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Fukushima Daiichi radiation

Tohoku disaster 6 years: March 11, 2011 14:46:24

6 years and many lessons learnt since the Tohoku earth quake and Tsunami and Fukushima-Dai-Ichi nuclear disasters

Tohoku disaster and Fukushima nuclear disaster lead to Japan’s energy market liberalization

Tohoku disaster: On Friday March 11, 2011 at 14:46:24, the magnitude 9.0 “Great East Japan earthquake” caused a tsunami, reaching up to 40.4 meters high inland in Tohoku.

Japan’s National Police Agency registers 15,894 deaths and 2,562 missing people.

TEPCO’s Fukushima Dai-1 nuclear power plant vs Tohoku Electric Power Corporation’s Onagawa Nuclear Power Plant

One of the world’s worst nuclear disasters started at Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) Fukushima Dai-1 Nuclear Power Plant.

The Onagawa Nuclear Power Plant, owned and operated by Tohoku Electric Power Company, and built under Yanosuke Hirai, was closest to the 2011/3/11 earthquake’s epicenter, and survived the quake without major damage and was successfully shut down, and served as a refuge for 300 people from the neighborhood who had lost their homes. There were radiation alarm signals at Onagawa Power Station, but these alarms were caused by radioactive fallout blown from Fukushima-Dai-Ichi by winds, and did not originate from Onagawa.

The Onagawa Nuclear Power Plant was the only nuclear power plant in the region of the Tohoku Earthquake that survived the earthquake without any major damage.

On Yanosuke Hirai’s insistence, Tohoku Electric Power Company built Onagawa Nuclear Power Plant at 13.8 meters above sea level, while during the construction of TEPCO’s Fukushima Dai-1 plant the natural ground elevation was reduced from 35 meters to 10 meters. The Tsunami reached 13 meters height in both locations.

In 1990 Tohoku Electric Power Company (Onagawa Nuclear Power Station Construction Office) published a detailed analysis of the Great Jogan Tsunami of AD 869

Yanosuke Hirai had researched the Great Jogan Tsunami of July 13, 869, which was caused by the 869 Sanriku Earthquake (貞観地震). The results were taken into account in planning the Onagawa Nuclear Power Station, and published in 1990:

Hisashi Abe, Toshisada Sugeno, Akira Chigama, (Onagawa Nuclear Power Station Construction Office)
“Estimation of the Height of the Sanriku Jogan 11 Earthquake-Tsunami (AD 869) in the Sendai Plain”
Zisin (Journal of the Seismological Society of Japan, 2nd Series), Vol. 43 (1990) No. 4 P 513-525

See also the “869 Sanriku earthquake” entry in Wikipedia.

Fukushima nuclear disaster mitigation. US sends 150 nuclear experts headed by Chuck Casto to work with the Japanese Prime Minister and top leaders for 11 months to help deal with the Fukushima disaster

The USA sent a team of about 150 nuclear experts for 11 months to Japan to assist TEPCO and the Japanese Government in mastering the nuclear crisis. This team was headed by Chuck Casto – read some of his conclusions here:

Japan’s first ever Parliamentary Commission

Japan’s Parliament for the first time ever created an Independent Parliamentary Commission to analyze the nuclear disaster, headed by Kiyoshi Kurokawa, read the summary of his talk “Groupthink can kill” here (including videos describing the Commissions results in simple easy to understand terms).

Three former TEPCO executives have now been indicted by a citizen’s prosecution committee.

Nuclear disaster leads to energy market liberalization in Japan

Japan’s faith in nuclear power was shaken, leading to development of renewable energy, liberalization and long overdue reforms of Japan’s energy sector.

Quakes and after-quakes

The figures show that more than 300 earthquakes of magnitude 5 or larger occurred since the major quake on March 11, 2011 at 14:46. The epicenters of quakes lie mostly where the Pacific Plate moves under the North American Plate on which Tohoku lies.

