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Evacuee volunteers join teachers in school cleanup in Minami-Soma

25 Comments

Evacuees from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant crisis on Sunday helped prepare for the reopening of elementary and junior high schools in formerly off-limits areas surrounding the crippled nuclear reactor.

On Friday, the government announced that formerly off-limits areas would be reopened to the public. On Sunday, around 70 education workers and evacuees worked together to clean up Omika Elementary and Junior High School in Minami-Soma, TV Asahi reported.

The school had been used as an evacuee shelter until last month. The group wore surgical masks as they scrubbed the walls and floors in preparation for the resumption of classes, which will be taking place throughout the prefecture in the coming weeks.

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This is utter insanity and beyond the delusion in magic shows, healing programmes, new age religions and faith based healings - these people are heading into some of the most radioactive areas on the planet to clean a school that should be abandoned permanently. Not that this is being done by professionals who have expert knowledge in how to protect themselves against the contaminants (asbestos form collapsed structures and who knows what else).

This is just one hunky dory big get together where we can all sing songs, toast hot dogs and inhale cesium/other contaminants. There is not a single area in that 30km exclusion zone safe. Ask the workers at World Trade in 2001 about how wonderful an idea it is to just go and clean up; they told them it was safe, and many are now sick and some are no longer here. As the radiation map makes clear, this is lunacy, and for what, a photo op???: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-P21M9FXGxXI/ToZUb8mO9CI/AAAAAAAACHE/qKcJmJ1dtMk/s1600/hayakawamap-route.JPG

0 ( +2 / -2 )

A surgical mask might be fine for an operation but for radioactive decontamination is might be slightly inadequate. After the 'cleaning' I am sure that the parents walked home in the same shoes and clothes that they cleaned in . Now they are taking radioactivity into their homes on clothes,hair and shoes.

This is scary stuff!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

AMEN beangry. Hit the nail on the head. It's sickening isn't it? TEPCO and J-Govt officials will parade them on TV no doubt. Masks off, gloves off, inhaling death. You'll see that video in court someday but you won't be able to find those people. They'll be on indefinite hiatus.

Can't wait to see them grab an apple off one of the trees and take a big bite out of one. Seriously, if I see that I'll change the channel. I don't want to see people smiling and dying at the same time.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

This is utter insanity and beyond the delusion in magic shows, healing programmes, new age religions and faith based healings - these people are heading into some of the most radioactive areas on the planet to clean a school that should be abandoned permanently. Not that this is being done by professionals who have expert knowledge in how to protect themselves against the contaminants (asbestos form collapsed structures and who knows what else).

And breathe...

Have you been there with a geiger counter? So you know for a fact what the readings are. You know it's really dangerous in Minami Soma? You know specifically that this school is in an unsafe spot? And that map is interesting, but it doesn't show a whole lot.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Yes, it is utter insanity and a sign of the times. Sadly it's becoming the new normal. A couple of similar stories which make the mind boggle.

In addition to the resumption of school, Fukushima City is also holding a Ekiden long-distance relay race on Nov 13 because, well, they hold it every year so why not this year too. The blogger in the article linked below writes:

"It is reaching the point of criminality, of knowingly exposing young women, majority of them in mid to late teens in junior high schools and high schools, to radiation higher than that of the radiation control zone in a nuclear power plant. They will run in their shorts and sleeveless tops, without the masks of course. Last year, the youngest runner was 13 years old."

http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/evacuee-volunteers-join-teachers-in-school-cleanup-in-minami-soma

Then there are the dumbass teachers who are forcing children to eat mushrooms, bamboo shoots and drink the milk when their parents have specifically warned them against these foods. If the kids refuse the teachers' orders they are humiliated and ostracised. In the youtube link below which comes from the Diet, the politician says that the students who refused to drink the milk were told to put it in a bucket and explain why they wouldn't drink it. The teachers told the students "Those who refuse to drink this are not Fukushima people and not qualified to live here either." The politician's report came from the Bar assn from a mother (a lawyer) whose children have already tested positive for cesium. It's worth watching the video to see the reaction of the Chief Cabinet Secretary's response to this story.

Fukushima children forced to drink radioactive milk at school

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aq4JG9ULVNE

The story about the mushrooms is from a journalist, Takashi Hirose, who is suing Tepco and the govt. He says the parents tell their children not to eat shiitake mushrooms or bamboo shoots during school lunch. So the kids put them to the side. But then the teacher comes and orders them to "Eat!"

http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/2011/07/takashi-hirose-who-has-pressed-criminal.html

Perhaps it's already been pointed out but don't think it's unreasonable to say that what is going on is a slow progressing genocide-suicide. It's partly intentional, partly ignorance and partly through personal circumstances which prevents many from leaving. With the ordinary folk (as opposed to politicians, bureaucrats and Tepco etc) it seems they know they're done for and want to get back to as normal life as possible for as long as possible. Obviously they can't depend on the gov or tepco to help them.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Zichi I went to the link you posted and that person is in full protective gear just to clean the windows. Now what were those volunteers thinking. The group wore surgical masks as they scrubbed the walls and floors.

