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Stark health findings for Fukushima monkeys

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March 11, 2018
By Cindy Folkers
 
Seven years after the Fukushima, Japan nuclear disaster began, forcing evacuations of at least 160,000 people, research has uncovered significant health impacts affecting monkeys living in the area and exposed to the radiological contamination of their habitat.
 
Shin-ichi Hayama, a wild animal veterinarian, has been studying the Japanese macaque (Macaca fuscata), or snow monkey, since before the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Now, his research has shown that monkeys in Fukushima have significantly low white and red blood cell counts as well as a reduced growth rate for body weight and smaller head sizes.
 
Hayama, who began his macaque research in 2008, had access to monkeys culled by Fukushima City as a crop protection measure. He continued his work after the Fukushima nuclear explosions. As a result, he is uniquely positioned to discover how low, chronic radiation exposure can affect generations of monkeys.
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Japanese Macaque monkeys share close DNA with humans
The macaque is an old world monkey native to Japan, living in the coldest climates of all of the non-human primates. Like humans, macaques enjoy a good soak in the mountain hot springs in the region. It is even said that they have developed a “hot tub culture” and enjoy time at the pools to get warm during winter.
 
However, snow monkeys and humans share more than a love of hot springs. Human DNA differs from rhesus monkeys, a relative of the snow monkey, by just 7%. While that 7% can mean the difference between building vast cities to living unsheltered and outdoors, for basic processes like reproduction, these differences begin to fade. Consequently, what is happening to the macaques in Fukushima should send a warning about the implications for human health as well, and especially for evacuees now returning to a region that has been far from “cleaned up” to any satisfactory level.
 
Hayama’s research group has published two studies, each comparing data before and after the nuclear catastrophe began, and also between exposed and unexposed monkey populations. In a 2014 study, researchers compared monkeys from two regions of Japan, one group of monkeys from the Shimokita region, 400 Km north of Fukushima, and a second group of monkeys from contaminated land in Fukushima.
 
The monkeys in Fukushima had significantly low white and red blood cell counts. Other blood components were also reduced. The more a radioactive isotope called cesium was present in their muscles, the lower the white blood cell count, suggesting that the exposure to radioactive material contributed to the damaging blood changes. These blood levels have not recovered, even through 2017, meaning that this has become a chronic health issue.
 
Changes in blood are also found in people inhabiting contaminated areas around Chernobyl. Having a diminished number of white blood cells, which fight disease, can lead to a compromised immune system in monkeys as well as people, making both species unable to fight off all manner of disease.
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Some macaque babies in the Fukushima zone have smaller brains post nuclear disaster
Hayama followed up his 2014 study with another in 2017 examining the differences in monkey fetus growth before and after the disaster. The researchers measured fetuses collected between 2008 and 2016 from Fukushima City, approximately 70 km from the ruined reactors. Comparing the relative growth of 31 fetuses conceived prior to the disaster and 31 fetuses conceived after the disaster revealed that body weight growth rate and head size were significantly lower in fetuses conceived after the disaster. Yet, there was no significant difference in maternal nutrition, meaning that radiation could be responsible.
 
Smaller head size indicates that the fetal brain was developmentally retarded although researchers could not identify which part was affected. The mothers’ muscles still contained radioactive cesium as in the 2014 study, although the levels had decreased. These mothers had conceived after the initial disaster began, meaning that their fetuses’ health reflects a continuing exposure from environmental contamination. This study mirrors human studies around Chernobyl that show similar impacts as well as research from atomic bomb survivors. Studies of birds in Chernobyl contaminated areas show that they have smaller brains.
 
Although Hayama has approached radiation experts to aid with his research, he claims they have rejected it, saying they don’t have resources or time, preferring to focus on humans. But humans can remove themselves from contaminated areas, and many have chosen to stay away despite government policies encouraging return. Tragically, monkeys don’t know to leave, and relocating them is not under discussion, making study of radiation’s impact on their health vital to inform radiation research on humans, the environment, and any resettlement plans the government of Japan may have.
 
Hayama presented his work most recently as part of the University of Chicago’s commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of the first man-made controlled nuclear chain reaction. His work follows a long, important, and growing line of research demonstrating that radiation can not only damage in the obvious ways we have been told, but in subtle, yet destructive ways that were unexpected before. The implications for humans, other animals, and the environment, are stark.
 
Cindy Folkers is the radiation and health specialist at Beyond Nuclear.
 
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March 15, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , , | Leave a comment

This woman is winning the fight for justice after Fukushima

11 March 2018
by Kazue Suzuki and Shaun Burnie
 
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Evacuee and Fukushima survivor, Mrs. Kanno, returns to her abandoned house nearly seven years after the nuclear accident.
 
On the seventh anniversary of the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and Fukushima nuclear accident, our thoughts and deepest sympathies continue to be with the people of Japan.
 
Every one of the tens of thousands evacuees from the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi triple reactor meltdown has a story to tell.
 
In our latest radiation survey we had the privilege to hear the experience of Mrs Mizue Kanno. As we entered the exclusion zone of Namie, Ms Kanno told us of the events seven years ago that were to change her life, her family and those of thousands of others.
 
Mrs Kanno was a social worker in Futaba less than 10 km from the nuclear plant. Eventually she made her way home after the devastating earthquake, and over the next few days thousands of people were evacuated to her home district of Tsushima. Families moved into her home. But soon they were warned by men in gas masks and protective clothing to get out immediately. The radioactive fallout from the nuclear plant, about 32 km away, had deposited high levels of contamination in this mountainous area of Namie.
 
Radiation Survey of Mrs. Kanno's House in Shimo-Tsushima
Evacuee and Fukushima survivor, Mrs. Kanno, watches Greenpeace radiation specialists Mai Suzuki and Laurence Bergot measure for contamination around her home located in the exclusion zone of Namie, Fukushima prefecture.
 
Mrs Kanno now lives in western Japan, many hundreds of kilometres from her home in Fukushima. While she is a victim of nuclear power, she isn’t passive observer – instead she’s a female activist determined to tell her story. She campaigns across the Kansai region against nuclear power and for renewable energy.
 
Like thousands of other evacuees, she has joined lawsuits filed against the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), and the Japanese government. Already found guilty in multiple court proceedings of being criminally negligent in failing to take measures to prevent the meltdown, TEPCO and the government can expect many more rulings against them.
 
Because of the support of Mrs Kanno and her friends and neighbours, Greenpeace has been able to conduct a wide ranging survey inside the exclusion zone of Namie, published in our report, Reflecting in Fukushima.
 
While our survey report is filled with microsieverts and millisieverts, it’s far more about the lives and the land of Mrs Kanno her family, friends and neighbours. http://www.greenpeace.org/japan/Global/japan/pdf/RefFksm_EN.pdf
 
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Closed entrance to Shimo-Tsushima school in the exclusion zone of Namie, Fukushima prefecture, Japan.
 
Measuring thousands of points around homes, forests and farmland, it’s clear that this is an area that should not be opened to the public for many decades. Yet the government opened a main artery, route 114, while we were working in Namie.
 
One consequence is that people are stopping off and visiting areas high in radiation. At one house, radiation hot spots were over 11 microsieverts per hour (μSv/h) at one meter, and 137μSv/hat 10 centimetres. These levels are thousands of times the background level before the nuclear accident, and mean you’d reach your recommended maximum annual exposure in six days.
 
Yet, two people were working 10 meters away from the hot spot with no dosimeters or protective clothing. Mrs Kanno and our radiation specialists explained the levels of contamination and why it was necessary to take precautions.
 
In one zone in Obori, we measured radiation that would expose a decontamination worker to the 1 mSv/y limit in just 10 working days. The whole area is contaminated to varying high levels that will remain a threat into next century. How could the government be thinking of opening this area as early as 2023? More importantly, why?
 
It’s actually simple and wholly cynical. The Japanese government is desperate to restart nuclear reactors. Today only three are operating. Having areas of Japan closed to human habitation because of radioactive contamination is a very major obstacle to the government’s ambitions to operate 30-35 nuclear reactors. It’s a constant reminder to the people of Japan of the risks and consequences of nuclear power.
 
Yet, there are signs of positive change. Last month a panel of experts established by the Foreign Minister called for a mass scaling up of renewables, and warned of the risks from depending on coal plants and nuclear power. The voices of Mrs Kanno, the other thousands of Fukushima evacuees and the majority of people in Japan, and their demand for a different energy future, will be heard.
 
Radiation Survey in Obori
Greenpeace radiation specialist Laurence Bergot in Obori, Namie Town inside the highly contaminated exclusion zone in Namie, Fukushima prefecture, Japan
 
Throughout our time in Namie, as we visited the highly contaminated area of Obori and Tsushima – quiet, remote areas of natural beauty – Mrs Kanno told us about the life and traditions of families who for generations had supported themselves by farming. Now all of them are displaced and scattered across Japan. Yet the government is failing to even acknowledge their rights under domestic and international human rights law.
 
This week, we will be traveling to Geneva with mothers who are evacuees from Fukushima to the United Nations Human Rights Council session on Japan. The Japanese government has been under pressure to stop its violations of the human rights of Fukushima evacuees. Last week it accepted all recommendations at the UN to respect the human rights of Fukushima citizens. This included the German government recommendation to restore to a maximum annual public exposure of 1 mSv. This global safety standard has been abandoned by the Abe government.
 
