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Saturday, August 6, 2011

☢ Nuclear Bomb Survivors of Hiroshima and Bikini Atoll Reflects on the Events of Fukushima ☢


The crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant following the March 11 Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami has caused widespread radiation contamination -- an issue that has cut deeply into the hearts of survivors of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Following are reflections from three atomic bomb survivors -- two of the Hiroshima bombing and one of a close encounter with a U.S. hydrogen bomb -- as Japan marks the 66th anniversary of the August 1945 bombings.
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Matashichi Oishi
Matashichi Oishi (Mainichi)
Matashichi Oishi (Mainichi)
Recounting 57-year-old details such as the strange light that emanated from the horizon and the white ash that coated the deck of their boat, 77-year-old Matashichi Oishi, a former deckhand on the tuna fishing boat Fukuryu Maru No. 5 explains: "(It's been etched into my memory) because I've told the story so many times."
On March 1, 1954, the fishing boat Oishi was on was exposed to nuclear fallout from a hydrogen bomb test conducted by the United States on the Bikini Atoll. Six months later, Aikichi Kuboyama, the boat's radio operator who was in the same hospital room as Oishi, died. Other crew members also died in subsequent years from cancer and other illnesses. Both the U.S. and Japanese governments tried to paper over the incident with "sympathy" payments that did not admit their legal responsibility.
Oishi himself has developed cancer and currently takes 32 different drugs. Still, he continues to give lectures and speak to students who visit Hiroshima on school trips, and says he has a responsibility to keep going. He visited Fukushima Prefecture in July, where he spoke about the dangers of radiation.
"I lost my comrades in an unbearable way. I have a responsibility as someone who was also there."
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Isao Harimoto (Mainichi)
Isao Harimoto (Mainichi)
Isao Harimoto
Isao Harimoto, 71, was speaking to some 370 elementary and junior high school students at a baseball clinic in May in Taiwa, Miyagi Prefecture -- a town that suffered extensive damage from the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami -- when his eyes unexpectedly met those of a small boy standing in the front row. The former professional baseball player choked up.
"When I thought about how much that boy must have suffered, just like I did, I was at a loss for words."
When the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima in 1945, 5-year-old Harimoto had been at home, just two kilometers from the hypocenter. Looking at the boy in front of him now, he was reminded of the young boy he was then, just starting to play baseball.
Harimoto told the boy, "Stay strong." He wonders if the boy is still swinging his bat, and hopes that he is.
"Hopefully baseball, which saved me in postwar Japan, will also help those kids through their hardships."
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Shuntaro Hida (Mainichi)
Shuntaro Hida (Mainichi)
Shuntaro Hida
Now 94 years old, Shuntaro Hida was based in Hiroshima as a doctor for the Imperial Japanese Army when the atomic bomb was dropped. He began treating victims immediately after the bombing, and continued to do so for over 60 years.
Since the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant began, Hida has received an increasing number of requests for both lectures and media interviews. In July, he traveled about twice a week not only within the Tokyo metropolitan area, but as far as Sendai, giving lectures about internal radiation exposure based on his years treating patients for it.
During the U.S.-led occupation of Japan, the U.S. government suppressed information regarding the atomic bomb by controlling the media. Countless people suffering from lethargy and other symptoms as a result of radiation exposure were unable to work and died in poverty. Hida's postwar life has been dedicated to passing down the truth about how the atomic bomb has killed people.
Debate over nuclear power has become heated since the Fukushima crisis began. "Nuclear power is impossible for humans to control," says Hida. "There's no other choice but to eliminate it."

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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.

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