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Greenpeace says Fukushima radiation monitoring seriously flawed

Posted by The Agonist on October 24th, 2012

From our partners at The Agonist

Digital Journal, By Robert Myles, October 23

Fukushima – International environmental campaigning organisation Greenpeace claims that Japanese government radiation monitoring stations in the city of Fukushima are seriously underestimating residual radiation levels and public health risks in and around Fukushima.

Seventeen months after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan, in a press statement today, Greenpeace stated that radiation measurements made by the Japanese authorities in the area around the stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant are unreliable. Greenpeace said that Fukushima residents risked exposure to thirteen times the legal limit for radiation.

According to Greenpeace, radiation levels above 3 microsieverts per hour were recorded in parks and schools in the city of Fukushima, whilst the limit is a mere 0.23 microsieverts per hour reports 20 minutes. The city of Fukushima is located about fifty kilometres (about 31 miles) from the nuclear power plant Fukushima Daiichi which was severely damaged as a result of an earthquake and subsequent tsunami which struck on March 11, 2011.

Greenpeace discovered that official Japanese government monitoring stations were systematically underestimating radiation risks for city residents whilst decontamination work was sporadic and insufficient. Areas which had already been evacuated had received more attention than still heavily populated city areas, Greenpeace said in their statement.


Official radiation monitoring stations in Fukushima unreliable: Greenpeace

Greenpeace, October 23, 2012

Tokyo – Following new radioactive contamination checks in Fukushima City and the heavily contaminated Iitate(1) last week, Greenpeace has found that official monitoring stations systematically underestimate the radiation risks for the population, and that the Government’s decontamination work remains patchy, misdirected, and insufficient, with evacuated areas receiving greater attention than heavily populated ones.

More than 75% of the 40 government monitoring posts checked by Greenpeace in Fukushima City showed lower radiation levels than their immediate surroundings, with contamination levels within 25 metres of the posts up to six times higher than at the posts themselves (2).

“Official monitoring stations are placed in areas the authorities have decontaminated, however, our monitoring shows that just a few steps away the radiation levels rise significantly,” said Dr. Rianne Teule, Greenpeace International radiation expert. “We fear that these stations give the public a false sense of security.”

“Decontamination can make a significant difference to radiation levels, but there seems to be little progress in the cleanup work, and many hot spots remain throughout Fukushima City,” said Teule. “Low hanging fruit, such as the decontamination of children’s playgrounds and other areas needed to protect the most vulnerable, have not progressed sufficiently despite more than a year and a half passing since the triple meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi.”


Japan LNG demand has likely peaked: government official

Reuters, By Bohan Loh & Ramya Venugopal, October 23

Singapore – The spike in Japanese demand for liquefied natural gas (LNG) triggered by a halt in nuclear power output in the wake of the Fukushima disaster may have peaked, as two reactors are back online and the summer demand season has passed, a senior government official said.

Japan, the world’s top LNG consumer, boosted purchases further following the shutdown of atomic reactors after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami crippled the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, even as the jump in imports widened its trade deficit to record levels.

“Japan’s demand for LNG is not very likely to expand further because now two reactors are back in operation,” Toshihiko Fuji, a deputy director general at Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), told Reuters in an interview.

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