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Simple Error or Calculated Revisionism?

From Majia’s Blog
I was reading a Mainichi news story this morning on airborne radiation levels near Fukushima Daiichi, which remain quite elevated.

What struck me about the reported story is the assertion that the government set the radiation exposure level at 1 millisievert a year after the accident:

Airborne Radiation Near Fukushima Nuke Plant Still Far Higher Than Gov’t Max. (Jan 18, 2018) The Mainichi

Following the March 2011 triple meltdown, the government set a long-term radiation exposure limit of 1 millisievert per year, which breaks down to an hourly airborne radiation dose of 0.23 microsieverts.  The NRA took airborne radiation readings in the Fukushima Prefecture towns of Futaba, Okuma, Namie and Tomioka, and the village of Katsurao. The highest reading registered in the previous year’s survey was 8.89 microsieverts per hour, in Katsurao.

What I find confusing and disconcerting is the fact that the government set the radiation level after the accident at 20 millisieverts a year, not 1.

Was a simple error involved in the reporting here? Or is revisionism under way?

One way I’ve seen propaganda operate over the last five years is for an untruth to be planted and repeated over and over again until it becomes part of the public record as a “truth.”

Yet, the 20 millisievert a year limit has circulated widely in the media as well and will be difficult to replace (e.g., see here

Was this an error or is it something else entirely?



January 27, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , | Leave a comment

Radiation levels at Fukushima reactor puzzle nuclear experts

It is unclear why there is less radioactivity under the reactor vessel, when it is where there should be the most.

21 feb 2017.jpg

A robot was expected to solidify ways to clean up the No. 2 reactor at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, but its short-lived mission raised puzzling questions that could derail existing decommissioning plans.

The robot, Sasori, was abandoned in the melted-down reactor after it became stuck in deposits and other debris that are believed to have interfered with its drive system.

But it did take radiation measurements that indicate Tokyo Electric Power Co., operator of the plant, was too optimistic about the state and location of the melted fuel within the reactor. The melted fuel, in fact, may be spread out all over the reactor’s containment vessel.

Scientists had believed the melted nuclear fuel fell through the reactor’s pressure vessel and landed on metal grating and the floor of the containment vessel.

The results of Sasori’s investigation, coupled with previous data taken from possible images of the melted fuel, show the situation within the reactor is much worse than expected. And a fresh investigation into the reactor is now nowhere in sight.

A remote-controlled video camera inserted into the reactor on Jan. 30 took what are believed to be the first images of melted fuel at the plant, which suffered a triple meltdown after the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.

Based on the images, TEPCO estimated 530 sieverts per hour at a point almost halfway between the metal grating directly beneath the pressure vessel and the wall of the containment vessel. Black lumps on the grating are believed to be melted fuel.

A different robot sent in on Feb. 9 to take pictures and prepare for Sasori’s mission estimated 650 sieverts per hour near the same spot.

Both 530 and 650 sieverts per hour can kill a person within a minute.

Sasori, equipped with a dosimeter and two cameras, on Feb. 16 recorded a reading of 210 sieverts per hour near the same location, the highest figure measured with instruments in the aftermath of the disaster.

Sasori was supposed to travel along a rail connecting the outer wall of the containment vessel with the metal grating to measure radiation doses and shoot pictures inside, essential parts of work toward decommissioning the reactor.

After traveling only 2 meters, the robot became stuck before it could reach the metal grating.

TEPCO at a news conference repeatedly said that Sasori’s investigation was not a “failure” but had produced “meaningful” results.

However, an official close to TEPCO said, “I had great expectations for Sasori, so I was shocked by how it turned out.”

Hiroaki Abe, professor of nuclear materials at the University of Tokyo who has studied TEPCO’s footage, tried to explain why high doses were estimated between the pressure vessel and the containment vessel.

Instead of directly landing on the rail, the melted nuclear fuel may have flown off after it reacted violently with the concrete, which had a high moisture content, at the bottom of the containment vessel, just like what happens when lava pours into the sea,” Abe said.

But he said this scenario raises a puzzling question, considering the estimated radiation readings near the area below the pressure vessel were down to 20 sieverts per hour, according to an analysis of the video footage.

If nuclear fuel debris had splattered around, the radiation levels at the central area below the pressure vessel must be extremely high,” he said. “In addition, deposits on the rail would have taken the shape of small pieces if they were, in fact, flying nuclear fuel debris. The findings are puzzling.”

Images by the remote-controlled camera also showed that equipment in the lower part of the pressure vessel was relatively well preserved, indicating that the hole at the bottom of the vessel is not very large.

How to remove nuclear fuel debris will all depend on how much remains inside the pressure vessel and how much fell out,” Abe said.

Toru Obara, professor of nuclear engineering at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, stressed the need to retrieve substances from the bottom of the robots or elsewhere.

We could get clues as to the state of the melted nuclear fuel and the development of a meltdown if we could figure out which materials mixed with the nuclear fuel,” he said.

The surveys by the camera and robots were conducted from a makeshift center at the No. 2 reactor. The center’s walls are made from radiation-blocking metal.