The government’s decision is important, but now they need to be implemented if they are genuine in their commitments to the United Nations. On the 16 March this year, Mrs Kanno and other evacuees and their lawyers will attend the Tokyo high court for a ruling on Fukushima against TEPCO and the Government. One of the evacuee mothers, Akiko Morimatsu, together with Greenpeace, on the same day will speak at the United Nations to challenge the Japanese government to now fully apply the UN recommendations.
 
While we will be thousands of kilometers apart, we will be with Mrs Kanno on her day in court in Tokyo and she will be with us in Geneva. The Fukushima nuclear disaster has shattered lives but it has also brought us together determined to prevent such a terrible event from ever happening again and to transition Japan to a secure and safe energy future based on renewables.
 
Kazue Suzuki is an Energy Campaigner at Greenpeace Japan and Shaun Burnie is a Senior Nuclear Specialist at Greenpeace Germany
 

March 15, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , , , | Leave a comment

‘Citizen scientists’ track radiation seven years after Fukushima

11th March 2018
Safecast now has around 3,000 devices worldwide and data from 90 countries
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Japanese priest Sadamaru Okano is one of the ‘citizen scientists’ collecting radiation readings in the Fukushima region.
 
JAPAN – Beneath the elegant curves of the roof on the Seirinji Buddhist temple in Japan’s Fukushima region hangs an unlikely adornment: a Geiger counter collecting real-time radiation readings.
 
The machine is sending data to Safecast, an NGO born after the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster that says it has now built the world’s largest radiation dataset, thanks to the efforts of citizen scientists like Seirinji’s priest Sadamaru Okano.
 
Like many Japanese, Okano lost faith in the government after the nuclear meltdown seven years ago.
 
“The government did not tell us the truth, they did not tell us the true measures,” he told AFP, seated inside the 150-year-old temple.
 
Okano was in a better position than most to doubt the government line, having developed an amateur interest in nuclear technology two decades earlier after learning about the Chernobyl disaster.
 
To the bemusement of friends and family, he started measuring local radiation levels in 2007, so when the disaster happened, he had baseline data.
 
“The readings were so high… 50 times higher than natural radiation,” he said of the post-disaster data.
 
“I was amazed… the news was telling us there was nothing, the administration was telling us there was nothing to worry about.”
 
That dearth of trustworthy information was the genesis of Safecast, said co-founder Pieter Franken, who was in Tokyo with his family when the disaster hit.
 
Franken and several friends had the idea of gathering data by attaching Geiger counters to cars and driving around.
 
“Like how Google does Street View, we could do something for radiation in the same way,” he said.
 
“The only problem was that the system to do that did not exist and the only way to solve that problem was to go and build it ourselves. So that is what we did.”
 
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A geiger counter operated by the Safecast group is attached to a fence near the stricken Dai-ichi power plant
 
 
Making informed choices
 
Within a week, the group had a prototype and began getting readings that suggested the 20 kilometre (12 mile) exclusion zone declared around the Fukushima plant had no basis in the data, Franken said.
 
“Evacuees were sent from areas with lower radiation to areas with higher radiation” in some cases, he said.
 
The zone was eventually redrawn, but for many local residents, it was too late to restore trust in the government.
 
Okano evacuated his mother, wife and son while he stayed with his flock.
 
But a year later, based on his own readings and after decontamination efforts, he brought them back.
 
He learned about Safecast’s efforts and in 2013 installed one of their static counters on his temple, in part to help reassure worshippers.
 
“I told them: we are measuring the radiation on a daily basis… so if you access the (Safecast) website you can choose (if you think) it’s safe or not.”
 
Forty kilometres away, in the town of Koriyama, Norio Watanabe was supervising patiently as his giggling teenage pupils attempted to build basic versions of Safecast’s Geiger counter.
 
Dressed in blazers and tartan skirts, the girls pored over instructions on where to place diodes and wires.
 
Watanabe has been a Safecast volunteer since 2011, and has a mobile Geiger counter in his car.
 
In the days after the disaster evacuees flocked to Koriyama, which was outside the evacuation zone, and he assumed his town was safe.
 
“But after I started to do the measurements, I realised there was a high level of risk here as well,” he said.
 
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Japanese teacher Norio Watanabe works with Safecast to teach his pupils how to measure radiation
 
 
‘You can’t ignore it’
 
He sent his children away, but stayed behind to look after his mother, a decision he believes may have contributed to his 2015 diagnosis with thyroid cancer.
 
“As a scientist, I think the chance that it was caused by the Fukushima accident might be 50-50, but in my heart, I think it was likely the cause,” he said.
 
His thyroid was removed and he is now healthy, but Watanabe worries about his students, who he fears “will carry risk with them for the rest of their lives.”
 
“If there are no people like me who continue to monitor the levels, it will be forgotten.”
 
Safecast now has around 3,000 devices worldwide and data from 90 countries. Its counters come as a kit that volunteers can buy through third parties and assemble at home.
 
Because volunteers choose where they want to measure at random and often overlap, “they validate unknowingly each other’s measurements,” said Franken, and anomalies or exceptions are checked by Safecast staff.
 
The NGO is now expanding into measuring air pollution, initially mostly in the US city of Los Angeles during a test phase.
 
Its radiation data is all open source, and has been used to study everything from the effects of fallout on wildlife to how people move around cities, said Franken.
 
He says Safecast’s data mostly corroborates official measurements, but provides readings that are more relevant to people’s lives.
 
“Our volunteers decide to measure where their schools are, where their workplaces are, where their houses are.”
 
And he believes Safecast has helped push Japan’s government to realise that “transparency and being open are very important to create trust.”
 
“The power of citizen science means that you can’t stop it and also that you can’t ignore it.”
 

March 15, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , | Leave a comment

Radiation levels in Fukushima zones higher in 2017 than 2016, and still above government target despite cleanup: Greenpeace Japan

Look how the Japanese media are routinely censoring the news about the Fukushima situation.
In the first article  about the Greenpeace recent report, a short article published in Australia, are clearly stated:
1. Fukushima still has radiation 100 times higher than normal.
2. Greenpeace warned all areas surveyed, including those where people have been allowed to return, had levels of radiation similar to an active nuclear facility “requiring strict controls”, despite the fact that residents had lifted restrictions on access after years of decontamination efforts.
3. “This is public land. Citizens, including children and pregnant women returning to their contaminated homes, are at risk of receiving radiation doses equivalent to one chest X-ray every week.
4. This is unacceptable and a clear violation of their human rights,” Jan Vande Putte with Greenpeace Belgium, and leader of the survey, said.
In the second article about the Greenpeace recent report, a longer article published by the Japan Times in Japan, all those clearly stated 4 points have now disappeared, vanished, having been censored and left out, or spinned down, reduced, minimized such as:
1. “radiation 100 times higher than normal” becomes ” radiation levels higher than the government-set target of 0.23 microsieverts per hour, ranging from 0.2 to 0.8 microsieverts per hour” , meaning 4 times higher than the Japanese government-set target.
This is a typical example that shows you how the Japanese media, unfree from the Japanese government heavy censorship, have been for the past 7 years lying, hiding the true facts of the ongoing yet unsettled nuclear disaster in Fukushima, to the majority of the Japanese population.
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A member of Greenpeace checks radiation levels in the village of Iitate in Fukushima Prefecture last October. | GREENPEACE / VIA KYODO
March 1, 2018
Fukushima radiation still high: Greenpeace
A new report by Greenpeace says Fukushima, the sight of 2011’s nuclear accident after an earthquake, still has radiation 100 times higher than normal.
Greenpeace says towns in Japan’s Fukushima prefecture, close to the disaster-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, are exposed to excessive levels of radiation.
In a report published on Thursday, Greenpeace warned all areas surveyed, including those where people have been allowed to return, had levels of radiation similar to an active nuclear facility “requiring strict controls”, despite the fact that residents had lifted restrictions on access after years of decontamination efforts.
“This is public land. Citizens, including children and pregnant women returning to their contaminated homes, are at risk of receiving radiation doses equivalent to one chest X-ray every week. This is unacceptable and a clear violation of their human rights,” Jan Vande Putte with Greenpeace Belgium, and leader of the survey, said.
Japanese authorities have said these areas are progressively returning to normality after the massive 9.1-magnitude earthquake and resulting tsunami which struck on March 11, 2011, triggering the nuclear disaster at Fukushima.
The survey said that in the towns of Namie and Iitate, located between 10 and 40 kilometres from the Fukushima Daiichi plant and where evacuation orders were partially lifted in March 2017, radiation levels continue to be “up to 100 times higher than the international limit for public exposure”.
Greenpeace also noted the “ineffectiveness of decontamination work” in these areas, saying there remained a “significant risk to health and safety for any returning evacuee”, adding that Tokyo’s policy of “effectively forcing people to return by ending housing and other financial support is not working”.
The Japanese government had said radiation levels in the reopened zones posed no risk to human health, noting that its data was corroborated by the country’s medical experts and organisations such as the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation.
Considered the worst nuclear disaster since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine, the accident at Fukushima displaced tens of thousands of people, caused serious damage to the local economy.
Radiation levels in Fukushima zones higher in 2017 than 2016, and still above government target despite cleanup: Greenpeace Japan
Following the 2011 nuclear crisis, radiation levels at houses and areas nearby in a Fukushima village remain around three times higher than the government target despite cleanup work having been performed, an environmental group has said.
In some areas of the village of Iitate and the town of Namie, levels of radioactivity detected at some points among tens of thousands checked in surveys last September and October were higher than they had been the previous year, Greenpeace Japan said in a report released Thursday.
Most of the six houses surveyed in Iitate, located around 40 kilometers northwest of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 complex, logged radiation levels higher than the government-set target of 0.23 microsieverts per hour, ranging from 0.2 to 0.8 microsieverts per hour.
Some areas in the village had seen radiation levels rise from 2016, Greenpeace said. “There is a possibility (the environment) was contaminated again as radioactive materials that had accumulated in nearby forests may have moved around,” it said.
One house, located near a municipal office with slightly wooded areas nearby, marked lower radiation levels compared with the previous 2016 survey but levels at another five houses — which are near forests that have yet to be cleaned up — have remained almost the same.
The points surveyed covered areas in Iitate and Namie where evacuation orders have been lifted as well as some parts of Namie that remain designated as “difficult to return” zones following the Fukushima nuclear disaster, which was triggered by the massive March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
The survey also showed that the effects of cleanup work conducted in 2011 and 2012 in the Tsushima district of Namie, located 40 km northwest of the Fukushima plant, had been limited, with one house there logging radiation levels of 5.8 microsieverts per hour at the highest readings and 1.3 microsieverts per hour on average.
The district is among areas designated as special reconstruction zones by the government. The state plans to carry out cleanup work and promote infrastructure development intensively at its expense to make such areas livable again.

