Friday, June 17, 2011

Map of Contamination Shown by Actual Measurement Values: A Part of Fukushima City at the Level of Evacuation Zone, High Contamination Zone in the Metropolitan Tokyo Area, and A Call for Immediate Examination on Internal Exposure and Food Contamination

The pro-nuke politicians and business leaders have been so busy trying to have the prime minister Naoto Kan step down by playing with ordinary people's anger and making the PM look like a bad guy. Their goal is to create a grand coalition between the historically pro-nuke and conservative Liberal Democratic Party and ruling Democratic Party, and these two parties will surely do anything to protect a survival of their long-time best friend, the nuclear power industry, by undermining its impact on our health and lives. Meanwhile, Naoto Kan seems to have shown increasing motivation to enhance the development of renewable energies probably because he no longer has concerns in keeping alliances with pro-nuke buddies who started attacking him in order to create the grand coalition. In this political confusion, what we ordinary people got to do is to share our information, to understand real risks surrounded us, and to make an action to have these self-centered politicians focus on how to protect our lives, rather than nuke plants.

Until recently, in order for us to understand real levels of radioactive contamination, we were only provided the WSPEEDI data only on 2 days, which were finally released 2 months after the accident, and actual measurement of local data on soil research. We have used mainly these two things to estimate contamination level in wider area, yet some more important data have come out in June.

Map of Cesium 137 Contamination Created by Tsukuba University

Radioisotope Research Center at Tsukuba University collected 110 soil samples from the end of March to the beginning of May in order to create a map of Cesium 137 concentration. The values here are as of March 29, 2011. They are not perfect data by considering that sample numbers are low; however, this study has much meaning as the first of its kind to show the contamination zones by using actual measurement values. The below is the publicized study results (just relized that the actual online article by Chunichi Shinbun has been erased so I here attach a blog that copied the article) , and I added a map of the areas and Ci/km2 values so that it can be easily compared with the Chernobyl contamination.

   *Click the image to expand

According to the map, populated Fukushima City and Koriyama City are both included in the severely contaminated zone at the level of the Chernobyl accident where voluntary relocation with compensation was accepted (5-15Ci/km2). Moreover, some areas near the capital is found to be at high level of contamination, which is as serious as Iwaki City in Fukushima Prefecture. This zone is at the same contamination level as a part of Belarus. At the third contamination category (1-5Ci/km2), despite the fact that the Former Soviet and IAEA claimed that the level of contamination does not affect human bodies, it is well known now that the increases of cancer and leukemia have been found in the 20 years after the accident (we wrote about this fact in our past blog). When you look at the map above, you can tell that the publicized WSPEEDI data are pretty good at forecasting the actual contamination. It is clear that some parts of Fukushima City are no longer habitable due to the severe contamination, and the Metropolitan Tokyo area has already reached to the level that will definitely cause major impact on residents' health there if no immediate interventions follow. Cesium 137's half life is 30 years, and it will take over 100 years till its radiation level becomes as little as nothing. 

Tokyo Map of Spacial Dose Distribution Created by Volunteer Citizens

Citizens take monitoring into their hands while we have found the governmental data unreliable as the data are measured at inconsistent heights (for example, some of the spacial dose in Tokyo were measured on the top of a building! I guess they are more concerned about birds over human beings?). So, this map created by volunteer citizens with Geiger counters can be much more reliable as they consistently measure spacial doses on the ground surface. Here's a map below that is from this site (red = 2-1μSv/h, purple = 1-0.5μSv/h, yellow = 0.5-0.25μSv/h, blue = 0.25-0.1μSv/h). Please take a look at Kinshi-cho where high dose of 1.75μSv/h has been detected. 0.1μSv/h=1.0milliSv/year. 

   *Click the image to expand

Air Monitoring Part II

Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) and the US Department of Energy released the May 26 version of air monitoring data. It is very disappointing that this version extended the covered area only a bit wider than the previous data, yet it can tell details of severely contaminated areas in Fukushima Prefecture and its surrounding areas. This data measured Gamma ray at 1 meter (= 3.2 feet) from land surface. They have not yet released data on Alfa and Beta rays that can be considered more critical when we look at internal exposures in human bodies. Also, they should conduct these measurements not at 1 meter above but near land surface by considering children who get affected by contamination at lower heights (Plus, these values will be much much higher when measured near land surface). 0.1 microsievert/hour = 1 millisievert/year. 