According to our knowledge earth quakes are mathematically speaking a “chaotic” phenomenon, and scientific arguments are, that it is difficult if not impossible to predict earth quakes with precision. (Figure: Wolfram Alpha LLC)

Earth quakes of magnitude 5 and greater in Japan (March-April 2011) (Figure: Wolfram Alpha LLC)
Earth quakes of magnitude 5 and greater in Japan (March-April 2011) (Figure: Wolfram Alpha LLC)
Earth quakes of magnitude 5 and greater in Japan (March-April 2011) on logarithmic magnitude scale (Figure: Wolfram Alpha LLC)
Earth quakes of magnitude 5 and greater in Japan (March-April 2011) on logarithmic magnitude scale (Figure: Wolfram Alpha LLC)

Nuclear fallout on Tokyo: radiation levels in Tokyo/Shinjuku

Starting with Tuesday 15 March 2011, radioactive fallout came down on Tokyo as shown in the figures below.

Radiation in Tokyo/Shinjuku (until April 13, 2011) compared to Austria
Radiation in Tokyo/Shinjuku (until April 13, 2011) compared to Austria

Radiation levels in Tokyo (Shinjuku and Shibuya) and Tsukuba:

Radiation in Tsukuba (until April 13, 2011) compared to Austria
Radiation in Tsukuba (until April 13, 2011) compared to Austria

The blue curve above shows the radiation levels in Tokyo/Shinjuku as measured and published by the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute for Public Health here:

  • each hour for the last 24 hours
  • daily starting March 1

The red curves show maximum and minimum data as measured by TEPCO in Tokyo-Shibuya, and published here: TEPCO radiation data

The green curves show radiation data measured by Japan’s highly respected AIST Laboratory in Tsukuba (Ibaraki-ken, about 60 km north of Tokyo in direction of Fukushima) and published here: AIST radiation data.

Radiation levels in Tsukuba

The green curves show radiation data measured by AIST Laboratory in Tsukuba (Ibaraki-ken, about 60 km north of Tokyo in direction of Fukushima) and published here: AIST radiation data.

The radiation measurement results in Tsukuba are considerably higher than found in Tokyo, but have decreased close to the top levels found naturally in Austria and in many other countries.

The differences in the data between Tokyo and Tsukuba could be because Tsukuba is 60km closer to Fukushima, could be caused by weather conditions, but they could also be caused by differences in the measurement equipment or a combination of these factors.

Eurotechnology-Japan newsletters in March/April 2011

In a series of newsletters, our company informed our customers, and friends about the nuclear disaster impact on Tokyo. Our newsletters were reposted by our readers to 100s of friends, and in some cases influenced the decisions by foreign subsidiaries here in Tokyo. In the days following the nuclear disaster, it was difficult for non-phycists to understand the true situation, and what the radioactive fallout really meant.

Copyright (c) 2016 Eurotechnology Japan KK All Rights Reserved

Categories
Disaster disruption Fukushima Daiichi radiation

Fukushima nuclear disaster: 5 years since the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami on 2011/3/11 at 14:46:24

5 years and many lessons learnt since the Tohoku and Fukushima disasters

Tohoku disaster and Fukushima nuclear disaster lead to Japan’s energy market liberalization

Tohoku disaster: On Friday March 11, 2011 at 14:46:24, the magnitude 9.0 “Great East Japan earthquake” caused a tsunami, reaching up to 40.4 meters high inland in Tohoku.

Japan’s National Police Agency registers 15,894 deaths and 2,562 missing people.

TEPCO’s Fukushima Dai-1 nuclear power plant vs Tohoku Electric Power Corporation’s Onagawa Nuclear Power Plant

One of the world’s worst nuclear disasters started at Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) Fukushima Dai-1 Nuclear Power Plant.