TEPCO and the government plan to determine a method to remove nuclear fuel debris in fiscal 2018 before they proceed with the actual retrieval process at one of the three destroyed reactors.

One possible method involves filling the containment vessels with water to prevent radioactive substances from escaping.


February 21, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

What is Happening at Fukushima Daiichi?

The news headlines concerning Fukushima Daiichi over the last week have been rather confusing because some seem to imply that radiation levels have risen, as illustrated in this article by The Guardian:

Justin McCurry. February 3, 2017. Fukushima nuclear reactor radiation at highest level since 2011 meltdown. The Guardian,
Radiation levels inside a damaged reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station are at their highest since the plant suffered a triple meltdown almost six years ago.

I have not interpreted the latest news from TEPCO as indicating that radiation levels have risen.

Rather, I interpret the latest news as indicating that TEPCO was successful in getting a robot into an existing high-radiation area in the plant, under the reactor-pressure vessel of unit 2, as explained in this excerpt from an article published in The Japan Times:

Highest radiation reading since 3/11 detected at Fukushima No. 1 reactor. The Japan Times, Feb 3, 2017,

The radiation level in the containment vessel of reactor 2 at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 power plant has reached a maximum of 530 sieverts per hour, the highest since the triple core meltdown in March 2011, Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings Inc. said.

Tepco said on Thursday that the blazing radiation reading was taken near the entrance to the space just below the pressure vessel, which contains the reactor core…

Tepco also announced that, based on its analysis of images taken by a remote-controlled camera, that there is a 2-meter hole in the metal grating under the pressure vessel in the reactor’s primary containment vessel. It also thinks part of the grating is warped.

As the article observes, the hole was probably made when the fuel “escaped the pressure vessel after the mega-quake and massive tsunami triggered a station blackout.”

Simply Info, an excellent source of information and technical analysis about Fukushima, offers this summary analysis of the origins of the hole:

Fukushima Unit 2 Failure Point Found! Simply Info, Feb 2, 2017,

This large but concentrated hole appears to be the failure point for the unit 2 reactor pressure vessel (RPV). Melted fuel (corium) likely flowed through this hole and collected into the sump in the containment structure floor. The slow failure and small opening melted through the RPV likely allowed the molten fuel to burn down as it collected in the sump. This new visual evidence shows conditions that could have led to the molten fuel burning down into the reactor building concrete basemat. Without sufficient cooling, it could have potentially burned down through the basemat.

Simply Info has a follow up article where Nancy Foust offers her analysis. Here is her hypothesis concerning what happened to the fuel in reactor 2 after the earthquake 3/11:

Foust, Nancy. Feb 2, 2017. What The New Fukushima Unit 2 Inspection May Indicate. Simply Information,

What has been found seems to track with the theory of a slow failure and melt out that may have burned down into the concrete basemat rather than flowed out across the containment floor.

These reports beg the question as to where the reactor fuel from unit 2 is now located. Is it under the site? Is it in the basement? How structurally intact is the basement? TEPCO stated several years ago that water in the basement of unit 2 was encountering melted fuel and that this contaminated water was not entirely contained by the building (I have this documented in my published work on Fukushima).

And what are the conditions of reactors 1 and 3? These reactors remain too hot for robots.

There is a near continuous stream of atmospheric emissions that can be seen nightly on the webcam around unit 3. I always presumed that the MOX remains of unit 3 reactor’s fuel were responsible for that stream of visible heat/steam.

Could slumped fuel from unit 2 have ended up moving toward unit 3?

Here is a screenshot from today of the emission stream:

Well, no way to know for sure but I do feel safe concluding that Daiichi’s mysterious missing fuel is probably dispersing in ground water, ocean, earth, and atmosphere….

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Feb 22, 2014 – The ground water saturation is contributing to ground liquefaction, which poses direct risks to the reactor buildings and common spent fuel pool …

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

Fukushima radiation levels at highest level since 2011

Fukushima radiation levels at highest level since 2011 meltdown


Cranes over the Fukushima Daiichi plant in February 2016. The decommissioning process is expected to take about four decades


Extraordinary readings pile pressure on operator Tepco in its efforts to decommission nuclear power station

Radiation levels inside a damaged reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station are at their highest since the plant suffered a triple meltdown almost six years ago.

The facility’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco), said atmospheric readings as high as 530 sieverts an hour had been recorded inside the containment vessel of reactor No 2, one of three reactors that experienced a meltdown when the plant was crippled by a huge tsunami that struck the north-east coast of Japan in March 2011.

The extraordinary radiation readings highlight the scale of the task confronting thousands of workers, as pressure builds on Tepco to begin decommissioning the plant – a process that is expected to take about four decades.

The recent reading, described by some experts as “unimaginable”, is far higher than the previous record of 73 sieverts an hour in that part of the reactor.

A single dose of one sievert is enough to cause radiation sickness and nausea; 5 sieverts would kill half those exposed to it within a month, and a single dose of 10 sieverts would prove fatal within weeks.

