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Saturday, August 6, 2011

☢ Atomic Bomb Survivor Akira Yamada Likens Nuclear Plants to Nuclear Bombs ☢

Akira Yamada is pictured in the city of Fukushima. (Mainichi)
Akira Yamada is pictured in the city of Fukushima. (Mainichi)
FUKUSHIMA -- On the 66th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, survivors in Fukushima Prefecture -- home to the disaster-stricken Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant -- have a unique perspective. One of those survivors is Akira Yamada, 85, the chair of the prefecture's A-bomb survivors' association.
"Who would think we would be threatened by radiation twice in our lives? I had never thought about nuclear power on Aug. 6 until now. This year is different, though. We have to think not only about why the nuclear bomb was dropped, but why we built nuclear power plants," he says.
On Aug. 6 this year, while watching the peace ceremony in Hiroshima on television at home, Yamada gave a prayer for the victims while wishing for an end to nuclear weapons.
On the day of the bombing in 1945, he was a 19-year-old high school student, at home in bed with a fever. Suddenly, there was a flash of light and a strong wind. After hiding under the house's porch for some time, Yamada climbed to the roof, where he was rendered speechless. Everywhere he looked was flames. He would later see abandoned bodies piled on the road, a sight that burned itself into his memory.
After the war, Yamada became an economist and later served as president of Fukushima University. Since 1981, he has been chair of a Fukushima Prefecture A-bomb survivors' association. However, the disaster at the Fukushima plant was far more than he ever expected.
"I thought of nuclear power plants as things for peaceful use, different from nuclear weapons. I never expected that they would lead to the spreading of radioactive materials," Yamada says.
Even after almost five months, that disaster is still ongoing.
"Nuclear bombs and nuclear plants are the same in that they both use nuclear fission, and this disaster has shown that humankind does not have complete control over nuclear power. We have to stop running the plants until we have safer technology."
The areas of Fukushima Prefecture left deserted by evacuations remind Yamada of the burnt remains of Hiroshima. "The effects of radiation come gradually. The people I'm worried about are the young," he says, adding, "Government agencies will have to closely monitor residents' health."
(Mainichi Japan) August 6, 2011

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☢ The Radioactive Chat ☢

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Geiger Counters - Radiation Detection Meters - Handheld Radiation Detector

When it comes to radiation detection meters you really have a wide field of gadgets to choose from, however radiation detectors are the most common to use. First of all if you need to know what type of radiation you are looking for. There are Alpha, Beta and Gamma radiation detectors. And also there is neutron emission of nuclear radiation. And all these different types of emissions have radiation detectors for a specific type of radiation that you can buy radiation detector for. Some also measure both Alpha and Beta. Others detect Alpha, Beta and Gamma. While others let you measure Beta and Gamma radiation.

What most people have use for though are Dosimeters you can buy a handheld radiation detector pretty cheap that are good addition to a survival kit. There are different kinds that you can use that will detect radiation. There are radiation badges that will tell you when radiation become high. Workers at nuclear power plants use these to inform them of how much radiation they have been exposed to. Now also children in the Fukushima prefecture have each been given a radiation badge so they know if they are exposed to radiation. Some come in the shape of a pen that you can carry in your pocket while other are made more compact so that you can attach them to your keychain. And then you have what is called a personal radiation monitor. These are also called Dosimeters and also normally called Geiger counters. Although not all use the Geiger-Muller Tube for the radiation detection some use a semiconductor instead. These and mostly the older geiger counters seen are pretty big to carry around, so they might not be best suited for a survival situation where you only need to carry the most important things. However if you have land and want to check radiation around the property and drinking water then these are the geiger counters to get because they are very well built units.

These are the once that you normally see people use. They have different units of radiation detection, because when it comes to radiation there are many standards used. some give the measurements in Rads, while other use Sieverts. Some have the maximum radiation value for the measured radioactivity quite low but they will still give you an idea of the amount of radiation in the area. With the units ranging from between background radiation 0.001 mSv/hr all the way up to 10 Sv/h. Normally a dosimeter will measure radiation in micro siverts per hour. If you were to walk into one of the reactor units at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant you probably would get an error reading from your dosimeter because the radiation levels are so high there.

Note that some places outside the exclusion zone in Fukushima that are too radioactive for people to live in have areas where the radiation levels are above 30 Sv/h. So if you are in a area that have high radiation the radiation detectors would also there go off the scale. However Geiger counters or radiation detectors are still favored as general purpose alpha/beta/gamma portable radiation detectors and radiation detection equipment, due to their low cost and robustness. Most come with an LCD Display that show you the radioactivity in the area. Nowdays you will even get alarm sound and the possibility to connect the device to a computer. Either with a Infrared, Bluetooth or USB connection.

So if you look at the radiation detectors for sale that have this, then these radiation detection meters will allow you to make maps of contaminated areas that show where the radiation is high and low. This also will help you to see which areas are becoming more contaminated over time. With several nuclear reactors in the US and around the world located near fault zones that makes it a danger if a big earthquake would hit the area there is always a good choice to have a radiation dosimeter avaliable. I'm sure many in Fukushima would have been grateful to have dosimeters avaliable at the time of the disaster and I am sure you to would be grateful to have a geiger counter handy when you need one.