March 1, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Comparison study of calculated beta- and gamma-ray doses after the Fukushima accident in Minamisoma: skin dose estimated to be 164 mSv over 3 years

Comparison of calculated beta- and gamma-ray doses after the Fukushima accident with data from single-grain luminescence retrospective dosimetry of quartz inclusions in a brick sample
Journal of Radiation Research, https://doi.org/10.1093/jrr/rrx099
Published: 27 January 2018

ABSTRACT

To estimate the beta- and gamma-ray doses in a brick sample taken from Odaka, Minami-Soma City, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan, a Monte Carlo calculation was performed with Particle and Heavy Ion Transport code System (PHITS) code. The calculated results were compared with data obtained by single-grain retrospective luminescence dosimetry of quartz inclusions in the brick sample. The calculated result agreed well with the measured data. The dose increase measured at the brick surface was explained by the beta-ray contribution, and the slight slope in the dose profile deeper in the brick was due to the gamma-ray contribution. The skin dose was estimated from the calculated result as 164 mGy over 3 years at the sampling site.

INTRODUCTION

The main fission products from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant (FDNPP) accident are 129mTe-129Te, 131I, 132Te-132I, 134Cs, 136Cs and 137Cs [1–4]. These radionuclides emit gamma rays and beta rays through β− decay. However, there are few studies about dose estimation from beta-ray irradiation following the FDNPP accident [5–7]. The beta-ray dose contributes to the whole-body dose among small biota, such as insects, plant leaves, and human skin. Therefore, beta-ray dose estimations are important for the risk assessment of the impact of the FDNPP accident (including on small biota) to clarify the effects of this large-scale radiological accident.
Retrospective dosimetry with brick samples has been used to evaluate the gamma-ray dose of the Hiroshima atomic bomb [8–10], the Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident [11–14], and the Semipalatinsk nuclear weapon testing [15, 16]. Recently, Stepanenko et al. [17] used retrospective dose evaluation of brick samples to estimate gamma-ray doses and perform beta-ray dose reconstruction for the FDNPP accident with a similar method to that used for a Hiroshima tile sample [18]. They used a single-grain quartz optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) method (similar to that of Ballarini et al. [19], although layer-by-layer consequences for very thin layers of the sample’s aliquots were used for analysis, with separate dose calibration for each quartz grain) with brick samples taken in 2014 from Odaka, Minami-Soma City, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan [17]. Dose enhancement near the surface of the brick was identified by the OSL measurements [17]. Stepanenko et al. suggested that the enhancement was caused by the beta-ray dose from the deposited fission products [17].
To establish the cause of the dose enhancement near the brick surface, we performed a Monte Carlo simulation of a small brick building with radionuclides uniformly distributed on the ground surface. The calculated results were compared with the data measured by Stepanenko et al. [17]. The depth profiles of the dose in the brick sample for beta rays and gamma rays were estimated separately, and the dose enhancement near the brick surface was discussed.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Particle and Heavy Ion Transport code System calculation
The energy deposition as a function of depth in the brick wall of a small building was calculated using the Particle and Heavy Ion Transport code System (PHITS) Monte Carlo code Ver. 2.52 [20]. The calculation geometries are shown in Fig. 1. The calculation regions were 1 m × 1 m for beta rays and 21 m × 21 m for gamma rays. The calculation regions consisted of ground, air, and the small brick building (red region: 0.5 m × 0.5 m square, 1.5 m high, wall thickness of 10 cm). The brick building was located in the center of the soil surface. Beta- or gamma-ray sources were uniformly distributed in the 5-mm-thick soil surface (brown region). To save calculation time, the previously reported mirror condition was used for these calculations [21]. Figure 1a shows the geometry used to calculate the radiation that entered the calculation region (outer source calculation) via the mirror boundary. First, the histories for the particles were accumulated near the mirror boundary (green lines) without the brick building. Second, the particles were generated from the mirror boundary (back line) in Fig. 1b according to the accumulated histories. The generated particles were transported to the brick wall cells (yellow box) of the brick building. Third, radiation was generated from the surface of the 5-mm-thick soil layer (brown region) in the calculation region (inner source calculation) in Fig. 1b. The energy deposition in brick cell layers of 10 m × 10 cm and thicknesses of 0.1, 0.2, 0.3, 0.4, 0.5, 1, 3, 5, 7.5, 10, 20, 40, 60, 80 and 100 mm were obtained by summing the outer and inner source calculations corrected with the number of particles generated per unit area.

 

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(a) Mirror condition calculation, (b) top view and (c) side view of the calculation geometry.

Beta and gamma rays from 129mTe, 129Te, 131I, 132Te, 132I, 134Cs and 137Cs were calculated separately. Beta-ray energy spectra were taken from the literature [5], and the internal conversion electrons of 137Cs were taken from the website of the National Nuclear Data Center [21]. The gamma-ray energies and emission rates for the radionuclides were taken from the National Nuclear Data Center [22].
 
The elemental composition of the brick sample was Si: 28.9, Si: 50.4, Al: 17.5, Fe: 1.4 and Ti: 1.8 wt %, and those of soil and air were taken from the literature [8].
Air dose and tissue dose calculation
 
The air and tissue dose rates at the i-th depth per unit deposition density of 1 Bq/m2, Dijk (Gy Bq−1 s−1 m2), for beta and gamma rays, were calculated from the calculated results of the energy deposition in brick as:
Dijk=Ij⋅fcajc∫∞0EijkmbdE(j=β,γ;k=129mTe,129Te,131I,132Te,132I,134Cs,137Cs),
(1) where Eijk is the energy deposition (J) at the i-th depth by beta or gamma rays from the k-th radionuclide, mb is the brick sample mass (kg), and aj is the area of the source (0.75 and 1 m2 for inner and outer beta calculations, 440.75 and 441 m2 for the inner and outer gamma calculations, respectively). Ij is the emission rate for beta or gamma rays per Bq and fc is the conversion factor of the stopping power ratio [23] for beta rays and the kerma ratio [24] for gamma rays between air or tissue and brick to convert from the brick dose to the air or tissue doses.
Cumulative dose estimation
 
The dose rate at the sampling point can be calculated by the measured deposition density, Ak, for each radionuclide at the sampling point of Odaka, Minami-Some City by multiplying the calculated result by Eq. 1. The change in dose rate over time is assumed to depend only on the half-lives of the radionuclides. Therefore, the cumulative dose, Ditot, for the i-th depth can be integrated by:
Ditot=∑k∑j∫τ0Ak⋅Dijk(12)tTkdt,
(2) where Tk is the half-life for each radionuclide of k = 129mTe, 129Te, 131I, 132Te, 132I, 134Cs and 137Cs (Table 1), and τ is the time period from deposition to the brick sampling date.

 

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RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

Calculated dose rate for beta and gamma rays
 
A 137Cs deposition density of 308 kBq/m2 and the ratio of each radionuclide to 137Cs deposition density taken from the literature [1] were used to obtain Ak for each radionuclide. The deposition densities for the seven radionuclides are listed in Table 2. The beta-ray dose rates on the brick surface and gamma-ray dose rate at a depth of 0.5 mm in the brick at a height of 80 cm are shown in Fig. 2a and b, respectively. 129m, 129Te contributed less to the gamma-ray dose rate, and accounted for the third and fourth largest contribution to the beta-ray dose rate. This is due to the small gamma-ray emission rate per decay of 129m, 129Te of <10%. The gamma- and beta-ray doses decreased by ~10% and ~30%, respectively, over 1 month. The calculated beta-ray dose rate decreased slower than the calculated gamma-ray dose rate.

 

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Air dose rates of (a) beta rays and (b) gamma rays over time.

