There’s a monster walking round with a machine taped to the end of his stick He knows the tragic destiny of the Japanese: ずくなしの冷や水

2015年02月03日

There’s a monster walking round with a machine taped to the end of his stick He knows the tragic destiny of the Japanese

January 27th, 2015

There’s a monster walking round with a machine taped to the end of his stick
He knows the tragic destiny of the Japanese

As you could follow in my recent articles I have been walking in the northwestern area of Chiba prefecture collecting radiation measurements. People have been spotting me on trains and in the streets looking like a monster with a machine at the end of a stick and a machine taped to my ankles. When I saw this image of a modern day monster on twitter I knew it was an image of myself walking with dosimeters and not of someone who can’t stop taking selfies.



Below is the result of these walks as of today. The beige bars show the air dose rate at 1.2m above ground level and the pink ones show the air dose rate near the ground surface. The data have been collected by walking in each area for 2 to 3 hours, then dividing the measured accumulated radiation dose by the duration of measurement.



The difference between the measurements at 1.2m and near the ground most probably comes from detection of beta radiation and the weaker gamma rays at ground level that cannot reach the height of 1.2m. Both Cs-134 and Cs-137 emit beta radiation as they decay into daughter nuclides which in turn emit gamma rays as they decay. However there isn’t an obvious enough correlation between readings at both heights to conclude that they originate from the same source. It would be more natural to think that there are other nuclides than just cesium and that these push up the radiation dose at ground level.

My explanation is that now that nearly 4 years have passed after the accident and the short lived nuclides such as iodine and Cs-134 have decayed away we are starting to see those with long half lives that were overwhelmed in mass right after the accident. Perhaps shortly after the accident, when Cs-134 was far more present, there would have been a more obvious correlation between the readings at both heights. Now that 3/4 of that has decayed away, we are starting to see what the other sources are emitting.

In the case of my measurements these would be uranium and strontium (because they emit beta radiation. Alpha sources wouldn’t be detected in my fieldworks). If you take a look at the chart below, you would see that these long-lived beta and alpha emitters have hardly decayed and are out there as if they only fell yesterday. These are the sources of the beta radiation that I detected with my equipment on the ankle.



People who are living in Japan will have to live in an endless state of alert with regards to these long-lived radionuclides for the rest of their lives. Unfortunately, it is far easier said than done. First, the more affordable GM counters only detect gamma rays. Second, even if it were possible the detection of uranium and strontium is a delicate matter. Because of their extremely long half-life the emission per hour or per minute is not necessarily strong enough for detection.

Thus many of the Japanese end up having an internal exposure to alpha and beta sources without knowing through inhaling and eating day after day. This is added to the already existing iodine and cesium contamination of the early stage of the accident. What makes things more complicated is that we cannot say how much exactly of these poisons we are taking each day. It all depends on where and for how long and what that person was doing on that day.

Maybe this is actually a blessing. How could one tolerate it if there was a machine that could measure the daily internal exposure and the reading reached the red zone and indicated x % for developing a cancer or a heart failure within y years?

The destiny of the Japanese is clear at this stage now. We once were called a fragile blossom by an American political scientist. Fragile is exactly the word I would use to predict the future state of the Japanese. Days will come when we will hear sobbing from each and every corner of Eastern Japan. This is the prediction of the wandering monster of Chiba.

posted by ZUKUNASHI at 23:25| Comment(0) | 福島原発事故
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