Fukushima Update - Radiation and Public Health

Update # 49: August 18, 2011

by Nelle Maxey

It is fair to say that the Fukushima story has "exploded" again.

Today, RT News released a new video interview with Dr. Christopher Busby.

Christopher Busby: Chernobyl-like radiation found in Tokyo

The most important points to be gleaned from the interview are the following:

1) The interview begins with the statement that it is being reported that the earthquake caused the damage, not the tsunami.

2) Busby says that the air releases are being under-reported on the order of a thousand times. He has been testing car filters from Japan and he also took measuring equipment with him on his recent visit Japan to run tests. The headline is derived from his statement that levels of radiation at one location in Tokoyo are higher than in the Chernobyl exclusion zone . . ."a very serious matter".

3) Busby explains that the steam which is being emitted from cracks in the earth at the plant site is the source of the radioactive sulphur detected in California which has been in the news for the last few days (see ). Dr. Busby explains that this is the result of the interaction of the nuclear fuel with chlorine (ie, the salts in sea water).

EnergyNews has 2 reports on the video. Here is where the video is embedded:

http://enenews.com/researcher-tokyo-sample-had-radioactivity-levels-higher-than-in-chernobyl-exclusion-zone-theres-a-very-very-high-level-of-contamination-even-as-far-south-as-tokyo-video

Here the reported levels of radiation are questioned:

10 trillion becquerels per hour still being released from Fukushima plant: Researcher (VIDEO)

Their synopsis quotes Busby's statement from the video:

"I was told by somebody who heard this from a TEPCO official who was talking to the Prime Minister of Japan who said that the releases from the plant are now at the order of 10¹³ [10 trillion] Becquerels every hour. We're talking about something that is absolutely ongoing and is just being ignored, it's not being adequately reported by the authorities in Japan or indeed in the IAEA."

"Yesterday, TEPCO and Japan's gov't claimed the release was now down to 20 million Bq/hr, or 1/50,000th of the figure stated by Busby."

They also have this post from yesterday on the government reported levels, which points out (as I did) that the government reduced levels are "just an estimate".

http://enenews.com/govt-tepco-claim-radiation-releases-down-200-million-becquerels-hour-80-lower-july-govt-admits-only-estimate-because-exact-emission-levels-be-accurately-measured

Gov't, TEPCO claim radiation releases down to 200 million becquerels per hour, 80% lower than July – Then admit it's just an estimate "because the exact emission levels cannot be accurately measured"

Prison Planet has the video embedded and introduces the interview with these words:

http://www.prisonplanet.com/christopher-busby-chernobyl-like-radiation-found-in-tokyo.html

"Workers at Japan's Fukushima plant say the ground under the facility is cracking and radioactive steam is escaping through the fissures. They also say pipes and at least one reactor were seriously damaged before the tsunami hit the area in March. RT talks to Christopher Busby of the European Committee on Radiation Risks."

ZeroHedge (very good non-mainstream financial site) has an article with both yesterday's and today's RT video's embedded.

The article concludes with this information (also covered on Energy News):

"Today, Yomiuri Shinbun reports (Google translation) that the U.S. knew within days that Fukushima had melted down:

" The subject of evacuating the US citizens was raised in the early hours on March 16 (local time). The US … already knew about the unusually high temperature of the reactors from the Global Hawk data, and determined that "the fuel has already melted".

[…] The US high-ranking officials wanted to evacuate the US citizens [from Tokyo] but the local officials including Maher objected, as "it would severely undermine the US-Japan alliance"

(The Global Hawk is an unmanned aerial aircraft)."

As to my first point above-earthquake damage-there is a long discussion going on at Physics Forum.

See this discussion of technical papers on earthquake assessments which concludes:

"In conclusion, it isn't altogether clear that "the shaking (at Fukushima) was within or just barely exceeded the design basis. [as TEPCO states]" The intensity as measured by CAV or S-CAV may have greatly exceeded the design basis."

And these 2 comments "[…] NISA found two modelling mistakes in the earthquake safety calculations of Fukushima Daini unit 2. The influence of earthquakes had been underestimated for two reactor-related equipments. Other plants using the same Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy technology must check if they made the same mistake."

"Kazuro Hirahara, president of the Seismological Society of Japan:

We expect aftershocks for more than five years in areas surrounding the hypocentral region. There is the possibility that an earthquake measuring close to magnitude 8.0 could strike.

