Greenpeace radiation experts present findings, announce further Fukushima contamination work

Press release - March 30, 2011
A group of Greenpeace radiation experts (1), returning to Tokyo from an initial assessment of contamination from the crisis-striken Fukushima nuclear plant, announced plans to expand their contamination monitoring in the region, and called Japanese government to protect residents by widening the official evacuation zone.

The monitoring team found radiation levels high enough to require evacuation in several locations (2) to the northwest of the crisis-stricken Fukushima/Daiichi nuclear plant, including Iitate village (3), 40km from the plant and 20km (4) beyond the official evacuation zone.

“While our measurements verified the authorities’s data (5), those same authorities are failing to protect people, or to provide them with adequate information”, said Greenpeace radiation safety expert Jan van de Putte, at today’s press briefing in Tokyo. “It is our moral obligation to report our findings now. Anyone spending just a few days in these contaminated areas would be exposed the maximum allowable annual dose of radiation, yet most people are still living in towns like Iitate.”

“The government must act immediately to evacuate the most contaminated areas, with a priority for children and pregnant women. We will return to the Fukushima area this week to continue bearing witness and providing independent analysis to the public of the impacts caused by the nuclear crisis.”

The second leg of the Greenpeace monitoring work will see the radiation monitoring team spend until mid-April making a more detailed assessment of risks to the population outside the evacuation zone, including the testing milk and vegetables and collecting samples for analysis.

Greenpeace also responded positively to an announcement today by Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano that Japan would embrace clean energy as part of the country’s reconstruction strategy (6).

"Greenpeace welcomes the government’s decision to choose a clean energy future for Japan”, said Greenpeace Japan climate and energy campaigner Hisayo Takada, who also spoke during the briefing.  “However, if Japan wants to avoid another Fukushima crisis, it should also immediately drop plans to build nine reactors by 2020, and instead focus investment on energy efficiency and the harnessing safe and secure renewable energy sources, such as photovoltaic.”

 

CONTACTS:

An archived copy of today’s Tokyo Press Briefing can be found at: http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/13654029

For more information about Greenpeace radioactivity monitoring work in Fukushima please contact:

Greenpeace International Press Desk Hotline, Amsterdam +31 (0) 20 7182470

Kaoru Narisawa, Greenpeace media, in Japan, +81 (0) 80 6558 4446

Photography and video from the radiation monitoring are available:

Greenpeace Picture Desk (Amsterdam): +31 624 941 965

Greenpeace International Video Desk (Amsterdam): +31 6 46 16 2015


NOTES:

(1) The team was lead by Jan van de Putte (Netherlands) an experienced radiation expert who qualified at the Technical University of Delft, and has participated in environmental surveys of radioactive contamination in Russia, Ukraine, Spain, Belgium and France.

Also in the team was radiation expert Jacob Namminga (Netherlands), who also qualified at the Technical University of Delft, and has taken part in environmental surveys of radioactive contamination in Ukraine, Spain, and France.

More detailed biographies including other members can be found here: http://t.co/sHYVSuy

(2) A detailed and annotated Google map of locations and radiation readings compiled by the Greenpeace team can be found here http://bit.ly/gaMGnf

(3)  The team measured radiation of between 7 and 10 micro Sievert per hour in the town of Iitate, on Sunday March 27th, 40km northwest of the crisis-stricken Fukushima/Daiichi nuclear plant, and 20km beyond the official evacuation zone. These levels are high enough to require evacuation.

The levels detected refer to external radiation, and do not take into account the further risks such of ingestion or inhalation. The maximum allowable accumulated annual dose for members of the public is 1000 micro Sieverts.

(4) The current official evacuation zone is 20km around Fukushima, while between 20km and 30km is an area where people are advised to stay indoors.

(5) The Fukushima Prefectural Government has been measuring the radiation levels in the same village and confirming even higher range of radiation level during the past two weeks.  

http://www.pref.fukushima.jp/j/20-30km18.pdf

(6) Gov't to push for solar energy in quake reconstruction plan: Edano

http://english.kyodonews.jp/news/2011/03/81780.html

Scope of the monitoring work:

This initial monitoring work saw the Greenpeace team spend several days documenting radioactive contamination and dose rate levels in the areas north-west of the Fukushima evacuation zone (20km radius from nuclear plant) most affected by the radioactive releases. 

As part of the monitoring work, the team will be using a selection of standard radiation monitoring equipment:

- Gamma spectrometer: GEORADIS Identifier RT-30 (Super Ident)

- Geiger counter: Radex RD 1503

- Contamination monitor: RADOS MicroCont

Additional equipment being used during second part of monitoring work:

 - LB 200 Becquerel monitor for testing of radioactive contamination in food

 - Exploranium GR135 gammaspectrometer

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