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Sat Feb 23, 2013, 02:45 AM

Fukushima radiation spread to residential areas hours before venting

Source: Mainichi

Radioactive material from the damaged Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant spread to residential areas hours before workers vented the containment vessel of the plant's No. 1 reactor on March 12, 2011, to release pressure, it has emerged.

In one area, the level of radiation had surged to more than 700 times the normal level, indicating that many local residents were exposed to high levels of radiation before they evacuated.

The Fukushima Prefectural Government operated 25 monitoring posts around the nuclear power plant before it was crippled by the March 11, 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami. Five monitoring posts were swept away by the tsunami, and 20 couldn't send data because the quake caused power cuts. Accordingly, officials were unable to put the data to use when evacuating residents.

Over the period up until September last year, the prefectural government collected and analyzed data from the 20 monitoring posts that survived the disaster. Results of its analysis were published on the prefectural government's website and the prefecture notified local bodies. However, it was not revealed that radiation had spread before the plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), commenced venting operations -- and neither the Diet nor the government's nuclear accident investigation committees were aware of the fact.

<snip>

Read more: http://mainichi.jp/english/english/newsselect/news/20130222p2a00m0na009000c.html

31 replies, 3653 views

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Arrow 31 replies Author Time Post
Reply Fukushima radiation spread to residential areas hours before venting (Original post)
bananas Feb 2013 OP
Zoeisright Feb 2013 #1
davidpdx Feb 2013 #2
FBaggins Feb 2013 #4
beardown Feb 2013 #6
FBaggins Feb 2013 #7
Moostache Feb 2013 #3
Sunlei Feb 2013 #9
dballance Feb 2013 #5
Art_from_Ark Feb 2013 #13
FBaggins Feb 2013 #15
Art_from_Ark Feb 2013 #16
RobertEarl Feb 2013 #17
Art_from_Ark Feb 2013 #18
RobertEarl Feb 2013 #19
Art_from_Ark Feb 2013 #20
RobertEarl Feb 2013 #21
Art_from_Ark Feb 2013 #22
RobertEarl Feb 2013 #24
Art_from_Ark Feb 2013 #25
RobertEarl Feb 2013 #27
Art_from_Ark Feb 2013 #28
RobertEarl Mar 2013 #29
Art_from_Ark Mar 2013 #30
Sunlei Feb 2013 #8
bananas Feb 2013 #11
Sunlei Feb 2013 #12
FBaggins Feb 2013 #14
bvar22 Feb 2013 #10
RobertEarl Feb 2013 #23
bananas Feb 2013 #26
RobertEarl Mar 2013 #31

Response to bananas (Original post)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 02:49 AM

1. Expect cancer rates to soar in those areas in the coming years.

Just one more reason why I'm completely against nuclear power. We can NOT control that poison.

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Response to Zoeisright (Reply #1)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 03:26 AM

2. Yep, cancer clusters I believe is the term

It's clear the information was vague and what information there was wasn't shared with the public.

There have been problems with nuclear power plants here in Korea as well (though nothing on the level of Fukushima). Fake parts were used in some of the plants, so they've had to shut most of them down.

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Response to Zoeisright (Reply #1)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 06:06 AM

4. Why? Doesn't the amount make a difference?

The linked article lists the highest dose rates, and they're less than 1/100th of the amount that has ever been associated with increased cancer rates.

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #4)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 10:22 AM

6. What is the cancer rate?

From the article " surged to more than 700 times the normal level" and your statement "1/100th" . So radiation has to get to be 70,000 times greater than normal to increase cancer rates?

Is that rate associated with instant cancer impact or one that is measured over time, such as people living in a contaminated area?

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Response to beardown (Reply #6)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 11:07 AM

7. Don't confuse dose rates and actual absorbed dosage

The standard threshold is about 100 millisieverts. Below that level, they've had trouble identifying any statistically significant increase in cancer rates. So an absorbed dose of 1 msv would be 1/100th that amount. Even at that peak rate of 32.47 microsieverts/hr it would take more than an extra day just to add 1msv of absorbed dose.

The reason the government sets a legal limit of .23 microsieverts per hour is the same reason they set such low limits for food and drink contamination: If you lived there 24/7 all year long, it would be more than the 1msv/year they want to keep the public below.

