Friday, 29 April 2011

alarming rates of radioactivity even in europe


updated: april 29

The following map of Germany with measurements in microsievert per hour shows levels over the limit for the public of 0.11 microsievert per hour in most parts of Germany. I wrote earlier that "People living in central Europe should stay indoors: pregnant women and children OUGHT to stay indoors". Unfortunately I later on had more time to read the available data: the situation has been consistently at levels in microsievert per hour deemed high for the past 31 days. It is therefore of no use to stay indoors because indoor air after a couple of hours is completely renewed with outdoor air. On the telephone, Chris Busby of the Low Level Radiation Campaign, told this writer he thinks the levels are double what they should be and Michele Rivasi MEP Criirad said to be also worried by these figures. On the other hand Roland Desbordes from the french Criirad considers in an email, that there are no precisions about the origin and the nature of the detected radiation. Therefore the values could correspond to natural fluctuations and reflect nothing abnormal. Please give support to the call by the Criirad to make all CTBTO data available, in particular the data for Plutonium and Uranium contamination.

For a total transparency on the airborne radioactivity we are breathing (CRIIRAD)

For a total transparency on the airborne radioactivity we are breathing Fukushima (Japon)

There are 60 certified radionuclide stations fully equipped with high precision detectors that are set up around the world to monitor airborne radioactivity on a daily basis with unprecedented accuracy. Their objective : Find low quantities of radioactive particles that could reveal a possible nuclear test in violation of the Comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty (CNTBT).

Results of the analyses would allow a follow up, day by day since March 12, 2011, of the evolution on the contaminated airborne masses linked to the radioactive rejections of the FUKUSHIMA DAIICHII nuclear plant. To date this is still impossible as the data are being confiscated by the States. The results are communicated to pre selected official organizations required to keep all information away from public awareness.

This global measuring network is financed by Public funds. Populations have the right to have access to this information. All the figures without exception must be published and not just a few figures carefully selected by the authorities.

I hereby demand that the results of the analyses conducted to measure the airborne radioactivity by the global network (TICEN) be made public, ENTIRELY AND WITHOUT ANY FURTHER DELAY.

Funded by all the citizens of member states, these figures must be made available to public knowledge to serve their right to protection and safety.

Alexandre de Perlinghi

april 27

...Two robots sent into the reactor No. 1 building at the plant yesterday took readings as high as 1,120 millisierverts of radiation per hour...“Tepco must figure out the source of high radiation,” said Hironobu Unesaki, a nuclear engineering professor at Kyoto University. “If it’s from contaminated water leaking from inside the reactor, Tepco’s so-called water tomb may be jeopardized because flooding the containment vessel will result in more radiation in the building.”... (Bloomberg)



Bundesamt für Strahlenschutz

map of Germany with past 31 days data in microsievert per hour

ambient gamma dose rate in microsievert per hour past 24 hours map

past 35 days concentration of activity graph in Bq/m3 for:

natural Beryllium-7, Radon, Caesium-137 and Iodine-131



Rhone valley, data from Criirad in mBq/m3:

latest data Caesium-134, Caesium-137, Iodine-131, Americium-241 and other artificial gamma emitters data


European Radiological Data Exchange Platform (EURDEP) public map


Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO)

data from the Bundesamt für Strahlenschutz

CBTO world map

World: past six weeks concentration of activity graph in Bq/m3 for:



Iodine Prophylaxis (llrc)

...The UK Health Protection Agency says stable iodine prophylaxis has been demonstrated to have minimal side effects, and there are no medical grounds for restricting the sale of stable iodine tablets to the public. However, UK pharmacists are not allowed to obtain supplies.

These are the recommended daily doses. Don't exceed them.

Age group

Equivalent mass of iodine (milligrams(mg))

Potassium iodate (mg)

Potassium iodide (mg) 1





Children aged 3-12 years




Children aged 1 month-under 3 years




Neonates (birth-under 1 month)






april 25th

Atmospheric radiation leak underestimated

Data released by the government indicates radioactive material was leaking into the atmosphere from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in early April in greater quantities than previously estimated.

Radioactive material was being released into the atmosphere from the plant at an estimated rate of 154 terabecquerels per day as of April 5, according to data released by the Cabinet Office's Nuclear Safety Commission on Saturday.

The NSC previously estimated radiation leakage on April 5 at "less than 1 terabecquerel per hour."

Iodine-131 and cesium-137 were released into the atmosphere that day at the estimated rates of 0.69 terabecquerel per hour and 0.14 terabecquerel per hour, respectively, the NSC said.

Emissions are converted into iodine-131 equivalents for assessment on the international nuclear event scale (INES), to arrive at the total 154 terabecquerels per day, the nuclear safety watchdog said.

One terabecquerel equals 1 trillion becquerels.

On April 17, plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. said in its plan for stabilization of the crippled reactors it would not start to get radiation leakage under control until the plan's fourth month of implementation.

This would mean 10,000 terabecquerels of radioactive substances would be released into the atmosphere from the plant during the coming three months, according to simple calculations based on the estimated emission rate as of April 5.

Emissions in that three-month period alone would therefore exceed the level necessary for a Level 6 severity rating on the INES, the globally accepted measure for evaluating nuclear accidents.

The ongoing crisis at the Fukushima plant has been rated a maximum Level 7 on the scale, which was established by the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in 1992.

The total amount of radioactive material discharged from the plant from March 11 to early April was estimated between 370,000 and 630,000 terabecquerels, according to government sources.

The commission, however, said the figures were estimates only, "with a considerable margin of error." Radiation levels around the six-reactor complex have been slowly falling, it said.

related post:

radioactivity: dosimetry + fukushima links

evacuate tokyo, fukushima is an aweapon plant

japan radioactivity: food and water contamination

alert: tokyo withholds key radioactivity data

Monday, 18 April 2011

evacuate tokyo; fukushima is an a-weapon plant!