The Onagawa Nuclear Power Plant, owned and operated by Tohoku Electric Power Company, and built under Yanosuke Hirai, was closest to the 2011/3/11 earthquake’s epicenter, and survived the quake without major damage and was successfully shut down, and served as a refuge for 300 people from the neighborhood who had lost their homes. There were radiation alarm signals at Onagawa Power Station, but these alarms were caused by radioactive fallout blown from Fukushima-Dai-Ichi by winds, and did not originate from Onagawa.

The Onagawa Nuclear Power Plant was the only nuclear power plant in the region of the Tohoku Earthquake that survived the earthquake without any major damage.

On Yanosuke Hirai’s insistence, Tohoku Electric Power Company built Onagawa Nuclear Power Plant at 13.8 meters above sea level, while during the construction of TEPCO’s Fukushima Dai-1 plant the natural ground elevation was reduced from 35 meters to 10 meters. The Tsunami reached 13 meters height in both locations.

In 1990 Tohoku Electric Power Company (Onagawa Nuclear Power Station Construction Office) published a detailed analysis of the Great Jogan Tsunami of AD 869

Yanosuke Hirai had researched the Great Jogan Tsunami of July 13, 869, which was caused by the 869 Sanriku Earthquake (貞観地震). The results were taken into account in planning the Onagawa Nuclear Power Station, and published in 1990:

Hisashi Abe, Toshisada Sugeno, Akira Chigama, (Onagawa Nuclear Power Station Construction Office)
“Estimation of the Height of the Sanriku Jogan 11 Earthquake-Tsunami (AD 869) in the Sendai Plain”
Zisin (Journal of the Seismological Society of Japan, 2nd Series), Vol. 43 (1990) No. 4 P 513-525

See also the “869 Sanriku earthquake” entry in Wikipedia.

Fukushima nuclear disaster mitigation. US sends 150 nuclear experts headed by Chuck Casto to work with the Japanese Prime Minister and top leaders for 11 months to help deal with the Fukushima disaster

The USA sent a team of about 150 nuclear experts for 11 months to Japan to assist TEPCO and the Japanese Government in mastering the nuclear crisis. This team was headed by Chuck Casto – read some of his conclusions here:

Japan’s first ever Parliamentary Commission

Japan’s Parliament for the first time ever created an Independent Parliamentary Commission to analyze the nuclear disaster, headed by Kiyoshi Kurokawa, read the summary of his talk “Groupthink can kill” here (including videos describing the Commissions results in simple easy to understand terms).

Three former TEPCO executives have now been indicted by a citizen’s prosecution committee.

Nuclear disaster leads to energy market liberalization in Japan

Japan’s faith in nuclear power was shaken, leading to development of renewable energy, liberalization and long overdue reforms of Japan’s energy sector.

Quakes and after-quakes

The figures show that more than 300 earthquakes of magnitude 5 or larger occurred since the major quake on March 11, 2011 at 14:46. The epicenters of quakes lie mostly where the Pacific Plate moves under the North American Plate on which Tohoku lies.

According to our knowledge earth quakes are mathematically speaking a “chaotic” phenomenon, and scientific arguments are, that it is difficult if not impossible to predict earth quakes with precision. (Figure: Wolfram Alpha LLC)

Earth quakes of magnitude 5 and greater in Japan (March-April 2011) (Figure: Wolfram Alpha LLC)
Earth quakes of magnitude 5 and greater in Japan (March-April 2011) (Figure: Wolfram Alpha LLC)
Earth quakes of magnitude 5 and greater in Japan (March-April 2011) on logarithmic magnitude scale (Figure: Wolfram Alpha LLC)
Earth quakes of magnitude 5 and greater in Japan (March-April 2011) on logarithmic magnitude scale (Figure: Wolfram Alpha LLC)

Nuclear fallout on Tokyo: radiation levels in Tokyo/Shinjuku

Starting with Tuesday 15 March 2011, radioactive fallout came down on Tokyo as shown in the figures below.

