Sunday, April 29, 2012

Breaking down the environmental radioactivity monitoring data from MEXT (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology and whatnot)

As reported in the Asahi:

The science ministry has begun posting real-time radiation levels on its website at 2,700 locations across Fukushima Prefecture, including schools and parks.
To access radiation levels measured at 10-minute intervals, go to

A picture of the equipment:

Checking out today's data at

Let's do some math...

Consider the maximum acceptable radiation dose for the public from any man-made facility: 1 mSv/year.
1 mSv/year is 1000 μSv/year.
1000 μSv/year is 0.114 μSv/h.
(Based on 8766 hours in a year (24×365.25) and 1000 microsieverts(μSv) in a millisievert (mSv).
Therefore any place with over 0.114 μSv/h is questionable.

Japan set a limit 20 times higher, 20mSv/year, for Fukushima residents.

Residents exposed at that level would reach the 350 mSv/lifetime limit which was used to determine evacuation areas after the Chernobyl disaster within 18 years.
Using the Chernobyl lifetime standard, calculating for a 10-year old child with an additional 70 years life expectancy, 350mSv/70years = 5mSv/year.

Recapping, the 1 mSv/year international standard is exceeded by the Chernobyl evacuation standard, which (if judged to be tolerable) could conceivably justify 5 mSv/year for kids (twice that for 35-year-olds, etc.), and that was exceeded by the 20 mSv/year Japanese Fukushima-only standard, which I believe was set at that level for political reasons only, to set a standard that would avoid the need to evacuate several large cities and partially sever northern Japan from the south and middle.

Some selected ranges of readings for locations today, Sunday, April 29, 2012:

Fukushima-ken locations:
MinamiSoma     0.080 - 5.036 μSv/h = 0.701 - 44.14 mSv/year
Fukushima City     0.092 - 1.764 μSv/h = 0.806 - 15.46 mSv/year
NihonMatsu     0.113 - 1.324 μSv/h = 0.990 - 11.60 mSv/year
Koriyama     0.067 - 1.379 μSv/h = 0.587 - 12.08 mSv/year
Sukagawa City     0.098 - 0.727 μSv/h = 0.859 - 6.372 mSv/year
Soma City     0.093 - 1.125 μSv/h = 0.815 - 9.862 mSv/year
Iwaki City     0.054 - 0.819 μSv/h = 0.473 - 7.179 mSv/year
Aizu-Wakamatsu     0.054 - 0.290 μSv/h = 0.473 - 2.542 mSv/year

Outside Fukushima-ken:
Tochigi-ken     0.036 - 0.593 μSv/h = 0.315 - 5.198 mSv/year
Miyagi-ken     0.033 - 0.367 μSv/h = 0.289 - 3.217 mSv/year
Ibaraki-ken     0.048 - 0.178 μSv/h = 0.420 - 1.560 mSv/year
Chiba-ken     0.037 - 0.172 μSv/h = 0.324 - 1.507 mSv/year
Gunma-ken     0.026 - 0.154 μSv/h = 0.228 - 1.349 mSv/year
Saitama-ken     0.027 - 0.154 μSv/h = 0.236 - 1.349 mSv/year
Tokyo-to     0.037 - 0.064 μSv/h = 0.324 - 0.561 mSv/year

If you use the lifetime-exposure evacuation standard for Chernobyl applied to children, all children should be evacuated from all of the cities measured in eastern Fukushima prefecture, with the exception of Aizu-Wakamatsu, which is more central, but which still exceeds the 1 mSv/year international standard for the nuclear power industry. Some sites in Tochigi prefecture also exceed the Chernobyl standard and should evacuate children.

All of these prefectures in the Kanto region have at least a few MEXT radiation measurement stations (which are very limited in number outside Fukushima, by the way, 5 stations in Tokyo, 7 in Chiba, etc) which record levels above the 1 mSv/year international standard. By that standard, Kanto is barely tolerable.

Numbers here in Chiba:
html at
2012年04月29日 20時00分時点

  • 市原市 県環境研究センター  0.037μSv/h

  • 柏市 市立田中小学校  0.116μSv/h
  • 印西市 市立船穂中学校  0.170μSv/h
  • 香取市 香取市役所小見川区事務所  0.082μSv/h
  • 市川市 市立大柏小学校  0.104μSv/h
  • 館山市 県安房農業普及センター跡地  0.059μSv/h
  • 茂原市 県大気汚染常時監視測定局  0.051μSv/h

  • In Chiba, Kashiwa (柏市) and Inzai (印西市) both exceed the 1 milliSievert/year limit for added radiation from nuclear power.

    Fresh Lubuntu for your iLamp

    I am happy to see that the Lubuntu (lubuntu-12.04-desktop-powerpc.iso) live CD works even better on my old last-generation iLamp (circa 2003) than Lubuntu 11.10 does.