draft april 24

april 24

Decentralizing Tokyo may save the nation
The concentration of money and power in Tokyo is to a degree unthinkable in the United States. — Edward Seidensticker
A recent issue of the somewhat disreputable Shukan Jitsuwa looked into a "rumor" that said the capital may be moved to the Kansai region due to the continuing threat of radiation in the eastern part of Japan. The exodus will be spearheaded by the private sector it said, mainly foreign companies but also firms that were born in Kansai but which had over time moved their headquarters to Tokyo. Jitsuwa said that Osaka governor Toru Hashimoto is excited about the possibility, hinting at a rivalry between him and Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara, who has never taken the idea of relocation seriously.
Because it was published in Jitsuwa, many won't take the article seriously, either. However, the earthquake of March 11 reminded everyone just how vulnerable Tokyo is to disaster. The quake caused little damage in the city, but the disruption of transportation and communications lines led to thousands of pedestrians clogging the sidewalks. Another weekly, Sunday Mainichi, reported that 33 percent of the people who commute to Tokyo for work walked home that night. It was an orderly migration, but nevertheless a worrying one. If this is what happens in Tokyo when a major earthquake strikes hundreds of kilometers away, what would happen if one struck much closer?
The idea of relocating the functions of the central government was first floated in the 1960s for various reasons, not all of them having to do with disaster countermeasures. During the so-called bubble period of the late 1980s, land prices in Tokyo were absurdly high, and it was thought that moving at least some of the government would spread the wealth around, since the theory was that related private sector concerns would follow. When the economy cooled in the 1990s so did talk about relocation, and by the late 2000s the idea was considered dead.
Now it's suddenly back. On April 14, Sankei Shimbun reported on a bipartisan meeting of national politicians in the Diet to set up fukutoshin (auxiliary capitals) that can take over if Tokyo is hit by a major natural disaster or terrorist attack. Some 200 lawmakers attended the meeting and agreed that construction must begin as soon as possible, by the end of the year at the latest. The urgency of such a task was underlined by Kobe University seismologist Katsuhiko Ishibashi, who warned at the meeting that if a major earthquake struck the Tokai region and damaged the Hamaoka nuclear power plant in Shizuoka Prefecture, Tokyo, which is less than 100 kilometers away, would have to be evacuated.
More than one auxiliary capital is preferable, but among the candidate locations the favorite seems to be Itami Airport in Osaka, a decision that should please Hashimoto, who wants to close Itami, once the region's international airport, in order to boost the fortunes of the newer Kansai International Airport. A bill has been submitted to set up a special economic district for the auxiliary capital so that planning and construction can begin.
But while there is certainly a need to have government functions reproduced somewhere outside of Tokyo, there are some people who believe it is not enough. In an opinion piece in the Asahi Shimbun, Mitsushi Koyama, the president of food company Bansho, says that full-scale decentralization of Tokyo should be the goal. He uses the expected shortage of electricity this summer to show how too much of the nation's resources are used for Tokyo and the surrounding regions. The area covered by Tokyo Electric Power Co. usually needs between 55 and 60 million kilowatts of power in the summer. None of the other nine regional power companies requires more than 20 million kilowatts at any one time.
But even if the government was moved out of Tokyo, Koyama doesn't believe it's enough. As he points out, only 2.8 percent of Tokyo's workers toil in the public sector, and the old theory that private sector companies would follow the government seems less supportable with the advent of the Internet. If the government wants to promote decentralization, it should directly encourage companies to move out of Tokyo. There's no reason for the Internet shopping mall Rakuten to have its headquarters in Roppongi. It can function anywhere. Japan has an excellent nationwide transportation network and high-speed communications system, so businesses can take advantage of regional characteristics.
Even Okinawa has special merits: All Nippon Airways has developed Naha Airport into a cargo hub for all of eastern Asia, so companies that sell parts to that area of the world could reduce costs if they relocated factories or distribution centers to Okinawa. The Mainichi Shimbun suggested Tokyo companies move to the Tohoku region in order to help it recover more quickly.
Shortly after the earthquake, some companies did move their offices out of the capital, but only temporarily. Under those circumstances, "leaving Tokyo" was seen as a negative thing. Koyama says business groups such as Nippon Keidanren (Japan Federation of Economic Organizations) should promote leaving Tokyo in a positive light. A 47-year-old man who wrote a letter to the Asahi expressed similar ideas but added he didn't think the government could be counted on to make decentralization happen. Despite the concerted push to find an auxiliary capital, the Diet on April 15 passed a bill to give tax breaks to large corporations that plan redevelopment activities in large cities, including Tokyo, where all the large corporations are headquartered.
Ishihara is also an obstacle. During his recent reelection campaign, he supported greater disaster prevention capabilities for the city rather than decentralization. The governor, who has repeatedly said his political vision is national, wants to change Japan from his vantage point of Tokyo, thus indicating Tokyo is the nation. By that logic, if Tokyo falls, so does Japan.
Philip Brasor blogs at

april 23

The Japanese government has expressed concern about the structural strength of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant's Number 1 reactor. It says the ongoing water injections may be making the vessel less earthquake resistant... At the Number 1 reactor, where fuel rods are believed to be the most seriously damaged, six tons of water are being injected every hour.
... (NHK)

april 22

EPA data shows Fukushima Uranium in California
Elevated levels of Uranium have been found in air samplers (filters) operated by US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the north Pacific. Recent data for the Mariana Islands (2800 km south of Fukushima) Hawaii, California and Seattle have been found in the RADNET EPA website.

The graph ... has been created from the very limited data provided. It shows that uranium (and probably also therefore plutonium) particles have been or are being released by the Fukushima catastrophe. They are appearing in California some 8000km away at levels which are greater than background. (Note: EPA has not provided baseline data. The background level indicated by the blue line on the graph is based on averaged measurements at UK Atomic Weapons Establishment.) The increasing trend with proximity to Japan suggests that Japan is far more heavily contaminated than any of these sites, as we have predicted. It is of the greatest concern that no data on uranium and plutonium have been published by the authorities there. Report.Data on EPA site
Anaheim CA
15 March
Anaheim CA
20 March
Riverside CA
15 March
San Francisco CA
18 March
Saipan, Mariana Is.
21 March
Saipan, Mariana Is.
24 March
Guam (Mariana Is.)
19 March
Guam (Mariana Is.)
23 March
Oahu, Hawaii
23 March
Kauai, Hawaii
21 March
Seattle WA
18 March
Mean levels AWE (Atomic Weapons Establishment, UK)

Iodine 131 and a classic magicians' distraction technique.

This post is about radio-Iodine but we have doubts about going with it. If the authorities can get us all thinking about Iodine and then reassure us that actually it's not a problem except for people in Japan (which is broadly true) then we might not realise that the really dangerous isotopes - Plutonium, Uranium, Strontium, Tritium in particular - are not even being reported. This is a massive failure of Governments' duty of care.

However, with that caveat, we'll fall into the Iodine trap because we have received many requests for advice since the Fukushima emergency began. Our early advice on taking stable Iodine is unchanged. It is here. The European Committee on Radiation Risk has published a method for calculating doses from drinking water or milk contaminated with Iodine 131. ECRR's main message is reassuring about the risks, so far as USA and Europe are concerned. They are not much different from what you hear from official sources.Calculating doses from Iodine. Take the figure for Becquerels per litre (Bq/l). (There is information on the internet. LLRC has no resources for monitoring it all). If, as in USA, the radioactivity levels are expressed in picoCuries (pCi), convert pCi to Becquerels (Bq) by multiplying by 0.037.
To convert a dietary intake into a dose multiply the Becquerels by 0.11 and the answer will be the dose in microSieverts. For example, if a litre of water is contaminated with 0.5 Bq, drinking it will give 0.5 x 0.11 = 0.055microSv. (This uses the ECRR adult dose coefficient for Iodine 131 which is slightly different to the ICRP dose coefficient - see ECRR 2010 p. 244).
The cancer risk associated with this dose is small. It can be calculated by dividing the dose in microSv by 1 billion. For the above example this means that if a billion people each drank a litre of water contaminated with 0.5 Bq then 5.5 of them would develop cancer over a period of 50 years. The individual person would increase his or her chances of getting cancer by 1 in 182 million. (This uses the ECRR cancer risk coefficient of 0.1 per Sievert which is different to the ICRP risk coefficient 0.05 per Sievert - see ECRR 2010 p. 180).