Radiation in Tokyo/Shinjuku (until April 13, 2011) compared to Austria
Radiation in Tokyo/Shinjuku (until April 13, 2011) compared to Austria

Radiation levels in Tokyo (Shinjuku and Shibuya) and Tsukuba:

Radiation in Tsukuba (until April 13, 2011) compared to Austria
Radiation in Tsukuba (until April 13, 2011) compared to Austria

The blue curve above shows the radiation levels in Tokyo/Shinjuku as measured and published by the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute for Public Health here:

  • each hour for the last 24 hours
  • daily starting March 1

The red curves show maximum and minimum data as measured by TEPCO in Tokyo-Shibuya, and published here: TEPCO radiation data

The green curves show radiation data measured by Japan’s highly respected AIST Laboratory in Tsukuba (Ibaraki-ken, about 60 km north of Tokyo in direction of Fukushima) and published here: AIST radiation data.

Radiation levels in Tsukuba

The green curves show radiation data measured by AIST Laboratory in Tsukuba (Ibaraki-ken, about 60 km north of Tokyo in direction of Fukushima) and published here: AIST radiation data.

The radiation measurement results in Tsukuba are considerably higher than found in Tokyo, but have decreased close to the top levels found naturally in Austria and in many other countries.

The differences in the data between Tokyo and Tsukuba could be because Tsukuba is 60km closer to Fukushima, could be caused by weather conditions, but they could also be caused by differences in the measurement equipment or a combination of these factors.

Eurotechnology-Japan newsletters in March/April 2011

In a series of newsletters, our company informed our customers, and friends about the nuclear disaster impact on Tokyo. Our newsletters were reposted by our readers to 100s of friends, and in some cases influenced the decisions by foreign subsidiaries here in Tokyo. In the days following the nuclear disaster, it was difficult for non-phycists to understand the true situation, and what the radioactive fallout really meant.

Copyright (c) 2016 Eurotechnology Japan KK All Rights Reserved

Categories
Disaster disruption Fukushima Daiichi Leadership nuclear radiation

Fukushima disaster impact on Tokyo [5]: Radiation risk situation for Tokyo, Business risk impact

5th update on the crisis in Tokyo, focusing on radiation and business impact

Fukushima nuclear accident impact on Tokyo, 12 April 2011

This is our 5th update on the crisis in Tokyo, focusing mainly on the radiation and impact on business in Japan.

The continuing quakes (as shown below) do present risk. To my knowledge, earth quakes are “chaotic” (mathematically speaking), and there is considerable scientific argument that earth quakes cannot be reliably predicted. More in a future newsletter.

The Japanese Government has classified the Fukushima Dai-Ichi accident as a level 7 accident in the INES Scale. The official Japanese Government documents announcing this INES Scale classification can be found here in Japanese and here in English. Note however, that we are dealing here with nature, and human reactions. Nature does not care how we classify such accidents.

Damaged Fukushima reactors are “static” but not yet stable

Gregory Jaczko, Chairman of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission on April 11, 2011 reported to the US Senate, that the condition of the damaged reactors is ” ‘static’, but with improvised cooling efforts, they are not ‘stable’ “.

Rebuilding is progressing at amazing speed. The Tohoku Shinkansen high-speed train was re-opened Tokyo-Fukushima yesterday, with relay train connections on regular track to Sendai. The full Tokyo-Shin-Aomori line is scheduled to open beginning of May. ANA has started to fly to the repaired Sendai airport.

Radiation measurement results for Tokyo are shown below. Measured radiation levels in Tokyo are now comparable to Austria, and there are many places on earth which have far higher levels than are reported for Tokyo now.

Quakes and after-quakes

The figures show that more than 300 earthquakes of magnitude 5 or larger occurred since the major quake on March 11, 2011 at 14:46. The epicenters of quakes lie mostly where the Pacific Plate moves under the North American Plate on which Tohoku lies.

