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Syntax Error in template "content:content_en"  on line 1 "<p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: small;"><strong>October 24</strong></span></p><ul><li><p><span style="font-size: small;">The initial reports on 4,500 Fukushima residents who lived within 20 km of the power complex reveals no-one has internal and external exposure posing a health threat. In fact, the highest exposure, two boys from Futaba Village adjacent to Fukushima Daiichi property, received a total of 3 millisieverts. This is more than 30 times less than the theoretical minimum dose for negative health effects, and more than 300 times less than the statistical threshold of biological harm. Among the others tested, eight people received 2 millisieverts, six registered 1 millisievert and the remaining 4,447 residents had less than 1 millisievert. As should be expected, exposures diminish with distance from the plant. <span style="font-size: x-small;">(Japan Times)</span></span></p></li><li><p><span style="font-size: small;">Another relatively high radioactive hot spot has been discovered, this time in a residential area of Chiba City. The hot spot covers an area of about 3 square meters on vacant property. The contact reading with resident's survey meters was 57.5 microsieverts/hr, which is the highest yet found outside the Fukushima Daiichi accident region. Local Chiba workers covered the hot spot with sand and a plastic sheet, dropping the surveyed level to below 0.4 microsieverts per hour. Officials will be investigating the discovery on Monday in order to ascertain its cause. <span style="font-size: x-small;">(Japan Today and Mainichi Shimbun)</span></span></p><p><span style="font-size: small;">Today (Monday), the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry conducted an on-the-spot inspection and they have discovered the source of the “mini-hot spot”. It is a broken concrete drainage “ditch” about a foot below the surface of the ground. The soil around and above the break acted as a filter for the trace Cesium levels in the flow of rainwater run-off, which caused a relatively high concentration of the isotopes. Ministry surveys s around the hot spot were actually 14.6 microsieverts at 5cm above the ground and ~2 microsieverts at one meter height. Sand and plastic coverage lowered the level to about 0.6 microsieverts. The Ministry will consult with city officials on ditch repair, soil removal and disposal. <span style="font-size: x-small;">(Mainichi Shimbun)</span></span></p></li><li><p><span style="font-size: small;">Japan's Science Ministry has begun a “hot spot telephone hotline” to deal with public discoveries of relatively high radiation areas outside Fukushima Prefecture. The Ministry wants local governments and citizens' groups to identify sites where radiation exposure at one meter above the ground is more than one microsievert higher than the surrounding area. They also ask local governments to carry out simple decontamination work, such as clearing mud from ditches, before calling in Ministry assistance. Clearing ditches and gutters will usually drop exposures down to local levels, if not lower. If the exposure readings remain 1 microsievert above the surrounding area, then the local governments are to make the call.<span style="font-size: x-small;"> (NHK World)</span></span></p></li><li><p><span style="font-size: small;">Many municipalities are against having mid- and long-term storage facilities in their regions for contaminated soil and waste from other municipalities. 162 cities, wards, towns and villages responded to the survey, of which 104 municipalities said they have either started or are planning to decontaminate radioactive materials. However about 46% say they will not take wastes from other Prefectures, and 52 % say they are “undecided” on the issue. Over half of the municipalities in Fukushima Prefecture declined to host such facilities. On a related note, 7% said the final repository for all contaminated waste ought to be in Fukushima Prefecture, 8% said “outside Fukushima Prefecture” and 85% said they had “no idea” on the location of a final site...just as long as it's not in their own prefecture. Only 15 municipalities say they have set up temporary facilities where radioactive wastes can be kept before being transferred to interim storage facilities. A total of 80 percent either said they do not have such temporary facilities or don't know whether or not they will establish such facilities. Of them, 69 percent cited difficulty in gaining local residents' approval as the reason for the delay. Many of the municipalities blamed the central and prefectural governments for failing to provide information and leaving all the decontamination efforts to municipalities. <span style="font-size: x-small;">(Mainichi Shimbun)</span></span></p></li><li><p><span style="font-size: small;">The Forestry Agency says it will be OK for local governments to temporarily store contaminated wastes in public forests. Trees will be felled to clear sites for above-ground storage. Lower-level material will be piled up in plastic bags. The higher-level materials will be bagged and placed in concrete bunkers. The temporary storage sites will be built in forests within the jurisdictions of local governments that have collected the material. Sites will be located “tens to hundreds of meters” from residences. Residents who strongly opposed plans to store contaminated soil in school yards or playgrounds asked the Forestry Agency to come up with another method. This will not include sludge and ash from waste treatment plants and incinerators which continue to pile up. <span style="font-size: x-small;">(Yomiuri Shimbun)</span></span></p></li></ul><ul><li><p><span style="font-size: small;">A small number of residents who voluntarily evacuated from areas around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant say they should receive compensation or at least a government acknowledgment that their homes are no longer safe. This is the second time in two months that residents who lived outside the evacuation zones and left only because they fear radiation, have asked for government money. <span style="font-size: x-small;">(Asahi Shimbun)</span></span></p></li></ul><p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: small;"><strong>October 21</strong></span></p><ul><li><p><span style="font-size: small;">JAIF's weekly posting of units 1 through 3 RPV parameters show a continuing cooling trend. #1 and #3 are at 72 <sup>o</sup>C and unit #2 is at 81 <sup>o</sup>C. The total volume of water which has been decontaminated stands at 135,000 tons. Surprisingly, total waste water volume remaining to be treated has dropped to 78,000 tons, which is 2,000 tons less than has been reported for more than a month. The reason for the decrease is not given. SPF temperatures all remain in the 25 <sup>o</sup>C range, holding steady. Total cooling flow being injected to the three RPVs remains at 575 tons per day.