Tepco also said image analysis had revealed a hole in metal grating beneath the same reactor’s pressure vessel. The one-metre-wide hole was probably created by nuclear fuel that melted and then penetrated the vessel after the tsunami knocked out Fukushima Daiichi’s back-up cooling system.

It may have been caused by nuclear fuel that would have melted and made a hole in the vessel, but it is only a hypothesis at this stage,” Tepco’s spokesman Tatsuhiro Yamagishi told AFP.

We believe the captured images offer very useful information, but we still need to investigate given that it is very difficult to assume the actual condition inside.”

The presence of dangerously high radiation will complicate efforts to safely dismantle the plant.

A remote-controlled robot that Tepco intends to send into the No 2 reactor’s containment vessel is designed to withstand exposure to a total of 1,000 sieverts, meaning it would survive for less than two hours before malfunctioning.

The firm said radiation was not leaking outside the reactor, adding that the robot would still prove useful since it would move from one spot to the other and encounter radiation of varying levels.

Tepco and its network of partner companies at Fukushima Daiichi have yet to identify the location and condition of melted fuel in the three most seriously damaged reactors. Removing it safely represents a challenge unprecedented in the history of nuclear power.

Quantities of melted fuel are believed to have accumulated at the bottom of the damaged reactors’ containment vessels, but dangerously high radiation has prevented engineers from accurately gauging the state of the fuel deposits.

Earlier this week, the utility released images of dark lumps found beneath reactor No 2 that it believes could be melted uranium fuel rods – the first such discovery since the disaster.

In December, the government said the estimated cost of decommissioning the plant and decontaminating the surrounding area, as well as paying compensation and storing radioactive waste, had risen to 21.5tn yen (£150bn), nearly double an estimate released in 2013.

Radiation level in Fukushima reactor could kill within a minute

feb 3 2017.jpg

Images show black lumps on grating for maintenance work below the No. 2 reactor’s pressure vessel at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. TEPCO says melted fuel likely caused at least two holes in the metal grating, including an opening measuring 1 meter by 1 meter. (Provided by Tokyo Electric Power Co.)


Radiation levels that can kill a person in a minute and holes created by melted nuclear fuel could further delay decommissioning operations at the No. 2 reactor of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.

Tokyo Electric Power Co., operator of the crippled plant, said Feb. 2 that the maximum estimated radiation level near what is believed to be melted fuel in the reactor was 530 sieverts per hour, the highest so far since the triple meltdown in 2011.

In its investigation into the interior of the No. 2 reactor, TEPCO also confirmed at least two holes on grating for maintenance work below the bottom of the reactor’s pressure vessel.

feb 3 2017 2.jpg

The images show the area at the bottom of the No. 2 reactor’s pressure vessel to the metal grating below.


The holes were likely made when the melted nuclear fuel fell from the pressure vessel and melted the grating,” a TEPCO official said.

The findings were made by studying images taken from a video camera attached to a pipe that was inserted into the reactor on Jan. 30.

feb 3 2017 3.jpg


Radiation levels were estimated at 20 sieverts per hour, 50 sieverts per hour and 530 sieverts per hour at three spots inside the reactor’s containment vessel.

The company estimated the doses from the extent of disturbances in the images caused by radiation.

Although a TEPCO official said “there is a margin of error because radiation levels were not measured directly,” the company believes the scattered melted nuclear fuel inside the containment vessel was emitting high levels of radiation.

After a number of failed attempts, the remote-controlled camera took the first pictures of possible melted fuel at the plant.

However, closer inspection of the images have revealed additional problems for TEPCO, which had believed most of the melted fuel had remained inside the reactor’s pressure vessel.

TEPCO plans to send an investigative robot, called Sasori (scorpion), into the containment vessel this month to more accurately measure radiation doses at various spots and take additional footage of the scattered nuclear fuel.

The utility plans to use the data to determine a fuel-removal method.

But the robot was expected to use the circular grating, measuring 5 meters in diameter, to move around. One of the holes is 1 meter by 1 meter, a potential pitfall for the robot, which is 59 centimeters long and 9 cm high.

TEPCO said it will consider a different route for the robot in its survey.

Fumiya Tanabe, an expert on nuclear safety who analyzed the 1979 Three Mile Island nuclear accident in the United States, said the findings show that both the preparation for and the actual decommissioning process at the plant will likely prove much more difficult than expected.

We have few clues on the exact locations, the sizes and the shapes of the nuclear fuel debris,” he said. “The planned investigation by the robot needs a rethink. Work to decommission the plant will require even more time.”

TEPCO said it will need 30 to 40 years to complete the decommissioning process. The utility plans to start work to remove the melted nuclear fuel at the No. 2 and two other stricken reactors in 2021 after deciding on a removal method in fiscal 2018.

TEPCO has yet to determine the location and the condition of the melted fuel in the other two reactors.

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

Radiation in Fukushima reactor containment vessel at deadly level: TEPCO


Radiation inside the containment vessel of the No. 2 reactor at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant measures as high as a deadly 530 sieverts per hour, the highest since the 2011 disaster, plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) announced on Feb. 2.
TEPCO calculated the radiation dose from video noise on footage it took inside the containment vessel in late January, when a camera was inserted to examine conditions inside and scout a route for a scorpion-like observation robot scheduled to go into the vessel later this month.