So you can go way above the hourly rate if you're doing it for a few hours as you run away... you just can't stay and live there.

Is that rate associated with instant cancer impact or one that is measured over time

Most cancers associated with radiation exposure take years to develop. "Instant" impacts from radiation require far higher doses (1-4 Sv doses range from serious radiation sickness to death if not treated immediately)... but nobody at Fukushima has come close to that.

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 04:02 AM

3. We are going to see a lot worse than just cancer out of this before its all said and done.

This disaster and the ensuing mess of toxicity that can never be cleaned has already been conveniently swept away by the corporate media...just like Deep Water Horizon and the resulting dead zones in the Gulf of Mexico and the unknown consequences of using the entire Gulf as a huge uncontrolled laboratory experiment for dispersing goo.

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Response to Moostache (Reply #3)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 11:24 AM

9. yes, and there was a lot of rad drift right to the USA and we don't even have a gov agency to check.

Japans Minister of Health has revealed 36% of Japans children exposed have abnormal thyroid today.

We're really in trouble when our USA health agencies have to battle 'self-regulating' corps- to keep bacteria out of peanut butter factories, beef supply and have no funding for other things.

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 06:13 AM

5. Talk About Just Plain Dumb on the Part of Japanese Government

This tidbit in the story caught my eye: "Five monitoring posts were swept away by the tsunami, and 20 couldn't send data because the quake caused power cuts. Accordingly, officials were unable to put the data to use when evacuating residents."

They didn't have a battery back-up for something as important as stations monitoring radiation around a nuclear plant????

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Response to dballance (Reply #5)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 11:11 PM

13. I think the Japanese government had a pretty good idea that there was a radiation problem

The first evacuation order for an area around the nuclear plant was issued 6 1/2 hours after the earthquake struck. The next stage evacuation order was issued in the early morning of the 12th.

However, a massive evacuation at that time would have been a logistical nightmare.

First of all, there were more than a half million people living within 25 miles of the Daiichi complex. Second, the evacuation routes were severely restricted-- the ocean made an eastward evacuation impossible. The main train line in the area, the JR Joban Line, was damaged in many places and trains were not running for a couple of weeks, even as far south as the Tone River (100+ miles south of the complex). Train stations were also damaged, including the major station at Mito (60 miles south of the reactors). Another south-going train line, the Suigun Line connecting Mito with Koriyama in Fukushima, was also closed.

Also, the Joban Expressway, which ends/begins at Joban-Tomioka just a few miles from the nuclear complex, was impassable in many places, including the area between Iwaki City and Joban-Tomioka. Another area of the highway, near Mito, had collapsed, much like the recent Highway 89 collapse in Arizona, and another expressway, between Mito and Fukushima Iisaka, was also closed. Many local roads were also severely damaged or blocked by debris.

On top of that, the area near the reactors can be very hilly. I have driven on roads in that area before, and they can be extremely narrow and winding, with some stretches having barely enough room for cars going in one direction, much less two. Any car breaking down or running out of gas on such a road would have created a major traffic jam.

So essentially, there were only a few passable road routes, and no rail routes, leading out of the area. Even if the Japanese government had known that the radiation levels were so high, what could have been done? They did issue a small-area evacuation order on the 11th, to give the people closest to the reactors a chance to get out. Then another evacuation order was given a few hours after that, for a much wider area. I think that on the night of the 11th, many people near the reactors were probably already considering evacuating, given that a state of emergency had been declared and an evacuation order had already been issued.


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Response to Art_from_Ark (Reply #13)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 12:29 PM

15. People also need to understand that there's more than one type of evacuation.

There could be radiation levels that are high enough that you need to "get out right now!" because even a few hours of exposure could be dangerous... but far more common are levels that are too high for ongoing habitation. You could live there safely for weeks/months, but they don't want you to stay. (and those levels tend to be set intentionally quite low - far lower than what would cause real danger)

That second (far more common) level should not result in immediate evacuations (even if you know you're going to close them off)... because the panic/concern of an evacuation is itself a danger (and many people did die because of the evacuations).