</span></p></li><li><p><span style="font-size: small;">A “hot spot” below the outlet of a school's roof drainage pipe in Tokyo has been removed. The soil beneath the drainpipe at Higashi-Fuchie Primary School in Adachi Ward was dug up and bagged, and the sealed bag buried deeply at another location. The soil was removed down to a depth of 10 centimeters (~4 inches), which is double the depth of Japan's soil decontamination guideline. The digging and bagging turned into a serious news media photo-op. Regardless, the contact exposure level dropped from ~4 microsieverts/hr to ~0.13 microsieverts/hr as soon as the soil was removed. Radiological surveys taken all over the school's property show the same 0.13 microsievert level, which could be the school's natural background level. <span style="font-size: x-small;">(Yomiuri Shimbun)</span></span></p></li><li><p><span style="font-size: small;">Japan's Nuclear Safety Commission has drafted a proposal to expand the evacuation guidelines for nuclear emergencies. Existing plans suggest a mandatory “precautionary” evacuation radius be decided upon through discussions between plant management and local officials at the early stage of the emergency. The new plan calls for areas within 5 kilometers of plants as precautionary action zones, where residents need to immediately evacuate when an accident is declared. In addition, the current guideline for a 10 km emergency planning zone (EPZ) where residents are told to stay indoors and take thyroid-blocking medication, will be stretched out to 30 kilometers (UPZ). <span style="font-size: x-small;">(NHK World, Mainichi Shimbun)</span></span></p></li><li><p><span style="font-size: small;">TEPCO says they ran a probabilistic study on earthquakes and tsunamis in 2006. It predicted there was a 10% chance of a design-basis 5.7 meter tsunami for Fukushima Daiichi at some point in the following 50 years. The study also said there was a 1% chance of a tsunami greater than 10 meters. TEPCO felt the 1% chance was too unlikely to invest capital in upgrading physical protection and/or emergency power reliability systems. In addition, TEPCO did not want to upset residents living near the plant and was worried about the impact expensive tsunami countermeasures might have on other nuclear utilities. <span style="font-size: x-small;">(Japan Times)</span></span></p></li><li><p><span style="font-size: small;">Yomiuri Shimbun says that some private companies in Fukushima Prefecture may be artificially inflating the costs of decontaminating buildings, “Reports are emerging of companies charging exorbitant prices for decontaminating homes in Fukushima Prefecture.” The Yomiuri says one company is charging 1 million yen (~$11,500) per home, which has spurred some formal complaints to the local governments. Local officials feel the cost should be between 200,000 and 300,000 yen per home.</span></p></li><li><p><span style="font-size: small;">The first of a six-part Mainichi Shimbun hindsight editorial on the Fukushima accident asks, “Did we promptly deliver accurate information that could save the lives of the public?” The implication is that initial news reports were inadequate, blaming the error on a combination of nuclear naivety plus TEPCO and NISA being less than transparent. The Mainichi feels Japan's news media was too trusting of TEPCO and NISA during the early days of the accident. On the other hand, buried in the article we find that maybe TEPCO and NISA were not the informational culprits, after all. The Mainichi reports Koichiro Nakamura, then-deputy director-general of NISA, was suddenly replaced by a new press officer after suggesting a meltdown at unit #1 was possible. The new press officer refused to comment on meltdown possibilities, saying, "We can't discuss anything until the Prime Minister's Office has made an announcement." The Prime Minister took control of all information flow early on March 12, so who is really to blame for informational opacity? TEPCO and NISA were certainly no angels, but a guilty finger points at P.M. Naoto Kan!</span></p></li></ul><p><span style="font-size: small;">Hiroshima Syndrome update...</span></p><ul><li><p><span style="font-size: small;">Greenpeace is once again promoting their detectable-is-dangerous mantra, this time over fish being sold in Japanese markets. They bought 60 “products” from markets across Japan, and found detectable radioactive Cesium in 34 of them. As a result, Greenpeace demands all fish foods have radiation levels displayed on their packages and show where the fish were caught! None of the samples came anywhere near the Japanese safety limits and all but two were below the government's minimum detectable level of 50 becquerels. Greenpeace allegedly had their samples analyzed at a lab that detects Cesium in 10-times lower concentrations. "Although the levels were far lower than the government's standard, 10 or 20 becquerels have a huge meaning for parents of little children and pregnant women," said Wakao Hanaoka, who is in charge of marine ecology issues at Greenpeace-Japan. Greenpeace also contradicts itself by purporting their demands will reduce rumors, when in fact they actually promote the proliferation of detectable-is-dangerous superstitions.<span style="font-size: x-small;"> (Japan Times; Japan Today)</span></span></p></li></ul><p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: small;"><strong>October 19</strong></span></p><p><span style="font-size: small;">Today's nuclear news from Japan begins with a topic that's smouldered since the day after the tsunami hit. The earthquake and tsunami devastation along the northeast coast of Japan's main island (Honshu) was the lead news story around the world for 24 hours, and rightly so. But that dramatically changed on March 12, when a hydrogen explosion ripped apart the top story of reactor building #1. Suddenly, the news media's focus shifted to Fukushima Daiichi and away from the tsunami. Anything associated with Fukushima and/or nuclear risk immediately took center stage. Nuclear accident developments and fear-of-radiation stories were immediately better for the news business than the real and present horrors of the tsunami's aftermath. In an effort to save his rapidly-decaying political career, Prime Minister Naoto Kan followed the Press' lead and essentially turned away from tsunami recovery efforts in order to focus on soothing irrational radiation fears. Superstition superseded the serious with respect to Tokyo, the negative impact of which is now apparent. Moldering mountains of debris still go untended spawning toxic bacteria, noxious air, water pollution, and the stench of decay...and we're not talking about the contaminated debris inside the evacuation zones which continues to get the majority of headlines. It's a travesty against human-kind. It's a story that begs to be shouted to the world. But, it isn't happening. Today's lead story only makes matters worse...