Will Tokyo Be Evacuated Due to Fukushima Radiation?

Tokyo Radiation Exceeds Chernobyl In Some Places … Japanese Government and Experts Discuss Evacuation

As I noted last month, radiation in some parts of Tokyo is higher than in the Chernobyl exclusion zone.

Yesterday, Al Jazeera pointed out:

Experts estimate the radiation leaked from Fukushima nuclear plant will exceed that of Chernobyl.


The need to evacuate parts of the sprawling capital of 35 million may have once seemed an incredible prospect but some experts say the possibility can no longer be ignored.

Indeed, as Japan Times reports today, the Japanese government started discussing the potential need to evacuate Japan soon after the quake hit:

In the days immediately after the crisis began at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, the government received a report saying 30 million residents in the Tokyo metropolitan area would have to be evacuated in a worst-case scenario, former Prime Minister Naoto Kan revealed in a recent interview.


“It was a crucial moment when I wasn’t sure whether Japan could continue to function as a state,” he said.

After the March 11 earthquake and tsunami crippled the plant, Kan instructed several entities to simulate a worst-case scenario. One of those assessments said everyone residing within 200 to 250 km of the plant — an zone that would encompass half to all of Tokyo and cut clear across Honshu to the Sea of Japan — would have to be evacuated.

Things Are Getting Worse – Not Better – In Japan

While this is a worst-case scenario, things are getting worse – rather than better – at Fukushima. See this, this, this and this.

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  • Joseph Danison

    Thank you for your work. Bearing witness to our times is real WORK, often thankless, because there’s no way to put a smiley face on it.

    Most observers likely considered the evacuation of Tokyo even if they didn’t think it out loud.

    And Obama is giving billions for two new nuke plants here.

    Common sense left the theater about 9/11/01 and has not been seen since.

  • renevers

    The accident in Fukoshima is virtually over. What is residing is the cleaning up operations in the implementation of new safety rules over the nuclear industry. The main cost this moment is the LACK of cheap power and the importation of natural gas and coal, which is a burden on the balance of payments of Japan. Without nuclear energy the welfare state of Japan is doomed. Imagine a 200%+ Japanese state debt without a certain source of income in a land without own energysources. Of course nuclear activists play on the fear that was organized after the tsunami with alarmist information, where a nice dose was given on Wahingtons blogg. The lack of the welfare state will be paid in lives lost by poverty. Nobody denies a certain impact of residual radiation on the risk for cancer but there is no general theory that can quantify this and the eventual mortality, as the signal of cancers of this cause, disappears in the noise of normal cancers. Until now just a couple of minor injuries could be attributed to radiation exposure and the life expectancy decrease, because of the Fukoshima accident the population near the plant, is in the order of hours lost, even with moderate conservative radiation mortality -ad hoc- theory applied. The amount of soil area lost in the exclusion zone is some promille of the total national Japanese area. Compare the amount of area lost in Japan that is cut from the natural forests and jungles somewhere in the world ,to provide for bio-energy production , which is at least two orders of magnitude more. In fact this discussion of the Ultimate Incedent is as relevant as what to do when there is a large earthquake in the US under a big city. The eruption of a volcano near Tokyo, Bogota or Napels would have even bigger impact and probabillity. A big lahar is more likely to destroy some city in the world than the past evacuation, because of nuclear radiation precaution. The city of Fukoshima is build on a place formed by large lahars.
    After a day it was already clear that Fukoshima was not a Chernobyl type incident. Enough of the build- in safety for the reactors worked, as is proven by the fact that the heavy elements of the reactor were not released. Only the water soluble nuclear waste elements and noble gasses escaped for e certain fraction of the original content of the reactors: Xenon Radon, Iodine and Caesium. The total amount of the release of these elements is calculated in Bq, as about one sixth of the Chernobyl incident. It took some improvisation to get an emergency cooling system in the reactors working but it worked out.
    The main lesson of this accidents is that a mayor nuclear incident is survivable even with 3 reactors at near-meltdown. The main cost of life for the tsunami are the 25000 people, who drowned, until now there are no direct proven cancers linked to the accident. More should be done with nuclear safety , as was proven that a lack of standards and preparedness for tsunami’s, could have prevented the whole story. Earth quake zone’s need extra safe reactors like the new EPR type reactors, with super containment and meltdown provisions. These reactor concepts are a factor 10-100 safer than the existing reactors and the chance of incidents there, are less than the chance of other large loss of life by freak incidents like , meteorite impact, megaquake, super eruption, super-tsunamy , war and the like. The problem with site’s like Washinton’s blogg is that there is no discussion about the advantages of certain energy forms, implanting a biased anti nuclear view and proposal of fairytale economic stories about alternative energy, like wind -biomass and solar. There is no objective from the blogg to make nuclear energy safer, but to just wipe it out, whatever the cost. It playes on the sentiments of the average Mr Superconsumer to organize away his residual risk fears, like nuclear-radiation, radiation from cellphones, foodadditives and chemicals to supplie to him the semi-eternal life , after it was discovered that god was dead and real eternal life didn’t exist. The chance is considerable , that such civilian will die from toiling and wasting , as a result. In the mean time destroying natural forest and nature area in bio energy projects, cluttering the landscape with windmills and solarpanels. in his quest to act “sustainable”.