So it isn't really "we couldn't get them all out anyway... so why start a stampeed"... it's "we need to get them out over the next few weeks - so let's plan appropriately"

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #15)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 03:58 PM

16. It was more like a combination of the two

"We couldn't get them all out anyway... so why start a stampede"
"We need to get them out over the next few weeks - so let's plan appropriately"

The issuance of not one but two evacuation orders, one for the immediate vicinity of the reactors, and the other for a relatively wide area around the reactors, within 15 hours of the earthquake, is a clear indication that the Japanese government knew there was a radiation problem and wanted to get the people closest to the reactors evacuated quickly, after the government knew what the situation on the ground was like. The local area can be pretty rugged, and the roads and railways were heavily damaged, so the government had to make sure the people closest to the reactors had enough time to evacuate. Afterward, they also had "evacuation preparation zones" where residents were supposed to prepare for an evacuation on a moment's notice, just in case.

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Response to Art_from_Ark (Reply #16)

Wed Feb 27, 2013, 01:36 AM

17. Hey Art

What an awful time that was. Earthquake, tsunami and nuclear explosion all at once. My gawd. I doubt any country could have handled it any better.

It is good to here from you and know that life is returning to normal. I guess tho, in some areas the land is still too contaminated to be lived on?

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Response to RobertEarl (Reply #17)

Wed Feb 27, 2013, 01:52 AM

18. It was a horrible time

We are far enough from the sea that the tsunami wouldn't have been a problem, but this area did sustain a lot of damage from the earthquake-- even 200 miles from the epicenter. Lots of damaged streets, broken roof tiles, some broken windows, severely disrupted rail transportation, even one fatality from a structural collapse. Even Tokyo, which is even farther away, sustained damage, and public transportation there was almost totally disrupted for a day or so after the disaster. I can only imagine how terrible it must have been to go through the worst of it-- the triple whammy of earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster. Or even just the tsunami or nuclear disaster.

It was worrisome enough when the local radiation levels here exceeded 10X the normal levels. And there are places in Fukushima that *still* have radiation readings that are multiples above that. I have not heard exact figures, but just extrapolating from reports, it seems that there is about a 200 square mile area of Fukushima Prefecture that is still closed to permanent habitation. At least it seems that they're finally getting the ball rolling with the compensation process.

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Response to Art_from_Ark (Reply #18)

Wed Feb 27, 2013, 01:59 AM

19. Thanks Art

I have paid attention as you know, to the situation, and I can't begin to understand just how messed up everything is/was. I do like hearing your reports. How is it going with the new PM, Abe? Heard that he was planning a massive spending program to boost the economy. There must be lots of construction work.

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Response to RobertEarl (Reply #19)

Wed Feb 27, 2013, 03:33 AM

20. The first couple of weeks after the disaster were pretty surreal here

Stores were running very short of groceries, with transport disrupted and a lot of food and other supplies being diverted to the disaster areas. Gas stations were open only sporadically, and most of the ones I saw always seemed to be closed during that time. Street and store lighting was severely curtailed, there were roads that were blocked off due to damage, it was impossible to take the train into Tokyo for a while, and the city just seemed empty (I imagine a lot of people just decided to go visit relatives in unaffected parts of the country).

It seems like Abe has been spending a ton of money lately, and yes, there are lots of construction projects. One thing that I found interesting is that they are planning to extend the Joban Expressway (which I mentioned upthread) northward, which would apparently run through part of the current 20km exclusion zone.

Today's topic in the Diet/Parliament was debate about the TPP.

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Response to Art_from_Ark (Reply #20)

Wed Feb 27, 2013, 04:48 AM

21. TPP?

Tepco Power Plant?

How well is the rads monitoring system set up? Are they doing any cleanups in your area? I have heard some horror stories about the effects on kids and how even Tokyo got dosed pretty bad. There are some posts here about thyroid problems, what are the docs there saying?

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Response to RobertEarl (Reply #21)

Wed Feb 27, 2013, 05:05 AM

22. Good guess at the meaning of the TPP acronym

I usually try to avoid using obscure acronyms without an explanation, I was lazy this time as that was how it was referred to in the debate that was broadcast over the radio. It actually stands for "Trans-Pacific (Strategic Economic) Partnership" and is another one of those free-trade deals that Japan is thinking about joining.