Note that this calculation is for a single intake. Iodine 131 loses half of its radioactivity in 8.04 days. This means that if your water supply comes from rainfall and if the rain becomes contaminated in a single episode the radioactivity will decay to 1/16th of its original concentration during a month and so on. That's assuming no further releases from the reactor affect your region.

april 20

Rosemary Found to Offer Best Protection against Radiation Poisoning

Compounds from rosemary fight against mutagenic effects of radiation
In two separate studies, scientists in Spain found that nothing fights radiation damage to micronuclei like a simple garden herb known as rosemary. They noted that ionizing radiation causes the massive generation of free radicals that induce cellular DNA damage. They studied the protective effects of several compounds against gamma ray induced chromosomal damage in micronuclei testing by adding various compounds to human blood before and after irradiation. When the compounds were added after gamma-irradiation treatment, the protective effects relied not on scavenging ability, but on activity against free radicals already present in the cells, such as lipoperoxy radicals which are mainly responsible for continuous chromosomal oxidative damage.

The fact that carnosic acid and carnosol found in rosemary are fat soluble allows them to provide highly asignificant protective anti-mutagenic activity. Even the most powerful water-soluble antioxidants lack the capacity to protect against gamma ray induced damage. This study can be found in the British Journal of Radiology, February 2 edition.

In their second study, the generation of radiation induced cellular DNA damage to skin from free radicals was the focus. The researchers sought to demonstrate that rosmarinic acid from rosemary would act as a photo-protector both by acting as a scavenger of free radicals and as an inducer of the body's own endogenous defense mechanisms by regulating tyrosinase activity and stimulating melanin production. They found that formulation of toxic malonyldialdehyde was delayed by the use of rosmarinic acid, and the protection factor was 3.34 times greater than for other compounds studied, as measured in micronucleus testing. In vivo testing showed the capacity of orally administered rosmarinic acid to inhibit skin alterations as a result of UV radiation exposure. This study was reported in the February edition of Food and Chemical Toxicology.

Radioactive Iodine In Phoenix Arizona Milk 1600% Above EPA Drinking Water Limits
I have previously reported levels of radiation in Hawaii milk to be 2033% above the EPA federal drinking water limit those levels were from the combined radioactive contamination of Iodine and two Caesium isotopes combined. Yes, just like wine, alcohol and vodka all contribute to blood alcohol content levels radionuclides are also combined toward the EPA limit of 4 millirems per year in drinking water.
With the Phoenix Arizona milk samples, however, we simply have levels of Iodine along being reported at up 1600% above the EPA drinking water limit. Caesium and other radioactive isotopes were not reported. We usually Linkdo see the levels of each caesium isotope to be somewhere near the levels of Iodine contamination in milk meaning in reality we are most likely looking at actual radioactivity in the Phoenix milk samples somewhere in the neighborhood of 5000% above the EPA federal drinking water limit. ...(Alexander Higgins)

april 18

On Friday, the highest radiation level measured outside the double-entry doors of the Number 1 to 3 reactor buildings was 2 to 4 millisieverts per hour.

Radiation levels measured between the double doors of those reactor buildings was 270 millisieverts in the Number One reactor, 12 in Number 2, and 10 in Number 3.
The radiation level detected at the Number One reactor exceeds the national exposure limit of 250 millisieverts for nuclear contract workers.
... (NHK)

April 16-17, 2011 (WMR)


WMR's news media colleagues report massive shortages of basic foodstuffs and other essentials in Tokyo and environs. With mandatory blackouts and transportation disruptions, supply lines are experiencing fragmentation and food staples are in short supply on store shelves. Our good friend, who has just completed three years as the bureau chief in Washington, DC of Japan's Mainichi Shimbun newspaper is heading back to Tokyo with his family. If WMR readers are in a position to help, what he, his family, his colleagues and their families need right now are Ramen-type noodles, dried seaweed, AA and AAA batteries, evaporated milk (milk in and around Tokyo is reported to be at unsafe radiation levels), beef or other dried jerky packages, and powdered soup packages, which should be sent in small parcels to reduce mailing costs and potential customs difficulties. If your company is in a position to donate use of FEDEX, UPS, or DHL for sending small parcels, that would help with shipping costs. The mailing address for these parcels is: Kenichi Komatsu, Senior Writer, Mainichi Shimbun, 1-1-1, Hitotsubashi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8051, Japan. Whatever Kenichi and his family cannot use will be generously provided to his colleagues who are struggling to support their families' needs while trying to also report on the Fukushima nuclear disaster, as well as the damage wrought by the mega-quake and tsunami. Thanks to all. WMR appreciates the messages of support for its editor but the needs of our Japanese friends far outweigh any personal politically-connected problems being experienced in Washington at the present time.

april 14

Dr. Chris Busby Believes Fukushima Was A Nuclear Explosion

Question: "We see reports that Chernobyl in 1986 was 400 times Hiroshima ­ why are reactor meltdowns so much more dirty that hydrogen or atomic explosions ­ or is that wrong?"

Busby: "No, that's right, they are more dirty - and the reason they are more dirty is that they have vast amounts of uranium.

In the atomic bomb at Hiroshima was a limited amount of uranium ­ maybe a ton ­ we are talking about here is several thousand tons.

The amount of fuel rods there, as I understand it, was about 1,700 tons of spent fuel ­ and each of these reactors contains and each of these reactors probably contains about 100-150 tons of uranium, plutonium and mixed radionuclides ­ so there's just a lot more stuff, that's basically it.

The Chernobyl accident, which I think now ­ having talked to some Russian nuclear physicists last week in Berlin ­ was a nuclear explosion and not a hydrogen explosion because there was a particular fission ration of Xenon isotopes that define a nuclear explosion.

The Chernobyl explosion vaporized at very most 200 tons, and the argument was that it was only 50 tons. Well here we have a lot more than that ­ we have a huge amount of fuel here that can go up in the air and a lot of it already has..."


Citing data collected by two Russian scientists, Professor Chris Busby said that the explosions at Fukushima were possibly nuclear. The Russian scientists, Sergey A. Pakhomov and Yuri V. Dubasov of the VG Khlopin Radium Institute in Saint Petersburg, examined data related to the explosion at Chernobyl.

Using ratios of the radionuclides Xenon 133 and Xenon 133m which they measured by gamma spectrometer, the Russians demonstrated that the Chernobyl explosion was a fission criticality explosion and not principally a hydrogen explosion as has been claimed.

"I believe that the explosion of the No 3 reactor may have also involved criticality but this must await the release of data on measurements of the Xenon isotope ratios," he writes in a statement on Fukushima and Chernobyl emailed to

Busby further notes that the surface contamination and of dose rates 60 kilometers out from the Fukushima site on March 17 exceeded that released at Chernobyl.

He explains in his statement that the damaged reactors at Fukushima "are now continuing to fission. It is hoped that there will be no separation of plutonium and possible nuclear explosion. I feel that this is unlikely now." Short of an actual plutonium explosion, the reactors remain open to the air and will continue to "fission and release radionuclides for years unless something drastic is done."

Dr. Busby noted a precedent for the dire scenario now unfolding ­ a nuclear explosion at a plutonium production reprocessing plant in the former Soviet Union in 1957.