    • greyray


      I always marvel at the broad spectrum of different opinions people can have over
      the same subject.
      How can you possibly state that the the accident in Fukushima is virtually over?
      What is in it for you to write such nonsense?
      Nuclear energy is as unsustainable as the burning of the depleting fossil fuels.
      Uranium like coal and oil and natural gas are finite resources.
      The world will not be able to sustain 7 or 8 or 9 billion people without the cheap ever increasing flows of hydrocarbons.
      There is no point in discussing the advantages of this or that energy source
      when the master resource is a depleting one time offering of fossile fuels.
      This is a case of massive overshoot.
      You comment shows a glaring disregard for the future livability of this planet.

  • renevers

    two lies by this documentary:
    1. Radiation sickness by radiation just above natural background radiation? No Way. you need like 5000 times as much
    2. There is no research going on that has found health effects for this low level of radiation as there is still no lab test conceivable to check this hypothesis of low level radiation mortality and there is not a single indication that there is the effect. There is a theory by Chris Busby which was wiped away by a panel of radiation experts. Only radiation alarmist friends from Greenpeace support his theory. This is the “scientific work” that is meant by the TV program. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Busby
    Painful joints and tiredness you can have from:bacteria, viruses, allergy, genetic disease, rotten food etc. Nice journalist that has found the cause here.
    This piece of television shows, how opinion is formed ,around rumours and lack of knowledge.

  • Jason Schultz

    @ renevers

    Just keep drinking that Kool-Aid

  • Doubtful

    Every source is not clear.
    Speculator will be delighted and busy just to say drink Kool-Aid and so on.
    But I think it’s convinced that Japanese government is doubtful.
    Or actually nobody knows what condition nuke are now.

  • There is actually quite a bid of clinical work regarding radiation exposure beginning with the use of radium in watch dial painting, leading to the use of x-rays, exposure to radiation in early atomic piles and accelerators, to the Manhattan Project and Hiroshima/Nagasaki, though the surface A-test period in 1940s-1960s along with multiple reactor leak accidents including disasters at Chernobyl and Kyshtym. The accumulated observations do not support any claim that radiation is without significant harm, rather ANY doses of radiation — including very small doses — are hazardous and that doses over long periods are cumulative.

    The nuclear fuel/power industry is the stepchild of the nuclear weapons industry. As such it has inherited much of that industry’s penchant for secrecy along with the understanding that rejection of nuclear power also rejects rationale for nuclear weapons. There is a very strong institutional incentive for the entire nuclear industry to hide as many of its liabilities as possible. Deaths/injuries/direct illnesses as well as ‘downstream’ effects are minimized or censored. Careful study is more revealing, such as Soviet and post-Soviet record keeping in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine indicating almost 1,000,000 deaths from Chernobyl (whereas ‘official’ deaths are listed as less than 100.)

    Meanwhile, facts speak for themselves: large parts of Ukraine are off limits (no human visitors), large areas in southern Urals are off limits, large areas in Ohio are off limits, large areas in Colorado are off limits, large area in Nevada are off limits, areas near Los Angeles are off limits, areas in the South Pacific, areas in northern Russia, etc … now large (and sure to grow) areas in Japan.

    There are over 400 power reactors which are each accidents waiting to happen. Now that they can be seen, the costs/liabilities are monstrous with the ‘benefit’ being cheap baseload electricity. This last is something that can be gained by simple conservation at lowest cost.

    Examined from a cost-benefit analysis, there is no way nuke power can pay for itself, particularly as more and more plants blow up. And they will, it is just a matter of time.

  • Steve Bacskay

    We speak of exposure of an adult to ionizing radiation, this is an external exposure, and readily measured in the alpha, beta, and gamma levels and based on experimentation have established “safe limits”. There is another type of exposure called an internal dose. or internal emitter. This is not easily measurable, so therefore it is not discussed by the nuclear industry, or they may be trying to hide its’ ability to damage cellular reproduction. We consider that an internal emitter is the equivelent of an external dose. It is not.
    Just as a two watt light bulb will barely light the dashboard of your car, and the same two watts of power put to a laser will destroy human flesh, the power level of an internal emitter is not the same as measuring the radiation given off by sunlight or standing next to a block of uranium.
    Please see some of the work done by Dr. Helen Caldicott or Arnie and Maggie Gundersen

  • flo

    ATTN: “renevers” is a C.I.A. ASSET.