The Japanese government intends to use J-Village in Fukushima as the starting point for the Japan leg of the Olympic torch relay Photo: AFP/File
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Radiation 'hot spots' near Olympic torch relay in Fukushima: Greenpeace

32 Comments
By CHARLY TRIBALLEAU

Environmental pressure group Greenpeace said Wednesday it had detected what it called radiation "hot spots" near the starting point for the upcoming Olympic torch relay in Fukushima, northeastern Japan.

Japan's environment ministry said the area in general was safe but added it was in talks with local communities to survey the region ahead of the Games that open on July 24.

Greenpeace urged fresh radiation monitoring and continued clean-up efforts, saying its surveys had shown areas of high readings near J-Village, a sports complex located about 20 kilometers from the nuclear plant damaged in the 2011 tsunami.

The Japanese government is keen to use the Olympics to showcase Fukushima's recovery from the disaster and intends to use J-Village as the starting point for the Japan leg of the torch relay starting in March.

Originally designed as a training center for athletes, J-Village functioned for years as a logistics hub for crews working to control and decommission the crippled reactors.

After a clean-up process, the sports center became fully operational again in April this year, shortly after Japanese Olympic officials decided to use it as the starting point for the torch relay.

Greenpeace said they had detected some spots with radiation levels as high as 1.7 microsieverts per hour when measured one meter above the surface.

This compared with the nationally allowed safety standard of 0.23 microsieverts per hour, and a normal reading in Tokyo of around 0.04 microsieverts per hour.

The hotspots showed a reading of 71 microsieverts per hour at the surface level, Greenpeace said.

However, J-Village's internet site says the radiation reading at its main entrance was 0.111 microsieverts per hour on Wednesday, while one of its fields showed a reading of 0.085 microsieverts per hour.

Greenpeace said it had relayed its findings to the Japanese government as well as local and international Olympic organizers.

The group will publish a report of its findings in the region next year.

© 2019 AFP

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

32 Comments
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This is why any reporting needs to be done completely independent of the government and of the IOC. If not, you know that the readings will always be, surprise surprise, be below “nationally allowed” standards. I personally don’t know if they even actually do any tests.

9 ( +13 / -4 )

However, J-Village's internet site says the radiation reading at its main entrance was 0.111 microsieverts per hour on Wednesday, while one of its fields showed a reading of 0.085 microsieverts per hour.

Greenpeace said it had relayed its findings to the Japanese government as well as local and international Olympic organizers.

The group will publish a report of its findings in the region next year.

So, who to believe, an environmental group that sometimes uses eco-terrrorism to further it's own causes, or a Japanese government that far too often covers it's own arse to make things look better than it really is?

Personally speaking, neither, so it's just better to move the start!

-2 ( +11 / -13 )

Greenpeace said they had detected some spots with radiation levels as high as 1.7 microsieverts per hour when measured one meter above the surface.

As at ground level? Most people don't float 1 meter off the ground.

-19 ( +2 / -21 )

The Japanese government does not measure at ground level where people actually walk-Greenpeace does.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

Most people don't float 1 meter off the ground.

How tall are you?

15 ( +16 / -1 )

Lies upon lies upon lies. Cancer? Who cares?

1 ( +6 / -5 )

This is why any reporting needs to be done completely independent of the government and of the IOC. 

Agreed, we need more independent organisations that do research because i have absolutely no faith in what the government says.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

This is why any reporting needs to be done completely independent of the government and of the IOC.

+1

3 ( +6 / -3 )

clippetyclop:

Are you saying your feet are 1m above the ground?

-12 ( +1 / -13 )

Are you saying your feet are 1m above the ground?

Who mentioned feet? Are feet more susceptible to radiation than the rest of the body? I suspect most people here are at least a metre tall, so the readings at that height are relevant.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Greenpeace said they had detected some spots with radiation levels as high as 1.7 microsieverts per hour when measured one meter above the surface. This compared with the nationally allowed safety standard of 0.23 microsieverts per hour, and a normal reading in Tokyo of around 0.04 microsieverts per hour. The hotspots showed a reading of 71 microsieverts per hour at the surface level, Greenpeace said.

The national allowed level for all prefectures, except Fukushima is 1 millisievert per year above normal background levels. That would be 0.11 microsieverts per hour.

For Fukushima the allowed level is 20 millisievert per year above normal background levels or 2.2 microsieverts per hour.

Tokyo yearly dose (varies according to the area) 0.04 microsieverts per hour or 0.35 millisievert per year. Less than the 1 millisievert.

Radiation readings are made at one meter height because the torso of an adult is at that height.

71 microsieverts per hour would be 621 millisievert per year. 30 times higher than the allowed level. But you would have to remain on the hotspot 24/7 for a whole year. If you were on that hotspot for just 10 hours the exposure total would be 0.71 millisievert.

You can be 50 meters away from a hot spot and have low radiation levels.

The J-Village is south from the nuclear disaster site. The released radiation went NW from the nuclear plant.