Deployment of the robot is also being reconsidered after two gaping holes were found along the robot’s planned path over a 5-meter-wide circular walkway inside the containment vessel, close to where the 530-sievert radiation dose was detected.

feb 3 2017 scorpio.jpg

A scorpion-like observation robot scheduled to go into the containment vessel of the No. 2 reactor at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.

The holes in the metal grate walkway — one of unknown size and the other measuring about 1 meter square — make both routes considered for the robot impassable.

“We will consider re-evaluating what observations we can take with the robot,” Yuichi Okamura, an acting general manager with TEPCO’s on-site nuclear power division, told reporters at a Feb. 2 news conference.

Piles of a black and dark brown substance several centimeters thick and thought to be melted nuclear fuel were also observed on the walkway, creating a further possible obstruction to the robot. Meanwhile, examination of the 1-meter-square hole suggests the walkway was struck with tremendous force, hinting that there may be a large amount of melted fuel below.

“It is possible that the nuclear fuel rods melted onto the control rods and then dripped down,” Tokyo Institute of Technology professor of nuclear engineering Yoshinao Kobayashi told the Mainichi Shimbun. “It’s highly likely that part of the bottom of the pressure vessel broke and the melted fuel flowed down (onto the walkway), and then the grating warped and gave way due to the fuel’s heat.”

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

Fukushima Fish and Shellfish Radiation Levels Drop”Announced”


Volunteer group continues checking fish off Fukushima as radiation levels drop

An olive flounder, estimated at 11 years old, measuring 90 centimeters long and caught in waters near the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant, is seen on a ship about 2 kilometers from the plant, on Nov. 13, 2016.

IWAKI, Fukushima — As radioactive cesium levels in fish caught off the Fukushima Prefecture coast show lower levels that fall within safety limits set by the government, the Mainichi Shimbun recently accompanied a volunteer group that continues to measure these fish on one of its outings.
The group, called “Iwaki Kaiyo Shirabetai Umi Labo” (Iwaki marine investigative squad ocean lab), began its activities three years ago. Rather than relying on the national government, Fukushima nuclear plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. or others for data on radioactive pollution in the ocean off Fukushima Prefecture, the group aims to obtain this information itself and share it across the country.

On Nov. 13, a Mainichi Shimbun reporter boarded one of the group’s fishing ships, which set out from Hisanohama Port in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture. Two kilometers from the disaster-stricken plant, the group pulled up a large, 90-centimeter, 7.7-kilogram olive flounder. This fish was caught by Eriko Kawanishi, a civil servant who came from Tokyo to participate in the outing and said it was her first time ever to hold a fishing rod. A 90-centimeter fish would be a rare catch even for a veteran fisherman.

The olive flounder was refrigerated and taken back to veterinarian Seiichi Tomihara at the Aquamarine Fukushima aquarium in Iwaki for dissection. Based on the growth rings on its “otoliths,” a structure located near the brain, Tomihara estimated the fish’s age at 11 years. He said there is research estimating the life expectancy of olive flounders at around 12 years, adding, “This looks like one of the oldest (one can find).”

A 1-kilogram slice of the fish put in a detector showed 14.6 becquerels of radioactive cesium — below the 100 becquerels-per-kilogram national safety limit for regular food products. Lately the research group has found no fish, including bottom-dwelling fish like olive flounder, that exceed this limit. In addition, radiation checks done by the prefectural government find hardly any cases of fish that top the safety limit.

Riken Komatsu, 37, joint-representative for the group, says, “This is the first time for us to check such an old olive flounder, and I thought there would be dozens of becquerels detected. The result was lower than I had imagined and I feel relieved.”

Fish that were already adult at the time of the disaster, with a slowed metabolism and a narrow range of habitat, tend to show high radiation levels, Komatsu says. With time having passed since the disaster, the generational replacement of the fish in the area has moved forward. The group says the highest radiation level it has detected so far was 138 becquerels from a 56-centimeter olive flounder in July 2014.

Olive flounder caught off of Iwaki are known as “Joban-mono” and have a good reputation. There is hope among locals that the fish will regain their pre-disaster popularity.

Komatsu says, “The prefectural government and fishing cooperatives are also releasing radiation readings from fish taken off Fukushima Prefecture, but I feel there are few taken from waters near the nuclear plant. Stronger data showing the fish’s safety (like data from fish near the plant) should raise the value of Fukushima olive flounder.”


Surf clams caught in waters off Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, in June

Radiation in fish off Fukushima tests below detectable level

FUKUSHIMA–Radiation in all seafood caught off Fukushima Prefecture tested below the detectable level in November for the first time since the 2011 nuclear disaster.

Species including bass, rockfish and stone flounder–sales of which were banned by the central government–were tested between Nov. 11 and Nov. 28, and the prefectural government said they all fell below the detection threshold, meaning radioactive cesium was not detected in any samples.

