become internally exposed to radiation.”

Contaminated forests such as those outside fallout sites like Fukushima and Chernobyl “are ticking time bombs,” scientist and former regional government official Ludmila Komogortseva told Beneslavsky. “Woods and peat accumulate radiation,” she explained “and every moment, every grass burning, every dropped cigarette or camp fire can spark a new disaster.”

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/05/01/sparking-fears-airborne-radiation-wildfire-burns-fukushima-no-go-zone

 

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

Wildfire continues in Fukushima

fire may 1 2017.jpg

 

A wildfire has been raging for more than 2 days near the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

The fire started in a mountain forest on the outskirts of Namie Town in Fukushima Prefecture. The area is part of a zone designated as “no-entry” due to high radiation levels following the 2011 nuclear disaster.

Fukushima and Miyagi prefectures and the Self-Defense Forces are using helicopters to fight the blaze. They are also looking at the possibility of using ground crews.

Footage from an NHK helicopter on Monday morning showed smoke rising from wide areas and fires burning in several locations.

Local officials and firefighters say the blaze abated somewhat on Monday afternoon thanks to rainfall. The wildfire is estimated to have burned about 20 hectares of land so far.

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20170501_24/

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

Wildfire rages in highly radioactive Fukushima mountain forest

This is bad news. Fires like this in contaminated forests aerosolize the radiation that covers the plants and has been taken up in the soil and redistributes it through the smoke. It makes no sense to bring people back to the territories in the vicinity of the highly radio-contaminated forests.

 

NAMIE, Fukushima — A fire broke out in a mountain forest near the crippled Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant on the evening of April 29, consuming an area approximately 20 hectares in size, according to prefectural authorities.

The fire started on 448-meter-high Mount Juman in Namie, Fukushima Prefecture, prompting the prefectural government to request the dispatch of the Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) on a disaster relief mission on April 30. A total of eight helicopters from Fukushima, Miyagi and Gunma prefectures as well as the SDF discharged water on the site to combat the fire.

As the fire continued to spread, however, helicopters from the GSDF, Fukushima Prefecture and other parties on May 1 resumed fire extinguishing operations from around 5 a.m.

The area is designated as a “difficult-to-return zone” due to high radiation levels from the Fukushima nuclear disaster, and entry into the area is barred in principle.

According to the Fukushima Meteorological Office, a lightning advisory had been issued for the town of Namie when the fire broke out, and Fukushima Prefectural Police suspect that lightning was to blame for the blaze as they continue to investigate the cause of the incident.

As of May 1, there were no major changes to radiation levels in the heart of Namie and other areas near the fire scene, according to the Ministry of the Environment.

“We will continue to closely watch changes in radiation doses in the surrounding areas,” said a ministry official.

http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20170501/p2a/00m/0na/003000c

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May 1, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | Leave a comment

14 microSv/h 5cm above from street-side soil Namie, Fukushima

From Birdhairjp

On 22 Apr 2017, I measured radiation in front of a temple of Onoda area,
Namie town of Fukushima prefecture Japan.

I monitored 0.94 micro Sievert per hour in air at chest hight
on road side near a utility pole.
And I monitored air dose rate 0.85 micro Sievert on asphalt road pavement.

There is a place, the monitor figures jump up.
There left highly contaminated soil at the street side.
2.3 micro Sievelt per hour, chest height.
13 to 14 micro Sievelt per hour 5 cm height from the soil.
18 to 20 micro Sievelt per hour when the monitor laid directly on the soil.
Soil contaminated with high concentration of radioactive material
It is like hell

May 1, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

Incredible contamination in Namie, Fukushima

 

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

Fukuichi area environmental radiation monitoring project” has published airborne radiation measurements map and soil surface density map. The results are simply incredible. This is far much worse than in 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 over 40,000Bq/m2. In the Radiation Control Zone, it is prohibited to drink, eat or stay overnight. Even adults 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! And people are told to go back to these areas.

Here is the posting of “Fukuichi area environmental radiation monitoring project” in their FB page on April 20th.

We are uploading the map of airborne radiation rate map measured by GyoroGeiger, the Android supported Geiger counter, during the 38th monitoring action between 3 and 7 April 2017. Dose rate is measured at 1m from the ground.
At 56 points over 100 measuring points, the dose rate was over 1µSv/h. These points are indicated in red. The highest measure was 3.71µSv/h. Conversion to annual dose gives 32mSv. Is it allowed to make evacuees return to such areas?

namie-airborne.22 april 2017png.png
Here is the soil contamination map uploaded on April 15th. They even had to introduce 7 scales, for the contamination is so high and they couldn’t deal with the scales they were using before! It is a violation of human rights to let people live in such areas.

namie 22 april 2017
https://fukushima311voices.wordpress.com/2017/04/22/incredible-contamination-in-namie-fukushima/

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

Japan Lifts Evacuation Orders for 3 Fukushima Areas

28 feb 2017

Fukushima, March 31 (Jiji Press)–Japan on Friday lifted its evacuation orders for the village of Iitate and two other areas that had been enforced due to the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power station in northeastern Japan.

