Monday, 3 September 2012

Visiting the end of the world, Fukushima

24 August 2012

Floodplain at Odaka on July 31. The flag indicates someone was found in the vehicle.

Visiting the end of the world,

Scott Ludlam While visiting Tokyo and Fukushima, Greens Senator Scott Ludlam witnessed both the devastation of nuclear energy and a mood for change among the Japanese people.

The rice paddy on the edge of Iitate village is 30km back from the coast, framed by steep forested hills, and we stop here briefly because the scene is so strangely heraldic.

At first glance, this looks like any other rural Japanese town in late summer, but it isn't any more. The precise geometries of the fields are softened with neglect and waist-high weeds. Two empty police cars sit out front of the vacant community hall. A work team of several dozen men in white masks and overalls tends a slow assemblage of earthmoving equipment out in the field - but this isn't agriculture.

Iitate village is dead, evacuated after the wind swung to the north-west in the days following the tsunami that smashed hundreds of kilometres of Tohoku coastline into oblivion.

The workers today are harvesting caesium-137, which has a half-life of 30 years. They're carefully stripping the top 50cm of soil from the abandoned field, dumping it in neat windrows wrapped in blue plastic.

Our counters silently log a gamma dose of about 3.7 μSv per hour, 13 times the normal background level. Radiocaesium is found only in the wake of bomb fallout or downwind of failed nuclear reactors. Broken uranium atoms from Kakadu and central South Australia, fissioned under a hail of exquisitely tuned neutron bombardment into uneven fragments of iodine, strontium, xenon. It is everywhere now, invisible, sucked into the pores of the soil itself.

At a lonely intersection gone weedy and planted with warning signs, we record 9.2 μSv/hr in the undergrowth. In the days after the disaster, with three reactor cores exposed to the air, levels within the plant spiked 100,000 times higher. Workers in close proximity suffered lifetime radiation doses in a few hours.
In Minamisoma, a coastal city 20 km to the north of the wrecked Fukushima complex, they're getting their park back this morning. For seventeen months kids have been unable to play outside, and the locals are balancing the risks of radiation with the risks of physical inactivity, vitamin D deficiency and depression.


80 million eggs of pond smelt became extinct in Gunma

Takasaki fishery cooperative postponed lifting the restriction of boat fishing of pond smelt because they couldn’t even fish one sample to measure the radiation level.
On 9/1, in Haruna lake, Takasaki city Gunma, they usually lift the regulation of boat fishing of pont smelt.
To lift the regulation this year, they needed to measure the radiation level by fishing more than 500 grams of pond smelt, but they couldn’t even fish one sample even on their test fishing by fishery cooperative staff on 8/29/2012. It happened last year too.
Haruna lake is about 220 km from Fukushima plant.
80 million eggs of pond smelt became extinct in Gunma
They released 80,000,000 eggs in April as usual, they confirmed a lot of fry, but they couldn’t find mature ones after that.
In another lake called “Akagi Ohnuma” in Gunma, they found mature pond smelt but because they measured 210 Bq/Kg, they banned fishers from consuming them. Fishers are allowed to fish but have to return the fish. (Original


Black substance found at Harajuku station in Tokyo, “21,346 Bq/Kg”


Black substance found at Harajuku station in Tokyo, “21,346 Bq/Kg”

The extremely highly radioactive material “black substance” was found in another most populated area in Tokyo.
(cf. 240,000 Bq/Kg at 5km from Imperial Palace)

In the news TV show “Insideout” of BS11, Mr. Shiba, a battlefield journalist introduced the contamination map.

The map is about the location of black substance found in Tokyo, and it also mentions Bq/Kg, made by Mr. Oyama, a minamisoma city council.

The map shows that the black substance of 21,346 Bq/kg was found at Harajuku station.
Black substance found at Harajuku station in Tokyo, "21,346 Bq/Kg"

Harajuku station is known to be the center of fashion / culture. A lot of young people continuously visit there.

Black substance found at Harajuku station in Tokyo, "21,346 Bq/Kg" 2

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