</span></p><ul><li><p><span style="font-size: small;">Asahi Shimbun published a hindsight report on disaster coverage beginning March 11. At first, the news was glutted with terrifying images and stories of horror concerning the worst tsunami in modern Japanese history. The Asahi says after but a few days, this focus proceeded into “Information that would help victims deal with the situation without confusion, offering appropriate guidance and raising their hopes. Out of consideration to the people who read the newspapers in evacuation centers, they decided not to [further] describe the damage done by the disaster in detail.” The Asahi wonders if the reporters made they right decision when the article says, “Since that day, we have also been facing harsh criticism. Did our reports on the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant accurately communicate the seriousness of the nuclear disaster? Weren't we too busy following daily {tsunami} developments to write more about the crisis? How could we properly assess and report on the dangers of radiation? How should we write about issues that are not fully understood and problems that are not completely clear? We are still facing these tough challenges daily, and we have been forced to question our actions many times.”</span></p><p><span style="font-size: small;">The Asahi didn't focus enough on the accident at Fukushima? They didn't concentrate enough on the theoretical risks of low level radiation? They spent too much copy space on the tsunami and not enough on the nuclear emergency? What's going on, here?</span></p></li><li><p><span style="font-size: small;">The City of Fukushima has finally emerged from its state of radio-phobic paralysis and begun full-scale decontamination. Whether or not each and every one of the 110,000 buildings and every centimeter of the hundreds of kilometers of city streets and sidewalks actually needs to be cleansed, everything will be scrubbed. At least the process has begun. (JAIF)</span></p></li><li><p><span style="font-size: small;">Yesterday, a reportedly high level of radioactivity was discovered in a drainage gutter next to a school's pool in Tokyo's Adachi Ward. The radiation level in near-contact with the gutter was about 4 microsieverts per hour. The gutter has no drainage outlet, so all run-off had collected and concentrated in and around the trough for many, many months. "We believe the levels detected are localized and would not affect human health, but we will look into our response as soon as possible," said a ward official in charge of crisis management. School and city officials cordoned-off the pool while deciding what to do. The school's principal stopped all outside activities for the students, as well. This morning, the ward reported that after removing the sludge from inside and outside the gutter, exposure levels dropped to 0.15 microsieverts. But, the school continues suspension of all physical education classes and has instructed students to stay away from the school's yard during class breaks, because “approximately ten parents” have called. One mother said, "They say that there is no health threat, but it's not easy to trust what they say right away. I want authorities to appropriately explain the measures they have taken." (Mainchi Shimbun)</span></p></li></ul><p><span style="font-size: small;">The above exposure levels are what the health physics community calls “contact” readings. Not actually in contact with the source, but within two inches (5 centimeters) of it. As one moves away from the source, the exposure level drops dramatically. For a highly localized source, the decrease is the inverse square of the change in distance; i.e. a localized (point) reading of 10 msv at 10cm distance drops to 0.1 msv at 100cm distance. Contact readings produce scarier numbers than distance levels and the Japanese now focus on them. For example, from today's news reports...</span></p><ul><li><p><span style="font-size: small;">A level of 4 microsieverts was found at 5cm from the outlet of a second Tokyo school's drain pipe. (Japan Times)</span></p></li><li><p><span style="font-size: small;">A level of 2.2 microsieverts was discovered 5cm from a third school's drainage ditch. (Kyodo News)</span></p></li><li><p><span style="font-size: small;">Four other drainpipe outlet “hot spots” were found to be below 1 microsievert at a 5cm distance from the ground, which is higher than the 0.25 microsievert limit being adopted by nearly all Tokyo city wards. (Japan Times)</span></p></li><li><p><span style="font-size: small;">One of Tokyo's “anti pollution” groups, Katsushika Aozora no Kai, has identified 65 new hot spots across the City. Two readings were above 5 microsieverts while the rest were between 1 & 5 microsieverts. All readings were “1 to 2 centimeters above the ground”. (Mainich Shimbun)</span></p></li></ul><p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: small;"><strong>October 14</strong></span></p><ul><li><p><span style="font-size: small;">A 10 meter by 1 meter sidewalk near a school in Tokyo's Setagaya Ward was discovered to have an exposure level of 2.7 microsieverts per hour, which is higher than the rest of the sidewalks in the ward. The ward made the walkway off-limits for children walking on it on their way to school. The patch of sidewalk was decontaminated by high-pressure spray last month, with virtually no decrease in rad level. The ward said they didn't know what to do about it. If someone stood on the sidewalk constantly for 16 hours a day, every day for a year, the accumulated exposure would be 15.6 millisieverts, which is below the 20 millisievert national exposure standard. Actually, students walking to school would be on the sidewalk no more than a few minutes each day, and only on school days. Thus, their total dose would be 0.016 millisieverts, which is less than regularly eating bananas and broccoli. Further, if the power washing had little effect, the source was probably not Fukushima contamination. However, unbridled fear of radiation by some parents forced the ward to make the sidewalk off-limits. (NHK World)</span></p><p><span style="font-size: small;">Today we find out the radiation scare was exaggerated, and the source had nothing to do with Fukushima. This new information has been reported in all Japanese newspapers and on all TV news stations. As it turns out, the 2.7 microsievert level was on one small portion of the walkway. 