Friday, May 20, 2011

Summary of Detected Radioactive Materials on Soil: A Call for Physical Examination on Internal Exposure in Wide Area

All the news about radiation levels are pretty non-sense to me in terms of understanding contaminations though the government and mainstream media in Japan have been using radiation levels, which check mostly on spacious dose of gamma rays, as their tactic to tell us how safer it is getting in the crisis of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant. I rely much more on researches of radioactive materials on soil as a critical data to understand contaminations. So, here, I collected and summarized researches on detected radioactive Cesium on soil.

* Please note that methods of soil researches here are not unified, and this would result in various detected numbers. For example, results change with conditions of soils and depth of soil location. So PLEASE do not judge based on this graph if where you are is safe or not. This should only be used for a guideline. 

*Click the image to expand
*Total Cesium = Cesium 134 + Cesium 137

<Research by Professor Hideo Yamazaki @ Kinki University>

Prof. Yamazaki's research came out on Asahi Shinbun on 5/15, and it uses unit of Bq/kg so it cannot be simply converted to Bq/m2 in order to compare with other researches that are using Bq/m2. There are methods that can give us estimated conversion between Bq/kg and Bq/m2. Mr. Tetsuji Imanaka at Kyoto University uses a method of multiplying 20 to amount of Bq/kg to have estimated Bq/m2 amount whiles the Japanese Nuclear Safety Commission indicated a method of multiplying 65 to amount of Bq/kg. So I decided to use both methods here. (*Do not forget that these results vary depending on conditions and depth of the researched soils. Researches by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries actually go deep into soil so detected amounts are always so small in their findings. In such a case, you probably need to multiply bigger number to see unified results with other researches.)

By using the above methods, I estimate that the amount of Cesium 137 in Hikarigaoka, Fukushima Prefecture, can be categorized in at least the Second Contamination Zone of the Chernobyl accident (x20 is 7.5 Ci/km2 and x65 is 24.3 Ci/km2). This area is very close to the central part of Fukushima City and Fukushima University so the matter is more serious than the Chernobyl by considering the population density. In the same calculation, Kameido of Tokyo can be categorized in at least the Third Contamination Zone of the Chernobyl accident (x20 is 0.9 Ci/km2 and x65 is 2.8 Ci/km2). I think that contamination level can be mitigated on the asphalted surface compared to soiled surface because radioactive materials can be easily carried away to sewerage, but it is still pretty certain that at least parts of Tokyo have already seriously been contaminated by radioactive materials.

<Research by MEXT – Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology>

The data by MEXT is also in units Bq/kg, but according to the Japanese Nuclear Safety Commission, we can use the x65 method when converting the MEXT data to Bq/km2. Their data are only on the area near the Fukushima Daiichi plant, and the results are shocking. Iidate Village's A Point shows 143 Ci/km2 and Namie Village shows 685 Ci/km2. These numbers are terribly high.

<Research by Mr. Sinzo Kimura by NHK's Coverage on Radiation Contamination on 5/16/11>

The NHK TV program ETV Special "Map on Radiation Contamination Created by Networking" (somewhat not so serious naming opposed to the contents of the program probably due to governmental "advises"…I assume) was really a great one as many people shared similar opinion. The detected numbers released on the program are unfortunately limited, but it makes me feel better that people like Mr. Kimura, immediately started acting on researching contamination in the most effected area near the nuclear plant.

Many people who watched the program were confirmed how the government's response to this crisis is serious human rights violations. The government did not evacuate residents in 20 to 30km zones from the plant until 2 months after the earthquake. Mr. Kimura followed people in the Akagi area of Namie Village who remained in the area by believing the government officials saying it is safe to be there. Mr. Kimura, on the other hand, found shocking 54 Ci/kms of Cesium 137 on the area's soil in March, which indicates much higher level of contamination than the area near the Chernobyl accident where residents were forced to evacuate immediately. Without Mr. Kimura's findings and advise, these residents in the Akagi area could have stayed there for a much longer time and would have been caused serious damages internally and externally. Mr. Kimura, by the way, talked about his anecdote that he resigned from his position at Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare right after the earthquake because he was ordered by his boss to restrain from personal researches on radiation contamination. The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare owes an explanations to the public why Mr. Kimura's research was restrained though it is a research to save many people's live (and he actually did save people's lives in the Akagi area). You can tell how pretty amazing that these stories came out from the national television NHK.

