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There was an earthquake, that caused a wave, that wiped out the power, that kept the Fukushima nuclear plant from cooling its core.Looking back at the string of events that brought Japan to its current radioactive nightmare reads like the Mother Goose rhyme This is the House That Jack Built — one event, leading to others that creates a colossal mess.
But the disaster is far from child’s play and this week several reports have come out refuting the Japanese government’s assertions that the radioactivity has been contained.
Discovered almost entirely by Japanese citizen’s groups more than 20 radioactive hot spots have been discovered up to 160 miles away from the Fukushima plant.
Because Japan’s official agencies are refusing to test, citizens are buying up handheld Geiger counters in record numbers — shocked by what they’re finding.
Strontium, cesium, and plutonium at levels 20 times greater than government limits are being found at schools, ballparks, and apartment buildings.
Locals are concerned, yet even the national press seems more likely to echo government statements than report citizens findings with stories of contamination appearing almost exclusively in the international press.
The New York Times spoke with Kiyoshi Toda, a medical doctor who specialises in teaching radiation science at Nagasaki University who says: “Radioactive substances are entering people’s bodies from the air, from the food. It’s everywhere. But the government doesn’t even try to inform the public how much radiation they’re exposed to.”
The radioactive material is picked up by the wind as well as getting plied into the water cycle when contaminated water gets absorbed into the atmosphere and falls to the ground as rain.
On top of the hotspots and radioactive beef, Reuters reports the growing concern among garbage and sewer disposal plants.
The incineration of garbage and sewage has left officials with hundreds of tons of radioactive ash. In Ohtawara, about 60 miles south of Fukushima, one garbage incineration plant has piled up 400 tons of radioactive waste and will run out of secure storage by the beginning of November.
Garbage collection has been cut down by half to help slow the problem, but eventually the waste will have to be left outdoors, exposed, adding to the ongoing problem.
“I doubt the problem will go away in a year or two. It takes 30 years for cesium 137 to decay by half,” professor Tomoya Yamauchi told Reuters.
“Each time it rains, caesium deposited in mountains will be washed down to where people live,”
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