If they want to use the J-Village the stadium and the route to the stadium should be within accepted radiation levels. Hotspots should be closed off. The route of the torch should also be safe and within the limits.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

We should give out free geiger counters at the Olympics and set up a twitter hashtag for people to post to with the results

0 ( +2 / -2 )

At one meter above the ground can be found some genetically important bits.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Happy to see that the article included the data, and didn't just claim 'hot spots'. 

It seems to me that the relay start location needs to be moved, even though no runner is likely to be harmed by this level of radiation. However, one wouldn't want to live nearby. Very embarrassing for the government and Olympic committee.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Good post Zichi.

I have my suspicions that Greenpeace are doing what they did in their initial "survey" of Fukushima City just after the accident: pushing readings at drains and trees, which funnel a lot of rainwater, and so get a lot of radionuclides coming down to the drain, roots in the case of trees.

They published the research from their Fukushima trip - headlines about "massive readings" in Fukushima City, much higher than the government were reporting. I went though the Excel file, summed the readings and took the average. Looked at the radiation reading for Fukushima City (we had those in the Tohoku newspapers at that time) - exactly the same as the Greenpeace average for Fukushima City. But Greenpeace were not interested in the average, just fear-inducing headlines that drove families apart and made people feel like they were unclean outcasts.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Omachi, “Happy to see that the article included the data, and didn't just claim 'hot spots'.”

Yes, but where exactly were those spots? While to J-Village data is given for two specific locations, in the case of Greenpeace we are only told the spots are “near” the J-Village.

invalid CSRF

2 ( +2 / -0 )

If the only radiation we are exposed to came from one meter from the ground ,then then life would be very simple However,, it is not.

Radioactive particles can be found in food, house dust, smoke and even in the walls of buildings.

Even Shinkansen stations leading up and down to from Fukushima to Tokyo have a higher readings due to the accident.

And what about the radioactive package flown by drone that ended up on PM Abe’s roof?

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

maybe Abe and those in government can run that leg of the torch relay, they can hand out bottles of water to them from the reactor storage before they release it into the oceans, after all its all safe according to them

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Educator60 - excellent point. Their measurements points need to be identified.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The internal organs are the part most at risk when exposed to radiation. Hence the measurement one meter above ground level.

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

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I think that nothing international should be done anywhere close to Fukushima. Hot spots don't kill you, not give you any noticeable effect (unless you stand on a piece of a crude reactor bar). Yet, you never know and never can know. TEPCO and the government never did it, and still do not say everything about it now. Would you eat an apple, if I tell you that now it is clean because I washed it very well, but previously I dropped it into the the sewage? I doubt it . And that it is not because it is stinky or dirty.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Roger Jolly

I think that nothing international should be done anywhere close to Fukushima. 

Do you mean the Fukushima nuclear site or do you mean the whole area of Fukushima Prefecture where less than 10% of the land mass received radiation. Other prefectures also received radiation, Miyagi, Nagano, Gunma.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

And yet, posters like oldman_13 claim countries that are going to bring their own food and radiation meters are "whining" and wrong for doing so. Yet he'd be happy if athletes slept and trained in hotspots and were fed "food the government deems safe, to prove it's safe", no questions asked.

-9 ( +7 / -16 )

smith,

I agree.

If I were an Olympian there is no way I would want to be in Fukushima just to appease Abe's 'Everything is under control,' quote.

I hope the rest of the world doesn't get hoodwinked like the locals do.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Very disappointed.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

1 Meter....the handle height of baby strollers.

Setagaya-ku had measurements of 5 all over the place.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Go-Go, how do you get around, slither? Guess which humans are mostly around 1 meter in height, with their noses around in that air... children. Do you see now?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

A lot of figures have been bandied about but just to put things into perspective, while the house in Ito is of course not the same as Fukushima or for that matter Tokyo, the radiation measurements are for a real situation.

 Measurements around the house indicated 0.1 to 0.11 inside, the small garden 0.12, ground at the rain pipe discharge 0.33 on the west side, 0.18 to 0.22 on the east side, 0.1 on the hard car parking area and the gravel path in front of the house 0.17 micro Sieverts. The values outside are about half at a height of 1 metre. These measurements are done in April for the last 3 years and show little change. The yearly value in the house would then be 0.88 milli sieverts. The Radon level inside is about 18 to 20 Bq which using WHO conversion yield about 1 milli sieverts a year. So the total yearly exposure is just under 2 milli seiverts per year.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Radiation 101: Background radiation is NATURAL. Radioactive isotopes spewed from the internal workings of a fission reactor are MAN MADE. Massive deadly difference.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Are you saying your feet are 1m above the ground?

All a matter of comprehension!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I've seen journalists go in with greenpeace. Levels are dangerously high in these 'hotspots'

Ive seen Japanese youtuber walk along a park in Tokyo with a detector and in some bits it was bloody 40-41 times the normal levels. Yet stupid moms with kids just said 'shranai'. They prefer cancer over facts.

Chernobyl is still bloody radioactive to this date, so why should Fukushima be any different? I guess Japanese are immune to radiation because of A-bomb I guess (NOT).

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I call pure fabrication.  If not, dates, times, identifiable place names please.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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