Beck reported conversion factors for various radionuclides to estimate the air dose rate at a height of 1 m from the unit deposition density of radionuclides [25]. The initial gamma-ray air dose rates (15 March 2011) at a height of 80 cm from the ground for each radionuclide obtained by our calculations were compared with the values estimated by Beck conversion factors [25] interpolated at a relaxation depth of 0.65 g/cm2 (Table 2). The present dose rates were estimated to be 57% lower than those calculated by Beck conversion factors. The present dose rates were in-brick values in one of the walls of the brick building, whereas the Beck conversion factor values were free-in-air values. Therefore, the difference of 57% can be explained by shielding effects, whereby gamma rays from behind the building are neglected.
Cumulative dose
 
The cumulative dose over 3 years, from 12 March 2011 (Unit 1 explosion) to 19 March 2014 (brick sampling by Stepanenko et al.) and the dose rate change over time are shown in Fig. 3. The solid line shows the calculation result, the dashed histograms are the averaged calculation values for the measured sample thickness, and the open circles are Stepanenko’s data [17]. The calculation agreed well with the data measured by Stepanenko et al. in the region deeper than 10 mm. The results indicated that the cumulative dose deeper in the brick was due to gamma rays, and that the dose enhancement at the surface was dominated by the beta-ray contribution. The difference between the calculated and measured doses at the surface was about 2 standard deviations. A possible explanation might be connected with the contributions of low γ emission rate radionuclides, such as 89Sr, 127mTe-127Te, 140Ba-140La, etc. However, the trend in the dose increase at the brick surface was supported by the calculations. Therefore, the single-grain OSL measurement by Stepanenko et al. shows the advantage of dose estimations not only the cumulative gamma-ray dose but also the cumulative beta-ray dose. Thus, we concluded that the single-grain OSL method is a good tool for retrospective beta-ray dose estimation.

 

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Comparison of the calculated beta rays (chain line), gamma rays (dotted line), beta + gamma rays (solid line), dose averaged over sample depth (dashed histogram), and data measured by Stepanenko et al. (open circles).

 

The calculated tissue dose at a brick depth of 50 μm was assumed to be a skin dose, and would be similar to a 70-μm tissue dose. The skin dose was estimated to be 164 mSv for 3 years at the sampling location.

CONCLUSION

To confirm the cause of the dose enhancement near the surface of a brick sample taken from Odaka, Minami-Soma City, Japan, a Monte Carlo calculation was performed using PHITS code and the calculated results were compared with measurements. The calculated results agreed well with previously published measured data. The dose enhancement at the brick surface in the measured data was explained by the beta-ray contribution, and the gentle slope in the dose profile deeper in the brick was due to the gamma-ray contribution. The calculated result estimated the skin dose to be 164 mGy (164mSv) over 3 years at the sampling location.

Source: https://academic.oup.com/jrr/advance-article/doi/10.1093/jrr/rrx099/4827065

 

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

Long-Term Exposure to Low-Dose Radiation and Cancer: Dr. David Richardson at the Hiroshima Peace Institute (EN & JP)

 

The initiation of the Manhattan project in 1943 marked the emergence of the discipline of health physics and an expansion of research on the health effects of ionizing radiation. The health effects of occupational exposure to radiation were viewed from different perspectives by different members of the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC). There were those with immediate concerns and a focus on issues related to wartime production and health effects which were definite biological changes which are immediately evident or are of prognostic importance to health. Others had an interest in a more general understanding the effects of radiation on human health, including long term and genetic consequences. There were also managerial concerns, which persist today; Stafford Warren, medical director of the program, encouraged health research to help strengthen the government’s interest in case of lawsuits or demands for workers’ compensation. These concerns motivated a large scale epidemiological program of research on nuclear workers. Beginning in the mid-1980’s, numerous publications on cancer among workers at nuclear facilities appeared, mostly in the US and UK. Risk estimates from individual studies were uncertain, with wide confidence intervals; and, positive associations between radiation and cancer were observed in some, but not all cohorts. To summarize results across studies and improve statistical precision, pooling projects were undertaken. This lecture reviews the history of these pooled studies and then presents results from the most recent, largest, and most informative of these analyses, known as INWORKS. This is a combined study of 308,297 nuclear workers from the United Kingdom, France, and the United States of America. Quantitative results are presented and the strengths and limitations of INWORKS are discussed. (Lecture at Hiroshima Peace Institute, 30 November 2017)

January 19, 2018 Posted by | radiation | , , , | Leave a comment

The Bioaccumulation of contamination in plankton

Capture du 2018-01-18 12-01-02.png

 

Quote (emphasis added) “Page 59. The problem of radioactive particles falling into the ocean raises the question of their availability to this portion of the biosphere. Plankton normally found in sea water are consumed in large quantities by fish.
 
These plankton concentrate mineral elements from the water, and it has been found that radioactivity may be concentrated (Page 60) in this manner by as much as a thousand fold. Thus, for example, one gram of plankton could contain a thousand times as much radioactivity as a gram of water adjacent to it. The radioactivity from these plankton which form a portion of fish diet tends to concentrate in the liver of the fish, and, if sufficiently high levels of contamination are encountered, could have a marked effect upon the ecology of an ocean area.
 
end quote

January 18, 2018 Posted by | radiation | , , | Leave a comment

Radiation Dose Is Meaningless

Dose is meaningless.jpg

 

In other words, where hot or warm particles or Plutonium or Uranium are located in body tissue or where sequentially decaying radionuclides like Strontium 90 are organically bound (e.g. to DNA) “dose” means nothing.
This is massively significant. Official radiation risk agencies universally quantify risk in terms of dose. If it means nothing the agencies know nothing and can give no valid advice.
Their public reassurances fall to the ground. They can no longer compare nuclear industry discharges with the 2 millisieverts we get every year from natural radiation, or the cosmic rays you’d receive flying to Tenerife for a holiday.
 
See this link for supporting quotes from the International Commission on Radiological Protection, Institut de Radioprotection et de Securite Nucleaire, the European Committee on Radiation Risk, the UK Department of Health, ICRP again (2009), and the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority. http://www.llrc.org/llrc/wobblyscience/subtopic/dosemeaningless2.htm
 
See this link for an account of how, when and why the world’s radsafers came to have an unscientific view. http://www.llrc.org/switcheroo.htm
 