The incident known as the Kyshtym disaster, at the Mayak facility was the second-worst nuclear accident in history after the Chernobyl disaster. The explosion released 50-100 tonnes of high-level radioactive waste and contaminated a huge territory in the eastern Urals. The Soviets kept the explosion secret for 30 years. According to a report on the accident, about 400,000 people in the region were irradiated following the explosion and other incidents at the plant.

Dr. Busby said that short of actual isotope readings, he cannot definitely state that the explosions at Fukushima were nuclear, although he believes they were.

"We don't have evidence of that," he concluded, "we would need to have the Xenon isotope ratios."

Why Does FDA Tolerate More Radiation Than EPA?

Since the Environmental Protection Agency began detecting radiation in rainwater and milk at levels above its maximum contaminant level, government officials have been downplaying the importance of EPA’s maximum contaminant level.
They would much prefer us to speak in terms of the Food and Drug Administration’s “Derived Intervention Level.”
The two levels could hardly be more different:
  • EPA does not allow drinking water to contain more than 3 picoCuries per liter of radioactive istotopes like iodine-131 and cesium-137.
  • FDA allows up to 4,700 picoCuries of iodine-131 in a liter of milk and up to 33,000 picoCuries of cesium-137.
Officials from both agencies—as well as many state governments—explain the difference in terms of time: EPA assumes long-term exposure over 70 years. FDA assumes you’re encountering the radiation all at once.
But time isn’t the only difference between these two standards:
FDA tolerates a higher mortality rate.
In Hawaii, where milk from Hilo contained the highest levels seen so far, Environmental Health administrator Lynn Nakasone suggested the EPA’s standard is irrelevant to milk contamination.
“It’s like drinking two liters of water for 70 years to get (the EPA’s) limit,” Nakasone told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. “So if you extrapolated to milk, you’d have to drink two liters of milk for 70 years to get that limit.”
Nakasone prefers the FDA’s standard. But here’s what Nakasone isn’t telling Hawaiians:
  • The EPA’s level is calculated so that in a population of one million people, the radiation will result in no more than one additional cancer fatality.
  • The FDA standard, on the other hand, accepts two extra cancer fatalities in a population of 10,000.
Why does the FDA tolerate more radiation, and more mortality, than the EPA?...

The Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, says the water temperature in the spent fuel storage pool at the No. 4 reactor in the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant has risen to about 90 degrees Celsius. It fears the spent fuel rods may be damaged. (NHK)


Japan Mulls Moving Capital over Disaster Worries

As powerful earthquakes continue to jolt Japan and radiation levels near Tokyo are rising, the Asian country's authorities are considering moving the capital to another city.
The most probable location for a new capital are Osaka and Nagoya, according to ITAR-TASS. Both cities are located near international airports.
see also:
In 1990, the Diet (Japan's parliament) passed a resolution to investigate moving Japan's capital city out of Tokyo. Within a few weeks, a committee will present their choice for the location of a brand-new capital city to the Prime Minister.
  • Tokai - a region around Nagoya, west of Tokyo
  • Hokuto - in northeast Japan, near Sendai
  • Mie-kio - northwest of Tokyo

april 12

...The Nuclear Safety Commission of Japan released a preliminary calculation Monday saying that the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant had been releasing up to 10,000 terabecquerels of radioactive materials per hour at some point after a massive quake and tsunami hit northeastern Japan on March 11. (Kyodo)


Advice for the people of Japan
Large areas of Japan are contaminated to measured levels around 1 microsievert per hour. This figure is just for Caesium 137; it does not measure the alpha-emitting radionuclides Plutonium and Uranium. These contaminants are the real threat to health. No official sources are saying anything about this hazard although hundreds of tonnes of Uranium and Plutonium are missing from the spent fuel ponds. It's known that up to 1760 tonnes of spent fuel was stored on site. Some of it was in pools in the roofs of reactor containments which these high resolution aerial photos show to be absent, following explosions.
"Dose": the doses the Japanese government is publishing (e.g. here) are not a measure of risk. The data are for Caesium 137 which is easy to monitor because it is a strong gamma emitter. The data should be regarded as a signal for the very likely presence of the dangerous alpha emitting radionuclides like Uranium and beta emitters like Strontium-90 which are very hard to detect.
Food - LLRC advice: Vegetables and other foodstuffs showing more than 50 Bq/Kg Caesium indicate airborne contamination with other radionuclides. If food shows more than 50 Bq/Kg don't eat it unless you have absolutely no choice.The Japanese government should immediately ask for international food aid supplies to prevent its people eating contaminated food.
Early signs of health damage: We have received information from people in the Tokyo region stating that they have swollen lymph nodes and sores in their nostrils. These are indicators that they have probably inhaled particles of Plutonium and Uranium.
LLRC advice: unless it is absolutely impossible to leave, evacuate to areas where there has been no fallout - check MEXT data (English) or MEXT data (Japanese) .
To evacuate or not? Here is a novel scientific approach to the problem of quantifying the health effects of radioactive pollution.
Put simply, in an area now contaminated to a level of 1 microsievert per hour the fallout raises every individual person's risk of getting cancer in the next 10 years by 11%.
How do we know this?
The Japanese authorities are publishing data on contamination levels in the form of hourly dose rates from Caesium137. It is therefore possible to calculate the cancer yield using the same criteria as used by Tondel and colleagues in a robust but conservative study of cancer in Sweden after Chernobyl. Sweden is known to have been contaminated with Uranium fuel although fallout mapping generally used data for Caesium, just as in Japan now, exactly 25 years later. Tondel and colleagues found an 11% increase in cancer incidence for each 100 kiloBecquerels Caesium137 on each square metre of ground. The cancers were expressed (diagnosed) in a ten year period; cancers appearing later than 10 years are of course possible but were not included in Tondel's study.
A longer description of the method is here as HTML. The detailed method as provided by Professor Busby is here as a PDF .
To calculate the additional risk from fallout,
  • download the charts for your prefecture from MEXT data (English) or MEXT data (Japanese):
  • Calculate the average rate; it is given in microsieverts per hour (µSv/h). (Exclude any short-term peaks as these will have been caused by radioactivity landing on the detectors and associated structures; it will since have been washed off by rain.)
  • Find the historical background rate for your area, given as Range of past usual figures at the bottom of the charts (typical values are 0.017 - 0.1) Subtract this from your average.
  • Multiply the result by 1565. Your new result will be the number of additional, fallout-related cancers expected in ten years for every 100,000 people in the population of your prefecture (This is over and above the pre-accident rate, calculated for all malignancies in the Japanese population.)
We will post a worked example on this page later and state the assumptions behind the 1565 multiplier.
We recommend you save the MEXT data sheets in case the government deletes them. It is important to know the true historical levels so that the additional exposure from fallout can be calculated in future.


