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Grim reminder

38 Comments

Kindergarten children play near a geiger counter, measuring a radiation level of 0.160 microsievert per hour, about 50 kilometers from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, in Nihonmatsu, Fukushima Prefecture.

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Is a radiation level of 0.160 microsievert per hour dangerous? Normal? I checked and still have no idea.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

slumdog: quite normal because they cleaned up a 5 meter radius around all the meters, take a measurement 10 meters away you will get 4-5 times higher.

It is another government "everything is okay" product... when it normally never is.

1 ( +11 / -10 )

How high is it without the kid there?

4 ( +7 / -3 )

gogogo. Yep.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

quite normal because they cleaned up a 5 meter radius around all the meters, take a measurement 10 meters away you will get 4-5 times higher.

Have you actually measured it? If not, can you give a link (credible) with measurements that high in that area?

3 ( +8 / -5 )

They should start issuing all Fukushima residents Pip-boy 3000s.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

gogogoMar. 05, 2013 - 02:27PM JST

take a measurement 10 meters away you will get 4-5 times higher.

Even if your conjectures are correct (which are likely based on the greenpeace reports that are valid only if you let your children play on a neighbor's roof gutter or a rusty pipe), the levels are 5mSv/yr, which is less than half the background rate in Denver, which also happens to have one of the lowest cancer rates in the US. Perhaps you should check with your sources to make sure they aren't giving you false information.

3 ( +9 / -6 )

slumdogMar. 05, 2013 - 02:25PM JST

Is a radiation level of 0.160 microsievert per hour dangerous? Normal? I checked and still have no idea.

0.16microSv is equivalent to 1.4mSv/yr, which is the pre-Fukushima average for Japan, and a third of the rate of many cities worldwide (due to granite, limestone, and radon levels from good insulation). http://isis-online.org/risk/tab7 shows natural background levels that will make you question why anyone would consider 0.16 dangerous.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

A grim reminder, all right, of government stupidity. Those kids should not be there.

5 ( +11 / -6 )

Poor kids! They are going to be the living lab tests all environmentalists will be pointing to in the future while grossly neglected by the government that will still be saying it is all ok, you were supposed to die of cancer anyway...

4 ( +8 / -4 )

What a way to spend their childhood - growing up in the shadow of a nuclear crisis.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

I concur with SmithinJapan. This is one juxtaposition that should never be.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

ebisen. I have measured it. Many of my friends have measured it. The answer is yes. They clean up around the meters to get a good reading. There are areas with very high readings all over.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

sad picture.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

0.16 microsievert is infinitesimal. being exposed to that for 100 hours would equal the upper limit of a dental X-ray. But, the prolonged exposure IS worrisome.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Drove through Nihonmatsu on many occasion with a non Government issued Geiger counter and we never found it to be remotely worrying.

I wonder where Gogogo get's their information from?

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Nihonmatsu - isn't that the place where they were going to ship out contaminated rice until one farmer couldn't keep quiet and reported the elevated levels? Thanks to him, the rice from the area became banned. I think there is more than is being reported in that area.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Heda Madness. I think you had better explore more or get a new geiger counter because myself and friends have found very worrying results on many occasions. I have found 10 times that amount in my in-laws yard and 20 times that in my own flower bed. My friend has found 90 micro/hour at his company. Araike Koen in Koriyama has very elevated levels.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

I can only go on what we did and what others who have driven through the area have found. This was from April 2011 to December 2011. There were elevated levels in Iitate - very high. But everywhere else we went with multiple Geiger Counters on multiple trips showed very similar readings. Of course there will be areas that are high and I'm sure that if we'd shoved our Geiger counters in the dirt from drains we may have found higher but that's not really relevant.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Nor did I go looking in dark drains for it. It was right there where everyone walks and on the bushes in the parks. It was higher than that in my house at one point!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Where did you take your measurements? You mention the flower beds and the bushes, were you at ground level?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

OnniyamaMar. 05, 2013 - 04:43PM JST

I think you had better explore more or get a new geiger counter because myself and friends have found very worrying results on many occasions.

Geiger counters are not toys that you can replace every few months to get a better measurement. Even a thirty year old counter can be more than accurate enough in the right hands. I suggest you use a meter stick and a plumb-bob to make sure you are reading from exactly one meter, as well as to have it professionally calibrated if you aren't qualified to calibrate it yourself. Measuring errors are common now that untrained people have counters without understanding how to read them. Also, note that geiger counters only measure counts (un-normalized Bq at best), not microSv, so without knowing what you are searching for and making sure you are calibrated to it, your measurement is already off.

I have found 10 times that amount in my in-laws yard and 20 times that in my own flower bed.

That would be much higher than anything recorded by safecast (http://map.safecast.org/map/140.37451289853936,37.399576249328966,13), so I would suggest you seek professional help in measuring levels, as your measurements are likely mistaken.

My friend has found 90 micro/hour at his company.

Tell us where he works, since that's not normal and the workplace should be shut down for violating health laws (maximum exposure anywhere in the world for non-nuclear/radiology/radiomedicine workers is below 50mSv/yr, and this place is 788mSv/yr, well beyond Japan's much stricter laws). If you have actual information that 90microSv at one meter was measured and verified, contact the health inspectors immediately.

Of course, if that person worked in a dentists office, medical clinic, or another authorized place with radionuclides, the failure to report an accident can carry stiff fines, so the incident should be reported immediately.