 
Dose is meaningless
… emerging consensus
[This page from November 2006 is now updated with this new link to extracts from ICRP Publication 103 (the 2007 Recommendations) but its content otherwise remains unchanged. At the foot there is recent material on ICRP’s position.] http://www.llrc.org/llrc/wobblyscience/subtopic/dosemeaningless4.htm
The 2005 Recommendations of the International Commission on Radiological Protection: Draft for Consultation were published in late 2004. The final version has not been published at the date of writing (early November 2006) and ICRP tells us publication has in fact been set back by the IRSN’s report on the European Committee on Radiation Risk (ECRR).
Consultation on a second draft closed in the summer. Our responses can be seen on the ICRP site
The ICRP 2004 draft contains many statements revealing the incomplete state of knowledge of radiation risk. Many of them have been watered down in the 2006 draft or have disappeared altogether.
Here we reproduce extracts from the 2004 draft which confirm the validity of our long-standing concerns about heterogeneity of energy distribution. The ICRP’s response to heterogeneity is to employ assumptions. Most are individually questionable and when taken together, as they must be, they are simply not acceptable as a system of radiation protection. The upshot is that “dose” is an effectively meaningless term yet the industry’s regulators have no other terms with which to assess and quantify risks. Reassurances about “trivial doses” are revealed as empty.
“3.2. Summary of health effects caused by ionising radiation
(37) The relationship between radiation exposures and health effects is complex. The physical processes linking exposure and doses in human tissues involve energy transport at the molecular level. The biological links between this energy deposition and the resulting health effects involve molecular changes in cells. In Publication 60 (ICRP, 1991) , the Commission recognised that the gross (macroscopic) quantities used in radiological protection omitted consideration of the discontinuous nature of the physical and biological processes of ionisation. However, it concluded that their use was justified empirically by the observation that the gross quantities (with adjustments for different types of radiation) correlate reasonably well with the resulting biological effects. It further recognised that more use might eventually be made of other quantities based on the statistical distribution of events in a small volume of material, corresponding to the dimensions of biological entities such as the nucleus of the cell or its DNA. Meanwhile, for practical reasons, the Commission continues to use the macroscopic quantities.
[…]
3.3. Absorbed dose in radiological protection
(41) A particular feature of ionising radiations is their discontinuous interaction with matter. The related probabilistic nature of energy depositions results in distributions of imparted energy on a cellular and molecular level that are very heterogeneous at low doses. […]
(42) […] At the low doses generally of concern in radiological protection, the fluctuation of energy imparted can be substantial between individual cells and within a single hit cell. This is the case particularly for densely ionising radiations such as alpha-particles and charged particles from neutron interactions.
[…]
(44) Absorbed dose is defined based on the expectation value of the stochastic quantity e, energy imparted, and therefore does not consider the random fluctuation of the interaction events. It is defined at any point in matter and, in principle, is a measurable quantity, i.e. it can be determined experimentally and by computation. The definition of absorbed dose has the scientific rigour required for a fundamental quantity. It takes implicitly account of the radiation field as well as of all of its interactions inside and outside the specified volume. It does not, however, consider the atomic structure of matter and the stochastic nature of the interactions.
[…]
(46) For densely ionising radiation (charged particles from neutrons and alpha-particles) and low doses of low LET radiation, the frequency of events in most cells is zero, in a few it is one and extremely exceptionally more than one. The value of energy imparted in most individual cells is then zero but in the hit cells it will exceed the mean value by orders of magnitude. These large differences in the energy deposition distribution in microscopic regions for different types (and energies) of radiation have been related to observed differences in biological effectiveness or radiation quality.
(47) In the definition of radiological protection quantities no attempts are made to specify these stochastic distributions at a microscopic level. Even the quality factor used in the definition of operational quantities is dependent on LET only which also is a non stochastic quantity. Instead a pragmatic and empirical approach has been adopted to take account of radiation quality differences – and therefore implicitly also of the differences in distributions of energy imparted in microscopic regions – by defining radiation weighting factors. The selection of these factors is mainly a judgement based on the results of radiobiological experiments.
3.3.2. Radiological protection quantities: Averaging of dose
(48) While absorbed dose is defined to give a specific value (averaged in time) at any point in matter, averaging of doses over larger tissue volumes is often performed when using the quantity absorbed dose in practical applications, as in radiological protection. It is especially assumed for stochastic effects at low doses that such a mean value can be correlated with the risk of a detriment to this tissue with sufficient accuracy. The averaging of absorbed dose and the summing of mean doses in different organs and tissues of the human body, as given in the definition of all the protection quantities, is only possible under the assumption of a linear dose-response relationship with no threshold (LNT). All protection quantities rely on these hypotheses.
(49) Protection quantities are based on the averaging of absorbed dose over the volume of a specified organ or tissue. The extent to which the average absorbed dose in an organ is representative of the absorbed dose in all regions of the organ depends on a number of factors. For external radiation exposure, this depends on the degree of penetration of the radiation incident on the body. For penetrating radiation (photons, neutrons) , the absorbed dose distribution within a specified organ may be sufficiently homogeneous and thus the average absorbed dose is a meaningful measure of the absorbed dose throughout the organ or tissue. For radiation with low penetration or limited range (low-energy photons, charged particles) as well as for widely distributed organs (e.g. bone marrow) exposed to non-uniform radiation flux, the absorbed dose distribution within the specified organ may be very heterogeneous.
(50) For radiations emitted by radionuclides residing within the organ or tissue, so-called internal emitters, the absorbed dose distribution in the organ depends on the penetration and range of the radiations and the homogeneity of the activity distribution within the organs or tissues. The absorbed dose distribution for radionuclides emitting alpha particles, soft beta particles, low-energy photons, and Auger electrons may be highly heterogeneous. This heterogeneity is especially significant if radionuclides emitting low-range radiation are deposited in particular parts of organs or tissues, e.g. plutonium on bone surface or radon daughters in bronchial mucosa and epithelia. In such situations the organ-averaged absorbed dose may not be a good dose quantity for estimating the stochastic damage. The applicability of the concept of average organ dose and effective dose may, therefore, need to be examined critically in such cases and sometimes empirical and pragmatic procedures must be applied. ICRP has developed dosimetric models for the lungs, the gastrointestinal tract and the skeleton that take account of the distribution of radionuclides and the location of sensitive cells in the calculation of average absorbed dose to these tissues.
3.3.3. Radiation weighted dose and effective dose
(51) The definition of the protection quantities is based on the mean absorbed dose …
It seems perverse that having admitted so many flaws in the concept of absorbed dose ICRP simply continues to use it.
The 1991 assertion (see ICRP para. 37 above) that the use of macroscopic quantities is justified empirically is not acceptable. In the ensuing 15 years developments in cell biology and epidemiology, particularly following Chernobyl, have rendered it unsafe. The European Committee on Radiation Risk (ECRR) has recently developed weighting factors to compensate for some of the shortcomings of the ICRP approach. IRSN’s 2005 report on ECRR states: http://www.euradcom.eu/2005/irsn%20rapport%20ecrr-en.pdf
“Various questions raised by the ECRR are quite pertinent and led IRSN to analyze this document with a pluralistic approach.
a. Besides natural and medical exposures, populations are basically undergoing low dose and low dose rate prolonged internal exposures. But the possible health consequences under such exposure conditions are ill-known. Failing statistically significant observations, the health consequences of low dose exposures are extrapolated from data concerning exposures that involve higher dose rates and doses. Also, few epidemiologic data could be analyzed for assessing inner exposure effects. The risks were thus assessed from health consequences observed after external exposure, considering that effects were identical, whether the exposure source is located outside or inside the human body. However, the intensity, or even the type of effects might be different.
b. The pertinence of dosimetric values used for quantifying doses may be questioned. Indeed, the factors applied for risk management values are basically relying on the results from the Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivors’ monitoring. It is thus not ensured that the numerical values of these factors translate the actual risk, regardless of exposure conditions, and especially after low dose internal exposure.
c. Furthermore, since the preparation of the ICRP 60 publication, improvements in radiobiology and radiopathology, or even in general biology, might finally impair the radiation cell and tissue response model applied to justify radioprotection recommendations. It was thus justified to contemplate the impact of such recent observations on the assessment of risk induced by an exposure to ionizing radiation.”
IRSN’s report concludes:
“The phenomena concerning internal contamination by radionuclides are complex because they involve numerous physico-chemical, biochemical and physiological mechanisms, still ill-known and thus difficult to model. Due to this complexity, the behaviour of radionuclides in the organism is often ill described and it is difficult to accurately define a relationship between the dose delivered by radionuclides and the observed consequences on health. This led the radioprotection specialists to mostly use the dose/risk relationships derived from the study of the Hiroshima/Nagasaki survivors, exposed in conditions very different from those met in the cases of internal contaminations.
This fact raises numerous questions, which should be considered with caution because a wide part of the public exposure in some areas of the world is due to chronic internal contaminations and very few data concern these situations.
[…] the questions raised by the ECRR are fully acceptable, … ”
and
“… we do not possess, in the current state of knowledge, the elements required to improve the existing radioprotection system.”
We realise that we are inviting the rejoinder that IRSN also says:
[however] “the fact is that the [ECRR’s] arguments stated to justify this doctrine modification are not convincing, as the demonstration as a whole does not meet the criteria of a strict and consistent scientific approach.”
and
“the existing radioprotection system corresponds to the best tool being available at present for protecting human from the deleterious effects of ionizing radiations.”
and
“… a significant improvement of the radioprotection system in the field of internal contamination [can be] conceivable only by development of studies and research. ”
See this link for ECRR’s response to various points made by IRSN, and for the IRSN report itself. http://www.euradcom.eu/2005/irsn.htm
IRSN’s statements are a bizarre double standard; they have agreed with ECRR’s criticisms of the ICRP system, which on that basis can itself be described as “not meet[ing] the criteria of a strict and consistent scientific approach” (as IRSN demands of ECRR). IRSN’s subsequent call for more research may be only what is expected of scientists, but such research would take years. Policy makers and stakeholders engaged in decommissioning have to make decisions now.
CERRIE: DOSE IS “MEANINGLESS”
… There are important concerns with respect to the heterogeneity of dose delivery within tissues and cells from short-range charged particle emissions, the extent to which current models adequately represent such interactions with biological targets, and the specification of target cells at risk. Indeed, the actual concepts of absorbed dose become questionable, and sometimes meaningless, when considering interactions at the cellular and molecular levels.
from CERRIE (Government’s Committee Examining Radiation Risks of Internal Emitters) Majority Report Chapter 2 Risks from Internal Emitters Part 2 paragraph 11. See http://www.cerrie.org for full report.
See this site for the Minority Report http://www.llrc.org/wobblyscience/subtopic/cerrie.htm
 
And the Department of Health’s Radiation Protection Research Strategy July 2006 – could be LLRC’s shoppping list. http://www.llrc.org/wobblyscience/subtopic/dosemeaningless3.htm
 
ICRP throws in the towel
At a meeting in Stockholm, 22 April 2009, Dr Jack Valentin, Scientific Secretary Emeritus of the ICRP admitted that ICRP’s risk model could not be applied to post-accident exposures because the uncertainties were two orders of magnitude. (see transcript) http://www.llrc.org/llrc/health/subtopic/icrpabdicates.htm
The next day, Deputy Director of Strålsäkerhetsmyndigheten, Carl-Magnus Larsson also said the ICRP model could not be used to predict the health consequences of accidents. He added that for elements like Strontium and Uranium which bind to DNA national authorities would have the responsibility to assess the risks. Another SRM member said that the Secondary Photoelectron Effect was well recognised, also that in 1977 the ICRP had considered a weighting factor ”n” for elements which bind to DNA but had not implemented it.

 

January 5, 2018 Posted by | radiation | , , | Leave a comment

Fears of children who have to check radiation levels outside before they can go and play

The main problem is internal radiation thru food and drinking, which in this article is not enough emphasized. Plus there is no safe level of manmade radiation.
they say that food.jpg
Almost seven years after the Fukushima disaster, staff are forced to check if schoolyards are too poisonous to play
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Pupils have to scan their school playground
Children are still using Geiger counters to test for deadly radiation levels at schools struck by the Fukushima disaster in Japan.
Almost seven years after the worst nuclear meltdown in decades, staff are forced to check if schoolyards are too poisonous to play.
A large Geiger counter in their playground measures the invisible threat still hanging over them after the nearby nuclear plant was hit by an earthquake and engulfed by the ensuing tsunami.
If radiation readings are too high, the children are told they cannot go outside.
Students even have their own handheld devices to check for themselves if schoolyards are too poisonous to play in.
One, 13-year-old Yume, admits what many others also feel. “I’m afraid I’m going to get cancer,” she says bluntly.
Her classmate Mei adds: “Some of the playgrounds near here have been shut – the radiation is too high.”
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Device shows readings equal to having a chest x-ray
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Explosion at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power station on March 14, 2011
The disaster in March 2011 was the worst nuclear incident in 30 years. Now students spend lessons scanning their school and plotting hotspots on a map back in class.
Ryu, 13, explained: “The trees are where the highest readings are. We picked up 0.23 last month.”
That level is double the 0.1 millisieverts patients face during a chest X-ray, or equal to 50 scans at the dentist.
While those last just seconds, these children are exposed constantly. The Japanese government has declared Fukushima safe, with a 20-mile no-go zone around the crippled power station itself.
Science teacher Takahira Abe, 52, leads workshops designed by Save the Children to educate about the dangers.
He said: “Fukushima will be a shadow these children live with for the rest of their lives. Most were so young life seems normal, but often when we teach them about radiation they get flashbacks.”
4.jpg
Kids in the area are more likely to get cancer
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Science teacher Takahira Abe
They are taught about monitoring radiation in local crops and fish.
Mr Abe explains: “I want them to understand the risks – and that they are more likely to get cancers. It gives them tools to protect against further dangers.”
After the disaster Mr Abe and his wife Hiromi decided not to flee – despite protests from their son and daughter, then nine and 13. He said: “The school had a geiger counter for science, so I took readings. Levels were not too high.
“My duties as a teacher were more important. I had to stay and educate others.”
His textbook was created by Save the Children to help those living under a radiation threat. And counsellors have been brought in to help deal with mental health issues.
Mr Abe adds: “That’s one positive – we’re encouraging children to talk openly. That’s not happened before in Japan.”

