Sep 6, 2011

MedicalConspiracies- JAPAN: Hot Spots to avoid

-------- Original Message --------

Subject: Multi-D News ///JAPAN: Hot Spots to avoid
Date: Mon, 5 Sep 2011 17:46:58 -0400
From: Lucky <>


he has magic pixie dust to protect his house, while his son's house, only "steps" away has no magic pixie dust and is unsafe ........

In One Japanese City, Hot Spots to Avoid

Government Advises Residents of Contaminated Town to Stay—but Keep Clear of Places With Radiation Risks

[JSTAY] Phred Dvorak / The Wall Street Journal

Morio Onami with grandson Sho and wife Sato. Mr. Onami says radiation levels at his home were deemed safe—in contrast to his son's, steps away.

DATE, Japan—This sprawling city, 35 miles away from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi reactors, is leading the next phase of Japan's struggles with radiation: deciding how to handle populations in contaminated communities where the level isn't high enough to justify evacuation.

Five months after a nuclear accident blew radioactive particles across the countryside, contamination in Date (pronounced DAH-tay) is deemed low enough to be manageable—as long as residents don't spend too long outside, and avoid spots such as parks and forests, where radioactive elements tend to gather. Radioactive cesium has a tendency to bind to earth, and flow along with silt in water.

The government is urging Date's citizens to decontaminate their houses and fields. Instead of the wholesale evacuation urged on towns with higher radiation levels, Date is suggesting families leave only when their homes are deemed mini "hot spots"—where radiation levels are so high they could be worrisome.

The new hot spots are devilishly small and scattered: one out of five houses in the neighborhood of Kaki-no-uchi; six households of 10 in Aiyoshi. In some cases, next-door neighbors have received differing recommendations.

In radiation-contaminated Date, Japan, Morio Onami was told his house doesn't qualify for evacuation, even though his son's home, just a few steps away, does. WSJ's Phred Dvorak reports.

Even for those houses tapped, evacuation is optional, though the government provides assistance for those who choose to leave.

In early July, the Japanese government declared 113 households out of the 21,800 in Date eligible for evacuation, in the first trial of the new policy. It has since moved on to other towns. During the past month it has done the same with 131 households in the city of Minamisoma, and late last month finished surveying for radiation at more than 2,000 homes in the city of Fukushima, population 290,000.

"The idea is that there are certain points where radiation levels are high, but if you avoid those points, you'll be fine," explains Masato Kino, a spokesman at the government's nuclear-response center in Fukushima city.

But implementing such a strategy hasn't proven easy on the ground. The Japanese government says the ceiling for what it is calling safe—20 millisieverts of accumulated radiation exposure per year—is one-fifth the level at which scientists see the first solid signs of health risk. A chest X-ray is around 0.05 millisievert. But 20 millisieverts per year is at the top of an internationally set range for safety in long-term exposure situations. Officials say they're suggesting evacuation at lower levels for pregnant women and children, thought to be the most vulnerable to radiation, though they won't say precisely what those levels are.

Date residents complain the measurements aren't reliable, and that the line between who stays and who goes is fuzzy. Families who qualify for evacuation get breaks on property taxes, insurance premiums and medical fees—assistance potentially worth thousands of dollars—fanning jealousy among neighbors who get nothing. And many residents aren't convinced it is safe to stay behind, particularly when others nearby are moving.

Most of Date's hot spots are clustered in the district of Oguni, a verdant, hilly area full of farms and forests. On June 11 and 12, inspectors hired by the government fanned out across the area, carrying portable radiation meters with silver probes to survey 485 houses. They were looking for amounts of radiation that could put residents at risk of accumulating more than 20 millisieverts of exposure a year, a level that worked out to about 3.2 microsieverts per hour.

At each house the inspectors measured two spots—in the yard and at the front door—at heights of about 20 inches and one yard (one meter). In choosing the spots, the inspectors were warned to stay away from areas such as drains, shrubbery and rainspouts, where radioactive elements tend to gather, potentially skewing results.

In early July, letters started arriving at the 113 houses deemed hot spots.

Lumber-company owner Morio Onami says his house didn't qualify for evacuation, even though his son's, just a few steps away, did.

"At first I thought it was a mistake," says Mr. Onami, 69 years old.

Mr. Onami's son, who lived with his wife and two children in a big, new house on the family plot, had received a notice saying the house's radiation levels were high enough to qualify them for evacuation. But no notice conferring hot-spot status had come to Mr. Onami and his wife, Sato, who lived in the family's original dwelling, steps away.

The two houses got different readings—3.2 microsieverts per hour in the yard at Mr. Onami's son's house, versus 2.4 microsieverts at Mr. Onami's house. But the two households functioned as one, with everyone using the same bathtub, Japanese-style.

As neighbors compared notes, they found levels and notices were "all over the place," Mr. Onami says. Mr. Onami says he'll stay behind, while the rest of his family—including his wife—evacuates.


In One Japanese City, Hot Spots to Avoid
Wall Street Journal
Mr. Onami says radiation levels at his home were deemed safe—in contrast to his son's, steps away. DATE, Japan—This sprawling city, 35 miles away from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi reactors, is leading the next phase of Japan's struggles with ...
See all stories on this topic »

Wall Street Journal