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Sunday, October 9, 2011

☢ Japan Soil Contamination Map Hotspots Outside Tokyo Okutama 100,000 to 300,000 bq Radioactive Cesium ☢


Story from The Japan Times

Okutama cesium level seen spiking

By MIZUHO AOKI
Staff writer

An aerial radiation survey of the capital and Kanagawa Prefecture has revealed the northwest tip of Tokyo was tainted by an unusually high amount of fallout, while most other areas showed normal levels, a science ministry official said Friday.

The results, released late Thursday, show that fallout from the Fukushima No. 1 power plant contaminated part of the mountainous Okutama region on Tokyo's western fringe. Radiation readings in the area were the highest of the two prefectures at 100,000 to 300,000 becquerels of radioactive cesium per square meter.

The hourly radiation readings in the area hovered between 0.2 and 0.5 microsievert, but a few spots had higher levels between 0.5 and 1.0 microsieverts, science official Hirotaka Oku said.

Cesium ejected from the Fukushima plant was carried by winds in a southwestern direction through the northern parts of Tochigi and Gunma prefectures before heading south over eastern Gunma and western Saitama to reach Okutama, Oku said.

The geographic features of Okutama, notably its mountains and forests, made the area susceptible to catching radioactive materials, Oku added.

Photo By Kabacchi

Contaminated areas were also spotted in eastern Tokyo, including Katsushika and Edogawa wards, which gave off hourly readings of between 0.2 and 0.5 microsievert per hour.

The highest levels of cesium-134 and -137 found in eastern Tokyo were between 60,000 and 100,000 becquerels per square meter in Katsushika, Oku said.

Cesium-134 has a half-life of two years and cesium-137 a half-life of 30 years.

The aerial monitoring didn't find much contamination in Kanagawa, however. Tainted areas were found only in some spots in the northwestern part, including in the town of Yamakita, with some areas containing between 60,000 to 100,000 becquerels per square meter at the most.

The monitoring was conducted by a helicopter equipped with a special device to detect gamma rays emitted from radioactive isotopes on the ground. Based on the detected amounts, the ministry used a calculation method to determine radiation levels about 1 meter above the ground.

Gamma rays decay as they travel through the atmosphere, and the ministry used that principle to perform its calculations to determine radiation levels near the ground, Oku said.

According to the science ministry, radioactive materials spewed from the stricken plant were carried away by the wind and landed on the ground mostly via rain, contaminating areas far beyond the Tohoku region.

On receiving the results of the ministry's survey, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government started preparations to conduct special food monitoring on produce from the town of Okutama, official Shinji Tomonaga told The Japan Times on Friday.

"Okutama is known for its production of wasabi. So we will conduct tests on wasabi from Okutama next week," Tomonaga said.He said Okutama is the biggest producer of wasabi in Tokyo. In 2009, 23 out of the 26 tons of wasabi production in Tokyo was from Okutama, he said.

Tokyo also plans to conduct tests on "yamame," a kind of trout that Okutama is also famous for, "yuzu" (citron) and mushrooms.

The metropolitan government will conduct sampling tests on other produce from Okutama as well, but the details haven't been decided, Tomonaga said.

As for Katsushika and Edogawa, it has no plans to conduct additional sampling for now because no radioactive cesium was found in its latest sampling tests in late September on "komatsuna" (mustard plant), which is grown in the area, Tomonaga said. The aerial monitoring was conducted from Sept. 14 to 18 as part of an effort also involving prefectures that started in June.

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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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