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Japan lifts evacuation order for part of disaster-hit Fukushima town

23 Comments
By CHARLY TRIBALLEAU

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Try living in a town where some areas have the evacuation lifted but others remain in place. 

I don't even get what you are complaining about anymore. Are you complaining that they lifted the evacuation orders for some zones than have a radiation less than the set limit by the government? Then why at the same time you talk about the limit as being this absolute thing that everyone should protect... I really don't get your point at all.

And you can rest assured that even if radiation levels were at 0, and they lifted every single evacuation order, and there was absolutely nothing going on in that place, people would still not go back because:

1) It has been almost 10 years since they had to leave, so all infrastructure is gone, and would have to start from scratch

2) Just like they have showed with the corona induced panic, or any other hype panic that has happened in this new social media world, people will always overestimate any risks and will fear that which they do not understand.

Why have radiation exposure limits?

As a "better to be safe than sorry" security theater kind of protection measure. There are a lot of those in many different industries. For example, making it illegal for people to have active cellphones inside a plane is another one, because modern planes have very good electromagnetic shielding that wouldn't interfere with the avionics, and basically all cellphone use well known standards, and planes are actually tested to be resistant to electromagnetic interference by these standards, but once again, "better to be safe than sorry" mentality.

Two workers at the nearby nuclear disaster have died from radiation exposure.

That's not true. There is only 1 cancer death attributed to radiation exposure, and there were none because of acute radiation poisoning, or anything like that.

There were also other 2 who presented probable radiation burns, but did not died from them.

And were are talking about people who were near the plant at the time. As I explained before, a short time exposure to extremely high levels of radiation can be fatal, but this does not translate the same to places with elevated background radiation.

Increase in child thyroid cancers

And this right here shows how little you understand how radiation actually works. The idea that there is an increase in thyroid cancer, specially in children, in nuclear disasters come from Chernobyl, where there was a very visible bump years latter after the disaster of thyroid cancer.

The mechanism how this works is rather interesting. The main culprit is iodine, iodine-131 to be precise. This one isotope, from a nuclear disaster, goes down on to the fields with rain. Then cows eat grass with iodine-131, and it starts to accumulate in high quantities in the mammal glands of the cows, and in the milk they produce.

This milk containing iodine-131 is then drink by children, and the iodine-131 starts to accumulate in the Thyroid gland, so the radiation is now directly in the thyroid gland, and continuous consumption of this milk will increase the amount of radiation inside the thyroid gland, which in time can cause thyroid cancer.

Lets be clear, the same amount of radiation, as a external exposure would do nothing, most of it being gama-radiation and all, but the radiation is being absorbed directly by a very sensitive gland inside the body itself, so the situation is rather unique.

The solution? Test the milk that is sold in the market, and they already do, so the probability of this happening in Japan is extremely low, not to mention that all reports on the disaster show no visible increase in any type of cancer post disaster.

Not to mention that Thyroid cancer is one of the most tame types of cancer, with over 98% survival rate.

 Foodstuffs like rice with higher levels of radiation than permitted.

This is all relative stuff. Every food has radioactive isotopes even if there wasn't a nuclear disaster anywhere near.

Most types of radioactive isotopes are non biologically relevant, so they do not accumulate in the body. The iodine-131 I told you is a rather unique case, and since it has a half-life of about 8 days, all of the Iodine-131 disappeared years ago.

So no, consuming food with a little bit elevated levels of radiation do nothing.

And I know you won't believe anything I'm saying, because it is completely contrary to the popular idea of how radiation works, but non the less, it is how it is. Radiation is far less dangerous than how popular media presents it.

It doesn't mean there are no risks, but it means that you can relax a little bit.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Altogether, 96% of the land in Futaba is designated as a difficult-to-return zone, and the remaining 4% is an area preparing for the lifting of an evacuation order.

An area around JR Futaba Station that is not subject to the lifting of the evacuation order this time was designated in September 2017 as a specified zone serving as a base for reconstruction and revitalization, and officials aim to lift the evacuation order and have residents return to the area in the spring of 2022.