they say that food.jpg

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

The Occupation and Glass Badges

It is an article five years ago. But very important so I will post again.
—”Why are children and pregnant women, who are not inside nuclear power plants, wearing these badges? The proposal came from the National Cancer Center of Japan, which suggested to both central and Fukushima regional governments the use of dosimeters “to calm the anxiety of the children and their guardians.”
glassbadge.jpg
by TOMOE NAGANO
 
(日本語による原文は下記に掲載)
 
Today, children in Fukushima are mandated to wear radiation dosimeters called ‘glass badges.’ Some of the regional governments also require pregnant women to wear them. They are a durable, modified version of film badges, one of three main types of radiation monitors: -alarm meters, film badges, and pocket dosimeters – all used by the workers in nuclear power plants.
 
Why are children and pregnant women, who are not inside nuclear power plants, wearing these badges? The proposal came from the National Cancer Center of Japan, which suggested to both central and Fukushima regional governments the use of dosimeters “to calm the anxiety of the children and their guardians.” The Cancer Center, prior to giving badges to children, had monitored radiation exposure on public health nurses who went to the vicinity of the Fukushima Daiichi to give medical care to the residents. Under this project, the nurses, most of whom are women, were turned into radiation monitoring devices. The Center’s official report of the project clearly states that “[the public health nurses are] to become representatives of local residents for monitoring radioactivity.”1 Since the nurses had capacity to go about every single house in the region to check health condition of the residents, the Cancer Center supposedly tried to check radiation exposure of the people by taking advantage of their role.
 
Every three months, the glass badges are collected from the people by various research institutions, universities and specialized companies2, who then would gather the data to report to the Cancer Center. However, aside from collecting the data, the Center as well as any other governmental agencies never give the people any advice as to how to protect themselves from exposure to radiation and how they can deal with health damages caused by radioactive materials. After reporting the levels of exposure, they neglect to offer any health management and support and leave them up to local governments. On the other hand, there is a person who advocates a very simple method to protect oneself from radiation; the representative being Dr. Shun-ichi Yamashita. His simple and honest advise is: “you will not get damage of radiation as long as you are smiling. You only do if you worry.” (There is a Japanese saying ‘Fancy may kill or cure’ – the very word that the former PM Yasuhiro Nakasone had said during his visit to Hiroshima Atom bomb casualty Hospital, trying to calm the minds of hibakusha he met there. Nakasone, known to have passed the very first budget for nuclear power plants in Japan during his term, always promoted nuclear energy.
 
Being a hibakusha nisei or the son of a hibakusha, Shun-ichi Yamashita is a doctor with various entitlements, who took the position of the Radiation Risk Advisor in Fukushima after 3/11, then was appointed for the vice president of the Fukushima Medical College. He also received the 2011 “Asahi Cancer Award,” which is supposed to be given to those who contributed to cancer treatment, presented by Japan Cancer Society, many of whose faculty are appointed from the National Cancer Center. This particular award was co-presented by the relatively liberal newspaper Asahi Shimbin, which came as a surprise and disgust to many, especially since Yamashita’s overly unscientific remarks had been a topic of ridicule even among mass-media.
 
As I described above, the residents of Fukushima today are made into the subjects of human experiments by the Japanese government, research institutions as well as mass-media that support their stance. In a TV report by WDR (Westdeutscher Rundfunk) in Germany, a school teacher, who hands out the glass badges to his pupils, says: “I’m not happy with these dosimeters. They are going to turn our students into study subjects. The dosimeters only accumulate data in them, instead of displaying the levels of radiation. I wish they were radiation alarms which warn you when you have to get out of the area.”
 
The people of Fukushima are expropriated of their health data without being provided with care or treatment. The very situation reminds me of what had been done to hibakushas in Hiroshima and Nagasaki under the US military occupation.
 
In August 1945, atomic bombs were dropped in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, thereby many people were killed and exposed to radiation through the thermic rays and radiation. About a year later, the occupying US military under the order of Harry Truman founded ABCC (Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission) under auspices of the military regime, in order to prepare for the future nuclear wars. At the newly set-up research facility in Hiroshima, ABCC began researching the effects of radiation on human bodies. The United States Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) stated as follows: “The bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki provided an exceptional and unique opportunity to monitor the effects of radiation on human groups.3” Although the ABCC collected data and human biological samples from the victims, they never provided any kind of treatment. The focus of their research was the effects on DNA. And this required the development of dynamic statistics of population, the institutionalization of pregnancy/birth registration and the establishment of public health office. Therein, crucially needed for the research was the role of mid-wives, who were to be ordered to record and report in detail the conditions of pregnancy, birth, and the newborn, and if they were safely delivered or miscarried. The research was also targeted on pregnant women and children of the resident ethnic Koreans and other foreigners. It goes without saying that the Japanese government was co-opted to this crime.
 
A woman from Fukushima stated at a rally last summer: “the people of Fukushima have become the subjects of a nuclear experiment. Vast amount of radioactive waste will remain. In spite of the huge sacrifice, the clout of the proponents of nuclear power prevails. We have been abandoned. (…) We are ‘the demons of the northeast’ quietly burning flames of wrath.” There are quite many who understand the meaning of having glass badges attached on their bodies. Thus the people in Fukushima ought to become demons. Not another person, child or woman should be exploited by the development of nuclear military industrial complex.4
 
We must recall the following phrases over and over again:
 
It was not that the victims were never given explanation about the research. However, one might wonder if there were any agreements between the researchers and the victims over the purpose of the research. What kind of resulting reports were given to the victims? Were they ever informed how the results from the experiments were used?
 
During the time [of the nuclear research], no adults ever accused the cruelty of the bomb causality research, nor they told their children what it meant. In this sense, the adults were responsible as well.
 
(from Masao Sasamoto, Atom-Bomb Research Under the US Military Occupation)
 
 
2 One of the companies, Chiyoda Technol, is a corporation whose facility is build in Rokkasho, Aomori Prefecture, under the support from both Central and Aomori governments. They are proponents of nuclear energy.
 
3 Hewlett, Richard G. and Oscar E. Anderson Jr. The New World, 1939-1946, (History of the United States Atomic Energy Commission, Vol.1), University Park, 1962.
 
4 In Manhattan Project even before the dropping of the atomic bombs, the people were made into subject of human experiments where they were injected with plutonium to see its effects. (Albuquerque Tribune, Manhattan Project: Human Plutonium Injection Experiments)
https://jfissures.wordpress.com/2012/03/21/the-occupation-and-glass-badges/

December 23, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

The Japanese Government Is Lying to the International Community: the Radiological Situation in and around Fukushima is NOT Safe

A report from NIRS (Nuclear Information and Resource Service, in USA)
The Japanese government has created foreign language websites which provide the information about radiology in general and the radiological situation in Fukushima. Journalists around the world, our friends and acquaintances living abroad are continually asking us whether the information that these Japanese central and local government websites present to the international community is correct or not. The following is our answer.
 