 The Results of MEXT & US DOE Air Monitoring
  (Total Accumulation of Cesium 134&137)
The results of MEXT & US DOE 
(Total Spacial Dose Distribution)
*Click the images to expand

MEXT WSPEEDI Data on March 15

Infamous MEXT continues to conceal WSPEEDI data. They almost secretly released March 15 WSPEEDI data on its website sometimes in the beginning of June. MEXT has not apologized people how they have concealed, or better say, have been concealing much of these critical data, and this is putting so many people at high risk of exposure that can be prevented if these WSPEEDI data were released on time. This blog's reader, Mr. Tengu, provided us information that the Japanese government definitely held WSPEEDI data as of March 15 (Mr. Tengu saw the WSPEEDI data that somehow showed up on TV for a second, and he was smart to record the screen data). This data recently released by MEXT is different from what Mr. Tengu found on TV. Though these values are not actual measurements, it shows relative contamination levels and how Krypton 85, Iodine 129, and Cesium 137 spread. And it is clear that high level of radioactive concentration (in red) had already reached the Greater Tokyo Area at the time. 

*Click the images to open GIF animation

Dragging Governmental Response And Hot Particles: A Call to Prioritize Saving Lives

TEPCO and the Japanese government have tightly closed their mouths about Alfa and Beta emitting radioactive materials that can cause serious damage inside bodies. On June 5, 2011, NHK – Japanese National broadcasting – aired a program "ETV Special: Follow-Up on Radioactive Contamination Map" and it talked about Plutonium detected in the residential area 2km outside of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant (studied by Kanazawa University). Later, MEXT released information that Strontium 89/90, Uranium 234/235/238, Plutonium 239, Americium 241, Curium 242 have been found in soils at 20km zone. Americium and Curium both emit Alfa ray and are deadly once inhaled into a body. In addition to the land contamination, on-going contamination in the ocean has reached the worst level in our humanhistory.

In this unheard-of major crisis, the government has done almost nothing to clean up the contamination and to order examinations on people in the affected areas. Finally, starting the end of June, people in Fukushima can start receiving check-ups on internal exposures, but it can only check a few people, less than 100, per day for now. What's wrong with the government? They should order to create more Whole-Body Counters so that more effective and efficient check-ups can happen. They should also conduct urine/fecal examinations in order to check Alfa and Beta ray exposures. They also should expand these examinations on people living in the Greater Tokyo Area. The contamination in the capital area is getting serious, and in the Chernobyl accident, levels of internal exposures did not differ between residents in the severely contaminated areas and the lower level of contamination areas. If the government starts saying that these examinations can be only possible in random areas or limited to the severely contaminated zones, we must raise our voice to stop irresponsibly underestimating the level of contamination! We are not so stupid to naively believe that this does not cause any health damages!!

It is so crucial to have in-depth analysis on food contamination and complete disclosure of its data so that we can try to minimize damages of internal exposures. As of today, inhumane Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare set up murderous tentative safety standard on food, and the governmental agency is so indifferent in actively creating health monitoring programs by hiring more workers and getting more tools to check on contaminated food. Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has also joined the evil force by letting seafood from the severely contaminated ocean go into market. And, seafood does not have to show which area of the ocean it is from, as long as it shows the fishing harbor that fish and seafood end up to. Therefore, it is entirely possible that a package might say that the seafood is from 1000km away from the currently contaminated ocean near the Fukushima Daiichi Plan, but the product is actually fished near the area. Let me repeat this again; there is no limit for you to intake radiation safely into your body. If the government cannot prove that there is no radiation in food, they should stop accusing people on spreading "harmful rumors" that prevent purchasing food produced in Japan. It is actually a totally opposite; the government's inhumane policies of not conducting necessary check-ups and not releasing these critical data on food are creating the "rumors" that distance consumers from food products in the affected areas. We call for an expansion of local health centers that can start checking all the food products, and for an immediate release of more in-depth information of contamination despite whatever safety standard that they are using for now.