According to our knowledge earth quakes are mathematically speaking a “chaotic” phenomenon, and scientific arguments are, that it is difficult if not impossible to predict earth quakes with precision. (Figure: Wolfram Alpha LLC)

Earth quakes of magnitude 5 and greater in Japan (March-April 2011) (Figure: Wolfram Alpha LLC)
Earth quakes of magnitude 5 and greater in Japan (March-April 2011) (Figure: Wolfram Alpha LLC)

Earth quakes of magnitude 5 and greater in Japan (March-April 2011) on logarithmic magnitude scale (Figure: Wolfram Alpha LLC)
Earth quakes of magnitude 5 and greater in Japan (March-April 2011) on logarithmic magnitude scale (Figure: Wolfram Alpha LLC)

Analyzing radiation levels in Tokyo/Shinjuku

Radiation in Tokyo/Shinjuku (until April 13, 2011) compared to Austria
Radiation in Tokyo/Shinjuku (until April 13, 2011) compared to Austria

Radiation levels in Tokyo (Shinjuku and Shibuya) and Tsukuba:

Radiation in Tsukuba (until April 13, 2011) compared to Austria
Radiation in Tsukuba (until April 13, 2011) compared to Austria

The blue curve above shows the radiation levels in Tokyo/Shinjuku as measured and published by the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute for Public Health here:

  • each hour for the last 24 hours
  • daily starting March 1

The red curves show maximum and minimum data as measured by TEPCO in Tokyo-Shibuya, and published here: TEPCO radiation data

The green curves show radiation data measured by Japan’s highly respected AIST Laboratory in Tsukuba (Ibaraki-ken, about 60 km north of Tokyo in direction of Fukushima) and published here: AIST radiation data.

Radiation levels in Tsukuba

The green curves show radiation data measured by AIST Laboratory in Tsukuba (Ibaraki-ken, about 60 km north of Tokyo in direction of Fukushima) and published here: AIST radiation data.

The radiation measurement results in Tsukuba are considerably higher than found in Tokyo, but have in the last few days decreased close to the top levels found naturally in Austria and in many other countries.

The differences in the data between Tokyo and Tsukuba could be because Tsukuba is 60km closer to Fukushima, could be cause by weather conditions, but they could also be caused by differences in the measurement equipment or a combination of these factors.

Drinking water (tap water) in Tokyo:

Contamination of Tokyo tap water with I-131 (until April 13, 2011)
Contamination of Tokyo tap water with I-131 (until April 13, 2011)

Analysis of tap water in Tokyo can be found here for each day starting with March 18. This analysis shows that Tokyo tap water currently contains some radioactive Iodine (I-131), and some Cesium (CS-134 and Cs-137) radioactive isotopes.

Interesting in this context is that according to a WHO report on Japan of March 22 (pdf-file), Japanese health limits for radioactive Iodine are about 10 times lower than global standards, ie if Japanese health limits are exceeded, the levels are still at 10% of global limits (we don’t intend to underestimate this problem however).

We conclude that currently radioactive Iodine (I-131) concentrations are about 0.2% of Japan’s limits set by Japan’s Nuclear Safety Commission, and about 0.02% of international health limits, and are currently on a downward trend.

Contamination of tap water with Cesium Cs-134 and CS-137 isotopes (until April 13, 2011)
Contamination of tap water with Cesium Cs-134 and CS-137 isotopes (until April 13, 2011)

Radioactive contamination of drinking water (Cesium)

Cesium contamination with radioactive Cs-134 (1/2-life = 2.1 years) and Cs-137 (1/2-life = 30 years) isotopes is currently on the order of 0.1% of the limits set by Japan’s Nuclear Safety Commission and are on a downward trend.

The relatively long 1/2-life of Cesium-134 and Cesium-137 means that these radioactive isotopes will stay with us for many years. To understand this situation it is necessary to compare these levels with natural levels, and with other sources of radioactivity, and how Cesium interacts with our bodies.

