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Japan Times: Time bomb in Tokyo metropolitan area — Experts warn of accumulating Fukushima contamination

 
Anonymous Coward
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11/18/2012 04:35 PM
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Japan Times: Time bomb in Tokyo metropolitan area — Experts warn of accumulating Fukushima contamination
The muddy issue of cesium in a lake

Lake Kasumigaura in Ibaraki Prefecture is facing an environmental threat that has essentially turned it into a time bomb ticking away 60 km northeast of Tokyo.

Experts warn that Japan’s second largest lake with a surface area of 220 sq. km is quietly but steadfastly accumulating radioactive cesium [...]

[It] is not only rich with fishery resources but whose water is used for irrigation, industrial purposes, and even for consumption as drinking water for 960,000 people in Ibaraki Prefecture. Furthermore, no one knows how and by how much the problem has worsened over the months, except for one obvious thing: it hasn’t gone away. [...]

[Atsunobu Hamada, former director of the government-affiliated Ibaraki Freshwater Fisheries Research Institute maintains] that the inevitable solution would be to release Kasumigaura’s cesium into the Pacific Ocean via the Tone River [...]

“We have a potential disaster waiting to happen,” [Hiroshi Iijima, director general of the nonprofit organization Asaza Fund in Ushiku, Ibaraki Prefecture] said. “This is a lake in the Tokyo metropolitan area and the second-largest lake in Japan, and we are sitting idly by, letting it get contaminated.”

[link to www.japantimes.co.jp]

[link to enenews.com]
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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11/18/2012 05:23 PM
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Re: Japan Times: Time bomb in Tokyo metropolitan area — Experts warn of accumulating Fukushima contamination
Even low-level radioactivity is damaging
Broad analysis of many radiation studies finds no exposure threshold that precludes harm to life


Even the very lowest levels of radiation are harmful to life, scientists have concluded in the Cambridge Philosophical Society’s journal Biological Reviews. Reporting the results of a wide-ranging analysis of 46 peer-reviewed studies published over the past 40 years, researchers from the University of South Carolina and the University of Paris-Sud found that variation in low-level, natural background radiation had small, but highly statistically significant, negative effects on DNA as well as several measures of health.

The review is a meta-analysis of studies of locations around the globe that have very high natural background radiation as a result of the minerals in the ground there, including Ramsar, Iran, Mombasa, Kenya, Lodeve, France, and Yangjiang, China. These, and a few other geographic locations with natural background radiation that greatly exceeds normal amounts, have long drawn scientists intent on understanding the effects of radiation on life. Individual studies by themselves, however, have often only shown small effects on small populations from which conclusive statistical conclusions were difficult to draw.

“When you’re looking at such small effect sizes, the size of the population you need to study is huge,” said co-author Timothy Mousseau, a biologist in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of South Carolina. “Pooling across multiple studies, in multiple areas, and in a rigorous statistical manner provides a tool to really get at these questions about low-level radiation.”

Mousseau and co-author Anders Møller of the University of Paris-Sud combed the scientific literature, examining more than 5,000 papers involving natural background radiation that were narrowed to 46 for quantitative comparison. The selected studies all examined both a control group and a more highly irradiated population and quantified the size of the radiation levels for each. Each paper also reported test statistics that allowed direct comparison between the studies.

The organisms studied included plants and animals, but had a large preponderance of human subjects. Each study examined one or more possible effects of radiation, such as DNA damage measured in the lab, prevalence of a disease such as Down’s Syndrome, or the sex ratio produced in offspring. For each effect, a statistical algorithm was used to generate a single value, the effect size, which could be compared across all the studies.

The scientists reported significant negative effects in a range of categories, including immunology, physiology, mutation and disease occurrence. The frequency of negative effects was beyond that of random chance.

“There’s been a sentiment in the community that because we don’t see obvious effects in some of these places, or that what we see tends to be small and localized, that maybe there aren’t any negative effects from low levels of radiation,” said Mousseau. “But when you do the meta-analysis, you do see significant negative effects.”

“It also provides evidence that there is no threshold below which there are no effects of radiation,” he added. “A theory that has been batted around a lot over the last couple of decades is the idea that is there a threshold of exposure below which there are no negative consequences. These data provide fairly strong evidence that there is no threshold – radiation effects are measurable as far down as you can go, given the statistical power you have at hand.”

Mousseau hopes their results, which are consistent with the “linear-no-threshold” model for radiation effects, will better inform the debate about exposure risks. “With the levels of contamination that we have seen as a result of nuclear power plants, especially in the past, and even as a result of Chernobyl and Fukushima and related accidents, there’s an attempt in the industry to downplay the doses that the populations are getting, because maybe it’s only one or two times beyond what is thought to be the natural background level,” he said. “But they’re assuming the natural background levels are fine.”

“And the truth is, if we see effects at these low levels, then we have to be thinking differently about how we develop regulations for exposures, and especially intentional exposures to populations, like the emissions from nuclear power plants, medical procedures, and even some x-ray machines at airports.”

[link to www.sc.edu]

[link to enenews.com]
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 27872843


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11/19/2012 11:56 AM
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Re: Japan Times: Time bomb in Tokyo metropolitan area — Experts warn of accumulating Fukushima contamination
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11/20/2012 09:23 AM
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11/20/2012 09:23 AM
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11/20/2012 09:27 AM
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Re: Japan Times: Time bomb in Tokyo metropolitan area — Experts warn of accumulating Fukushima contamination
Nuclear Expert Arnie Gundersen, Fairewinds Energy Education: Our readers may remember when I came back from Tokyo back in February, I had 5 samples of dirt that I had taken just randomly around the city. They were all over 7,000 disintegrations per second in a two pound bag (Bq/kg). What that told me was that the releases from the accident were really severe even as far away as Tokyo. And I said then that if this were contaminated ground at a nuclear power plant it would have to be considered as nuclear waste. Well, we took a lot flack for that on the Fairewinds site, but we were right on the mark.

What happened just last week was that in a suburb of Tokyo another sample was taken by citizens and they brought it to the attention of the government that then sampled it. But basically they had a hot spot that was in excess of 10,000 disintegrations per second per kilogram of their sample. So here we are 9 months after I took my samples and citizens are still finding hot spots all over the Tokyo area. I think it speaks to one, the magnitude of the initial release. This was a serious release, not just for Fukushima Prefecture but for Tokyo and its suburbs as well. [...]

So if Tokyo could be highly contaminated to the point where its soil should be shipped to a nuclear waste dump [...] if Tokyo can have soil so hot that it should be shipped to a radioactive dump, what might happen to our nation’s capitol, the biggest city in the United States, or to L.A. in the event of a nuclear accident? We’re really not prepared. Our policy makers at the NRC have not even envisioned that as a possibility.

[link to www.fairewinds.com]

[link to enenews.com]
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 27872843


Thread: Continuing radioactive leaks from Fukushima Daiichi — “There must be a source”—300,000,000,000 becquerels a month thought entering Pacific (Page 2)

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