Food safety labs may not have capacity to handle a crisis like Japan's

Aaron Mehta and Laurel Adams

As Japan struggles with a radiation emergency, the network of laboratories in charge of keeping nuclear contamination out of American food is under fire for being unprepared and understaffed.
The Department of Agriculture inspector general found that while the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service has provided training, equipment, and established protocols for the Food Emergency Response Network (FERN), it has yet to implement it.
After the 9/11 attacks, President George W. Bush signed a presidential directive to protect food supplies. FERN is the national laboratory network charged with responding to biological, chemical or radiological contamination of food—essentially the front line in making sure Americans’ food is safe to eat in case of an emergency.
The inspector general found that FERN cannot ensure laboratories within the network actually have the capacity to respond to emergencies. It has a cooperative agreement with 25 labs, but it also relies on another 95 labs as part of its network. It has not verified information about the capabilities of the 95 labs outside of the cooperative agreement.
The IG said three of the labs lack capabilities that the government is counting on. One laboratory was listed as being capable of testing for two types of bacteria, E. coli and Campylobacter, which it could not actually perform. The same lab said it was capable of testing 2,500 samples for salmonella, but under the required testing method, the lab was told it could only test for 150. Another lab wrongly stated that it could test for anthrax.
“There is little assurance that these laboratories will be able to assume testing responsibilities as needed,” the inspector general said. “If FSIS discovers during an emergency that laboratories lack their listed testing capabilities, the agency may lose valuable time finding a laboratory that can analyze a sample for a particular threat.”
Patty Lovera, the assistant director for the nonprofit Food and Water Watch, said the report’s findings don’t inspire confidence in the food safety system. She also pointed to a long history of communication problems between FSIS and the FDA. “It’s been like pulling teeth to get them to talk to each other,” she said. “They’re really very different places and cultures that set them up.”
Weeks after a massive earthquake damaged the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor, the situation has continued to deteriorate. Nuclear regulators have now marked the reactor as a class 7 on the International Nuclear Event Scale, the only time since the Chernobyl meltdown that designation has been assigned. Public health officials have continued to downplay the danger from radiation or contaminated food, however. The World Health Organization told reporters that there is “little” health risk outside of the designated zone around the reactor.
But according to Lovera, testing has confirmed higher levels of radiation in milk from cows in California, Washington, Arkansas, Hawaii and Vermont. Officials have said the radiation levels are not harmful, as the radiation is roughly the equivalent of an X-ray or CAT scan. But Lovera said people don’t ingest radiation during medical procedures. Given the amount of radiation people are exposed to on a daily basis, she argued, it is “all the more reason not to get exposed to [radiation in] things like food and drinking water.”
The IG’s report comes as Congress and President Obama struck a deal on a proposed budget that would cut $11 million from the FDA’s budget request. At an appropriations hearing in March, FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg expressed concern about the FDA’s current ability to handle a nuclear emergency. “We are lacking some critical elements of preparedness” she told Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wis.
Additional cuts include $10 million from USDA’s meat and poultry inspection budget.
Last month the Center reported on another IG audit warning that methods employed by FSIS to inspect meat for E. coli were flawed.

April 11

China and South Korea have also criticised Japan's handling of the nuclear crisis, with Seoul calling it incompetent, reflecting growing international unease over the month-long atomic disaster and the spread of radiation...(

april 9
The government also moved to ban the planting of rice in soil containing too much radioactive material, which has been released from the Fukushima Daiichi plant in the weeks since a catastrophic earthquake and tsunami. Sales of some milk, vegetables and fish have been prohibited because of contamination, but the new measures affect the nation’s staple crop, a foundation of its culture as well as its diet.
The new policy on rice will ban planting of the crop in soil that has more than 5,000 becquerels of cesium-137 per kilogram of soil.
So far, radiation testers have found only two spots in northeastern Japan, both in the town of Iitate, 25 miles from the Fukushima Daiichi plant, that has had cesium levels that high. Cesium-137 can damage cells and lead to an increased risk of cancer.
The national and prefectural governments are now hurriedly performing broader soil surveys to identify which areas would be off limits to planting.
With planting about to begin, “we don’t have so much time,” said Sumito Yasuoka, an official in the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, who said farmers pressed the government to let them know if they could plant their crop. The government also wants to assure consumers that the rice they eat will be safe.
The level of 5,000 becquerels per kilogram was chosen because rice grown in such soil would be expected to end up with about 500 becquerels of cesium 137 in the rice. That is the existing limit for vegetables and some other foods, Mr. Yasuoka said.
Fukushima Prefecture is the nation’s fourth-largest rice producer, and rice is its biggest crop, so any ban on planting would cause financial hardship.
“It hurts terribly,” said Yoshinori Sato, an official of an agricultural cooperative in Fukushima Prefecture with 13,000 households as members. Mr. Sato said that about half the rice acres his co-op’s members hoped to plant this year might be off limits, either because of radiation or because of tsunami damage.
Mindful of the sensitivities, Michihiko Kano, the minister of agriculture, visited Iitate on Saturday and promised that farmers who were not allowed to grow rice because of soil contamination would be compensated. (NYT)

april 6

Is Japan's Elite Hiding a Weapons Program Inside Nuclear Plants?

Yoichi Shimatsu

Confused and often conflicting reports out of Fukushima 1 nuclear plant cannot be solely the result of tsunami-caused breakdowns, bungling or miscommunication. Inexplicable delays and half-baked explanations from Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) seem to be driven by some unspoken factor.

The smoke and mirrors at Fukushima 1 seem to obscure a steady purpose, an iron will and a grim task unknown to outsiders. The most logical explanation: The nuclear industry and government agencies are scrambling to prevent the discovery of atomic-bomb research facilities hidden inside Japan's civilian nuclear power plants.

A secret nuclear weapons program is a ghost in the machine, detectable only when the system of information control momentarily lapses or breaks down. A close look must be taken at the gap between the official account and unexpected events.

related post: japan should go nuke

Conflicting Reports

TEPCO, Japan’s nuclear power operator, initially reported three reactors were operating at the time of the March 11 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. Then a hydrogen explosion ripped Unit 3, run on plutonium-uranium mixed oxide (or MOX). Unit 6 immediately disappeared from the list of operational reactors, as highly lethal particles of plutonium billowed out of Unit 3. Plutonium is the stuff of smaller, more easily delivered warheads.

A fire ignited inside the damaged housing of the Unit 4 reactor, reportedly due to overheating of spent uranium fuel rods in a dry cooling pool. But the size of the fire indicates that this reactor was running hot for some purpose other than electricity generation. Its omission from the list of electricity-generating operations raises the question of whether Unit 4 was being used to enrich uranium, the first step of the process leading to extraction of weapons-grade fissionable material.

The bloom of irradiated seawater across the Pacific comprises another piece of the puzzle, because its underground source is untraceable (or, perhaps, unmentionable). The flooded labyrinth of pipes, where the bodies of two missing nuclear workers—never before disclosed to the press— were found, could well contain the answer to the mystery: a lab that none dare name.

Political Warfare

In reaction to Prime Minister Naoto Kan's demand for prompt reporting of problems, the pro-nuclear lobby has closed ranks, fencing off and freezing out the prime minister's office from vital information. A grand alliance of nuclear proponents now includes TEPCO, plant designer General Electric, METI, the former ruling Liberal Democratic Party and, by all signs, the White House.

Cabinet ministers in charge of communication and national emergencies recently lambasted METI head Banri Kaeda for acting as both nuclear promoter and regulator in charge of the now-muzzled Nuclear and Industrial Safety Commission. TEPCO struck back quickly, blaming the prime minister's helicopter fly-over for delaying venting of volatile gases and thereby causing a blast at Reactor 2. For "health reasons,” TEPCO 's president retreated to a hospital ward, cutting Kan's line of communication with the company and undermining his site visit to Fukushima 1.