Can I talk about now infamous MEXT, Ministry of Education Culture, Sports, Science and Technology? So this inhumane agency, probably worse than the Ministry of Health, has said that it is NOT necessary to remove soils on school yards in Fukushima to mitigate contamination as long as schools follow time limits on the outside activities because for MEXT children being exposed to up to 20 milliSv/year is safe. On the NHK program, you will see a courageous school principal in Koriyama City in Fukushima decided to voluntarily remove soil 3cm in depth in order to mitigate contamination level for children. Guess what the MEXT told the school to do. MEXT told the school to keep the mountain of removed contaminated soil in the school yard because there is no other place to be taken to. So it's there. The mountain of contaminated soil removed by courageous principle and teachers who really care about saving students health and lives. What do I say? Send the soil to MEXT and TEPCO if they dare to say it is safe!!!!

On 5/2 when residents in Fukushima Prefecture had a meeting with MEXT, the Nuclear Safety Commission, who supposedly advised the 20 milliSv/year standard to the MEXT, said something very interesting to the residents (and sitting right next to the representatives from MEXT!). "Let me tell you clearly that it is not acceptable to set the standard on 20 milliSv/year. We, the Nuclear Safety Commission, did not approve the standard. (people in the meeting started roaring) We have not approved the standard! Let me tell you again that we, NSC, does not approve 20 milliSv/year to children." Well, then please change this standard ASAP. What I saw in the meeting probably shows that it started having different opinions internally within the government's officials and agencies. Is it hopeful? Hopefully hopeful….

Source: NHK ETV Special "Map on Radiation Contamination Created by Networking" (5/16/11) on Youtube and in words (both in Japanese)

<Research by the Japan Chemical Analysis Center>

As in my past blog, 1.4 Ci/km2 of Cesium 137 have been detected in Chiba City, which fits in the Third Contamination Zone of the Chernobyl accident.

<Recommendation: Please Give Us Access to Internal Exposure Examination by Mobile Whole-Body Counters and Urinalysis>

It is not acceptable for pro-nuke groups and people to continue concealing critical information, refusing life-saving researches, creating murderous standards, and putting responsibilities on individuals by not taking on theirs!!! Overall, it is certain that radioactive materials that have been emitted from the Fukushima Diichi Nuclear Plant are so serious and contamination levels show life threatening conditions in wider area. We can only see researches on limited areas, but, according to my past blog on the WSPEEDI data, there is no doubt that the Greater Tokyo area has been contaminated pretty seriously. Soil contamination means similar condition for water, which connects to food contamination and human contamination through biological concentration.

Since serious contamination in wide area is inevitable, we should know how much radiation we have been exposed to. First, the government must include researches on alpha and beta rays so we know detailed contamination levels of Plutonium, Uranium, Iodine, Cesium, Strontium etc. Second, the government should start internal exposure examinations for its citizens. The government has done only external exposure check-up on limited people near the nuclear plant, but I know that they can examine internal exposure by using Mobile Whole-Body Counters and urinalysis on alpha and beta rays. They should start these physical check-ups for free starting from children in the affected areas. If you or your children get cancer or leukemia in 10 years or 20 years, you cannot prove its cause as radiation from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plan without proof of your internal exposure. This is why the government does not want to do such examinations because it's all related to compensations. Our lives are all numbers that cost money for them!!!! This is what happened in the Chernobyl accident and Hiroshima/Nagasaki as well. If you know your level of exposures, you can start planning better intervention and prevention to further exposure. Also, it will pressure the government to do more humane response to the crisis. Let's take an action to call for internal exposure examinations!