Governor of Fukushima and Mayor of Town Near Nuclear Reactors Slam Government Response to Nuclear Crisis

The governor of Fukushima slammed Japan’s nuclear agency for failing to provide timely radiation data. As Japan Today notes:

Fukushima Gov Yuhei Sato expressed anger at the central government’s nuclear safety agency on Sunday for its late release of radioactivity data related to local farm produce, shipments of which have been partly restricted amid the ongoing nuclear crisis.

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It takes a few days for the results of each test to be released, according to Sato.

‘‘Can’t you increase the number of examiners? The lives of farmers are at stake. It’s a matter of whether they can live tomorrow,’’ the governor said during a meeting of the prefectural disaster relief task force attended by an official of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency.

Sato said the results should be released in about a day and criticized the central government for being late in lifting restrictions, saying, ‘‘I wonder if our sense of urgency is being conveyed to the government…It is irritating.’‘

And the mayor of Minami Soma – a city 25 kilometers from the stricken Fukushima nuclear complex – is appealing to the world community to help provide food and other essentials, as the Japanese government isn’t doing much to help, other than telling people to stay indoors, and is providing insufficient information on the nuclear crisis. The mayor says that – since the government has told people to stay indoors – the stores supermarkets and banks are all closed, and people are “as if under starvation tactics”. There is not enough gas, and so it is difficult to evacuate.

Update: The government has admitted that it suppressed information. For example, NHK TV reports:

It has been learned that the Japanese government withheld the release of computer projections indicating high levels of radioactivity in areas more than 30 kilometers from the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

The estimates were made on March 16th following explosions at the plant by an institute commissioned by the government using a computer system called SPEEDI. The system made its projections on the assumption that radioactive substances had been released for 24 hours from midnight on March 14th, based on the available data.

But the government was reluctant to reveal the SPEEDI projections, and did not release them until March 23rd.

The released data showed that higher levels of radioactive substances would flow over areas to the northwest and southwest of the plant.

The estimates showed that the radiation would exceed 100 millisieverts in some areas more than 30 kilometers from the nuclear plant if people remained outdoors for 24 hours between March 12th and 24th.

That is 100 times higher than the 1 millisievert-per-year long-term reference level for humans as recommended by the International Commission on Radiological Protection.

The Nuclear Safety Commission says it did not release the projections because the location or the amount of radioactive leakage was not specified at the time.

The Daily Yomimura notes that the government is sharing the data with the IAEA, but not with its own people.

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