The main reason is that most fish species have undergone a generation change over the past five years with the contaminated marine life dying out, said officials at the prefectural government’s fisheries experimental station.

In addition, the passage of time helped fish exude radioactive cesium from their bodies.

The prefectural government began the tests in April 2011 following the disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant the previous month.

Forty thousand fish and shellfish samples have been checked from 186 species over the past five and a half years.

The initial tests found that more than 90 percent of the samples were contaminated with radioactive cesium above the central government’s safety limit of 100 becquerels per kilogram.

The percentage of polluted fish and shellfish then declined annually.

The tests since April last year showed that the pollution in all samples was within the safety limit.

The monitoring covers seafood caught in 30 locations, in waters with a depth of 5 meters and at a distance of hundreds of meters from the shore, including the area in a 20-kilometer radius of the crippled plant.


December 6, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , | Leave a comment

Radiation levels in seabed off Fukushima ‘100s of times’ higher than prior to disaster – Greenpeace


A man walks at the empty Yotsukura municipal beach in Iwaki, about 40 km (25 miles) south of the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, Fukushima

The amount of radioactive substances in seabed off Fukushima is hundreds of times higher than before the disaster, a report issued by Greenpeace reveals. The figures mean that there is absolutely “no return to normal after nuclear catastrophe” in the area.

On Thursday, the environmental group released a report addressing the results of the study during which scientists analyzed radioactivity levels along Fukushima’s rivers and in the Pacific seabed off the coast.

These river samples were taken in areas where the [Prime Minister Shinzo] Abe government is stating it is safe for people to live. But the results show there is no return to normal after this nuclear catastrophe,”said Ai Kashiwagi, Energy Campaigner at Greenpeace Japan.

The report showed there is hundreds of times more radioactive substances in the seabed off Fukushima coast than there was prior to 2011. It also stated that the level of hazardous materials along local rivers is 200 times higher compared to the Pacific Ocean seabed.

The extremely high levels of radioactivity we found along the river systems highlights the enormity and longevity of both the environmental contamination and the public health risks resulting from the Fukushima disaster,” Kashiwagi said.

The vast territories including contaminated forests and freshwater systems “will remain a perennial source of radioactivity for the foreseeable future,” scientists warned in the press release.

They analyzed the level of radioactive materials, such as Cesium-134 and Cesium-137 (Cs-137), noting a colossal increase in the figures.

While the amount of Cs-137 in seabed near the Fukushima plant was only 0.26 Bq/kg prior to the nuclear disaster, the current number stands at 120 Bq/kg, the report showed. On the whole, the data showed that Cs will pose a threat to human health for hundreds of years to come.

The radiation levels in the sediment off the coast of Fukushima are low compared to land contamination, which is what we expected and consistent with other research,” said Kendra Ulrich, senior global energy campaigner at Greenpeace Japan.

The current site of the destroyed plant “remains one of the greatest nuclear threats” to Fukushima communities and the Pacific Ocean, the group said.

The hundreds of thousands of tonnes of highly-contaminated water, the apparent failure of the ice wall to reduce groundwater contamination, and the unprecedented challenge of three molten reactor cores all add up to a nuclear crisis that is far from over,” said Ulrich.

Greenpeace also warned against the government’s decision to lift a number of evacuation orders around the Fukushima plant by March 2017.

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, the largest since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, took place in March 2011 and resulted in three nuclear meltdowns and a leak of radioactive materials. The accident prompted a nationwide shutdown of all nuclear power plants in Japan with Sendai being the first to start working again, in August 2015.

July 23, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , | Leave a comment

Tokyo Accused of Cooking Fukushima Radiation Data



Radiation readings conducted by private activists, 40 km from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power facility are about eight to ten times higher than those published by authorities, said Yoichi Tao who majored in physics. Research by Toshihide Tsuda, professor of environmental epidemiology at Okayama University, showing that the rate of children suffering from thyroid cancer in Fukushima Prefecture was as much as 20 to 50 times higher than the national average as of 2014 is being dismissed as based on “over diagnosing”.

Japanese grassroots activists and independent journalists continue to accuse Tokyo of cooking the data about the impact of the 2011 disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power facility (NPP).

Local government authorities in Iiate village in Japan’s Fukushima prefecture have recently been reporting the radiation levels at 0.38 microsieverts per hour. The village is located some 40 kilometers from the crippled nuclear power facility where cleanup operators struggle with not even knowing where the molten corium from three meltdowns went. It is “assumed” that it has molten its way into the ground underneath the crippled reactors. Some 300 tons of radioactive contaminated water per day continue to leak out into the Pacific Ocean.

The population is growing increasingly suspicious of the reliability of official data. For one, Tokyo adopted legislation that threatens citizens, including journalists, with up to ten years prison for releasing “unauthorized information” about the ongoing disaster.

The administration, in part pressured by Japan’s banking and finance industry, plans to re-start NPPs despite known, extreme earthquake risks. Data about adverse health impacts on clean-up workers and especially on children are suppressed. Funds for evacuated populations are cut for those who refuse to move back to so-called de-contaminated areas. De-contamination consists of removing the top soil in an approximately 100 meter wide zone around roads, residential areas and homes.

