Fukushima Update - Evacuations Widened, High Radiation Found
Update # 53: August 22, 2011
What a sad day. Jack Layton has died. The BP oil spill is back. Libya is "free" as citizens in the streets are strafed by NATO planes.
And at NHK there is not one story on Fukushima. While at SKF and elsewhere the tragic news on contamination continues to pour in.
This first story is of high significance as Tokamachi City is across the country from Fukushima near the WEST coast of Japan as the map at the SKF link shows. The levels of radioactive cesium reported are very high.
"Tokamachi City in Niigata Prefecture is located 205 kilometers west of Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant. It's not even under the plume according to Professor Hayakawa's map.
>From Yomiuri Shinbun (1:37PM JST 8/22/2011): [Japanese characters removed]
" Tokamachi City in Niigata Prefecture announced on August 22 the result of the survey of radioactive materials in the soil in nursery schools and kindergartens in the city. 18,900 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium was found in the sludge at the bottom of the container that collects rainwater at a public nursery school, and 27,000 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium was found in the yard compost pile at a private kindergarten.
If the level of radioactive cesium exceeds 8,000 becquerels/kg up to 100,000 becquerels/kg, it has to be temporarily stored at a controlled processing plant. The city will consult the prefectural government as to how to dispose the sludge and the yard compost.
The samples were taken on August 12, and tested at a testing laboratory in Niigata. At both locations, the air radiation levels at 1 meter above the ground was 0.10 microsievert/hour and 0.14 microsieverts/hour, both of which were within the normal range."
This second story SKF story is significant due to the radioactive elements being discussed.
I suggest you go to the link to see the charts which are referred to in this story and to access the active links. A previous SKF story carried this quote on dispersion of plutonium:
"So-called experts say this:
"To begin with, this material is very heavy. So, unlike iodine, it won't disperse in the air. Workers at the plant MAY be affected. So, I'd caution them to be careful. But I don't think the public should worry."
Iitate village is 39 km NW of Fukushima (outside the 20 and 30 kilometer exclusion zones) and must have been contaminated by air dispersion."
"If that's not enough, cobalt-60 was also detected, according to the survey by the Tokyo University researcher who presented part of the survey result in a public seminar in Tokyo in July.
The husband and wife comedian couple was right, after all. So much for rumor mongering accusations and ridicules that were heaped on them.
I found the link to the presentation by Dr. Katsumi Shozugawa of Tokyo University (Department of General Systems Studies, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences) on July 2 in the blog written by an opposition assemblyman in Minami Soma City. The seminar was open to the public (not just to Tokyo University students), to inform the public about implications of the Fukushima accident, how the radiation is measured and should be measured, and the situation in Fukushima. (Dr. Shozugawa's webpage is here.)
The situation in Fukushima is discussed in page 6 of the presentation material, and that's where meptunium-239 (Np-239) and cobalt-60 (Co-60) in Iitate-mura are shown.
On page 6 of the presentation, Dr. Shozugawa first shows the air radiation levels at the front gate of Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant (100 microsieverts/hour) and in Iitate-mura (16.5 microsieverts/hour).
Then he has the charts that show the types and the amounts of radionuclides detected in soil, plant species and water in three locations: within 4.1 kilometers of the Fukushima I Nuke Plant, at the front gate of the Plant, and in Iitate-mura.
The bullet points in the slide say:
According to our survey;
* The soil is 10,000 to 100,000 times as contaminated [in Fukushima] as that in Tokyo;
* More than 15 radionuclides have been detected;
* Plutonium has flown at least as far away as Iitate-mura
The evidence of that plutonium is neptunium-239. Neptunium-239, gamma emitter whose half life is about 2.4 days, decays into plutonium-239 whose half life is 24,200 years. Neptunium-239 is a beta decay product of Uranium-239, whose half life is about 24 minutes.
Dr. Shozugawa crammed the tiny charts showing the doses of different nuclides next to the bullet points. So I blew them up for you below. As you see, Iitate-mura is more contaminated with certain nuclides than the area within the 4.1 kilometers from the plant or at the front gate of the Plant, or even within the Plant itself. In addition to neptunium-239, Iitate-mura's soil and plants also have cobalt-60 at a very high density, as you can see on the 4th and 5th charts from the top:
Unlike Dr. Yamashita who assured Fukushima residents that the radiation exposure of 100 millisieverts was safe (and later changed stories), Dr. Shozugawa says there is no clear level where you can say it is safe: [SLIDE}
Well, Dr. Yamashita cannot dismiss Dr. Shozugawa as "amateurs" who don't know anything about radiation, like he did about his critics in the Spiegel interview..."
And more on the tip-of-the-iceberg contamination near the plant and scraped plan for evacuees to return from the Sunday edition of the New York Times:
By MARTIN FACKLER
Published: August 21, 2011
"TOKYO - Broad areas around the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant could soon be declared uninhabitable, perhaps for decades, after a government survey found radioactive contamination that far exceeded safe levels, several major media outlets said Monday.
The formal announcement, expected from the government in coming days, would be the first official recognition that the March accident could force the long-term depopulation of communities near the plant, an eventuality that scientists and some officials have been warning about for months. Lawmakers said over the weekend - and major newspapers reported Monday - that Prime Minister Naoto Kan was planning to visit Fukushima Prefecture, where the plant is, as early as Saturday to break the news directly to residents. The affected communities are all within 12 miles of the plant, an area that was evacuated immediately after the accident....
Some 80,000 people were evacuated from communities around the plant, which was crippled by the magnitude 9.0 earthquake and towering tsunami on March 11. Many of those residents now live in temporary housing or makeshift refugee shelters, and are allowed back to their homes only for brief, tightly supervised visits in which they must wear protective clothing."