Kan is furthered hampered by his feud with Democratic Party rival Ichiro Ozawa, the only potential ally with the clout to challenge the formidable pro-nuclear coalition

The head of the Liberal Democrats, which sponsored nuclear power under its nearly 54-year tenure, has just held confidential talks with U.S. Ambassador John Roos, while President Barack Obama was making statements in support of new nuclear plants across the U.S.

Cut Off From Communications

The substance of undisclosed talks between Tokyo and Washington can be surmised from disruptions to my recent phone calls to a Japanese journalist colleague. While inside the radioactive hot zone, his roaming number was disconnected, along with the mobiles of nuclear workers at Fukushima 1 who are denied phone access to the outside world. The service suspension is not due to design flaws. When helping to prepare the Tohoku crisis response plan in 1996, my effort was directed at ensuring that mobile base stations have back-up power with fast recharge.

A subsequent phone call when my colleague returned to Tokyo went dead when I mentioned "GE.” That incident occurred on the day that GE’s CEO Jeff Immelt landed in Tokyo with a pledge to rebuild the Fukushima 1 nuclear plant. Such apparent eavesdropping is only possible if national phone carrier NTT is cooperating with the signals-intercepts program of the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA).

The Manchurian Deal

The chain of events behind this vast fabrication goes back many decades.

During the Japanese militarist occupation of northeast China in the 1930s, the puppet state of Manchukuo was carved out as a fully modern economic powerhouse to support overpopulated Japan and its military machine. A high-ranking economic planner named Nobusuke Kishi worked closely with then commander of the occupying Kanto division, known to the Chinese as the Kwantung Army, General Hideki Tojo.

Close ties between the military and colonial economists led to stunning technological achievements, including the prototype of a bullet train (or Shinkansen) and inception of Japan's atomic bomb project in northern Korea. When Tojo became Japan's wartime prime minister, Kishi served as his minister of commerce and economy, planning for total war on a global scale.

After Japan's defeat in 1945, both Tojo and Kishi were found guilty as Class-A war criminals, but Kishi evaded the gallows for reasons unknown—probably his usefulness to a war-ravaged nation. The scrawny economist’s conception of a centrally managed economy provided the blueprint for MITI (Ministry of International Trade and Industry), the predecessor of METI, which created the economic miracle that transformed postwar Japan into an economic superpower.

After clawing his way into the good graces of Cold Warrior John Foster Dulles, Eisenhower's secretary of state, Kishi was elected prime minister in 1957. His protégé Yasuhiro Nakasone, the former naval officer and future prime minister, spearheaded Japan's campaign to become a nuclear power under the cover of the Atomic Energy Basic Law.

American Complicity

Kishi secretly negotiated a deal with the White House to permit the U.S. military to store atomic bombs in Okinawa and Atsugi naval air station outside Tokyo. (Marine corporal Lee Harvey Oswald served as a guard inside Atsugi's underground warhead armory.) In exchange, the U.S. gave the nod for Japan to pursue a "civilian" nuclear program.

Secret diplomacy was required due to the overwhelming sentiment of the Japanese public against nuclear power in the wake of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings. Two years ago, a text of the secret agreement was unearthed by Katsuya Okada, foreign minister in the cabinet of the first Democratic Party prime minister, Yukio Hatoyama (who served for nine months from 2009-10).

see: Gov't to admit existence of secret pact on nuke introduction
Many key details were missing from this document, which had been locked inside the Foreign Ministry archives. Retired veteran diplomat Kazuhiko Togo disclosed that the more sensitive matters were contained in brief side letters, some of which were kept in a mansion frequented by Kishi's half-brother, the late Prime Minister Eisaku Sato (who served from 1964-72). Those most important diplomatic notes, Togo added, were removed and subsequently disappeared.

These revelations were considered a major issue in Japan, yet were largely ignored by the Western media. With the Fukushima nuclear plant going up in smoke, the world is now paying the price of that journalistic neglect.

On his 1959 visit to Britain, Kishi was flown by military helicopter to the Bradwell nuclear plant in Essex. The following year, the first draft of the U.S.-Japan security was signed, despite massive peace protests in Tokyo. Within a couple of years, the British firm GEC built Japan's first nuclear reactor at Tokaimura, Ibaragi Prefecture. At the same time, just after the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, the newly unveiled Shinkansen train gliding past Mount Fuji provided the perfect rationale for nuclear-sourced electricity.

Kishi uttered the famous statement that "nuclear weapons are not expressly prohibited" under the postwar Constitution's Article 9 prohibiting war-making powers. His words were repeated two years ago by his grandson, then Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The ongoing North Korea "crisis" served as a pretext for this third-generation progeny of the political elite to float the idea of a nuclear-armed Japan. Many Japanese journalists and intelligence experts assume the secret program has sufficiently advanced for rapid assembly of a warhead arsenal and that underground tests at sub-critical levels have been conducted with small plutonium pellets.

Sabotaging Alternative Energy

The cynical attitude of the nuclear lobby extends far into the future, strangling at birth the Japanese archipelago's only viable source of alternative energy—offshore wind power. Despite decades of research, Japan has only 5 percent of the wind energy production of China, an economy (for the moment, anyway) of comparable size. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, a nuclear-power partner of Westinghouse, manufactures wind turbines but only for the export market.

The Siberian high-pressure zone ensures a strong and steady wind flow over northern Japan, but the region's utility companies have not taken advantage of this natural energy resource. The reason is that TEPCO, based in Tokyo and controlling the largest energy market, acts much as a shogun over the nine regional power companies and the national grid. Its deep pockets influence high bureaucrats, publishers and politicians like Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara, while nuclear ambitions keep the defense contractors and generals on its side. Yet TEPCO is not quite the top dog. Its senior partner in this mega-enterprise is Kishi's brainchild, METI.

The national test site for offshore wind is unfortunately not located in windswept Hokkaido or Niigata, but farther to the southeast, in Chiba Prefecture. Findings from these tests to decide the fate of wind energy won't be released until 2015. The sponsor of that slow-moving trial project is TEPCO.

Death of Deterrence

Meanwhile in 2009, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) issued a muted warning on Japan's heightened drive for a nuclear bomb— and promptly did nothing. The White House has to turn a blind eye to the radiation streaming through American skies or risk exposure of a blatant double standard on nuclear proliferation by an ally. Besides, Washington's quiet approval for a Japanese bomb doesn't quite sit well with the memory of either Pearl Harbor or Hiroshima.

In and of itself, a nuclear deterrence capability would be neither objectionable nor illegal— in the unlikely event that the majority of Japanese voted in favor of a constitutional amendment to Article 9. Legalized possession would require safety inspections, strict controls and transparency of the sort that could have hastened the Fukushima emergency response. Covert weapons development, in contrast, is rife with problems. In the event of an emergency, like the one happening at this moment, secrecy must be enforced at all cost— even if it means countless more hibakusha, or nuclear victims.