(…) we had missed the fact that a huge amount of energy had been stored under the sea near the Japan Trench. We have set up a panel at the Seismological Society of Japan to identify problems and look into what went wrong with our forecast." [Read full story at http://www.physicsforums.com/showpost.php?p=3457230&postcount=10950]

And this comment:

http://www.physicsforums.com/showpost.php?p=3457680&postcount=10952

"For people who are curious about this Tepco 24 May press release "Submission of a report on investigation of causes of damage situation of power facilities inside and outside of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station to NISA" which was never translated into English, I found that the NISA's evaluation, which contains much of what Tepco said on that topic is available in English on the NISA website :

'TEPCO believes that the damage of electric facilities such as major transformers was caused by the earthquake since the tsunami did not reach the Shin-Fukushima Substation. In addition, these electric facilities were designed with some margin against the seismic design guideline (JEAG5003) issued by the private sector, but since they were damaged nevertheless, a detailed analysis is required to investigate the cause of these damages.'

http://www.nisa.meti.go.jp/english/f…20110528-4.pdf page 22/33"

Thank goodness for  the folks at Physics Forum who have the technical knowledge to wade through the vast number of "reports" to pull out this important and unreported information on the earthquake damage at Fukushima.

SKF does not comment on the Busby video but has a number of very important articles today.

First is an article and video reprinted from the Wall Street Journal yesterday.

Wall Street Journal: How the Japanese Government Failed Residents of Namie, Fukushima

"Clearly, the Japanese government didn't understand, didn't know the meaning of, "simulation". The whole point of simulation is to provide possible scenarios based on limited inputs, and that's what SPEEDI was supposed to do. It did exactly that, but the government squashed the simulation results.

In order to be "correct" with only the measured data (which was non-existent at that time), the politicians both in the government and in the Nuclear Safety Commission chose to keep quiet and let the residents of Namie-machi be irradiated, their homes, fields contaminated, probably beyond repair. Not only that, they went on the offensive, telling Fukushima residents and the Japanese people that everything was under control, it was safe.

Without any warning or advice from the government or TEPCO based on SPEEDI, Namie residents ended up evacuating to where the radioactive plume went. SPEEDI had correctly predicted that the radioactive plume would go the direction of Namie based on the prevailing wind pattern.

Here's the video news created by Wall Street Journal

There's a long accompanying article to this video in the subscription-only section by Yuka Hayashi:

NIHONMATSU, Japan-On the afternoon of March 12, 24 hours after a tsunami crippled Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex, some 700 residents of the coastal town of Namie were gathered at an elementary school just outside the government's 6.2-mile evacuation zone. Children played in the schoolyard, adults walked their dogs and volunteers cooked rice balls and soup outdoors. With cellphones knocked out and no television, few had any inkling of the rapidly escalating threat posed by the nearby plant.

Back in Tokyo, however, red flags were popping up inside a nondescript office building outside of the central business district, home to one of Japan's nerve centers for responding to a nuclear disaster. A computer system there, called Speedi, used real-time weather data to predict how radiation would spread in the event of an accident, spitting out maps for the government to use to get people out of harm's way.

That afternoon, the system was generating an ominous forecast for Namie: If radiation were to escape the plant, the wind would blow it straight through the town of 21,000, beyond the 6.2-mile safety perimeter and right over the schoolyard. But that information never reached the townspeople, according to Tamotsu Baba, the mayor….

Today, nearly all of Namie remains closed due to contamination, and residents have no idea when if will be safe to return. Reconstruction is under way in other tsunami-damaged towns, but Namie's coast is still covered in debris. Workers aren't allowed to go near it."

Seeming to confirm the levels of radioactive contamination discussed by Busby, SKF has a number of articles on contamination which all relate citizen's taking action to protect themselves.

Now, Radioactive Sanitary Napkins??

It's in the "rumor" stage – i.e. concerned citizens measuring the radiation themselves with their personal survey meters and exchanging information on Twitter (which is by the way extremely suited for the Japanese language because of kanji characters that pack a ton of info and are still considered one character).

Someone tested the "Unicharm" brand of feminine sanitary napkins, and the survey meter showed 0.15 microsievert/hr on a napkin. The ambient radiation level was 0.07 microsievert/hr (indoors)…."

Read the comments at the link to see a discussion about pregnancy and abortion in Japan at the current time. . .heartrending.

1 Millisievert/hour Radiation from a Truck in Iwaki City in Fukushima??

"Well, you can't watch the video below any more, as it has become "private" for some reason on Youtube. It was public. I have seen it at a members-only site.

The video was posted on this Japanese site on July 15, and it is supposed to be the radiation level measured on July 13 on a small truck parked in Iwaki City in Fukushima Prefecture, near Onahama.

Someone is holding the personal survey meter, standing, facing the street. The survey meter shows between 0.17 to 0.45 or so microsievert/hour. The person approaches a small white truck parked on a small parking lot at the side of the road. The survey meter quickly rises above 1 microsievert/hour, then 10, and 20 microsieverts/hour.

The highest level of radiation is measured on the truck bed. As the person slowly lowers the survey meter to the floor of the bed, it goes from several tens of microsieverts/hour to 100 microsieverts/hour, then rapidly rises to 150, 380, and before it reaches the bottom the meter goes overscale and shows just "8888".

The person also measures the front right tire, which measures 17 microsieverts/hour. Inside the truck, the radiation is also very high. The survey meter goes quickly above 80 microsieverts/hour close to the seat.