Where to find radiation measurement results (updated March 28, 2011):

Japan’s Government AIST laboratory:
http://www.aist.go.jp/taisaku/ja/measurement/index.html

Japan’s Science and Education Ministry MEXT publishes regional radiation data:
http://www.mext.go.jp/a_menu/saigaijohou/index.htm
http://www.mext.go.jp/english/radioactivity_level/
These data are graphically shown here:
Radiation: http://atmc.jp/
Drinking water: http://atmc.jp/water/
Rain water: http://atmc.jp/ame/

Radiation data for Tokyo/Shinjuku are published here:
each hour for the last 24 hours
for each day starting March 1

Copyright·©2013 ·Eurotechnology Japan KK·All Rights Reserved·

Categories
Disaster radiation

Radiation in Tokyo: Fukushima disaster update No. 2

Radiation in Tokyo due to the Fukushima nuclear disaster

Our second update of the radiation and disaster situation in Tokyo, as of 22 March 2011

Suffering caused by the Friday March 11, 14:46 earthquake in Japan continues, but we see hope and reconstruction. Tomorrow the new high-speed train line north of the disaster zone is planned to run again between Shin-Aomori and Morioka. Radiation in Tokyo is evolving due to the Fukushima disaster and explosions and melt-down of nuclear reactors.

Japan’s society has developed over 100s of years coping with similar disasters, and it is already obvious that Japan will overcome this disaster strengthened. In recent years, Japan overcame the Kobe-Earthquake and the Niigata-Earthquake, and Japan will also overcome this earthquake soon. We observe many discussions to learn from this disaster and to strengthen Japan.

In this newsletter we focus on analysis of radiation risks (see below) in Tokyo, and on US and EU response.

Radiation in Tokyo: situation in Tokyo

Radiation in Tokyo is evolving due to the Fukushima disaster and explosions and melt-down of nuclear reactors
Radiation in Tokyo is evolving due to the Fukushima disaster and explosions and melt-down of nuclear reactors

We see Japanese companies and Japanese workers – including our company Eurotechnology-Japan here in Tokyo – working almost normally throughout the period of after-quakes. A notable exception is the account settlement IT system of Mizuho-Bank which apparently has broken down.

Electricity savings by the population were beyond expectations, so that planned electricity cuts have been largely avoided – most electricity cuts were announced but not implemented – the electricity keeps flowing in most areas, especially in the central areas.

While many long-term foreign residents remained in Tokyo, a large fraction of temporary foreigners left either to Osaka, or left Japan altogether.
The departure of some foreigners (and some Japanese) has not been un-noticed.

One of my friends, Japanese surgeon (medical doctor) at Tokyo University’s hospital, who had stayed at the bedside of patients throughout the quake, broke down in tears telling me about a colleague leaving Tokyo during the after-quakes.

US actions – Operation Tomodachi

“Operation Tomodachi”: The US Pacific Command has built up a massive help and relief effort “Operation Tomodachi”, which involves US Air Force, US Marine Corps, US Army (458 personell + 1000 contractors), US Navy (12,750 personell participating in Operation Tomodachi). A summary of US Pacific Command help to Japan including “Operation Tomodachi” can be found here. In particular, US experts and loaned equipment are helping with the Fukushima nuclear power stations, US is working to repair Sendai Airport and other damaged infrastructure so that supplies can be forwarded, and US military is delivering supplies including food, blankets, fuel and water into the disaster area.

According to announcements by the US Ambassador Roos, the US Embassy in Tokyo has increased staffing by about 30%, and 96 US Government employees and experts have arrived from outside Japan to help.

EU actions

EU response: summarized here on the EU website .

Many EU country Embassies have reduced staff or shut down in Tokyo. (This is in stark contrast to the actions of the US Embassy in Japan, which actually increased staff numbers).

Situation at the Fukushima Reactor

Through heroic work of the fire fighters at the reactors the situation seems to stabilize and improve in the right direction. The International Atomic Energy Agency website summarizes the the situation officially here dated March 20, 2011. It appears that since March 20 the situation has improved further.