Yoichi Tao, who majored in physics, is one of the activists who is braving the central and local governments. Tao said that readings conducted by grassroots organizations show that the radiation levels are about 8 – 10 times higher than those that are being reported by official sources. Tao added that the government dispatched the military to de-contaminate isolated patches to the figures “look good”. “That’s how they do it”, he added.

Toshihide Tsuda, professor of environmental epidemiology at Okayama University, discovered that the rate of children suffering from thyroid cancer in Fukushima Prefecture was as much as 20 to 50 times higher than the national average as of 2014, three years after the Fukushima nuclear disaster. His finding, however, did not arouse concern from the Japanese and local governments. It was rejected by the Fukushima prefectural government, attributing the phenomenon to a surge of “over diagnosis.” The local government insisted the cancer incidents and nuclear radiation were not related.

Other experts, like Dr. Christopher Busby, warned that the distribution of the top soil from contaminated areas throughout Japan will make it even more difficult to extrapolate the statistical data that are required to assess the impact of the nuclear disaster. D. Busby suggests that this could be a deliberate policy.

The official narrative touted by the administration of prime Minister Shinzo Abe is that Japan has the situation “totally under control”. The administration also rejects that there should be any issues with holding the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

In November 2015 the former Japanese Ambassador to Switzerland, Mitshei Murata, called on the President of the International Olympic Committee to move the 2020 Olympics from Tokyo or to cancel the games over the situation at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Murata wrote:

Not only do we have a continued contamination of the groundwater and the Pacific Ocean by the unstable plant, but the brittle structure of the damaged plant represents itself a serious threat, in particular in our earthquake prone region. Given the relative proximity of Tokyo, just some 200km South of Fukushima, represents in my view an ongoing risk for our largest city, for its citizens and all visitors. You might agree that one more alarming development as the recent earthquake of magnitude 8.1 just some weeks ago might indeed increase the pressure to stop the planning process of the 2020 games all together.

Murata urged IOC President Dr. Thomas Bach to discuss sending independent experts to Japan to assess the current and future risk situation emanating from the damaged nuclear plant. Murata added:

Personally I believe, that the IOC cannot and should not take on the responsibility to plan for the Olympic games in a region where daily 7000 workers are attempting to clean up a contaminated nuclear reactor. The meltdown of three of the four reactor cores in Fukushima, where the contamination is clearly not under control and where a natural disaster as an earthquake quickly could increase the danger, in my opinion should strongly advocate restraint.

Mitshei Murata offered that he would gladly cooperate with the IOC President and could help finding independent scientists and experts, who could assist the IOC assessing the current situation and the future risks. Mitshei Murata concluded his letter, stating that he had copied the letter to Physician friends of his who are part of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War IPPNW (Peace Nobel Prize 1985) and with others who have repeatedly issued critical statements on the poor management of the serious nuclear power plant accident in Fukushima.


May 25, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Discharge Canal Contamination Rising in Fukushima Daiichi

Tepco reports that contamination levels in the unit 1 discharge canal has been rising significantly….

*Cesium 137 was at 91,000 bq/liter Beta radiation was at 110,000 bq/liter Both readings taken July 24th.
*Cesium 137 was at 79,000 bq/liter Beta radiation was at 94,000 bq/liter Both readings taken July 22th.
*Cesium 137 was at 28,000 bq/liter Beta radiation was at 36,000 bq/liter Both readings taken July 15th.
*Cesium 137 was at 29,000 bq/liter Beta radiation was at 37,000 bq/liter Both readings taken July 13th.
*Cesium 137 was at 20,000 bq/liter Beta radiation was at 26,000 bq/liter Both readings taken July 10th.
Tepco also admitted that subdrain pit #16 has seen a rise in contamination since May
Why either of these locations are now rising does not yet have a definitive cause. Work to concrete in the sea front trenches at the plant could be pushing contaminated water to take other routes. The freezing in progress of the frozen wall could be having an impact on the migration of contaminated water.

July 30, 2015 Posted by | Japan | , | 8 Comments

Japan Increases Limits on Radiation Exposure Before Nuke Reactors Restart

Amid preparations to restart nuclear reactors shut down following the 2011 Fukushima meltdown, the Japanese government plans to set a new standard for the permissible upper limit of radiation exposure for those in charge of anti-disaster operations.

The list of those affected by the change in standards includes local government officials, police and fire department officials, as well as bus drivers, who would be charged with securing the steady evacuation of local residents in case of a nuclear accident.

