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Thursday, August 4, 2011

☢ Japan Fires Top Nuclear Energy Officials - ABC News AU - Small Victory For Fukushima Parents ☢

Posted August 04, 2011 16:19:14
Japan will sack three top energy officials over their handling of the Fukushima atomic disaster and scandals that have fuelled public mistrust in the country's nuclear policy.
Banri Kaieda, the minister of economy, trade and industry, told a press conference that he was planning sweeping staff changes at his powerful ministry, which both promotes and regulates the nuclear industry.
Mr Kaieda said the reshuffle aimed to "breathe new life" into the ministry.
He signalled the changes would include his ministry's top bureaucrat, a vice-minister, and the heads of the ministry's Agency for Natural Resources and of the watchdog body, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency.
"Regarding the personnel changes, we have been discussing that for about a month," Mr Kaieda said.
"It will be on a significant scale."
When asked whether the changes will include the top three energy officials, Mr Kaieda responded: "It's OK for you to think that."
He said the changes would be officially announced later, without specifying when.
Since the March 11 earthquake-tsunami disaster that sparked the nuclear crisis, the ministry has come under intense criticism for its promotion of nuclear power and for seeking to manipulate public opinion by planting questions at open talks.


The comments followed a news report that prime minister Naoto Kan and Mr Kaieda were in the final phase of talks about the personnel changes, and that Mr Kaieda himself was considering resigning soon after he dismisses the top officials.
Mr Kaieda, who has been at odds with the prime minister in recent months, showed the strain on him amid the almost five-month-old nuclear crisis when he broke into tears during a recent grilling by opposition lawmakers.
Mr Kan, a former grassroots activist, has advocated a nuclear-free Japan and criticised the ministry, which has formed cosy ties with the energy industry.
Power companies have given cushy jobs to many retired government officials.
The public has grown distrustful of Japan's nuclear policy amid the world's worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl 25 years ago at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, run by Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO).
Public anger has intensified in recent weeks after media reported that the safety agency had asked power companies to mobilise their workers and contractors to plant questions in support of nuclear energy at public talks.
The nuclear safety agency, which should regulate but not promote nuclear energy, said it would create a third-party panel to investigate the matter.
Mr Kan is planning to split the watchdog agency away from the industry ministry to boost its independence and regulatory strength.

The public has grown distrustful of Japan's nuclear policy amid the nuclear crisis at Fukushima nuclear plant.(TEPCO)

Go to ABC News report

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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.