Nukewatch Quarterly Winter 2020-2021
A new study has found consequential radioactive contamination at scores of sites in areas set for next summer’s Olympic and Paralympic games in Fukushima Prefecture and Tokyo. The study follows on and corroborates a March report by Greenpeace—“Radioactivity on the Move 2020”—that found “the widespread presence of radioactive hotspots in Fukushima City and the (Olympic) J-Village” where “radioactive contamination is not under control.”
The new peer-reviewed article, in the journal Environmental Engineering Science, explains the authors’ study of radioactive dusts and dirt at Japanese Olympic sites and throughout Northern Japan. The report details findings that detected modest radioactive contamination at Olympic venues, and significant contamination at Japan’s National Training Center.
To assess radioactive contamination caused by Fukushima’s triple reactor meltdowns, a total of 146 independent samples were collected from sites in Fukushima Prefecture, Tokyo, and the heavily traveled corridors between these locations.
The study “Radioactive Isotopes Measured at Olympic and Paralympic Venues in Fukushima Prefecture and Tokyo, Japan” reached four major conclusions outlined by the authors:
1) Different types of alpha and beta radioactive micro-particles were released at other times and landed in various locations throughout Japan. “The exclusive use of cesium-137 beta activity levels as a proxy for total internal and external exposure, therefore, introduces dose assessment errors.”
2) “Rooftops previously decontaminated in Minamisoma are re-contaminated by airborne atmospheric dust containing radionuclides … from the Fukushima meltdowns. The data show a need for continuing reassessment and potentially, additional remedial work on many sites in Fukushima Prefecture.”
3) The Tokyo Olympic venues had radioactivities similar to sample sites in the US. In contrast, Olympic sites in Northern Japan near Fukushima contained an average of about twice as much radioactivity as Tokyo, with plutonium identified at the J-Village National Training Center.
4) Non-Olympic sites throughout Japan averaged 7.0 times greater beta activity than the Tokyo Olympic venues. These data show that clean-up efforts emphasized the Olympic venues over cleaning other contaminated parts of Japan.
The Japanese government’s aggressive portrayal of the North and its Olympic sites as decontaminated and safe disregard the health and safety of the athletes, spectators, officials, and journalists who are expected to participate in the games, and of course of the year-round residents. —JL
—Data and links to the peer-reviewed article are available from Fairewinds Energy Education.