Why have radiation exposure limits? Two workers at the nearby nuclear disaster have died from radiation exposure. Increase in child thyroid cancers. Foodstuffs like rice with higher levels of radiation than permitted.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Well, they already lifted the evacuation order...

Mostly partly, most evacuated towns still have evacuation zones. Mostly a piecemeal following the decontamination works but since none have been done in the mountain areas they will be off limits for decades.

Try living in a town where some areas have the evacuation lifted but others remain in place. Add to that the lack of services like schools, hospitals, stores, public transport, gas stands. Futaba still has many collapsed houses from the earthquake.

The main reason for lifting the evacuation orders is to stop the compensation payments.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Whatever, but that is the law/regulation set by the government. That is how they decide whether or not to lift the evacuation order. I am not responsible for that. You can try and take up the issue with them.

Well, they already lifted the evacuation order... Japan not following its own rules shouldn't be something that surprises you if you have lived here enough time. The main reason why that happens in because Japan lawmaking is so obtuse that trying to change anything is almost imposible, so that's why the government itself doesn't follow the laws, which makes them meaningless, and since there is no good judiciary in this country, they can do whatever they want, but that is another discussion.

 Unlikely any time in the future will people be allowed to return.

And that's just a shame. It is also a shame that humans aren't really that rational, and most actions, individual or by governmental actions, are irrational in nature.

I can just watch the people and government continue to do irrational things, while slowly but surely my own human rights get striped away by these actions.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The government set the Fukushima radiation exposure level to 20 millisievert per year or 8760 hours. The same way the UN sets the limit for nuclear power station workers at 50 millisieert per year or 8760 hours.

In addition, it set out three zones in the contaminated areas.

0-20 millisievert per year. Can can return to their former homes communities. 20-50 millisievert per year, people can visit their homes/communities and apply for permission to stay over night. Probably after 10 years people might be able to return. Above 50 millisievert per year. Unlikely any time in the future will people be allowed to return.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Luis David Yanez

The 20 mSv/year rule by the Japanese government is somewhat arbitrary, it is based on normal base background radiation of japan, which has naturally low background radiation, and it is intended to be way lower than any levels of radiation that would actually be bad for people.

Whatever, but that is the law/regulation set by the government. That is how they decide whether or not to lift the evacuation order. I am not responsible for that. You can try and take up the issue with them.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

So nothing wrong with my maths.

Yes sorry a typo and not editor. The limit is 20 millisievert per year.

Yes, your math was all ok, with a little discrepancy with a factor of 8760.

About radiation levels, background radiation variate a lot from place to place. There are a lot of spots in the US, Europe, where you can find background radiation up to 10 μSv/h. Rome is a good example, the city itself for some reason has an elevated background radiation, there are beaches in Brazil, which are tourist attractions, with radiation levels of 175 mSv/year, then there is Ramsar, Iran, with a background radiation of over 250 mSv/year, and where studies have shown that people in living there have actually lower cancer rates.

This is a well known fact about radiation, but long exposures to elevated levels of background radiation doesn't seem to have that much of an effect on people's health. The real problem appears if there is accumulation of this background radiation in the body, or if someone is exposed to very high levels of radiation for shorts periods of time.

The 20 mSv/year rule by the Japanese government is somewhat arbitrary, it is based on normal base background radiation of japan, which has naturally low background radiation, and it is intended to be way lower than any levels of radiation that would actually be bad for people.

So, you can freak out for some spots going over the 20 mSv/year rule, but unless you also freak about all of the spots around the world with naturally high radiation levels, it is a little bit hypocrite.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

So nothing wrong with my maths.

Yes sorry a typo and not editor. The limit is 20 millisievert per year.

Yes, your math was all ok, with a little discrepancy with a factor of 8760.

About radiation levels, background radiation variate a lot from place to place. There are a lot of spots in the US, Europe, where you can find background radiation up to 10 μSv/h. Rome is a good example, the city itself for some reason has an elevated background radiation, there are beaches in Brazil, which are tourist attractions, with radiation levels of 175 mSv/year, then there is Ramsar, Iran, with a background radiation of over 250 mSv/year, and where studies have shown that people in living there have actually lower cancer rates.

