Minggu, 25 Maret 2012

Contamination watch - Japan


24,700 Bq/Kg Radioactive Cesium from Tea Leaves in Fukushima City, from Last Year

Move over, Shizuoka tea. Move over, Saitama tea. Here comes Fukushima tea with 24,700 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium.

The tea leaves were picked in Fukushima City in May last year, and they were not commercial tea. A city resident grew in his/her garden and picked for his/her own use.

I hope the tea weren't consumed or given as gifts. At 24,700 becquerels/kg, you cannot even dump it in the garbage, let alone incinerate.

From Mainichi Shinbun local Fukushima version (3/23/2012):
東日本大震災:福島、茶葉から2万4700ベクレル 市民が測定所に持参 /福島

Fukushima: 24,700 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium from tea leaves, brought by a resident to the testing laboratory


24,700 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium was detected from the tea leaves brought by a city resident to the testing laboratory operated by Fukushima City. The news was reported at the meeting of the disaster response headquarters of Fukushima City on March 22. 市によると、茶葉は市民が自宅の庭先で栽培したものを測定所で測ったところ、高い値が検出されたため、ゲルマニウム半導体検出器で再検査した。昨年5月に摘み取り、保管していたという。

According to the city, the resident grew the tea in his/her garden. When he/she brought the tea leaves to the testing laboratory, the high levels of radioactive cesium were detected. So the tea leaves were tested again using the germanium semiconductor detector. The tea leaves were picked in May last year, and kept at the resident's house.


The city plans to increase the number of detectors and will set up 28 testing laboratories in the city by the end of this month.


The environment section of the Fukushima city government cautions the residents, "Produce from the home gardens, depending on the types, may exceed the safety limit [for radioactive cesium]. We would like you to bring them to the testing laboratory by all means."




Disaster Debris Is Radioactive, Ministry of the Environment's Own Data Shows

Goshi Hosono's Ministry of the Environment has set up a special website to promote and sell the wide-area disposal of the disaster debris in Iwate and Miyagi Prefectures.

In it, there is a page about radiation levels of the debris. The Ministry, which is sounding more and more like a religious ministry preaching safety of disaster debris, says the radiation coming off of the debris once it's burned and buried deep should be no more than 0.01 millisievert per year. On the right side, there is a table showing the radioactivity of the debris in becquerels, without specifying what types of debris. However, below the table, there's a link to the PDF document with far more details, which I reproduced below.

The debris from Tagajo City, Miyagi Prefecture that was used in Hosono's propaganda demonstration on the street corner of Kawasaki City the other day was wood chips, which has the least amount of radioactive cesium. If they had picked fabrics, it would have contained 540 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium, and if they had picked small debris less than 5 millimeters in diameter, it would have been 390 becquerels/kg. (See Page 4 below.) Not that the radioactivity would have been picked up by a survey meter that they were using.
From the Ministry of the Environment, radioactivity of disaster debris in Iwate and Miyagi Prefectures (debris with more than 200 becquerels/kg is marked in red):

That video of politicians demonstrating the "safety" of disaster debris in Kawasaki is really infuriating. Goshi Hosono says "People may be thinking disaster debris from Fukushima is coming to them, hahahahaha" (I'm paraphrasing.) No they don't. They know better than him, much better.Besides, Fukushima disaster debris may be coming out of Fukushima after all. Iwaki City will burn the disaster debris starting April, and Iwaki City had a long standing contract to ship the ashes to Saitama Prefecture where the ashes were burned again in the melting furnace into slag to be recycled as road substrates. The contract was carried out until late last year. That contract may be renewed, and disaster debris from Fukushima, in the form of ashes, may be shipped outside Fukushima.

It's also worthwhile to recall that the so-called safety standard of disposal of 8,000 becquerels/kg (for debris, ashes, sludge to be buried without any treatment to the final disposal sites) was originally meant for Fukushima Prefecture alone. Before anyone noticed it, it became the de facto national standard.

With the no-entry zone and the planned evacuation zone around Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant to be renamed, it may not be very long before the debris from Fukushima Prefecture starts to spread (if not already - there have been "baseless rumors").

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