90% of the sidewalk was much lower. Further, the rad level was lower at the surface than at 1 meter height, which is the reverse of what contamination would cause. Survey logistics indicated the radiation field was coming from a house behind the fence next to the walkway. After the owner got home and gave the technicians permission to search the premises, a box was found under the house. The box contained several jars of a power suspected to be Radium. The Box's contact reading was 600 microsieverts per hour (more than 5 sieverts per year). The box was placed in a lead-lined container and the exposure levels on the sidewalk dropped to about 0.2 microsieverts per hour, which is typical for the ward. Each news service in Japan put a different “spin” on it. Kyodo News Service is perhaps the worst saying, “Powder inside the bottles is radium, easing public anxiety that the contamination could have been related to the nuclear crisis at the crippled, radioactive cesium-leaking Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant over 200 kilometers away.”</span></p><p><span style="font-size: small;">What? A 5 sievert per year exposure level is a whopping big one, no matter what the source is! Since when is a high exposure level from Radium of less concern that the many times lower exposures from Cesium? Radium is chemically similar to Cesium, so it has the same theoretical health effects. And, 5 sievert per year exposure (using the linear, no threshold hypothesis) is supposed to kill 50% of those people exposed. And this is supposed to ease public anxiety? Oh...we forgot...the Radium didn't come from a nuclear power plant.</span></p></li><li><p><span style="font-size: small;">Yesterday, Fukushima Daiichi held a nuclear emergency drill. It was largely to new fire truck pump connections to the feedwater pipes for low pressure injection of cooling water. This was in keeping with the revised regulations which followed the March 11 tsunami. The new regulations call for having additional connection devices on the plant feedwater piping. The drill was called a complete success. (NHK World)</span></p><p><span style="font-size: small;">The problem is this. Fire trucks were at the Fukushima power complex less than 8 hours after the tsunami hit, and before fuel damage started in unit #1. Because of bureaucratic and procedural delays, the plant wasn't depressurized soon enough to make effective use of the low pressure fire pumps. These additional connections will make no difference if the plant is not allowed to be depressurized.</span></p></li><li><p><span style="font-size: small;">JAIF's weekly posting of conditions at Fukushima shows units #1 and 3 RPVs are now down to 73 <sup>o</sup>C, and unit #2 down to 84 <sup>o</sup>C. In addition, the waste water decontamination systems have now cleansed a total of 125,000 tons of liquid. However, ground water leakage into the turbine building basements is keeping the volume yet to be cleansed at ~80,000 tons. However, the ground water is certainly diluting the basement waters, lowering the total concentrations of Cesium and Strontium. In addition, four locations for radiation level monitoring are now being posted, instead of only the main gate to the power complex. The main gate is now at 29 microsieverts, another “border” location (unspecified) is at 5 microsieverts, a reading of 298 microsieverts next to the main office building nearest unit #3, and 12 microsieverts at the shoreline.</span></p></li><li><p><span style="font-size: small;">The Tokyo Metropolitan government has decided to use all Cesium-laced incinerator ash and sludge below 8,000 Bq/kg for a Tokyo bay landfill. It will be part of a beefed-up breakwater. Tokyo's Ota and Koto wards, which are adjacent the area for the proposed breakwater, have reportedly agreed on the measure. The ash containing radioactive materials was produced by water treatment facilities in Tokyo's Tama district. (Mainichi Shimbun)</span></p></li><li><p><span style="font-size: small;">The Japanese Education Ministry has published booklets to provide students with basic knowledge on radiation, in response to increasing calls for such classroom materials since March 11. The ministry released the 20-page booklets on Friday. There are three versions; elementary, junior high, and high school. The books focus mainly on basic information on radiation, its effects on human health, and ways to protect oneself from radiation exposure. One interesting point in all three booklets is the statement that Japan's average natural background level is 1.5 millisieverts per year. This is 50% more than the recently established exposure tipping point for decontamination which is 1 millisievert/yr. Did the Education Ministry contact the Ministries charged with setting the decontamination standard? It seems not. Further, since Japan is mostly mountainous terrain, which is always 3-5 times higher background than sea-coasts (where to data for the current Japanese “average” number comes from), it is probable that the national average is more like the Colorado Plateau in the US, which is 5-6 millisieverts per year.</span></p><p><span style="font-size: small;">Other than college courses for radiologists and radiation biologists, there has been essentially zero education on radiation and it's effects anywhere in Japan, until now. This is the first national education program of its type in Japan. Better late than never? It's never too late to start all over again...</span></p></li></ul><p style="text-align: left;"> </p><p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: small;"><strong>October 12</strong> </span></p><p><span style="font-size: small;">In spite of an international scientific consensus that the <em>theoretical</em> threshold for negative health effects is 100 millisieverts/yr, and the lowest <em>statistical</em> threshold is 1 sievert/yr, the Japanese government is continually caving to a phobic vocal minority when setting national standards. Although massive public education on the realities of radiation would be cheaper and provide considerably greater benefit to the people of Japan, satisfying unreasonable fear seems to be the politically expedient action of choice. Many of today's update items serve as examples...</span></p><ul><li><p><span style="font-size: small;">The Environmental Ministry has decided to expand the decontamination zone to include all locations showing an exposure level of 1 msv/yr. The previous decon trigger point was 5 msv/yr. Demands made by local governments based on resident's fear of radiation, have won the day and caused the change. This decision will expand the potential area of decontamination from 1,800km to 13,000 km. (JAIF) The cost of deconning efforts will also increase seven-fold...the price of soothing fears of the unknown.