The Japanese government plans to set a new standard for the permissible upper limit of radiation exposure for those in charge of anti-disaster operations.
The list of those affected by the change in standards includes local government officials, police and fire department officials, as well as bus drivers, who would be charged with securing the steady evacuation of local residents in case of a nuclear accident.
Currently, the maximum permissible radiation dose is 1 millisievert per year for ordinary residents, 50 millisieverts per year for decontamination workers, and 100 millisieverts per year for nuclear plant workers; the upper limit for police and fire department officials as well as national public servants and other relevant personnel, previously subject to the same standard as that for ordinary local residents, will be raised to 100 millisieverts per year in emergency situations. During the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant, a considerable number of necessary people, such as government staff, were not secured for the local task force near the damaged nuclear power complex, which rendered evacuations and the transport of necessary emergency supplies difficult. The new standard is aimed at preventing similar obstacles in future, The Mainichi reported. “As it is possible that local officials and bus drivers will carry out their duty where radiation levels are relatively high, we need a new standard in order to provide effective evacuation guidance as well,” a Cabinet Office official said. Discussion of the new standard by a working group within the Cabinet Office is scheduled for next month. 

Source: Sputnik News

July 9, 2015 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

1,000,000 Bq/m3 of Sr-90 detected in seawater of Fukushima plant port / Highest in recorded history

1000000-Bqm3-of-Sr-90-detected-in-seawater-of-Fukushima-plant-port-Highest-in-recorded-history-june 20 2015

On 6/19/2015, Tepco announced they measured 1,000,000 Bq/m3 of Strontium-90 at two locations in Fukushima plant port.

This is the highest reading in recorded history. The sample is the port seawater. Sampling date was 5/4/2015.

The location was near the water intake of Reactor 3 and 4, and also the screen of Reactor 4.

The previous highest readings were lower than 700,000 Bq/m3.

Tepco has not made any announcement on this rapid increase.

Source: Fukushima Daiichi

June 22, 2015 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

Radioactive cesium levels in Fukushima river seasonal: study

Radioactive cesium contamination levels in a river near the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant rise in the spring and fall in the autumn, a new study shows.

The researchers believe the rise is attributable to very large numbers of leaves containing radioactive substances falling into rivers in the spring. In one year, the radioactive cesium level in the river in springtime was up to five times that in autumn.

Hirokazu Ozaki, research team leader and assistant professor at Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, said, “There is a possibility that radioactive substances are concentrated in the bodies of fish through the food chain, so it’s important to grasp what’s happening in the rivers. This study is unprecedented, and we’d like to continue.”

A group of Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology researchers analyzed sediment samples taken at 35 locations along the middle reaches of the Abukuma River in Fukushima Prefecture, 40-50 kilometers from the atomic power station, in spring and autumn from 2012 to 2014.

The average density of radioactive cesium-137 per kilogram of sediment was 1,450 becquerels in spring 2012, 1,270 becquerels in autumn 2012, 2,700 becquerels in spring 2013, 451 becquerels in autumn 2013, 1,080 becquerels in spring 2014 and 600 becquerels in autumn 2014.

The highest level was 22,800 becquerels at one location in spring 2013, and there is a wide variation from location to location.

According to researchers, fallen leaves and carcasses of animals containing concentrated radioactive materials fall into the river in spring, increasing the amount of radioactive cesium in the river. Then the rainy season from June to mid-July, along with the typhoons that tend to strike during summer and early autumn, causes the amount of water in the river to surge, sweeping sediment to the river’s lower reaches and decreasing cesium levels in the fall, they say.

Source: Mainichi

June 22, 2015 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Skeptical Fukushima residents monitoring radiation levels in their communities

jan 8 2015Members of Fukushima Saisei no Kai (Resurrection of Fukushima) drive through Iitate village to measure radiation levels on Jan. 28.

February 08, 2015

On a recent day in late January, a minicar departed from the Iitate village office in Fukushima Prefecture with stickers attached that said, “We are driving slowly because we are measuring radiation levels.”

The vehicle, operated by Fukushima Saisei no Kai (Resurrection of Fukushima), a local residents’ nonprofit organization, is equipped with GPS and radiation measurement equipment, allowing it to record locations and airborne radiation levels.

“Although the level has decreased considerably from immediately after the Fukushima nuclear accident, it is still high,” said Mitsukazu Sugiura, 65, the driver of the vehicle, on Jan. 28.

Distrust of the central government, a need to know to make future plans and a desire to maintain ties with neighbors have led to groups of residents around Fukushima Prefecture taking the initiative to monitor radiation levels on their own.

All of Iitate village, which is divided into 20 districts, has been designated as an evacuation zone.

While the village government measures radiation levels at two locations in each district, it has also commissioned Fukushima Saisei no Kai to conduct more detailed measurements.

The organization’s vehicle is driven by village residents who commute from where they have evacuated to, such as Minami-Soma or Fukushima cities.

Twice a month in each district, group members conduct measurements along almost all areas along roads where residents lived.

Average radiation levels for each 100-meter-square area have been posted on the group’s website.

The near-term goal of the Iitate village government is to encourage residents to return with the planned lifting in March 2016 of the evacuation order. However, residents cannot erase concerns about radiation effects on their health as well as questions about the possibility of resuming agriculture.

Local farmer Muneo Kanno, 64, established Fukushima Saisei no Kai three months after the March 2011 accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant along with scientists and friends. Kanno felt that scientific data would be needed to decide whether to return to Iitate and resume farming.

“In order to tie it with the resurrection of the community, it will be important to have local residents directly involved,” he said.