I haven't heard anything about health effects from radiation down here, I'll have to do some digging . As far as cleanups go, last year they were excavating a lot of dirt from schoolyards in so-called hot-spots around here, for example in Moriya and Kashiwa. I think that work has been finished. It is also supposed to be OK to eat locally-grown vegetables, although nearly everything except rice is usually grown in vinyl "houses" that aren't directly exposed to the elements.

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Response to Art_from_Ark (Reply #22)

Wed Feb 27, 2013, 09:01 PM

24. How far do you live from Fukushima?

Good idea growing crops under cover. If they had to scrape the ground there, there is no telling what may be in the soil. They wouldn't scrape the ground just for fun, eh?

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Response to RobertEarl (Reply #24)

Wed Feb 27, 2013, 10:52 PM

25. I'm approximately 100 miles south of Dai-ichi

The two cities I mentioned are a little farther way.

Here is an article which talks about the city of Toride (bordering on Moriya and Kashiwa) beginning the removal of soil from schoolyards in July 2011. Before removal, the radiation level was measured at 1.3 microsieverts per hour, but after removing the top centimeter of soil, the radiation level was apparently brought down to 0.23 microsievert. This area is about 20-30 miles north of Tokyo, and is essentially along a line that runs from Tokyo up to the Dai-ichi area.

For comparison, the normal ambient radiation level around here is considered to be 0.07- 0.09 microsievert per hour.

http://ameblo.jp/kajiokahiroki/entry-10964858745.html

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Response to Art_from_Ark (Reply #25)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 11:43 PM

27. It was 13+ times ambient?

Did I do that math right? And now it is 2.5 times higher?

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Response to RobertEarl (Reply #27)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 11:58 PM

28. Yes, it was approximately 13+ times ambient in Toride

In Moriya and Kashiwa, there was considerable variance in the radiation readings that were taken at the various schools and day care centers. In Moriya, at least, the readings that were taken in schoolyards before soil removal were all much lower than the Toride readings.

Here is a web site which lists the radiation levels measured before and after soil removal at various schools, parks, and other facilities in Moriya. Scroll down to page 2. There are 4 columns of values shown: the first two are radiation levels at the surface before and after removal, the second two are levels at 50cm below the surface before and after removal (in microsieverts per hour). If you scroll down a bit farther, you can see pictures of soil being removed.

It should be noted that the Moriya soil removal was done in late September 2011, a couple of months after the Toride operation.

https://www.city.moriya.ibaraki.jp/shikumi/web/h23/20111010.files/all.pdf

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Response to Art_from_Ark (Reply #28)

Fri Mar 1, 2013, 12:40 AM

29. Japan has quite the monitoring program

Here in the US every nuke plant has monitors but I have yet to find one online.

I guess folks there have been aware that one day there would be a serious problem? And so monitors were made public?

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Response to RobertEarl (Reply #29)

Fri Mar 1, 2013, 01:45 AM

30. I can't be sure, but

I think interest in radiation monitoring in this area was spurred by the 1999 critical mass accident that occurred at Tokaimura. Google "Tokaimura" to find information about that.

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 11:16 AM

8. 36 percent of Fukushima Prefecture children have abnormal growths on their thyroid.

That's a fact. Whoever? (Japans gov regulators?) placed nuke facilities right next to the sea, ignored science and the history of a earthquake region is guilty of harming their own citizens.

ref search- thyroid tumors in Japans children

http://www.google.com/search?q=japan+children+with+thyoid+tumors&rls=com.microsoft:en-us&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&startIndex=&startPage=1&rlz=#hl=en&rls=com.microsoft:en-us&spell=1&q=japan+children+with+thyroid+tumors&sa=X&ei=EusoUa3YLeq22AWeiYAw&ved=0CC8QvwUoAA&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&bvm=bv.42768644,d.b2I&fp=b1e05606fe620824&biw=1280&bih=653

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Response to Sunlei (Reply #8)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 12:46 PM

11. Yikes! New report: "44.2 percent of 94,975 children sampled had thyroid ultrasound abnormalities"

Thanks for that search link, the 4th item down is from 5 days ago:
http://rt.com/news/fukushima-children-thyroids-abnormalities-cancer-444/

Fukushima kids have skyrocketing number of thyroid abnormalities - report
February 18, 2013 07:54

A recent report into the Fukushima Nuclear disaster of 2011 has shown that more than forty percent of children have thyroid abnormalities.