</span></p></li><li><p><span style="font-size: small;">The Ministry has also decided to take all waste incinerator ash and handle disposal themselves. Although temporary disposal methods have shown a superior level of isolation from the environment, local government refusals to identify storage sites have forced the shutdown of several waste incineration plants. Resident's fears of radiation in the drinking water supplies are at the root of this waste constipation issue. The Environment Ministry says ash burial sites will be identified in the prefectures where the ash has been generated. The national standard for unrestricted ash disposal is 8,000 Becquerels/kilogram (Bq/kg). <span style="font-size: x-small;">(Mainichi Shimbun)</span></span></p></li><li><p><span style="font-size: small;">The Ministry of Agriculture standard for Cesium levels in soil for unrestricted farming has been set at 5,000 Bq/kg. For soil Cesium concentrations between 5,000 and 10,000 Bq/kg, farmers are to either plow it into the soil (which mixes it with the non-Cesium soil below the upper 5 cm) or “agitate the earth and wash it away with water”. While the Agriculture Ministry says farmers can “strip and bury topsoil” with concentrations between 5,000-10,000Bq/kg if they wish, it is not recommended. Between 10,000 and 25,000 Bq/kg, the surface of the soil is to be stripped and discarded appropriately. The deeper removal of soil down to 5 centimeters is recommended for Cesium concentrations of more than 25,000 Bq/kg. <span style="font-size: x-small;">(JAIF)</span></span></p></li><li><p><span style="font-size: small;">The annual Taimatsu-akashi Festival is one of the three greatest fire celebrations in Japan and one of the most important events in Sukagawa, Fukushima Prefecture. Every November, 30 torches (10 meters high, weighing three tons) made of locally-grown hay and other wood materials, light up the sky. In regular years, the event gathers approximately 100,000 people. However, this year's plans have generated a local controversy. In the past, all torches were made from materials generated inside Fukushima Prefecture. But, vocal residents of Sukagawa have brought enough pressure on the City to get all torch materials from other Prefectures. The reason? Fear of Fukushima radiation, of course. When the City announced they will use torch materials from outside the prefecture, another wave of protests hit. This time, it was residents who are literally fed up. They say that fear of radiation has already done enough damage to the Prefecture's reputation, and the City's decision sends a message to the world that the people of Fukushima believe their own products to be unsafe. The Sukagawa Tourism Department was literally flooded with protests over the decision. "Fukushima Prefecture is trying to convince the public of the safety of local products. It's wrong to do something that runs counter to such efforts," one of them said. <span style="font-size: x-small;">(Mainichi Shimbun)</span></span></p></li><li><p><span style="font-size: small;"><a name="BodyBlock"></a>The IAEA has a team of decontamination experts in Japan. Team leader, Juan Carlos Lentijo of Spain's Nuclear Regulatory Authority, commends the Japanese for what he has observed. He was troubled, however, upon visiting a school in Date, Fukushima Prefecture. The school authorities have had the school grounds stripped of topsoil down to 5cm, which has reduced the school's radiation level by a factor of 10. The problem is that all bags of the stripped soil are piled up in the school's gymnasium. The town's mayor said they didn't know what to do with it because there is no legal framework for its disposal, and parent's fear of radiation has them at a standstill. Lentijo feels the officials are content to wait for Tokyo to make the next move, which might make political sense but does nothing to resolve the disposal issue. IAEA will submit a report on their findings when they leave on October 15 (Saturday). <span style="font-size: x-small;">(Japan Times)</span></span></p></li><li><p><span style="font-size: small;">The Russian State Hermitage has canceled its exhibition of Russian Imperial glass objects at The Museum of Modern Art in Gunma Prefecture because of “radiation fears”. The reason given is that the Museum is within 250km of Fukushima Daiichi, which they feel is too close to be safe. The exhibition has been shown in Sapporo and Tokyo this past summer, without incident. <span style="font-size: x-small;">(RT News services)</span></span></p></li><li><p><span style="font-size: small;">The Mayor of Tokai Village, mid-way between Tokyo and Fukushima, says he wants the Tokai Daini nuclear plant decommissioned. He says the plant is more than thirty years old, which he feels makes it unsafe. He adds his resident's don't trust government information any more. <span style="font-size: x-small;">(JAIF)</span> We suggest he should be given a tour of the plant and find out that nukes don't decompose like he seems to believe. Has he <em>ever</em> been there, or is he merely voicing the opinion he feels will get him re-elected?</span></p></li><li><p><span style="font-size: small;">Eisuke Matsui, who works for the Gifu Environmental Medical Research Institute, has been interviewed by German TV. He says low level radiation is far more dangerous than has been reported because he believes mutations will occur in future generations. He also says irradiation of the testicles can cause mutations like “fingers growing out of shoulders”. <span style="font-size: x-small;">(ENE News)</span> There is no conclusive evidence to support these claims. Mutations of a monstrous nature (teratogenesis) were believed possible until 20 years ago, but human medical records have since shown the concept was wrong. In fact, radiological teratogenesis is no longer considered a possibility at radiation exposures below the levels that would cause immediate death. The German broadcast is no more than an example of presenting scary superstitions as fact. FYI, Matsui has been a critic of government radiation exposure standards for some time, and a spokesperson for the Japanese anti-nuclear SAY-Peace Project.</span></p></li></ul><p><span style="font-size: small;">In other news...</span></p><ul><li><p><span style="font-size: small;">All harvested rice from Fukushima Prefecture has been officially declared safe by the local governments. 20% of this year's harvest contained detectable levels of Cesium isotopes, but all were below the national standard of 500 Bq/kg. The other 80% has no detectable Cesium. None of the supply came from the 20km no-go zone or the northwest evacuation corridor. <span style="font-size: x-small;">(NHK News)</span></span></p></li><li><p><span style="font-size: small;">Above-normal levels of Strontium-90 isotopes have been discovered in the rooftop sediment of one home in Yokohama, south of Tokyo. The “normal” levels of Strontium-90 across Japan from historic South Pacific nuclear tests is 10-20 Becquerels, but this one sample measured 100 Becquerels. An un-named independent research group tested the sediment for the owner of the home. The Ministry of the Environment says the distance from Fukushima makes it unlikely it came from the accident, however they will be testing soil samples around the home to be sure. Strontium may be similar to Cesium chemically, but it has the property of concentrating in sediments of this type. It is possible the above-normal reading is due to natural concentration of weapon's fallout, and has been there for years (if not decades) without the resident's knowledge. Sr-90 has a half-life of ~29 years and remains detectably radioactive for nearly 300 years, so weapon's fallout 40-50 years ago is still very active. <span style="font-size: x-small;">(Kyodo News Service)</span></span></p></li></ul><p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: small;"><strong>October 10</strong></span></p><ul><li><p><span style="font-size: small;">TEPCO has posted current-status pictures of the enclosure being erected around reactor building #1. Below, the picture on the left shows the placement of the first roof panel, and on the right shows how it looks after installation.