Instead of enabling a regional deterrence system and a return to great-power status, the Manchurian deal planted the time bombs now spewing radiation around the world. The nihilism at the heart of this nuclear threat to humanity lies not inside Fukushima 1, but within the national security mindset. The specter of self-destruction can be ended only with the abrogation of the U.S.-Japan security treaty, the root cause of the secrecy that fatally delayed the nuclear workers' fight against meltdown

Yoichi Shimatsu, a Hong Kong–based environmental writer, is the former editor of the
Japan Times Weekly.

april 5

The operator of Japan's stricken Fukushima nuclear plant said Tuesday that it had found radioactive iodine at 7.5 million times the legal limit in a seawater sample taken near the facility...On Monday, officials detected more than 4,000 bequerels of iodine-131 per kilogram in a type of fish called a sand lance caught less than three miles offshore of the town of Kita-Ibaraki. The young fish also contained 447 bequerels of cesium-137...On Tuesday chief cabinet secretary Yukio Edano said the government was imposing a standard of 2,000 bequerels of iodine per kilogram of fish, the same level it allows in vegetables. Previously, the government did not have a specific level for fish. (LA times/McClatchy)

april 4
Govt did not reveal high level radiation estimate
It has been learned that the Japanese government withheld the release of computer projections indicating high levels of radioactivity in areas more than 30 kilometers from the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

The estimates were made on March 16th following explosions at the plant by an institute commissioned by the government using a computer system called SPEEDI. The system made its projections on the assumption that radioactive substances had been released for 24 hours from midnight on March 14th, based on the available data.

But the government was reluctant to reveal the SPEEDI projections, and did not release them until March 23rd.
The released data showed that higher levels of radioactive substances would flow over areas to the northwest and southwest of the plant.

The estimates showed that the radiation would exceed 100 millisieverts in some areas more than 30 kilometers from the nuclear plant if people remained outdoors for 24 hours between March 12th and 24th.

That is 100 times higher than the 1 millisievert-per-year long-term reference level for humans as recommended by the International Commission on Radiological Protection.

The Nuclear Safety Commission says it did not release the projections because the location or the amount of radioactive leakage was not specified at the time.

Professor emeritus Shigenobu Nagataki of Nagasaki University, says the government should release more data about the dangers of possible radiation exposure and draw up evacuation plans and other measures together with residents.

Japan’s Nuclear Safety Agency confirmed that radioactive iodine-131 in seawater samples taken near the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power complex that was seriously damaged by the recent tsunami off the coast of Japan is 4,385 times the level permitted by law. (Al Jazeera)

march 31

Guillaume Malaurie

Non-dits et secrets: omerta sur le nucléaire français

Symbole de notre indépendance militaire et énergétique, le nucléaire est une affaire d'Etat. Plongée au cœur du lobby de l'atome.
C'est formidable, le hasard. Quelques jours après le début de la catastrophe de la centrale nucléaire de Fukushima, une brochette de personnalités a priori très différentes les unes des autres ont toutes prononcé la même petite phrase : « Si les Japonais avaient eu un réacteur EPR français, ça ne serait jamais arrivé !» Un argument massue invérifiable, contestable, mais efficace. Parmi ces porte-parole, il y eut dans le rôle de l'expert Thomas Oudré, haut responsable de l'Agence de Sûreté nucléaire, côté élus, les députés Philippe Daubresse (UMP) ou Christian Bataille (PS), mais aussi Henri Guaino, conseiller de Sarkozy, le multicarte Claude Allegre, et même l'éditorialiste Eric Zemmour dont on ignorait jusque-là les compétences en physique nucléaire.
Précisons tout de même que cet EPR 100% antichoc et antifuite n'existe en vrai nulle part au monde et est toujours en chantier en Finlande où il accuse quatre ans de retard sur l'agenda initial pour des problèmes de sécurité : il aura fallu ajouter 25% de ferraillage dans le béton de l'enceinte à la demande des Finlandais. Mais peu importe : pour les supporters de l'EPR, il s'agit d'une grande cause nationale. Il faut donc marteler l'argument de l'excellence atomique française. Mobiliser les hussards de l'atome un peu désorientés, les amis hésitants, les obligés récalcitrants et donc organiser les relais d'opinion. Question : qui est à l'origine de la version originale de la petite phrase sur l'EPR reprise en choeur ? Le 16 mars, Anne Lauvergeon, la patronne d'Areva, en donne une version impeccable devant les députés : « S'il y avait eu des EPR à Fukushima, il n'y aurait pas de fuites possibles dans l'environnement, quelle que que soit la situation. » (...)

Intérêts économiques et stratégiques

Depuis un demi-siècle, les intérêts économiques et stratégiques du nucléaire civil sont si vertigineux qu'ils se confondent avec l'intérêt supérieur de l'Etat. Cela peut se concevoir... A condition toutefois que la puissance publique inspire confiance et puisse rassurer l'opinion quand survient un pépin ou un accident dans une centrale. Or, depuis des lustres, le grand bond de l'énergie nucléaire repose sur des non-dits, des silences, des secrets. Il aura fallu Tchernobyl et la fable du nuage radioactif bloqué aux frontières du Rhin pour que l'imposture soit révélée : «La crédibilité des organismes officiels liés au nucléaire demeure aujourd'hui faible, voire très faible », note Frédérick Lemarchand, sociologue du risque à l'université de Caen. Le cataclysme en cours à Fukushima n'arrange rien... Alors le lobby, qui sent bien que le pacte avec les Français se dégrade, se réfugie dans la communication. Exemple très récent : dès le début de la crise, surgissait sur toutes les chaînes de télévision un « expert » jusque-là inconnu et réputé indépendant. Son nom : Francis Sorin. Présenté comme « directeur du pôle information de la Société française d'Energie nucléaire », il affiche une neutralité de bon aloi. Sauf que sa « société savante » n'est, à y regarder de plus près, rien d'autre qu'une filiale associative de la filière nucléaire, qui relaie donc très fidèlement sa doctrine. (...)

Menace de Bruxelles

(...) Des voix s'élèvent, à l'intérieur de ce microcosme, pour réclamer un aggiornamento. "Si c'est toujours la même main qui gère et qui contrôle, ce n'est pas rassurant. On ne peut plus laisser le débat sur les énergies à la discrétion des seuls techniciens !", estime Michel Destot, député-maire PS de Grenoble et ancien chercheur au CEA. Mais lorsque Bertrand Pancher, député UMP de la Meuse, propose qu'un organisme indépendant organise ce très large débat public à la manière scandinave, le groupe UMP se rebiffe.
"Je me suis fait siffler, confie-t-il, meurtri. C'est n'importe quoi, on ne va pas pouvoir continuer comme ça !" Il faut dire qu'à l'Assemblée, les gardiens du temple nucléaire tous partis confondus, de Claude Gatignol (UMP) à Christian Bataille (PS), veillent toujours au grain. Mais jusqu'à quand ? C'est maintenant de Bruxelles que vient la menace la plus sérieuse pour la technocratie nucléaire française. Le commissaire européen chargé de l'énergie, l'Allemand Günter Oettinger, avait déjà exaspéré Nicolas Sarkozy quand il avait utilisé le mot "apocalypse" pour évoquer la catastrophe de Fukushima. Et voilà que le même commissaire demande la semaine dernière que l'on procède à des tests de résistance sur toutes les centrales nucléaires de l'Union européenne. Pire : il précise que les expertises doivent être indépendantes. Le lobby nucléaire français se mobilise pour que l'Elysée mette son veto à l'ingérence. Finalement les nucléocrates français ont obtenu que les autorités nationales - et non européennes - procèdent à ces tests. "La position de Paris était intenable, explique Michèle Rivasi, députée Europe Ecologie à Strasbourg. Comment expliquer à la population qu'on refuse en France des inspections sérieuses qui vont aussi concerner, en Europe centrale, des réacteurs vieillissants et donc dangereux ?"