This is a well known fact about radiation, but long exposures to elevated levels of background radiation doesn't seem to have that much of an effect on people's health. The real problem appears if there is accumulation of this background radiation in the body, or if someone is exposed to very high levels of radiation for shorts periods of time.

The 20 mSv/year rule by the Japanese government is somewhat arbitrary, it is based on normal base background radiation of japan, which has naturally low background radiation, and it is intended to be way lower than any levels of radiation that would actually be bad for people.

So, you can freak out for some spots going over the 20 mSv/year rule, but unless you also freak about all of the spots around the world with naturally high radiation levels, it is a little bit hypocrite.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

“Both above the legal limits of 20 millisievert per hour.”

Yes sorry a typo and not editor. The limit is 20 millisievert per year.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Zichi,

You wrote

“Both above the legal limits of 20 millisievert per hour.”

and

“Both of those readings are above the permitted level of 20 millisievert per year.”

So it it per hour or per year? I don’t see how both of these can be correct and therefore it appears to me also that there is indeed something wrong with your calculations.

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

socrateos

zichi

Looking at a radiation map parts of Futaba...

It is a very small area (95%) are still not allowed to return.

Yes it is. When the evacuations are lifted usually only for a part of the town and not all of because of radiation hotspots.

Since 2011 I have stated I think the 20 km exclusion zone and special exclusion zone should remain in place until the end of the nuclear disaster.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The part of my post above was automatically cut off. :-(

It is a very small area (less than 5%) that is allowed to return. The most area (greater than 95%) is still not allowed to return.

www.pref.fukushima.lg.jp/img/portal/template02/ez20190410.png

0 ( +1 / -1 )

zichi

Looking at a radiation map parts of Futaba...

It is a very small area (95%) are still not allowed to return.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Luis David Yanez

This is the level of scientific literature most anti nuclear folks have...

Really!

The law/regulations state the maximum exposure for all prefectures except Fukushima is 1 millisievert per year but for Fukushima it is 20 millisievert per year.

In one year there are 8760 hours. 20 millisievert is 20,000 microsievert over 8760 hours. That works out at about 2.3 microsievert per hour. This is the measurement used on all measuring devices.

The readings of 6.1 and 7.6 microsievert per hour works out at 55 millisievert and 67 millisievert per year.

Both of those readings are above the permitted level of 20 millisievert per year.

So nothing wrong with my maths. For your interest, the workers at the nuclear disaster plant are limited to 50 millisievert per year or a maximum of 100 millisievert over 5 year.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Looking at a radiation map parts of Futaba 6.1 microsiverts per hour. Okuma 7.6 microsieverts per hour. Both above the legal limits of 20 millisievert per hour

Erm... how is 6.1 MICRO more than 20 MILLI?

20 MILLI is 20000 MICRO. 6.1 MICRO is 0.0061 MILLI.

This is the level of scientific literature most anti nuclear folks have...

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Looking at a radiation map parts of Futaba 6.1 microsiverts per hour. Okuma 7.6 microsieverts per hour. Both above the legal limits of 20 millisievert per hour.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Two things ex residents no longer get government or any TEPCO support as its now all ok. And as priminister Mario promised the Olympics are to support these displaced residents so... Things have worked out...I guess. If you don't mind loosing everything.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Well its nice to hear some good news for a change.

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

The majority of the former residents of the evacuated towns do not want to return. The former residents of the areas filled will no longer be paid the monthly compensation support.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Wow! Conveniently opened for the Olympic torch relay. Will they let international experts make their own safety assessments of the area?

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Little do they know!

But with this new virus making the headlines, this news will be something like "and others".

4 ( +6 / -2 )

"We are aiming to have the return of residents starting in the spring of 2022," she said.

Don’t. Just bulldoze the entire area and cover it in cement.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Wow! The Olympic torch is a powerful thing! Just a PLAN to take it there and poof the radiation is gone!!

11 ( +12 / -1 )

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