2 ( +10 / -8 )

Is a radiation level of 0.160 microsievert per hour dangerous? Normal? I checked and still have no idea.

Well, you can put that figure into perspective by considering that the global average of human exposure to natural background radiation is 0.270 microsievert per hour. Since background radiation is generally lower in Japan to begin with, that level is as normal as can be.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I have seen reports of 9 microSieverts/hr in Koriyama, I haven't heard anyone reporting 90microSiverts/hour. We have areas in our local park quite a bit further south that are fenced off, because they are showing 0.25 microSieverts/hour.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

@ebisen,

10 times 0.160 microSievert/hr is fully possible in many locations quite far from the NPP including the city of Koriyama. 20 times that was probably also possible if measurements took place during 2011

4 ( +5 / -1 )

SquidBertMar. 05, 2013 - 06:15PM JST

10 times 0.160 microSievert/hr is fully possible in many locations quite far from the NPP including the city of Koriyama.

There are isolated areas with 1.66microSv/hr, but the residential areas have been shown to be almost entirely below 1 microSv/hr.

20 times that was probably also possible if measurements took place during 2011

Only would have been true between mid March and early April when radioiodine was still around. Since caesium is actually more concentrated now, and 75% of radio caesium is still around, the 3mSv level had to have been incredibly short lived if the maximum in that area is currently (as of last year actually) 1.66mSv.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

We need Power Rangers and Ultraman !!!! Please save us !!!!!

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

The kid's cute... He looks like he's going to open the door and have fun !!!! Mischievous kid !!!

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

lol, clean the area you choose and then place a counter right there...

just don't venture outta that zone...how about you place the counters everywhere coz people do need to walk/travel

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@ebisen @basroil:

The article used to be on this site (where I read it first)

The story was familiar to us, as in March this year, while conducting radiation checks in a park in the suburb of Watari, we came across a newly installed official radiation monitoring post. This station showed a relatively low level of contamination when compared to levels we had measured previously, however, it was placed smack in the middle of a small area that had been clearly decontaminated. New soil had replaced the old, but as soon as you stepped off the cleaned area the levels of contamination rose sharply, and remained much higher throughout the park - with the exception of around the official monitoring post itself.

http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/news/Blogs/nuclear-reaction/false-hope-radiation-monitoring-in-the-fukush/blog/42696/

3 ( +6 / -3 )

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I wonder what it would be if someone lit up a cig.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

"slumdog: quite normal because they cleaned up a 5 meter radius around all the meters, take a measurement 10 meters away you will get 4-5 times higher."

your joking

You mean "they" removed all the top soil in the play ground after or to prevent pressure from over anxious parents regardless of the readings and science anyway.

Then to top that, they put the the measurement device in the same area again because of anxious parents again; where the children would play.

Who would have thought of such a coincidence. Surely it must be a conspiracy (sarcasm).

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The monitoring posts are to show that a particular area has been decontaminated, or is not contaminated, but, the problem is they are static and only cover a small area, and airborne radiation. If there was another disaster they would be useful and serve as an early warning relay to supplement SPEEDI. They would have been really useful for all those residents who had no idea what was coming their way on the week after 3/11 when SPEEDI data was withheld from the public..

This was broadcast last year, sorry its all in Japanese.

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

If anyone is interested but does not understand Japanese you can get the basic overview of the video by looking at this blog http://kiikochan.blog136.fc2.com/blog-entry-2308.html and using google translate. Its simplistic but will give you an idea of what it is they are discussing.

Its not all negative as once we understand what the black substance is, and how it is accumulating radiation (and what type of radionuclides) it may be beneficial for decontamination efforts, you certainly don't want to inhale it or eat it (no mud pies). Professor Hiroaki Koide is the old man with glasses testing the samples, the young man on the right being interviewed collected a sample from station in Tokyo which was very contaminated, and he as made a map that shows radiation in the form of becquerels per kilogram (Bq/kg).

FYI, Hiroaki Koide works at Koyoto University, in the Research Reactor Institute, and he is in the Radioactive Waste management division, therefore he is very qualified to be make assertions about how radioactive these substances are. He is extremely anti-nuke, so I'm sure someone will be along to disqualify him http://www.rri.kyoto-u.ac.jp/en/research_div/nse/nes/rwm.

I'm personally not against the monitoring posts but there are numerous videos on youtube that indicate that areas even 10 meters away from monitoring posts in Fukushima prefecture are showing high levels of contamination, in the form of the black dust (黒い物質). This may make parents who have no idea about the effects of radiation on children feel that it is safe for their children to play in a park that has mini-hot spots that are technically classified as nuclear waste, as pointed out by Professor Koide. Until researchers understand the mechanisms of the black dust, it may mean even areas that have had a lot of decontamination efforts might be re-contaminated.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

So if other people are finding levels higher than your world of "everything is safe," than surely they must be using their Geiger counters incorrectly? And that means that children only play from areas one meter off the ground? No child ever gets down on their hands and knees to play in the dirt?

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

The biggest benefit of these monitoring stations is the ability to monitor any future changes in radiation in the area... at least until some kids jam some bananas into the monitoring port.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

My prayers are so with those kids.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Horrified

One metre is what is universally accepted around the world. If you go to Cornwall in the UK, Rome, New York, even Chernobyl the radiation readings are all taken at one metre above ground. Anything than a metre is distorted and incorrect. Even Safecast specify on their website that the reason for the discrepancy between their readings and others is because of the height.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

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