As the person walks away from the truck, the radiation level quickly drops down to below 1 microsievert/hour, back to between 0.1 to 0.50 microsievert/hour.

This is followed by screenshots from the video. Obviously this truck was used to haul some sort of contaminated materials."

Radiation in Japan: A Hokkaido Town Measures Radiation As "Temporary" Disaster Debris Depot May Be Coming Near Them

"A neighborhood association in a district in Tomakomai City in Hokkaido has started to measure the radiation levels throughout the district to obtain the baseline data. Why? Because a "temporary" depot to store the disaster debris from Tohoku may be coming near them…."

Finally there is this interesting little SKF story with an international nuclear flavor. Draw your own conclusions..

US Vice President Joe Biden to Visit China, Japan, and MONGOLIA

"Now that's interesting.

Remember the US and Japan have been pushing for the nuclear fuel final processing facility to be built in Mongolia. Toshiba's president supposedly sent a letter to a high-ranking US official urging them to proceed quickly. Toshiba owns 100% of Westinghouse Electric.

According to CNN, Biden is going to Mongolia to promote "democracy"…."

Confirming much of what Busby (and Gunderson in his latest video and SKF in their on-going coverage) has to say is this comprehensive story on Aljezeera today. [We have not copied this story but we highly recommend it – Watershed Sentinel]

Fukushima radiation alarms doctors

Japanese doctors warn of public health problems caused by Fukushima radiation.

Dahr Jamail Last Modified: 18 Aug 2011 14:09

"Scientists and doctors are calling for a new national policy in Japan that mandates the testing of food, soil, water, and the air for radioactivity still being emitted from Fukushima's heavily damaged Daiichi nuclear power plant.

"How much radioactive materials have been released from the plant?" asked Dr Tatsuhiko Kodama, a professor at the Research Centre for Advanced Science and Technology and Director of the University of Tokyo's Radioisotope Centre, in a July 27 speech to the Committee of Health, Labour and Welfare at Japan's House of Representatives….

Kodama's centre, using 27 facilities to measure radiation across the country, has been closely monitoring the situation at Fukushima – and their findings are alarming.

According to Dr Kodama, the total amount of radiation released over a period of more than five months from the ongoing Fukushima nuclear disaster is the equivalent to more than 29 "Hiroshima-type atomic bombs" and the amount of uranium released "is equivalent to 20" Hiroshima bombs….

Scientists warn that tuna caught off the Pacific coastal prefecture in northern Japan are now at risk of being radioactive [EPA]

"Those radioactive elements bio-concentrate in the algae, then the crustaceans eat that, which are eaten by small then big fish," [Helen] Caldicott said. "That's why big fish have high concentrations of radioactivity and humans are at the top of the food chain, so we get the most radiation, ultimately."…

Quite the "explosion" of stories and I have only covered a few of them. However, contrary to all the news elsewhere, there is little news at NHK this morning.

The Toshiba decontamination unit has finished its trials and is now in operation: "The utility hopes the new unit will help achieve stable circulatory cooling of the reactors." Apparently its filters clogged up from rust in the pipes during the trials, so this does not bode well.

Japan-made decontamination unit begins operation

Thursday, August 18, 2011 12:41 +0900 (JST)

Physics Forum has this further comment on SARRY from a Japanese press source yesterday:

"The launch of SARRY using highly contaminated water is planned for 18 August in the middle of the day. If any of the three systems (Kurion, Areva, SARRY) breaks down, the remaining two can go on with the water purification, which should contribute to the stabilisation of the facility. The utilisation rate for the 10-16 August week is 88%. The rate from the 17 June start till now is 69%. After the water levels in the buildings have declined enough, Tepco will be able to raise the injection rates into the reactors and cool them more effectively.

SKF says "we'll see." My sentiments exactly.

The other NHK story concerns a new radiation map. I haven't found a link to it yet or any comments so I will report more later.

Google Earth map shows radiation at ground level

"A Japanese nuclear agency has created a detailed map showing ground radiation levels within 100 kilometers of the Fukushima Daiichi plant.

The Japan Atomic Energy Agency made the map by having a survey team drive through the area in June. The team took readings of aerial radiation once every 10 seconds for several days along routes totaling 17,000 kilometers.

The map uses colors to indicate radiation levels and Google Earth technology to help users pinpoint locations.

The agency says the map is more detailed than those that show radiation levels based on data taken from high in the skies. For instance, it shows two sites that are only 100 meters away but whose radiation levels differ by a factor of 10.

The agency says it hopes the map will help evacuees decide whether it is safe to return home, and help government officials with decontaminating efforts." Thursday, August 18, 2011 21:33 +0900 (JST)

***

The Watershed Sentinel is proud to share Nelle Maxey's Fukushima Updates prepared for the BC environmental community.

Every day, Nelle pours over the media and other reports of the status of the reactors at Fukushima, comparing figures and trying to make sense out of the conflicting reports.

5 Issues — $25/yr