The move came six years after Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s <9501> power station suffered meltdowns after the huge earthquake and tsunami in March 2011, triggering evacuation orders in many places in Fukushima Prefecture, including Iitate and the other two areas.

Residents of Iitate, the town of Namie and the Yamakiya district in the town of Kawamata, totaling some 22,100 at the end of February, can now return home, except in a handful of places included in no-go zones where radiation levels are still too high.

With the evacuation order set to be removed for the town of Tomioka on Saturday, Okuma and Futaba, the host towns of the crippled power station, will be the only Fukushima municipalities without an area where an evacuation order has been lifted.

Meanwhile, municipalities where evacuation orders have been removed have their own problems: a slow return of residents.

http://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2017033000961

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

More Evacuation Orders to Be Lifted in Namie and Tomioka Towns

15 March, 2017, from Japan Atomic Industrial Forum, Japan pro-nuclear website :

On March 10, the Japanese government’s nuclear emergency response headquarters decided to lift evacuation orders in two categories in Namie and Tomioka Towns: specifically, those areas where “living is not permitted” and those where “evacuation order will soon be lifted.” The orders will be lifted at 12:00 a.m. on March 31 and April 1 in Namie and Tomioka, respectively.

Fukushima_MapB-e1489478820587

 

Since similar orders in the same two categories will also be lifted on March 31 in Iitate Village and Kawamata Town, the latest decision means that the only areas where evacuation orders are still in effect are those where “residents will not be able to return home for a long time.” Specifically, that refers to all of Okuma and Futaba Towns, as well as certain areas of Minami-Soma City, Tomioka Town, Namie Town, Katsurao Village and Iitate Village.

Apart from those, sections of the JR Joban Line unusable since the earthquake will be reopened when the orders are lifted in Namie and Tomioka Towns: namely, the line between Odaka and Namie on April 1, and the line between Tomioka and Tatsuta in some time in October.

According to the Japanese Ministry of the Environment, area-wide decontamination has already been completed as of the end of January in nine of the eleven municipalities in Fukushima Prefecture that are now designated as “special decontamination areas,” which are directly managed by the national government. The term does not include areas where residents will not be able to return home for a long time.

The decontamination work is expected to be completed in the remaining two municipalities—Minami-Soma City and Namie Town—by the end of this month.

As for the transport of soil removed in decontamination work to sites planned for the interim storage of radioactive waste, a total of about 210,000 cubic meters has already been transported as of the beginning of March. In FY17 (April 2017 to March 2018), some 500,000 cubic meters of removed soil will be transported, in anticipation of the beginning of storage next fall, with priority to be placed on soil now stored at schools.

http://www.jaif.or.jp/en/more-evacuation-orders-to-be-lifted-in-namie-and-tomioka-towns/

March 20, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | Leave a comment

Govt. to lift more Fukushima evacuation orders

10 march 2017 3

 

The Japanese government is set to lift evacuation orders in 2 municipalities in Fukushima Prefecture, issued after the 2011 nuclear disaster.

The government will hold a joint meeting between the reconstruction taskforce and the nuclear disaster task force on Friday. On Saturday, it will be 6 years since the earthquake and tsunami.

Participants will decide on whether to lift an evacuation order in part of Namie town on March 31st and a portion of Tomioka on April 1st.

Following the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, the government issued evacuation orders for 11 municipalities in the prefecture and has since gradually lifted them.

With the latest measure, the orders will be in effect only in no-entry zones with high radiation levels as well as part of the towns of Futaba and Okuma that co-host the nuclear plant.

About 1,150 square kilometers were initially subject to the government evacuation order. That number is now expected to shrink to about 369.

The central government hopes to continue decontamination work and infrastructure projects in some no-entry zones. It says it wants to create a hub for reconstruction by the end of fiscal 2021, where residents and decontamination workers will live.

But the government faces challenges in rebuilding communities as an increasing number of people, mainly the young, say they don’t want to return to their hometowns even if evacuation orders are lifted.

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20170310_09/

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

Up to 20µSv/h at Namie Junior High School, Fukushima


Namie Junior High School, Namie, Futaba, Fukushima prefecture.
Measures taken on February 5, 2017, on March 31, 2017 the japanese government will lift the evacuation order in Namie, for its inhabitants to return….
16486828_1624279664548284_6303557839107193040_o

At 1m above the ground : 3.5μSv/h

16486817_1624279684548282_7112710270031858338_o

At 50cm above the ground : 6μSv/h

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At 5cm above the ground 20μSv/h

16601687_1624279731214944_3674633757019633256_o

Measurement location
https://goo.gl/maps/27kyf41xyUr

February 8, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | 3 Comments