</span></p><p><span style="font-size: small;"><img src="uploads/images/Fuku unit 1%20enclosure%20roof%20assembly%2010-8-11.jpg" alt="" width="227" height="170" /> <img src="uploads/images/Fuku unit 1%20enclosure%2010-8-11.jpg" alt="" width="227" height="170" /></span></p><p><span style="font-size: small;">The picture on the left also shows a scaffold-stairway going up the side of the outer enclosure wall. It gives us an idea of how massive the structure is.</span></p></li><li><p><span style="font-size: small;">For those interested, below are pictures of the Main Control Room for unit 2. On the left is its condition on October 9, and the right the condition just after emergency lighting was restored on March 11. <img src="uploads/images/1-2 MCR Oct.%202011.jpg" alt="" width="258" height="182" /> <img src="uploads/images/fuku CR emerg%20lighting.jpg" alt="" width="248" height="182" /></span></p></li><li><p><span style="font-size: small;">TEPCO began removing hydrogen from one of the pipes on unit #1 on Saturday, where high concentrations were found earlier this month. The pipe needed to be evacuated of hydrogen before they could cut into it and attach a system for airborne decontamination inside the Primary Containment. Saturday, the hydrogen level dropped to zero, but Sunday it rose to a 3.9% concentration. Although this is not a dangerous level, the Press expressed skepticism based on the popular misconception that hydrogen can be explosive at 4%. Also, the Press questioned TEPCO's statement that Sunday's increase came from small pockets of residuals in parts of the piping the evacuation process did not reach. Further, The news media suggested releasing the high densities of hydrogen from the piping to the atmosphere is yet another explosive possibility, which is patently false. On Sunday, TEPCO cut into the pipe and attached the airborne decontamination device without incident. (JAIF)</span></p><p><span style="font-size: small;">The above indicates that the Japanese Press is now adopting the fear-oriented <em>modus operendi</em> of the western news media. Lack of public trust in both the government and TEPCO, combined with fear of radiation, is being exploited by Japan's news media. We are disappointed that NHK World seems to have gone over to the news' dark side.</span></p></li><li><p><span style="font-size: small;">The Ministry of Education, Science, Sports and Technology has posted a detailed map of Cesium contamination levels, stretching more than 250km from Fukushima Daiichi. 70% of the map shows Cesium levels at or below 1 Becquerel per square centimeter (Bq/cm<sup>2</sup>), which is considered “normal” due to historic fallout from South Pacific nuclear weapon's tests. Of most interest is Tokyo Prefecture, which spans a width of 200-250km southwest of Fukushima. Only one small region of the city's domain has readings “above-normal”, in the 6-30 Bq/cm<sup>2</sup> range. This is the mountainous western tip called the Okutama Region, which is sparsely populated due to its rugged terrain. The central population of Tokyo City and it's sprawling suburbs are all shown to be at “normal” Cesium levels. (Japan Times) It should be noted the lowest government standard for Cesium decontamination is 60 Bq/cm<sup>2 </sup>for Cs-134 and 90 Bq/cm<sup>2</sup> for Cs-137.<sup>.</sup></span></p></li><li><p><span style="font-size: small;">Fukushima Prefecture has begun what seems to be the most comprehensive child thyroid monitoring program anywhere in the world...ever. All 360,000 children living in Fukushima Prefecture at the time of the accident will be screened for thyroid tumors and/or lesions using ultra-sound techniques, beginning with the ~ 5,000 evacuated from nearest the plant. The rest of the children will begin monitoring soon thereafter in a sequence according to distance, with those who were nearest being examined before those furthest from the power complex. Each child will be re-examined at least once every five years thereafter, for the rest of their lives. The initial round of examinations are expected to be completed by March, 2014. The work will be done by Fukushima's Medical University. (Mainichi Shimbun, Japan Times, Japan Today)</span></p></li><li style="text-align: left;"><p><span style="font-size: small;">Only two of the 59 municipalities in Fukushima Prefecture have set up temporary storage locations for soils and other debris removed during the decontamination process. The other 57 districts are literally in a state of paralysis, refusing to designate storage locations out of NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) fears voiced by their citizens. The most-voiced fear is belief that the Cesium in the waste will get into the Prefecture's drinking water and pollute everyone. (Asahi Shimbun) How is removing the Cesium-laced material and storing it in a safe location worse than leaving everything where it is...unconstrained...spread everywhere...seeping into the soil...? Or, are we confusing the issue with facts?</span></p></li><li style="text-align: center;"><p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: small;">Distrust of the Tokyo government concerning nuclear energy issues continues at a high level. An NHK World survey of 29 Prefectures and the municipalities hosting nuclear power plants, using a detailed questionnaire, shows that 60% feel gaining local support should be the prime criteria for restarting idled reactors, while only 17% say passing stress tests should be the most critical requirement. In addition, only 41% have confidence in the stress tests now being given to idled plants, while 14% did not, and 45% are undecided on the issue. The most-stated reason for the low vote of confidence is because the Tokyo government's mandated the stress tests without local government input. This indicates the testing is not helping to win official trust toward resuming operations. In all, 79 percent of the prefectures and municipalities said they want to be careful about timing with respect to resuming reactor operations in order to allay public concerns. Given the current political atmosphere, 27 of the local governments say they have no intention of allowing restarts according to Tokyo's current schedule, regardless of stress test results. However, two villages (not identified) say they want to restart their reactors as soon as possible, even before stress test results are established. It should be noted that Fukushima Prefectural municipalities were not included in the survey.