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@HedaMadness Being there with a Geiger counter would not be very useful in itself. Water, ground and air samples have to be conducted, and I'm sorry to tell you that Geiger counters simply arent sensitive/sophisticated enough. We've got reports of plutonium and strontium in nearby areas. and whilst this one school may not be affected, it is affected by higher cesium levels than is normal. That alone is reason not to have school there. All you do is attack my comments. I'm sorry but your not being objective. Please send your children there and hen come talk to me.

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Wasn't plutonium recently found in that area?

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I am happy to go there myself. And have been on numerous occasions. And I don't attack YOU but I do strongly disagree with your comments which are based on fear. I haven't seen anything to support any one of your claims. I've never met you, I've no reason to attack you and I would be glad to sit down and have a beer with you to explain why you're wrong. But then again, a beer in the pub is far more dangerous than a trip to Minami Soma.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

@HedaMadness

I'm sorry you feel that way, but there is plenty of evidence to support my claims, none of which is controversial. The fact you are not familiar with it reveals your own ignorance; the fact you acknowledge reading some of it but reaching completely different conclusions shiws either you have trouble interpreting the data or don't want to accept it.

But don't falsely state I'm preaching "fear". I have nothing to justify to you, the same who doesnt understand the first thing about radiation detection. Good luck picking up he alpha particles with that Geiger counter mate. Plutonium, strontium, amerisium and hot particles...it's more complicated than that. In the absence of concrete tests we must err on the side of caution, but you argue throwing it to the wind.

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All readers back on topic please. The subject is the school cleanup by evacuees and teachers.

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I think it's also worry wondering if the evacuees felt they had a choice in this matter. Public clean ups like this are also "volunteer" but everyone knows those that don't are ostracized.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Worth wondering. (damn I hate my iPhone)

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Yes, the government announced yesterday that the highest concentrations of plutonium found in their tests in July, August were in fact, in Minamisoma.

Maybe not at this school, or even nearby, but the most toxic isotopes found yet are found in Minamisoma. This is the Japanese MEXT position. So I would personally choose beer.. As long as it is not in a pub in that area of Minamisoma. :p

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Following the 3/11 disaster, the government issued an advisory evacuation for Minamisoma, mainly for people living in hot spots within Minamisoma City. Out of about 70,000 residents, about one third left the city. It also suffered damage from the quake and tsunami and many of the schools became emergency evacuation centers.

School children are being bused outside the area to "rented classrooms" but I don't know what that really means?

Officials of Minami-Soma designated August and September for removing radioactive materials from public facilities such as schools and parks. Work is proceeding at five elementary and junior high schools, which are planning to resume classes from Oct. 17.

The order to communities within a radius of 20 and 30 kilometers from the crippled Fukushima plant called on children and pregnant women to stay away and all others to prepare to evacuate in the event of an emergency.

I think Minamisoma City is 25-30 km from the power plant?

Back in April, a Greenpeace team discovered high contamination levels in vegetables. A Greenpeace radiation monitoring team tested spinach and other vegetables from the gardens of Minamisoma city residents. Total activity levels of 70,000 – 80,000 Bq/kg were found in spinach leaves from one garden, while levels of roughly 9,000 Bq/kg were found in cabbage from another. 20-30% was caused by cesium-137, which was far above the Japanese government limit of 500 Bq/kg for vegetables.

The government announced on July 21 the existence of radiation “hot spots” in some parts of Minami-Soma City. The people whose homes lie within these hot spots―now defined as areas where radiation levels rise above 20 mSv per year, were advised to evacuate.

Residents in this city, some areas of which fall within the 20-kilometer no-entry zone from the nuclear plant, have organized a council to measure radiation levels.

The council has also published a radiation map that is twice as precise as the one released by the government. According to the council's map, radiation levels in all inspected locations were measured at 0.25 to 4.62 microsieverts, but with the exception of mountains and forests in the western part of the prefecture, radiation was comparatively low.

On Friday morning, the entrance to Minamisoma city’s main hospital measured 0.51 microsieverts per hour in radiation, according to numbers released daily by the city. A simple calculation would bring annual exposure at the level to almost 4,500 microsieverts, or 4.5 millisieverts a year, far above the annual limit of 1 millisievert for civilians that is recommended by the International Commission on Radiological Protection.

The combined density of 15 becquerels of plutonium-239 and -240 was detected in one square meter of soil in Minamisoma.

