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Sunday, August 21, 2011

☢ Fukushima Workers Nightmareish World of High Radiation and Deep Cracks in the Ground ☢

This is a transcribed special report from Channel 4 News. You get to hear TEPCO workers with hidden identities talk about the caotic conditions they work in. Along with how some of the workers ditch their radiation meters because if they reach the limit it would mean no more work or money for them.

Now five months after the earthquake and tsunami that devastated parts of Japan, work is still going on to clean up the nuclear power plant at Fukushima. THe man in charge of the plants made a rare appearance yesterday to apologize for the anxiety and inconvenience caused by the accident. The men working on the Fukushima reactor travel from towns outside the exclusion zone. Our Asian correspondent John Sparks, went to Iwaki City were he spoke to workers who claim conditions are chaotic, training inadequate. Here is his special report.

Rocked by the earth and battered by the sea. This is the work of Japans great earthquake and tsunami. The cleanup is well underway and for many here the gloom is begun to lift. But one part of this coastal strip wont submit so easily.

This was a popular beach a great place to go swimming, but few come here now. Just doesn't feel safe, the treat's not posed by the sea. 24 km down the coast a group of men and women are trying to stabilise the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. And it most be the most dangerous work place in the world.

When Fukushimas cooling systems failed a series of explosions and reactor meltdowns tore the complex apart. This the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl. 1000s of workers have been drafted in to secure the plant but they run extrodinary risks.

John Sparks: Tell us what it's like.

Worker: The conditions are caotic, there are no rules. People who come here for the first time.. Well they must be very troubled.

Worker 2: I don't know how to describe it, it's just depressing.

Channel 4 news visited some of the dormitory towns where many of Fukushimas 3000 employees are now staying. They are forbidden from speaking to the media but a number granted us interviews. Describing a nightmareish world of high radiation and difficult terrain. We hidden their identities.

Worker: We don't know when things will collapse on us, and the holes and cracks in the ground are terrifying. If you fall through you may brake you're bones. But if it's 20 meters deep, then you die.

The day starts here, at a former football training complex, before workers are bussed into the plant. The majority don't work for TEPCO the facilities owner, but for an estimated 600 subcontractors. And with so many companies on site some say it's impossible to maintain strict safety standards. We tried to ask workers about this, but we were told to leave.

They are thought how to wear body suits, glowes and masks to protect themself from radiation. But emploees told us their training was inadequate.

Worker: I got 30 min of safety instruction it's not enough and people come here with no knowlage of the operation.

Communication on site is difficult, with about 30 foreign experts in charge of key bits of equipment there's no common language. And their protective masks make it that much thougher. Sometimes workers take them off to speak to each other.

Worker. Few of us speak English or French so the language barrier is higher than expected. We talk to them through translators but we know we are being exposed to radiation while we do it.

Doctor Masahiro Kami runs a clinic where plant workers and locals can get medical care, most other doctors have evacuated. He says many employees hide the amount of radiation they are exposed to by ditching their personal monitors. The reason. If they exeed the limit there is no more work.

Doctor Masahiro Kami: The try to work as long as they can so when they go into dangerous areas they leave their radiation meters behind. The real radiation count is much higher, that's a fact.

We took doctor Kami's concerns to TEPCO's headquarters.

John Sparks: Do you exept that this practice is taking place.

Mr. Hitosugi: Whether it happens or not I think it is necessary to confirm the matter first. However I do not know anything about this at present.

It wasn't easy to hear Mr. Hitosugi who choose the location of our interview, it clashed with a large protest by  farmers demanding compensation from TEPCO for crop contamination. Signs of progress, TEPCOS PR department think so.

They posted this video last night, yet the company is widely misstrusted for withholding information about leaks and accidents. And workers at Fukushima agree, it's standard practice they say.

Worker: I give you an example, contaminated water leaked from the decontamination system, the leak was acknowladge to the press. But the amount was wrong, far more water was spilt.

Our interviewee is refeering to an incident on July 10 when TEPCO said 50 liters of liquid had been leaked. So we asked Mr. Higosugi about this apparent discrepancy

Mr. Hitosugi: I cannot remember what happened on July 10, therefor I don't know the exact details of that. Even if water leaked outside, it is our understanding it will cause no damage to the environment.

There is plenty of work on this chattered coast, but the cleanup at the nuclear plant is different. It can't be sorted into piles, 3000 workers are now risking their lives, some out of duty others for the cash. But it's the men in charge who must prove their worth, John Sparks Channel 4 News in Fukushima prefecture.

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☢ The Radioactive Chat ☢

Here you can chat live and stay updated with others about the events taking place. Share with friends and bookmark!

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.