We here at Eurotechnology-Japan are continously working here in Tokyo for you – and our customers. We actually closed new business contracts a few days after the March 11 earthquake.

Categories
Disaster radiation

Understanding radiation in Tokyo: Japan crisis update No. 1

Understanding radiation in Tokyo as a consequence of the Fukushima nuclear disaster

Sources of radiation information and analysis as of 18 March 2011

On Friday March 11, at 14:46 one of the world’s largest earthquakes ever happened close to Japan’s coast near Fukushima, triggering a series of disasters which are still ongoing, and which brought much suffering. Human suffering continues, after-quakes continue – for a full week we had 20 or more after-quakes every day, some also quite strong, including several during the production of this newsletter. Understanding radiation in Tokyo has become a key factor for decision making by government, companies and population

We will interview one of the world’s most important earthquake experts in one of our next newsletter.

In this edition we focus on the radiation issues from the nuclear power station disaster

For an assessment of the situation at the Fukushima nuclear power stations, you may be interested to read a report of March 15, 2011 by the UK Government’s Chief Scientific Officer Professor John Beddington.

Our understanding of Japan’s radiation situation

Japan’s Government AIST laboratory (which is METI’s largest laboratory and it’s competence and R&D results are very respected for a long time) is publishing radiation measurements taken in their Tsukuba laboratory directly, and include analysis of the radiation (Tsukuba is in Ibaraki-ken north of Tokyo in direction of the Fukushima nuclear power station – so we expect radiation in Tsukuba to be higher than in Tokyo) – you can find them here: http://www.aist.go.jp/taisaku/ja/measurement/index.html

Japan’s Science and Education Ministry publishes radiation data for the last 24 hours for all of Japan here: http://atmc.jp/

Radiation data for Tokyo/Shinjuku are published here

each hour for the last 24 hours

for each day starting March 1

Our short analysis of the radiation data for Tsukuba and Shinjuku

Sv, Sievert, uSievert refer to the impact on the body by radiation, not to the physics of the radiation itself, which is measured with different units. find details here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sievert

You can see that in Tsukuba the radiation impact on humans is currently on the order of 0.08 – 0.10 micro-Sieverts/hour.

The radiation measurements in Tokyo-Shinjuku show around 0.05 micro-Sieverts/hour

Click here to see that radiation levels in Austria are in the range of 0.07 – 0.2 micro-Sieverts/hour.

This means that the radiation levels in Tsukuba are currently the same as you would typically experience in Austria, while the radiation levels in Tokyo-Shinjuku currently are about 30% lower than the lowest radiation levels in Austria, and about 4 times lower than the highest radiation levels in Austria. We have made similar comparisons for Italy.

We conclude that currently radiation levels in the Tokyo region are of similar magnitude or lower than in typical European countries.

Regarding radiation, please note also that radiation is not equal radiation, there are

  • alpha (= Helium nuclei),
  • beta (= electrons e.g. inside vacumm TV tubes and old fashioned PC terminals) and
  • gamma rays (= high energy X-rays),
  • neutrons,
  • and other types or radiation (e.g. neutrinos).

When people talk about “radiation” from the Nuclear power station, they don’t usually mean the direct alpha, beta, gamma radiation or neutrons, which cannot travel far, but they mean radioactive ions. The harmful nature of radio-active ions depends very much on what kind of ions these are, and specially also their half-life, and whether they are attached externally to clothing or shoes, or whether they are inhaled or eaten and remain in the body. Some decay very fast, and others live very long. Some, like plutonium are also very poisonous in addition to radioactivity.

Further information on radiation levels in Japan

It turns out that according to an article in NATURE, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) is collecting and transmitting very details data on radioactivity and composition of radio-nucleides in and around Japan, but it keeping these data secret.

We do not know the reasons why it is necessary to keep CTBTO’s measured data about radiation in Japan secret during this disaster. If anybody reads this newsletter familar with CTBTO’s conditions – maybe this person could urge the publication of these radiation data.