Moderator: Please do not copy and paste large chunks of text from other stories. The URL will suffice. The purpose of the discussion board is for readers to post their opinions on the subject.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Would 38 hours be long enough to re-evacuate people because that's the time period TEPCO would have if the injection cooling systems failed, within 38 hours fuel rods would meltdown again, releasing more radioactive fallout. If the power plant was hit by another strong quake and tsunami, TEPCO stated it would take three hours at the most to resume the water injections into reactors 1-3.

TEPCO have also admitted the failure of its disaster manual, because when it was complied, it expected all the backup systems to survive and function, including the emergency generators. It stated it will make public the finding from an investigation by an internal panel. Last week the Diet demanded a copy of the disaster manual, which TEPCO sent but with much of it blacked out, claiming "trade secrets?"

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It's too soon to lift the "advisory evacuation" especially considering that back in April a Greenpeace team found high levels of radiation caused by cesium-137.

On July 21, the government announced the existence of radiation “hot spots” in some parts of Minami-Soma City.

Last month, the combined density of 15 becquerels of plutonium-239 and -240 was detected in one square meter of soil in Minamisoma.

I also think the exclusion zone should be increased to 50 km which was also recommended by America.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

zichi, I am glad you mentioned the power problem. Earlier I saw you point out cooling water supply pipes getting broken in the quake, but I never heard that. Not saying you are wrong, but I heard the main cooling problem was the lack of power.

But anyway, this attempt at cleanup is just another infuriating waste of my tax money. I don't mind my taxes going up to help those people, but I do mind it being used to make these people believe they are doing right by their kids to take them back there because they imagine they decontaminated it. I would rather one thousand yen go to relocating children rather than keep 900 yen and the leftove 100 go to setting a kid up to have cancer, leukemia or heart failure at 20.

Frankly, this article belongs in the crime section.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Earlier I saw you point out cooling water supply pipes getting broken in the quake, but I never heard that. Not saying you are wrong, but I heard the main cooling problem was the lack of power.

I also made a link to a story on it but sorry, can't be bothered to go back and find it?

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Voluntary work is to be highly commended but needs to be organised with safety a forethought. I doubt surgical masks would be adequate for the chore these people beset themselves. To be honest I do not know the full extent of the contamination in Minami Soma but always beieve it is better to prepare for the worst and hope for the best

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U.N. agency to aid Fukushima decontamination: JT National Sep. 27, 2011

The UN is sending qualified people to do decontamination in Fukushima, what on earth are volunteers with NO protection doing there?

This link is for the Nuclear Tourist ( Radiation Safety ) page and the diagram on said page shows that radioactive neutrons are more penetrating than gamma radiation it even goes through lead.

http://www.nucleartourist.com/systems/rad.htm

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Neutron Beam Seen 13 Times at Japanese Nuclear Plant : By Helena Zhu, Epoch Times Staff Created: Mar 23, 2011 Last Updated: Mar 24, 2011

http://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/world/neutron-beam-seen-13-times-at-japanese-nuclear-plant-53454.html

Excerpt: Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), the operator of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, said Wednesday that it has observed a neutron beam 13 times at the plant, Kyodo News reported. The company detected a neutron beam, a type of radioactive ray, about 0.9 miles (1.5 kilometers) southwest of the earthquake-crippled plant’s No. 1 and 2 reactors between March 13 and 15. The beam was about 0.01 to 0.02 microsievert per hour, which is not a dangerous level of radiation.

The neutron beam may be evidence that uranium and plutonium—used in the cores of the reactors for nuclear fission—have leaked.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I think Im actually beyond caring. These people could educate themselves as to the risks, they could have a mind of their own and move, or not send their kids into school to be forcefed radioactive foods. If they are so stupid as to carry on living there, and so stupid as to eat the mushrooms, clean the school wearing a dustmask, then I really could not care less anymore.

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Yeah we really shouldn't care, because the head of the Monbusho has come out and said that the plutonium levels are 'within limits' that existed pre- 311 and they 'do not offer any hazards to safety'....but they are going to do more,extended tests. Hell..I look at this guy and immediately trust him and the Ministry of Education and technology.http://www.47news.jp/CN/201110/CN2011100401000308.html

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Heda_Madness

Have you been there with a geiger counter? So you know for a fact what the readings are. You know it's really dangerous in Minami Soma? You know specifically that this school is in an unsafe spot?

Just my opinion but I'd feel less anxious about my kid having a beer in a pub than playing russian roulette at a school in Minamisoma. For one thing Minamisoma was and continues to be downwind from Fukushima Daiichi - not every day of course but probably often enough. Another point is that children are more prone to radiation poisoning than adults since their cells develop at a much faster pace. They are also there permanently whereas you were there temporarily. There's a difference.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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