Appeal from a Japanese Anti-nuclear Activist Etsuji Watanabe
Nov.29 2017 Revised (Oct.12 2017)
Etsuji Watanabe: Member of the Japanese anti-radiation citizen-scientist group ACSIR (Association for Citizens and Scientists Concerned about Internal Radiation Exposures)
Special thanks to Mrs Yuko Kato, Mr Ruiwen Song, Ms Nozomi Ishizu, Mrs Kurly Burch, Ms Jennifer Alpern, and Mark Bennett Yuko Kato: Evacuee from Fukushima, member of the Kansai plaintiff group for compensation against TEPCO and government Ruiwen Song: Taiwanese freelance journalist.
The Japanese government has created foreign language websites which provide the information about radiology in general and the radiological situation in Fukushima. Journalists around the world, our friends and acquaintances living abroad are continually asking us whether the information that these Japanese central and local government websites present to the international community is correct or not. The following is our answer.
 pic-1.png
[Question 1]
The stories uploaded on these websites give people the impression that worrying about radiation is unnecessary. As for this impression, has Fukushima now really become a safe place to live or visit?
[Answer]
First of all, Japanese anti-nuclear activists and evacuees from contaminated areas in Fukushima and Kanto, have been warning people all over the world NEVER to trust what the Japanese government is saying about both radiology in general and the specific radiological health effects caused by the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant disaster (hereafter Fukushima accident) following the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami on March 11th, 2011.
Prime-minister Shinzo Abe and the Japanese government as a whole including Fukushima prefectural government have repeatedly declared that “with regard to health-related problems (of the Fukushima accident), I (Abe) will state in the most emphatic and unequivocal terms that there have been no problems until now, nor are there any at present, nor will there be in the future.” (Abe’s statement at a news conference). See the Japanese government website here.
This claim is completely fabricated and false. In making these claims, the Japanese government is blatantly ignoring the vast number of studies in radiological sciences and epidemiology that have been accumulating historically. By engaging in this behavior, the Japanese government has been systematically deceiving the public, both nationally and internationally.
Just think of the amount of radioactivity released during the Fukushima accident. As you know, one of the standards used to assess the extent of radioactive releases and longtime human health effects is the levels of cesium 137 (Cs137) released into the environment. Based on the Japanese government data (which is an underestimate), the Fukushima accident released 168 times the Cs137 discharged by the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. This amount is almost the equivalent to the total atmospheric nuclear explosions conducted by the United States on the Nevada test ground. The Nevada desert is not designated as a residential area, but the Japanese government has recommended evacuated residents return to live in areas with radiation levels of up to 20 mSv/year. By removing economic support for evacuees, the Japanese government has forced many people who had evacuated from these areas to return.
We estimate that in the Fukushima accident approximately 400-600 times the Cs137 were released into the atmosphere by the atomic bomb blast in Hiroshima. Roughly 20% of the Cs137, or 80-120 Hiroshima-equivalents, were deposited on Japan. Of this, the decontamination efforts have only been able to retrieve five Hiroshima-equivalents. The waste from decontamination efforts is typically stored all over Fukushima mostly in mountainous heaps of large plastic bags. This means that 75-115 Hiroshima-equivalents of Cs137 still remain in Fukushima, surrounding prefectures, and all over Japan.
In addition, the Japanese government is now planning to reuse the retrieved contaminated soil under 8000Bq/kg in public works projects all over Japan. This self-destructive program has now been partially started without any announcements as to where the contaminated soil are and will be reused, under the pretext of “avoiding damage caused by harmful rumors”. This project is tantamount to scattering lethal fallout of Cs137 equivalent to about 5 times that of Hiroshima bomb all over Japan. The Japanese government is literally behaving like a nuclear terrorist.
Do you really imagine that Fukushima prefecture and surrounding areas, contaminated as they are to levels similar to the Nevada test site, is really a safe place for people to permanently live, or for foreign tourists to visit and go sightseeing?
Regrettably, we must conclude that it is not, for either residents or tourists the situation in Fukushima is not safe.
 pic-2.png
[Question 2]
These websites also point out that the international annual dose limit for the public is at 1mSv, but this level is easily exceeded by only one CT-scan, insinuating that this 1mSv standard is set too low and thus not a useful indicator.
[Answer]
CT-Scans are often cited as if they had no radiation risks, But this is not true. A recent study clearly shows that every CT-scan (about 4.5mSv irradiation) increases the risk of cancers in children by 24%. See the website here.
In Fukushima the allowable level of radiation per year for residents is now 20mSv. Can you imagine having 4-5 CT-scans every year?
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[Question 3]
One of the websites states: “In Fukushima, the indoor radiation doses are now so reduced that no radioactive cesium can be found in the air. Therefore, no radioactive particles can invade the human body during breathing.” What do you think of this statement?
[Answer]
The Japanese government also ignores the long-term peril caused by “hot particles” ――micron-and- nano-sized radioactive particulates――which, if inhaled or absorbed into the human body, may lead to many kinds of cancers and other diseases including cardiac failure. We should consider internal irradiation to the cells near the radiation sources to be 500 times more dangerous than external irradiation because particles inside the body radiates very near or even inside cells, causing intensive damage to DNAs and other cell organs such as mitochondria.
 
[Question 4]
These websites explain that there exists not only artificial but also natural radioactivity, thus people are living in an environment surrounded by radiation all the time in everyday life.
[Answer]
One of the main tactics that the Japanese government often uses to propagate the “safety of low level irradiation” is to compare artificial radioactivity with natural radioactivity. But this logic is a methodological sleight of hand. It is crystal-clear that even exposure to natural radioactivity has its own health risks. Cancers sickened and killed people long before artificial radioactivity was used. For example, Seishu Hanaoka, one of the founders of Japan’s medicine, carried out 152 breast cancer surgeries from 1804 to 1836.
Both kinds of radioactivity have their own health risks. Risks caused by artificial radioactivity should not be compared but be added to the natural radioactivity risks as they both lead to the accumulation of exposure.
For example, potassium 40 (K40) is a typical natural radioactive nuclide. According to  the Japanese government, the average internal exposure dose for adults from K40 is about 4,000Bq/year or 0.17mSv/year. See the website here (in Japanese).
The ICRP risk model (2007) allows us to estimate the approximate risk posed by K40. The calculation shows that K40 is responsible for approximately 4,000 cancer cases and 1,000 deaths every year. If the same amount of radiation was added to that of K40 in the human body by artificial sources, the cancers and mortalities would be doubled to 8,000 and 2,000 a year, respectively. Based on the ECRR (2010) model, which criticizes the ICRP risk model as a severe underestimate, these figures should be multiplied by 40, reaching 320,000 and 80,000, respectively.
The extract you cite from the Fukushima government website is completely fake: “In Fukushima, the indoor radiation doses are now so reduced that no radioactive cesium can be found in the air. Therefore, no radioactive particles can invade the human body during respiration”. Reports from civic radiation measurement stations refute this claim. For example, dust collecting paper packs of vacuum cleaners used in Iwaki City, Fukushima prefecture, are radiologically measured and 4,800-53,900Bq/kg radioactive cesium was detected in Oct-Dec 2015. See the website here (in Japanese).
 
[Question 5]
One of the websites says that the Fukushima prefecture has conducted whole-body counter screenings of the 170,000 local population so far but cesium was rarely detected.” Does this mean that we can safely consume food from Fukushima, and Fukushima residents are no longer being exposed internally to radiation?
[Answer]
This is a typical example of demagogy by the Japanese government: vague expressions lacking specific data, using the words “safe and secure” without clear explanation. In reality, the government has not publicized any data indicating serious irradiation of the population. For example, you mentioned the Fukushima prefectural government website saying that whole-body counter screenings of 170,000 members of the local population have found radioactive Cs only in very few cases. However, the fact that no specific number is given makes the statement suspicious.
These statistics, more than likely, exclude many firefighters or other municipal employees who, at the time of accident, helped local residents evacuate from a lot of contaminated areas surrounding the defunct Fukushima plant. These people were subjected to serious radiation doses.
Civic groups’ efforts for the disclosure of information has recently prompted city officials near the defunct plant to disclose the fact that it conducted whole-body counter check-ups on about 180 firefighters, nurses and municipal employees. According to Koichi Ohyama, a member of the municipal assembly of Minami Soma, the screening conducted in July, 2011, showed almost all of these people tested positive in Cs. The maximum Cs137 dose among the firefighters was as high as 140,000 Bq. This data reveals a part of the reality of irradiation but it is only a tiny part.
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[Question 6]
The government websites suggest that no health effects from irradiation have been reported in Fukushima. Is this true? Or have any symptoms appeared that indicate an increase in radiation-induced diseases in Fukushima?
[Answer]
One example is the outbreak of child thyroid cancer, but the Japanese government has been denying the relationship with irradiation from radioactive iodine released from the Fukushima disaster.
Japan’s population statistics reflect the health effects from the Fukushima disaster radioactivity. The following data clearly show that diseases increasing in Fukushima are highly likely to have been radiation-induced.
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[Question 7]
The Fukushima prefecture website says, “After the Fukushima accident, the Japanese government has introduced the provisional standards for radioactive iodine and cesium. The Fukushima prefectural government subsequently strictly regulated distribution and consumption of food with levels of radioactivity exceeding the provisional standards. Now we have had this new much stricter standard. The distribution and consumption  of food exceeding this new standard has been continuously regulated; therefore any food on the market is safe to consume.” Is it true?
[Answer]
As for food contamination, the Japanese government has also tried to cover up the real picture. First, the current government standard for radioactivity in food, 100Bq/kg, is dangerously high for human health, especially for fetuses, infants, children and pregnant women. Even six and a half years after the accident, the Agriculture Ministry of Japan as well as many civic radioactivity measurement stations all over the country have reported many food contamination cases, although the frequency is evidently reduced. See the website here.
The Japanese government has underestimated the danger presented by internal irradiation. But, we must consider two important factors. (1) The wide range of difference in personal radio-sensitivity. According to Professor Tadashi Hongyo (Osaka University Medical Faculty), the maximum difference is as wide as 100 times in terms of biological half-life of Cs137. (2) Recent studies denying that the so-called biological half-life decrease curve actually exists. According to the new model, daily food contamination can cause concentrations to accumulate as time passes. Even a daily 1Bq internal radiation dose from food cannot be safe for human health (details below).
Our recommendation is to be cautious of food or produce from Fukushima and the surrounding areas, and, even if contamination levels are said to have now generally decreased, to avoid jumping to the conclusion that all the food is fit to eat.
 
