Monday, March 14, 2011

Green Action: 6 journalists find high radiation readings in Futaba (location of Fukushima nuclear reactors)

Aileen Mioko Smith, director of Kyoto-based Green Action, is providing English-language updates from Japanese NGOs, news media, and direct reports from journalists in Fukushima:
Breaking on Fukushima I-2 Fukushima Update

It is now 16:05 Japan time (3:05am EST USA), 14 March, 2011
NHK: "All cooling at Fukushima Daiichi (Unit2) has been lost"

According to the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA), a unit of Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), all mechanisms to cool the reactor was all completely lost at 13:25 (1:25pm) today. Since the internal pressure continues to be high, ways to secure the safety such as releasing the air from the containment to the outside is being considered.
5 members of the Japan Visual Journalist Association (JVJA) and Ryuichi HIROKAWA, editor-in-chief of DAYS JAPAN (magazine), arrived at Futaba Town where the Fukushima Daiichi reactors are located (the plants are located in both Okuma Town and Futaba Town) to undertake independent monitoring measurements.
We traveled to Futaba Town, arriving shortly after 10:00am Sunday, 13 March and began taking radiation readings. We took three types of radiation detectors, one each. The levels were extremely high.

According to Mr. Hirokawa, when measurements were taken near the high school at Futaba town, the measurements were higher than (the recording sounds like “higher than” but the wording is not 100% clear) when he had taken measurements approximately 200 meters from unit 4 at Chernobyl.

We went to the Futaba Town Hall to inform them about this situation, but because everyone had evacuated, there were no people there. At the front of the Futaba Town Hall, all our three radiation monitors went off scale and became inoperable (we could not take measurements).

We went to Futaba Kosei Hospital, the town’s hospital, where 4 people had been hospitalized the day before for radiation exposure. At the entrance of the hospital, stretchers were turned over, many things were scattered, a feeling that evacuation had been undertaken in a very rushed way. On the first floor, beds were overturned, vinyl pipes for blood injections were scattered around, many items were in disarray, showing that things were very rushed when they evacuated. When we checked the examination room, the levels were so high that measurements could not be taken.

We thought the town was deserted but met one elderly man on a bicycle. Talked about what we were doing. We told him that the place was very contaminated and that he should flee right away.

We saw two men in town, and one man went past us via motorcycle, and we saw one car, to my recollection.

We stayed in the town for about one hour, and those were the only people we saw.

We thought that when entering the town that there would be a security gate and that we would not be able to enter. However, this was not the case. We were just able to go right in. When we were leaving the town, we saw people entering the town. We stopped them to tell them not to go in. They were returning to get clothes, farmers were there to go give water to flowers. That was the situation, you could go in and out freely.

FIVE MINUTES INTO YOUTUBE. The visual begins with the meters. — (translation: Aileen)

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