</span></p></li></ul><p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: small;"><strong>October 7</strong></span></p><p><span style="font-size: small;">Largely due to bureaucratic complacency and a national arrogance with respect to their technological skill, Japan felt a severe nuclear accident was impossible. As a result, the government regulatory bodies neglected to set radiological standards for the public. Further, there was no effort to educate the public about radiation and its biological effects. This generated a radiologically ignorant society and produced what is perhaps the world's most fertile ground for superstitions of radiological doom. This condition also extends to the Japanese government and most of their academic community-at-large. Now, Japan is paying the price for its history of informational inactivity. A significant fraction of Japan's public is generally in a state of phobic fear, not because they are actually at risk from Fukushima, but because they have succumbed to the natural human condition known as fear of the unknown. Fear of radiation has lain dormant in the national subconscious since the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It has suddenly erupted into a powerful psychic barrier unnecessarily restricting Japan's recovery from their worst-ever natural disaster. Japan has become the world's most poignant example of the psychological damage caused by the Hiroshima Syndrome run-amok.</span></p><p><span style="font-size: small;">There is but one actual impediment to the production of electricity from nuclear energy; <em>radiological ignorance</em>. While Japan is clearly the current focus of this psychic drama, radiological ignorance lies in wait to paralyze the world-at-large. Radiation is the most natural phenomena in the universe. It has existed since the Big Bang, and will remain as long as there are stars irradiating the cosmos. All stars (including our Sun) produce no less than 14 naturally-radioactive elements. They are found everywhere...in the food we eat, the water we drink, and the air we breathe. Radiological exposure is ubiquitous and unavoidable. Biological life has evolved in a virtual sea of radiation, and adapted accordingly. If the notions of “no-safe-level” and “detectable-is-deadly” were correct, none of us would exist. In fact, we owe the existence of the universe to radiation! (A long, detailed story for another time)</span></p><p><span style="font-size: small;">The answer to this problem is knowledge. True, rational, and correct knowledge. We at <em>Hiroshima Syndrome</em> argued for serious, international education on the subject of radiation for more than three decades before this website hit cyberspace. Governments won't do it because it will be expensive and not serve to win votes. While some nut-and-bolt aspects of radiological reality have been taught in American high school chemistry classes for two decades, the realities of natural human radiological exposure and its effect on our biology are largely unknown to the public of our planet. In other words, the schools aren't helping educate the world about radiation effects any more than governments. And, the news media has no interest in educating the public on the realities of radiation because they would then lose their ready-made headlines of terror. It would be bad for their business. Will fear of radiation become history's worst conceptual mistake since the belief that Earth is the physical center of the universe?</span></p><p><span style="font-size: small;"><strong>You can make a difference</strong>! Tell your friends, neighbors, co-workers, family members...anyone and everyone. The truth is out there and accessible with the click of a mouse. This site and those listed in our “Links” page (menu...left) are a place to start. Radiation fears are predicated on misunderstanding, irresponsibly fueled by superstitions pandered as plausible by a patronizing Press. It's long past time the world found out what is real, and what is not real about radiation.</span></p><p><span style="font-size: small;">Today's updates provide current examples of the above...</span></p><ul><li><p><span style="font-size: small;">Three waste incinerator plants in Japan have shut down because of the build-up of ash containing radioactive Cesium in concentrations above the national limits. They have run out of space to store the bagged ash. The waste constipation problem is because Tokyo hasn't decided what to do with it. (Japan Times)</span></p><p><span style="font-size: small;">So, what does Japan do with the radioactive ash from <em>coal plants</em>? The radioactive elements in the coal ash are Uranium, Radium and Thorium. Thousands of tons of radioactive coal ash per day (per plant) with radiation levels greater than the that generated by the incinerator ash. Coal ash is used as “sanitary fill” for leveling the ground to build homes and shopping malls on top, or it's used to make concrete blocks for construction. Isn't this a double standard of sorts?</span></p></li><li><p><span style="font-size: small;">Several Japanese academics have proclaimed that the government's decontamination plans for the Fukushima region are unacceptable. "It might make you feel like you're decontaminating, but there's a limit to the amount of radioactive cesium that's caked onto roofs that can be eliminated with high-pressure water cleaners," says Kunihiro Yamada, a professor of environmental science at Kyoto Seika University. "The water cleaners wash surface dirt off, but then that tainted water goes into sewers and can contaminate rivers, thereby affecting farm goods and seafood.” (ed...if the river waters are used for irrigation and/or reach the sea before the Cesium precipitates out, both of which will probably not produce concentrations above national standards anyway.) "What residents want is not half the exposure to radiation," says Yamada. "What they want is for a return to levels that allow them to live with peace of mind.”</span></p><p><span style="font-size: small;">Kobe University Professor Tomoya Yamauchi measured radiation levels on houses in Watari, which was believed to have some of the highest radiation levels in the city of Fukushima. In a few cases, he claims the roofs emit a field of 1.74 microsieverts per hour, "Apparently the roofs had been cleaned using high-pressure water cleaners, but that was as low as the radiation levels got," says Yamauchi. "To bring the roof's radiation levels down, there's probably no other way but to replace the roof. First and foremost, we must aim to bring indoor radiation levels to 0.05 microsieverts, which they were before the disaster unfolded, and thereby creating safety zones." (ed...recall that there were only estimates of actual radiation levels in Fukushima City before the accident, so no-one really knows what the actual pre-accident levels were.)