­The Tenth Report of the Fukushima Prefecture Health Management Survey, released earlier this week, with data up to January 21, 2013, revealed that 44.2 percent of 94,975 children sampled had thyroid ultrasound abnormalities. The number of abnormalities has also been increasing over time as well as the proportion of children with nodules equal to and larger than 5.1 mm and any size cysts have increased.

The report has also revealed that 10 of 186 eligible are suspected of having thyroid cancer as a result of the exposed radiation.

On Wednesday, the Fukushima Prefectural Government announced that two people who were teenagers at the time of the Fukushima No. 1 meltdown have been diagnosed with thyroid cancer, bringing the total number of cases officially confirmed by authorities to three. All have undergone surgery and are now recovering.

Around 360,000 youths at the time of the disaster have to be repeatedly checked to see if they have been affected by the radiation.

In the meantime on Friday, a government-backed researcher claimed that no health effects have been detected in people living in the contaminated area because the radiation level is not high enough.

<snip>

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Response to bananas (Reply #11)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 01:00 PM

12. that stuff is so dangerous and to think in the USA the drift here is ignored by the state/fed govs

I think our state and federal gov can't do anything to screen for health problems from radiation, insect sprays, all the chemicals we are exposed to, because the corporation lobbiests have neutered their power.

We will have to wait until every kid has some development issue, every person gets Alzheimers, parkinsons or dies from cancer.

Any countries' people are so fucked when corporations are allowed to 'self-regulate.'

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Response to bananas (Reply #11)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 12:22 PM

14. Yikes? Someone has spent too much time listening to Caldicott and her ilk.

This is the baseline survey that's being done so that results 3-5+ years from now can be compared.

The results so far (including the handful with thyroid cancer) are entirely within the range that should be expected given instrument sensativity. We won't see anything atributable to Fukushima (if anything) for at least another couple years.

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 12:08 PM

10. Thank gawd that here in the USA...

...we can rely on our government to be honest with us
when the next "accident" happens here.

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Wed Feb 27, 2013, 08:58 PM

23. There is no 'safe' exposure to radiation

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/opinion/51585989-82/nuclear-radiation-scientists-bullets.html.csp

There is no 'safe' exposure to radiation

Bioaccumulation is one reason why it is dishonest to equate the danger to humans living 5,000 miles away from Japan with the minute concentrations measured in our air. If we tried, we would now likely be able to measure radioactive iodine, cesium, and strontium bioaccumulating in human embryos in this country. Pregnant women, are you OK with that?

Hermann Mueller, another Nobel Prize winner, is one of many scientists who would not have been OK with that. In a 1964 study, "Radiation and Heredity", Mueller spelled out the genetic damage of ionizing radiation on humans. He predicted the gradual reduction of the survival of the human species as exposure to radioactivity steadily increased. Indeed, sperm counts, sperm viability and fertility rates worldwide have been dropping for decades.

These scientists and their warnings have never been disproven, but they are currently widely ignored. Their message is very clear: Virtually every human on Earth carries the nuclear legacy, a genetic footprint contaminated by the Cold War, Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, the 400-plus nuclear power plants that have not melted down and now Fukushima.

Albert Einstein said, "The splitting of the atom changed everything, save man's mode of thinking; thus we drift towards unparalleled catastrophe."

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Response to RobertEarl (Reply #23)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 03:19 AM

26. That's a good article. nt

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Response to bananas (Reply #26)

Fri Mar 1, 2013, 02:19 PM

31. This NYT article on the WHO report, is telling

The study’s authors warned, however, that their assessment was based on limited scientific knowledge; much of the scientific data on health effects from radiation is based on acute exposures like those that followed the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and not chronic, low-level exposure. In Japan, some densely populated areas are expected to remain contaminated with relatively low levels of radioactive materials for decades.

“Because scientific understanding of the radiation effects, particularly at low doses, may increase in the future, it is possible that further investigation may change our understanding of the risks of this radiation accident,” the report said.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/01/world/asia/who-sees-low-health-risks-from-fukushima-accident.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&

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