march 30

...The Swedish Government monitored the radiation level of foods following the Chernobyl disaster. They found that most animal based foods including meat, dairy, and fish had higher levels of radioactive substances than fruits, vegetables, grains, and potatoes. Eating plant based foods can reduce exposure to radioactive substances by avoiding concentrations of these substances in animal fat and tissues. A plant centered diet in the midst of radiation exposure provides lower levels of radioactive substances as well as fiber, antioxidants, and phytochemicals that have the potential to reduce cancer rates associated with radiation exposure.
A study evaluating over 30,000 atomic bomb survivors in Hiroshima and Nagasaki found that those with the highest consumption of fruits and vegetables had a 13% lower risk of dying from cancer over the twenty year study period than those who consumed fruits and vegetables less than once per week. Sulfur-containing antioxidants found in cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, kale, and cabbage, have been found to provide protection against radiation exposure through their detoxifying properties. Pectin in fruits has also been shown to reduce levels of the radioactive substance Cs-137. Plant based foods provide protection against free radical damage and they can reduce the absorption of radioactive substances.

A study published in Russia reviewed the protective nature of dietary fiber against radiation. Researchers used concentrates of dietary fiber from lemon peel and beet root among other plants and found that the fiber did have radioprotective properties. The authors concluded that concentrated dietary fiber can be used in human nutrition to accelerate the elimination of nuclides or radioactive elements.

IAEA Briefing on Fukushima Nuclear Emergency
(news center IAEA Fukushima)

20, 21, 22, 23 marchLink

IAEA map of depositions and plume 16-22 march

Fukushima/radiation in food: EU tolerance limits for radiation in food imports less strict than Japan; Greens demand revision

General Food
Milk and dairy
Infant food
Water / Liquid foodstuff

Japan (b)
200 (a)
Cs 134 - 137
Plutonium and transuranic elements
Am, Pt

Comparison: maximum permitted levels of contamination of foodstuff EU-Japan - values in bq/kg or bq/l

For vegetables except root vegetables and tubers - does not include grains, meat and fish as the EU value

(b) For drinking water - not specified for other liquid foodstuff
Source EU Values: Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 297/2011 of 25 March 2011 imposing special conditions governing the import of feed and food originating in or consigned from Japan following the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power station. This regulation to values under Council Regulation (Euratom) No 3954/87 of 22 December 1987 laying down maximum permitted levels of radioactive contamination of foodstuffs and of feedingstuffs following a nuclear accident or any other case of radiological emergency.
Source Japanese Values: Notice No. 0317 Article 3 of the Department of Food Safety - 17 March 2011
Chernobyl killed several hundred thousands

A detailed study reveals that 3.8–4.0% of all deaths in the contaminated territories of Ukraine and Russia from 1990 to 2004 were caused by the Chernobyl catastrophe. The lack of evidence of increased mortality in other affected countries is not proof of the absence of effects from the radioactive fallout. Since 1990, mortality among liquidators has exceeded themortality rate in corresponding population groups. From 112,000 to 125,000 liquidators died before 2005—that is, some 15% of the 830,000 members of the Chernobyl cleanup teams. The calculations suggest that the Chernobyl catastrophe has already killed several hundred thousand human beings in a population of several hundred million that was unfortunate enough to live in territories affected by the fallout. The number of Chernobyl victims will continue to grow over many future generations.

p.192, Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment, Alexey V. Yablokov, Vassily B. Nesterenko, Alexey V. Nesterenko - ANNALS OF THE NEW YORK ACADEMY OF SCIENCES - Volume 1181 - Blackwell Publishing, Boston, Massachusetts, 2009

related posts:

useful links:

2010 Recommendations of the European Committee on Radiation Risk (ECRR)

map of Japan in english

updated map of japanese nuclear power plants

Guidance for Radiation Accident Management

Rapid internal external dose magnitude estimation

Radiations: definitions

Types of radiation exposure

Japan Times emergency assistance in english, resources for foreigners residing in Japan

BBC Edited Guide Radioactivity

BBC EG The measurement of radioactivity


Online unit converter

Activity Conversions

Beta Emitter Dose-Rate <--> Activity Calculations

Gamma Emitter Point Source Dose-Rate <-to-> Activity and Shielding Calculations (In Air)

ALARA Calculations (Time, Distance and Shielding)

WISE uranium calculator

About Geiger counter

NEWS SITES in english and french

CRIIRAD France fr

The Low Level Radiation Campaign (LLRC)

Fukushima Green Action Japan en

Nuclear information and resource service en

Peak of oil

European Committee on Radiation Risk

ECRR Risk Model and radiation from Fukushima


Kyodo news agency en

Nikkei en

Jiji Press en (via Google News)


The Manichi Daily News en

The Japan Times en

Yomiuri Shimbun en

The Asahi Shimbun en


World Information Service on Energy (WISE)

Green Action Japan en

Greenpeace Fukushima

Exposure limits in France:

International Nuclear and radiological Event Scale ( INES )

map of Japan with significant radioactivity measurments

winds observations for south Tohuku

12 days wind forecast Japan

Global Jetstream Wind

Atlas of Caesium Deposition on Europe after the Chernobyl Accident online.
Full Version (English and Russian)

Live and archived radioactivity

Fuel rod fires plume map
15 march

Northen hemisphere radioactive plume map
15-18 march

USA radioactivity Counts Per Minute (CPM: 1 Bq= 60 CPM) data:

Atlas of Caesium Deposition on Europe after the Chernobyl Accident online.
Full Version (English and Russian)

Contamination radioactives: Atlas France et Europe, CRIIRAD and André Paris, Editions Yves Michel, 2002, ISBN 2913492150.

(1) Atlas of Caesium Deposition on Europe after the Chernobyl Accident, Eur 16733, Luxembourg, Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 1998, ISBN 92-828-3140-X (PDF)
Full Version (English and Russian)

THE OTHER REPORT ON CHERNOBYL (TORCH) , Ian Fairlie, PhD, UK. David Sumner, DPhil, UK, Prof. Angelina Nyagu, Ukraine Berlin, Brussels, Kiev, April 2006 COMMISSIONED BY Rebecca Harms, MEP, Greens/EFA in the European Parliament WITH THE SUPPORT OF The Altner Combecher Foundation

Radioprotection 2003, Vol. 38, No 4, pp. 529-542, ‘The Chernobyl fallout in France, critical review measurement-results obtained at that time and lessons learned for crisis management’, Ph. Renaud and D. Louvat (PDF)

2010 Recommendations of the European Committee on Radiation Risk, The Health Effects of Exposure to Low Doses of Ionising Radiation, Chris Busby, with Rosalie Bertell, Inge Schmitz Feuerhake Molly Scott Cato and Alexey Yablokov, Green Audit Press, Castle Cottage, Aberystwyth, SY23 1DZ, United Kingdom 2010 (PDF)

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