</span></p><p><span style="font-size: small;">Tatsuhiko Kodama, director of the University of Tokyo's Radioisotope Center and fledgling anti-nuclear author, reinforces Yamada and Yamauchi, but expands his statement to denounce the government's handling of the nuclear crisis in total, saying, “The amount of radioactive materials that have been released in the latest nuclear disaster, if converted to uranium, is the equivalent of 20 of the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima." (A clear indication of the Hiroshima Syndrome at work.) He adds the following exaggeration, “What is the Diet doing at a time when 70,000 people have had to leave their homes and are wandering around?" (Mainichi Shimbun)</span></p></li><li><p><span style="font-size: small;">A government panel of Japanese academics are considering raising the public's annual radiation exposure limits by as much as a factor of 20. A panel group headed by Otsura Niwa, professor emeritus at Kyoto University, plans to propose the radiological limits be increased for food products and soil. Niwa says many of the current limits were set hurriedly when the Fukushima emergency started. The current government guidelines are based on eventually having all presently-contaminated areas get below a 1 msv/yr exposure level. The panel proposes to increase the guideline to 20 msv/yr. The good news is that raising the limits won't hurt anyone and make life easier for the clean-up teams. The bad news is criticism by those believing the “unsafe at any dose” superstition. They attack the panel for unreasonably endangering public health and not being considerate of those terrified by radiation. (Kyodo News)</span></p></li></ul><p><span style="font-size: small;">In other news...</span></p><ul><li><p><span style="font-size: small;">TEPCO has begun posting Strontium 89 and 90 concentrations in their daily press releases. Both isotopes are somewhat water soluble, and have chemical properties similar to Calcium. But, unlike calcium, Strontium tends to pass through mammalian systems rather quickly (less than a week's retention time) and very little is actually absorbed. While it does not seem Japan has any limits on Strontium ingestion (as yet), The US Department of Health and Human Services has set the following limits (converted to Becquerels/cc)...2.3x10<sup>-3</sup> Bq/cc. The only locations at Fukushima currently showing Strontium levels above this point are waters in the drains of units 1 thru 4 basements. They show concentrations of roughly 1 Bq/cc.</span></p></li><li><p><span style="font-size: small;">JAIF's weekly update of conditions at Fukushima Daiichi shows that RPV's temperatures for units #1 and 3 are below 80 <sup>o</sup>C, and unit #2 is below 90 <sup>o</sup>C. In all three cases, JAIF adds the phrase “and dropping”. In addition, the waste water treatment systems have now deconned 114,000 metric tons of liquid (about 125,000 US tons), but groundwater influx maintains the water volume in the four unit's basements at 80,000 tons.</span></p></li><li><p><span style="font-size: small;">Some of the decontaminated waste waters are being used to wet-down the burnable trash and tsunami-generated flammable debris on the plant-site to prevent is catching on fire. The spraying uses about 100 tons per day, when it's not raining. Local authorities were apprised of the plans before spraying began, and gave TEPCO permission to do it. (NHK World)</span></p></li><li><p><span style="font-size: small;">A person who has worked at Fukushima Daiichi over the past two months (46 days), died yesterday. This tragedy has been reported in a context which is unethical and clearly inconsiderate to the deceased's family. The man became ill during a morning pre-work “assembly” and was rushed to the nearest hospital, where he died. No medical reason is given for his passing. Japan Today points out that the worker received a small level of exposure during his periods of work at the power complex (2 millisieverts, total), which subtly implies the exposure might have been the cause. The article also says this is the fifth worker to die since March 11. One died of a heart attack, another of leukemia, yesterday's unfortunate demise, and two men “killed directly by the disaster”. Japan Today fails to add the following important facts...the first three deaths were in no way the result of radiation exposure, which has been verified by the attending medical experts. The other two were drowned by the tsunami of March 11. Unfortunately, the article makes it seem that the Fukushima accident has cost the world five lives, which flies in the face of reality.</span></p></li><li><p><span style="font-size: small;">Britain’s chief scientific adviser, John Beddington, has publicly criticized Japan's decision to turn away from nuclear energy, calling it a very dangerous move. Beddington told a Seoul forum on climate change that Japan's abandoning nuclear energy will have dire negative consequences on global warming because much, if not all of the nation's nuclear capacity will be replaced by the burning of fossil fuels over at least the next decade. He said countries like Germany and Italy have dropped nuclear because they have their own fossil resources, which they wish to exploit for financial reasons. Beddington asserted that the world does not have the luxury of shunning nuclear power and volatile weather caused by climate change has led to more floods, droughts, tropical storms and forest fires of greater intensity. He continued that most victims of climate change are in developing nations. Beddington also said the danger posed by Fukushima was “quite moderate,” citing expert British studies. He said Britain examined the worst possible scenario of <em>all</em> radioactive materials being released from Fukushima, with winds constantly blowing toward the greater Tokyo area. Beddington reported, “The answer came out… there was absolutely no need [to evacuate].” (Japan Times)</span></p></li><li><p><span style="font-size: small;">Today's Bloomburg expose' headlined “<em>Fukushima desolation worst since Hiroshima, Nagasaki</em>” is so full of exaggerations and unfounded speculations, we are loathe to comment on it. The headline's obvious effort to perpetuate the fiction that reactors and bombs are intimately related, continues throughout the lengthy article. The reason we bring it up is the sheer disappointment we feel with respect to Bloomburg News Service. Some months ago we wrote that Bloomburg was one of the few western news media outlets with a semblance of ethical Fukushima reporting. This article dashes that all to ashes.</span></p></li></ul><p style="text-align: center;"> </p><p style="text-align: center;"><a href="fukushima-accident-updates.html"><< Later Posts</a> | <a href="fukushima-17.html">Earlier Posts >></a></p>" unknown tag "tsunami"

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