    Saturday, April 28, 2012

    -:priiskuul flaeshbaek:-

    hey riidur! ai'm rifreshing mai blog with sam poustdeitd pousts ai'v pousted tu dhaet adhr bitc, dha maes surveilans mashiin nounx aez feisbuk. apaalajiiz for dha slounes.
    i fiil lakii tu haev groun ap with myuusik fram
    the beatles, the stones, motown, hendrix, dylan
    --haef  a sentcury agou.
    wii thot it wud olweiz get betr.

    Citizen Radiation Monitor

    Welcome back after over a month of silence. It looks like he is in Fukushima.

    I should embed the English version.

    Down here in Kashiwa, Chiba, before his recent Fukushima videos.

    Friday, April 20, 2012

    Wednesday, April 18, 2012

    Nuclear Titanics

    ▶ April 16, 2012
    The Perils of Technological Hubris
    Nuclear Titanics

    On the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, The Japan Times yesterday ran an editorial titled “The Titanic and the Nuclear Fiasco” which stated: “Presenting technology as completely safe, trustworthy or miraculous may seem to be a thing of the past, but the parallels between the Titanic and Japan’s nuclear power industry could not be clearer.”

    “Japan’s nuclear power plants were, like the Titanic, advertised as marvels of modern science that were completely safe. Certain technologies, whether they promise to float a luxury liner or provide clean energy, can never be made entirely safe,” it said.

    It quoted from a piece by Joseph Conrad written after the Titanic sank in which he noted the “chastening influence it should have on the self-confidence of mankind.” The Japan Times urged: “That lesson should be applied to all ‘unsinkable’ undertakings that might profit a few by imperiling the majority of others.”

    Read the whole article. 

    Monday, April 16, 2012

    11,000 fuel rods, 85×Chernobyl at Fukushima Dai-Ichi site

    Sometimes i worry.
    A potential 85 × Chernobyls worth of radioactivity on-site in 11,000 spent fuel rods, parts of the site already too radioactive for humans or robots to approach, spent fuel pools suspended 30 meters in the air requiring constant cooling, structurally unsound. Only one spent fuel pool or reactor needs to go kablooey to make the site uninhabitable, at which point we can only retreat and try to deal with it from afar, perhaps with fly-overs like in Chernobyl. Even their best-case scenarios call for developing technology to try to clean up the site in 40 years or so, more likely not in centuries.

    Japan’s former Ambassador to Switzerland, Mr. Mitsuhei Murata, was invited to speak at the Public Hearing of the Budgetary Committee of the House of Councilors on March 22, 2012, on the Fukushima nuclear power plants accident. Before the Committee, Ambassador Murata strongly stated that if the crippled building of reactor unit 4—with 1,535 fuel rods in the spent fuel pool 100 feet (30 meters) above the ground—collapses, not only will it cause a shutdown of all six reactors but will also affect the common spent fuel pool containing 6,375 fuel rods, located some 50 meters from reactor 4. In both cases the radioactive rods are not protected by a containment vessel; dangerously, they are open to the air. This would certainly cause a global catastrophe like we have never before experienced. He stressed that the responsibility of Japan to the rest of the world is immeasurable. Such a catastrophe would affect us all for centuries. Ambassador Murata informed us that the total numbers of the spent fuel rods at the Fukushima Daiichi site excluding the rods in the pressure vessel is 11,421 (396+615+566+1,535+994+940+6375).

    I asked top spent-fuel pools expert Mr. Robert Alvarez, former Senior Policy Adviser to the Secretary and Deputy Assistant Secretary for National Security and the Environment at the U.S. Department of Energy, for an explanation of the potential impact of the 11,421 rods.

    I received an astounding response from Mr. Alvarez [updated 4/5/12]:
    "In recent times, more information about the spent fuel situation at the Fukushima-Dai-Ichi site has become known. It is my understanding that of the 1,532 spent fuel assemblies in reactor No. 304 assemblies are fresh and unirradiated. This then leaves 1,231 irradiated spent fuel rods in pool No. 4, which contain roughly 37 million curies (~1.4E+18 Becquerel) of long-lived radioactivity. The No. 4 pool is about 100 feet above ground, is structurally damaged and is exposed to the open elements. If an earthquake or other event were to cause this pool to drain this could result in a catastrophic radiological fire involving nearly 10 times the amount of Cs-137 released by the Chernobyl accident.
    The infrastructure to safely remove this material was destroyed as it was at the other three reactors. Spent reactor fuel cannot be simply lifted into the air by a crane as if it were routine cargo. In order to prevent severe radiation exposures, fires and possible explosions, it must be transferred at all times in water and heavily shielded structures into dry casks.. As this has never been done before, the removal of the spent fuel from the pools at the damaged Fukushima-Dai-Ichi reactors will require a major and time-consuming re-construction effort and will be charting in unknown waters. Despite the enormous destruction cased at the Da–Ichi site, dry casks holding a smaller amount of spent fuel appear to be unscathed."