Residents of the Okubo-Yosouchi district in central Iitate began measuring radiation levels near their homes and in the farm fields from 2013. The catalyst was the monthly meetings that were held for the 14 households in the hamlet that had gone their separate ways after the evacuation order was issued.

At those meetings, residents were curious about the radiation levels. However, some said the central government could not be trusted, so they decided they had to check for themselves what the radiation levels were.

Immediately after the nuclear accident, the residents were slow to evacuate because they were not informed by the central government about the estimated spread of radioactive materials.

Masuo Nagasho, 67, a former village government employee, suggested residents conduct their own measurements.

“The attraction of the village was the people,” he said. “What I most regretted was the destruction of ties between people and the life of the community that had led before to working together for festivals and rice planting.”

In 2014, the monitoring effort spread to the entire district, which has about 70 households. The measurement has provided the perfect opportunity for residents to maintain their neighborly ties by having lunch together. The meals are provided by a local women’s group.


Another citizens’ group, Umilabo, has been monitoring radiation levels off the coast of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant since November 2013.

One member, Riken Komatsu, 35, works at a fishcake manufacturing plant in Iwaki. He was born and grew up in the area, but when customers asked about the safety of the fish being used, he could only pass along data collected by Tokyo Electric Power Co., the Fukushima No. 1 plant operator, and the Fukushima prefectural government.

“I wanted to go out into the ocean and pass along data I was certain about,” Komatsu said.

He and other fishing enthusiasts began the project to collect soil from the seabed and fish, which were taken to the local aquarium for measurement of the amount of radioactive materials they contained.

In November 2014, 10 flatfish were caught about 1.5 kilometers off the coast from the nuclear power plant. Radioactive materials tend to accumulate in flatfish because it lives near the seabed. Although radioactive cesium was detected in five of the 10 flatfish, the concentration was less than half of the standard in the Food Sanitation Law of 100 becquerels or less per kilogram.

There has been no detection of radioactive materials for almost all of the fish born after the nuclear accident.

In the Oguni neighborhood of Date city’s Ryozenmachi district, a resident’s group began taking airborne radiation level measurements from six months after the nuclear accident. Data for each 100-meter-square area were listed on a map, and the information has been updated annually since.

“The radiation has no color or smell, but the map has enabled us to see it,” said Soyo Sato, 66, who heads the group.

The neighborhood has a mix of households that were designated for evacuation because of high radiation levels as well as those that were not so designated. Residents who were exempt from the designation used the data on the map to argue that there was very little difference in radiation levels with areas designated for evacuation.

That led to a settlement with TEPCO for compensation levels that were close to those offered to residents living in the designated areas.

Hideki Ishii, a project associate professor of landscape architecture at Fukushima University, has provided support for self-monitoring efforts.

“When residents see the actual data for their community that they collected, they will think more seriously about whether people can live there and if the compensation levels offered are appropriate,” Ishii said. “It also fosters the ability to not only think about the current situation, but also the future.”

Source: Asahi Shimbun

February 8, 2015 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Higher Fukushima Radiation Levels Triggered by Typhoons


MOSCOW, October 18 (RIA Novosti), Ekaterina Blinova – Radiation levels at Japan’s notorious Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant jumped after the plant was hit earlier this month by two typhoons: Phanfone and Vongfong.

“The back-to-back weather disturbance typhoons Vongfong and Phanfone had triggered the elevated radiation quantities at the plant,” writes the International Business Times, citing NHK, Japan’s state-run media outlet.

According to Japan’s JIJI agency, levels of cesium, a radioactive isotope that causes cancer, are three times higher than their previously registered rates and are currently 251,000 becquerels per liter, while levels of tritium, another dangerous isotope, have grown as  high as 150,000 becquerels.

Tepco’s (Tokyo Electric Power Co.) spokesperson emphasized that heavy rainfall triggered by Typhoon Phanfone had apparently impacted Fukushima’s groundwater.

“In addition, materials that emit beta rays, such as strontium-90, which causes bone cancer, also shattered records with a reading of 1.2 million becquerels,” JIJI agency pointed out, adding that the wells that groundwater samples had been taken from were located close to the nuclear plant’s port in the Pacific.

Asahi Shimbun underscores that Tepco’s task of decontaminating all the radioactive water stored at the Fukushima No. 1 plant by the end of this fiscal year will be “increasingly difficult” to accomplish.

“According to a Tepco estimate made in February, the amount of highly contaminated water should have been reduced to 300,000 tons  by about now, but the water cleaning procedure is currently a month behind the original schedule,” the media outlet stresses.

Asahi Shimbun reveals that another problem is that the groundwater flow into the plant’s reactor building is increasing the amount of highly radioactive water by 400 tons a day. Although the corporation claims that it has succeed in reducing the influx by 130 tons a day due to its various counter-measures and its “underground water bypass project,” these estimations have not been verified, the media source notes. The ambitious water-decontamination plans have yet to be completed and it remains to be seen when Tepco will be able to accomplish its task.

Source: RIA Novosti

October 19, 2014 Posted by | Japan | , , | 1 Comment