FUKUSHIMA the effects of radiation on daily life
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Six months after the nuclear meltdowns in Fukushima Prefecture, the public’s awareness of the threat posed by radiation is entering a new phase: the realization that the biggest danger now and in the future is from contaminated soil. The iodine-131 ejected into the sky by the Fukushima No. 1 power station disaster was quickly detected in vegetables and tap water — even as far away as Tokyo, 220 km south of the plant. But contamination levels are now so low they are virtually undetectable, thanks to the short half-life of iodine-131 — eight days — and stepped up filtering by water companies. But cesium is proving to be a tougher foe. The element’s various isotopes have half-lives ranging from two to 30 years, generating concern about the food chain in Fukushima Prefecture, a predominantly agricultural region, as the elements wash fallout into the ground.
The aftermath of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear crisis has been marked by an outcry in Japan over radiation leaks, contaminated food and a government unable to put the public's fears to rest. Perhaps the most worrying aspect of the meltdown that resulted from March's earthquake–triggered disaster, activists and citizens have said, is the uncertainty that has ensued. In the months since the catastrophe, the Japanese government, its nuclear watchdogs and Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), have provided differing, confusing, and at times contradictory, information on critical health issues. Fed up with indefinite data, a group of 50 volunteers decided to take matters, and Geiger counters, into their own hands. In April, an independent network of like-minded individuals in the Japan and United States banded together to form Safecast and began an ongoing crusade to record and publish accurate radiation levels around Japan.
Scientists and doctors are calling for a new national policy in Japan that mandates the testing of food, soil, water, and the air for radioactivity still being emitted from Fukushima's heavily damaged Daiichi nuclear power plant. "How much radioactive materials have been released from the plant?" asked Dr Tatsuhiko Kodama, a professor at the Research Centre for Advanced Science and Technology and Director of the University of Tokyo's Radioisotope Centre, in a July 27 speech to the Committee of Health, Labour and Welfare at Japan's House of Representatives. "The government and TEPCO have not reported the total amount of the released radioactivity yet," said Kodama, who believes things are far worse than even the recent detection of extremely high radiation levels at the plant.
Consumers are starting to hoard last year’s rice over concerns the next crops may be contaminated with radioactive materials released from the Fukushima No. 1 power plant, retailers said Friday. The Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry is working to establish a system for ensuring the safety of rice ahead of the autumn harvest, with plans to inspect the crop in two stages. The buying spree indicates deep public distrust in the government’s handling of food safety issues amid the nuclear crisis following a scare over contaminated beef. A rice selling business in Nerima Ward, Tokyo, said regular customers began asking it to keep rice in stock just around the time the ministry disclosed its rice inspection plans Wednesday.
TOKYO, Japan — The tsunami advisory imposed after a magnitude 6.8 earthquake struck Japan's northeast coast on Friday afternoon served as a reminder that the country is still prone to strong aftershocks. Although the warning was quickly lifted, it refocused attention on the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, which is still releasing radiation more than five months after it was wrecked by an earthquake and tsunami. As almost 3,000 workers continue their battle to bring the plant under control, optimism about their progress is tempered by concern about the long-term consequences of the world's worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl.
Thousands of sunflowers planted at Joenji temple in Fukushima, northern Japan, to help fight the radiation from Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant, have blossomed. A volunteer group Make A Wish Upon Flowers had planted the sunflowers in the temple’s vicinity and had urged the public to plant sunflowers to prevent spread of radiation through soil as well as help decontaminate soil from radioactive materials. Though Japanese scientists are carrying out tests to prove their usefulness in fighting radiation, sunflowers were also used near Chernobyl to extract radioactive Cesium (Cs) from contaminated ponds nearby after the 1986 nuclear accident, Reuters reported. In early July, the Fukushima Network for Saving Children from Radiation and five other non-governmental organizations surveyed four locations in Fukushima city, outside the nuclear evacuation zone, and found soil radiation above levels.
The formal announcement, expected from the government in coming days, would be the first official recognition that the March accident could force the long-term depopulation of communities near the plant, an eventuality that scientists and some officials have been warning about for months. Lawmakers said over the weekend — and major newspapers reported Monday — that Prime Minister Naoto Kan was planning to visit Fukushima Prefecture, where the plant is, as early as Saturday to break the news directly to residents. The affected communities are all within 12 miles of the plant, an area that was evacuated immediately after the accident. The government is expected to tell many of these residents that they will not be permitted to return to their homes for an indefinite period. It will also begin drawing up plans for compensating them by, among other things, renting their now uninhabitable land.
A gorgeous informative short documentary about 3/11 in Japan debuted today via VBS.TV and Palladium Boots featuring Pharrell exploring the country and visiting artists and having them share their thoughts, feelings and creative work. “ Tokyo faces a new reality after the tragedy of 3/11. While persistent challenges still lay ahead, the city’s creative class is hell-bent on making sure that their hometown thrives.
The Japanese Government is blocking us from carrying out crucial radiation monitoring within the country's 12 mile territorial waters. Tell Japan's Prime Minister that independent monitoring of radioactive ocean pollution is in everyone's best interest. If you prefer to write your own Twitter message: Messages should go to @JPN_PMO Please include the hashtag #rw-japan so we can keep track of how many people send messages.
A Japanese schoolgirl walks past residents of Fukushima prefecture appealing for a halt to nuclear energy outside the Tepco annual shareholders' meeting in Tokyo. Photograph: Everett Kennedy Brown/EPA Tens of thousands of children living near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant are to be given personal radiation monitors, as concern grows over the long-term health effects of exposure to radiation.
Yasuteru Yamada, 72, has formed a group of more than 400 retired nuclear and civil engineers to help at the Fukushima Daiichi plant. Photograph: Tomoyuki Kaya/EPA So far, about 9,000 workers have been involved in the four-month operation to stabilise the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, where three of six reactors experienced meltdown in the aftermath of the 11 March tsunami. If Yasuteru Yamada gets his way, the Fukushima workforce of the future will include a band of fearless pensioners calling themselves the skilled veterans corps .
27 juillet 2011 | 0 commentaire(s) | vu 3 584 fois
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The Yomiuri Shimbun Plutonium believed to have been released from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant after the March 11 earthquake has been detected outside the power plant site for the first time, it has been learned. One of the spots found contaminated with the hazardous substance is 45 kilometers from the plant. A map released by the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry on Friday shows plutonium was found in soil samples taken from a total of six locations in Futabamachi, Namiemachi and Iitatemura, Fukushima Prefecture.