    Based on U.S. Energy Department data, assuming a total of 11,138 spent fuel assemblies are being stored at the Dai-Ichi site, nearly all, which is in pools. They contain roughly 336 million curies (~1.2 E+19 Bq) of long-lived radioactivity. About 134 million curies is Cesium-137 — roughly 85 times the amount of Cs-137 released at the Chernobyl accident as estimated by the U.S. National Council on Radiation Protection (NCRP). The total spent reactor fuel inventory at the Fukushima-Daichi site contains nearly half of the total amount of Cs-137 estimated by the NCRP to have been released by all atmospheric nuclear weapons testing, Chernobyl, and world-wide reprocessing plants (~270 million curies or ~9.9 E+18 Becquerel).

    It is important for the public to understand that reactors that have been operating for decades, such as those at the Fukushima-Dai-Ichi site have generated some of the largest concentrations of radioactivity on the planet. "

    Many of our readers might find it difficult to appreciate the actual meaning of the figure, yet we can grasp what 85 times more Cesium-137 than the Chernobyl would mean. It would destroy the world environment and our civilization. This is not rocket science, nor does it connect to the pugilistic debate over nuclear power plants. This is an issue of human survival.

    Saturday, April 14, 2012

    Career Opportunities


    You want something done right 
    you gotta do it yourself.


    Here's a job 
    that nobody but yourself 
    can do.

    Friday, April 13, 2012

    Arnie Gundersen in Tokyo

    Tokyo Soil Samples Would Be Considered Nuclear Waste In The US from Fairewinds Energy Education on Vimeo.
    I have no real complaints but I think the sample sites he chose were exactly where we expect fallout to concentrate (cracks in the sidewalk, roofs, etc).

    Tuesday, April 10, 2012

    I'm not lichen it so rad
    A blogger's summary of a TV report (Feb 24, 2012): Black lichens of 1,000,000 becqerel/kg. They have these at Chernobyl, too. It seems to get energy from radiation.
    If you google the term 黒い物質 (black substance) it tends to come up. 

    Monday, April 02, 2012

    The Naoto Matsumura Experience (Take a walk on the wild side)

    I respect his decision to live free, but i think his call to decontaminate such a large area is hopeless and wasted effort. Time will deal with it. People should leave. Farmers should be compensated with new farms elsewhere, as the population is falling and the countryside is being abandoned. Then they can farm without compromised produce or stigma. (As it is now, the government buys contaminated rice grown anywhere outside the prohibited zone and charges TEPCO, so all consumers pay the cost of continued attempts to farm in Fukushima prefecture.) Contaminated soil should be covered with less contaminated soil brought in from elsewhere. Cover 120μSv/hr soil with 37μSv/hr soil brought in from less contaminated areas, and so on. 

    Hamaoka, the world's most dangerous nuclear power plant I cycled near it once on this Pacific Tokai Cycling Road (but that's not my picture). This article from a few weeks ago has been superceded by new estimates of a magnitude 9 quake and a 30-meter wave. Hopefully it will never reopen.
    Japan's controversial Hamaoka nuclear plant, shut down after Fukushima, wants to reopen once a 54-ft.-high, mile-long wall is finished. But the plant also sits on a seismic fault line, raising more than a few doubts.
     WSJ, 2011
    Since a tsunami wrecked the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant a year ago, leading to meltdown in three of its reactors, all eyes in Japan have been on the Hamaoka plant, 300 miles down the coast and similarly located right on the seashore. It has been branded the most dangerous nuclear power station in the world by some seismologists.

    Its operator, Chubu Electric, is determined to reopen the plant as soon as its workers have finished building a six-ft.-thick anti-tsunami wall that will stand 54 feet above sea level and stretch a mile; the manmade hills now being constructed are a first step in the yearlong project.

    But many local residents are not so sure.

    “I was always a little worried before last March,” says Fumio Takahashi, a real estate agent who lives in the town of Omaezaki, hard by the Hamaoka plant. “Now I realize that it is dangerous to have a nuclear plant near your home. I absolutely do not want it to reopen.”

    Hamaoka is particularly dangerous, explains Yoshika Shiratori, because it is built on a seismic fault line where Japanese government experts have estimated that there is an 87 percent chance of a magnitude 8 earthquake within the next 30 years.

    Hamaoka Nuclear Power Station Exhibition Center video

    Hamaoka Nuclear Power Station Exhibition Center has a scale model of an actual nuclear reactor, the walls, fuel rods, assemblies, containments, etc so you can get a feel for it.

    Video #1
    saves you going all the way to Shizuoka
    2011-05-02-13:40 status: monitoring radioactive iodine.
    Units 4 and 5 (boiling water reactors) were still in operation on that day!

     Video #2. My compliments to the videographer! Thanks, dude! Good job!

    ‎#3 gets opinionated at 8:30 and includes the PM's order to close the plant on May 6.