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[Question 8]
We would like to ask about the situations in prefectures surrounding Fukushima. A television program once reported, “As for the safety of Tochigi and Gunma prefectures, few people are raising concern about health effects of radiation.” Is it true that the prefectures somewhat distant from the Fukushima Daiichi plant are now safe with no human risk?
[Answer]
Regarding the radioactive contamination in prefectures surrounding Fukushima, you can refer to the following website.
This article examines the contamination in the Tokyo metropolitan area, but conditions are the same or more serious in Tochigi or other prefectures north of Tokyo, nearer to the defunct Fukushima Daiichi plant.
Another example is the statistics of stillbirth and neonatal mortality in Fukushima and the surrounding five prefectures (Tochigi, Gunma, Ibaragi, Miyagi, Iwate) shown here.
Perinatal mortality in not only Fukushima prefecture but also neighboring prefectures rose 15.6% just 10 months after the accidents. This clearly indicates the existence of some kind of human health damage from radiation.
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[Question 9]
We would like to ask about the decontamination efforts by famers living in Fukushima and neighboring prefectures. Should we think highly of the farmers measuring the amount of radiation deposited on the surface of soil to create radiation maps for farms, or washing the radiation from the surface of every single tree off the radiation with high-pressure washers? The farmers said that while these methods have been shown to be radiologically effective, their produce did not sell well, because consumers are still feeling anxious about health risks. Does the problem of radioactive food contamination in Japan just end up in whether each consumer personally believes it safe or not?
[Answer]
We must raise a question that, despite the government’s decontamination efforts, a huge amount of radioactive materials deposited in mountainous areas remain untouched. Now they are re-dispersing and re-depositing over wide areas of Fukushima and surrounding prefectures via winds, cars, trains, river water, pollen, spores, emissions from incinerators, in the form of radioactive dusts and particulates, among many others. For an example, see the following website.
So I regret to say that, although these farmers’ endeavors you mentioned are very precious and respectable, they are not sufficient to completely eliminate the risk of radiation exposure from food. The problem exists objectively in the nuclear materials deposited on and in soil, algae, plants, houses, buildings, forests, animal and human bodies, not subjectively in the consumers’ sentiment or psychology.
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[Question 10]
Japanese experts have recently pitched a cultivation method that can remove cesium by intensive use of potassium fertilizer. Is this method effective at all? Do you have any doubt about their claims?
[Answer]
They seem to be among those experts who have been criticizing the general public’s tendency to demand “zero irradiation risk” as an obstacle to Fukushima reconstruction.
As you know, cesium (Cs) has chemically similar characteristics to potassium (K). So it is true that higher levels of application of potassium fertilizer lowers the plant’s absorption, and therefore concentration, of radioactive Cs, decreasing Cs137/134 concentrations in produce, often to below the government standard of 100Bq/kg. But the following problems remain: (1) This procedure can prevent Cs transfer from the soil to produce only partly, not completely; (2) This process raises the potassium concentration in the produce and therefore heightens the burdens on certain human organs such as kidneys, the heart and the nervous system, causing new health risks; (3) Heightened concentration of potassium also leads to the heightened concentration of radioactive K40, so the reduced risk of radioactive Cs lead to an increased risk of internal irradiation by K40.
 
[Question 11]
Even if cesium concentration was reduced by applying more potassium fertilizer than usual, strontium contamination would remain. In Japanese government’s international press campaign as to the Fukushima accident, almost nothing has been said about strontium. If you have any information on strontium contamination, let us know.
[Answer]
We regret that the information about strontium that you are asking for is very limited and searching for it is also a challenge for us. The Japanese government and research institutes under the government have reported very limited data regarding strontium contamination. But it is important that the Japanese government admits the fact of strontium contamination within 80km from the defunct Fukushima plant. See the website here.
Did you know that the US Department of Energy data on the strontium contamination of soil in Japan and its visualization (in Japanese)  can be seen on the websites here?
 
[Question 12]
Some Japanese experts say, “the Japanese government has declared that no health effects from irradiation below 100mSv (or 100mSv/year) have been confirmed.” Some farmers have established a private food standard of 20Bq/kg, much lower than the Japanese government standard of 100Bq/kg. Do you think that doses under 100mSv or under 20Bq/kg are safe and secure?
[Answer]
As you mentioned, the Japanese government claims that no scientific studies verify that irradiation of 100mSv or less poses a threat to human health, suggesting that irradiation under 100mSv has no risk. This, however, is false. The government is fabricating this information. In fact, very many scientific studies have already confirmed and proven health effects induced by irradiation under 100mSv. For example, see the websites below.
 
The Japanese government is using the term “100mSv” in a deliberately ambiguous and confusing manner. The expression 100mSv can have three meanings: (1) a one-time irradiation dose, (2) cumulative irradiation doses, or (3) annual irradiation doses. So 100mSv is not the same as, nor equal to the 100mSv/year that you mentioned in parenthesis. The latter amounts to a 1Sv in cumulative dose over 10 years (which is an up to 10% lethal dose), and 5Sv over 50 years (which is a 50% lethal dose). The present government standard for evacuees to return, 20mSv/year, means that living there for 5 years leads to a cumulative dose of 100mSv, at which the Japanese government admits clear health risks.
Regarding 20Bq/kg as some farmers’ private food standard, it is critical to pay serious attention to the extraction process of Cs from tissues. Japanese-Canadian non-organic biochemist Eiichiro Ochiai points out in his book “Hiroshima to Fukushima, Biohazards of Radiation” (2014) that, based on the Leggett model, the Cs concentration injected in tissues at one time diminishes relatively quickly for about 10 days in most tissues. After that, processes slow down, tending to become steady. He writes: the decrease of the overall Cs level in the body does not follow an exponential decay curve (p.83). This means that consecutive intake of Cs, even in very low levels, results in the accumulation of Cs in the body. (Incidentally, Ochiai’s book can be downloaded for free from the website below.)
Regarding the Leggett model, see the website below.
Yuri Bandazhevsky considers over 10Bq/kg of radioactive Cs concentrations in the body to be unsafe because even this low level can possibly cause abnormal electrocardiographic pattern in babies, metabolic disorders, high blood pressure, cataracts, and so on.
Therefore, we can conclude unequivocally that neither the irradiation under 100mSv nor the privately set 20Bq/kg food standard are safe and secure.
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December 1, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , , , | 1 Comment

A book “Radiation Brain Moms and Citizen Scientists: The Gender Politics of Food Contamination after Fukushima”

978-0-8223-6199-2_pr
By Kimura Aya Hirata (August 2016)
Description
Following the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant disaster in 2011 many concerned citizens—particularly mothers—were unconvinced by the Japanese government’s assurances that the country’s food supply was safe. They took matters into their own hands, collecting their own scientific data that revealed radiation-contaminated food. In Radiation Brain Moms and Citizen Scientists Aya Hirata Kimura shows how, instead of being praised for their concern about their communities’ health and safety, they faced stiff social sanctions, which dismissed their results by attributing them to the work of irrational and rumor-spreading women who lacked scientific knowledge. These citizen scientists were unsuccessful at gaining political traction, as they were constrained by neoliberal and traditional gender ideologies that dictated how private citizens—especially women—should act. By highlighting the challenges these citizen scientists faced, Kimura provides insights into the complicated relationship between science, foodways, gender, and politics in post-Fukushima Japan and beyond.
About The Author(s)
Aya Hirata Kimura is Associate Professor of Women’s Studies at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa and the author of Hidden Hunger: Gender and Politics of Smarter Foods.

November 17, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , , | Leave a comment

More of Joban line reopens in Fukushima

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TOMIOKA, Fukushima (Jiji Press) — Train operations were resumed Saturday on a Joban Line section in Fukushima Prefecture after a suspension following the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami and the subsequent nuclear accident at the Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
East Japan Railway Co., or JR East, restarted services on the 6.9-kilometer section between Tomioka Station in the town of Tomioka and Tatsuta Station in the town of Naraha.
JR East hopes to reopen the last remaining section by the end of March 2020. The section runs through the towns of Okuma and Futaba, the host municipalities for the power plant, and most of it is inside the heavily contaminated no-entry zone around the plant.
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October 23, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | Leave a comment

Japanese beaches 60 miles away have become major source of radioactivity after Fukushima

beaches contaminated 2 oct 2017Beaches far away from Fukushima are still contaminated, more than six years later

 

Beaches are leaching highly radioactive caesium.

Eight beaches in Japan have been found to have high levels of radioactive caesium from the 2011 Fukushima disaster.

The Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant was struck by a magnitude 9 earthquake on 11 march 2011, causing reactor meltdowns and the release of radioactive matter into the immediate environment. Beaches up to 60 miles away from Fukushima are now a significant source of radioactive caesium released in the accident, a study in the journal PNAS has found.

The radioactive element caesium appears to ‘stick’ to sand in a freshwater environment, washing far away from the site of the meltdown. Once this water mixes with the salty sea water, the caesium is released from the sand, leaching back into the ocean.

“No-one expected that the highest levels of caesium in ocean water today would be found not in the harbour of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, but in the groundwater many miles away below the beach sands,” said study author Virginie Sanial of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

The rate of discharge of radioactive caesium from the beaches was on a par with the direct discharge from the power plant itself, the authors say.

“It is as if the sands acted as a ‘sponge’ that was contaminated in 2011 and is only slowly being depleted,” said Ken Buesseler of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

Sanial added: “Only time will slowly remove the caesium from the sands as it naturally decays away and is washed out by seawater.”

Many other coastal nuclear reactors could also spread radioactive material over great distances through this mechanism, the authors say.

“There are 440 operational nuclear reactors in the world, with approximately one-half situated along the coastline,” they observed.

However, the authors stressed that this groundwater was not a source of drinking water hence poses no health hazards to humans.

“No one is either exposed to, or drinks, these waters, and thus public health is not of primary concern here.”

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/japanese-beaches-60-miles-away-have-become-major-source-radioactivity-after-fukushima-1641570

October 5, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | 2 Comments

Thin Lichen Exhibits Remarkable Radioactivity Bioaccumulation in Iwate

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Via Marco Kaltofen

From our sampling with Fairwinds in Iitate, Japan; thin layer of lichen exhibits remarkable bioaccumulation of environmental radioactivity.

https://twitter.com/MKaltofen/status/913070118967668743

September 29, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | Leave a comment