Friday 23 August 2013

Tomioka video and new comments

If you don't mind I'm going to cop out this time and pass on some of the feedback I've had recently.

You may remember that in June I visited Tomioka, since the end of March redesignated as a 'preparing to return' zone, with a photographer friend from England (Tomioka 1). He has made a video from the images and set it to music. Very moving. Take a look (6 minutes).
Tomioka video

Next, let me draw your attention to a comment on my post Airborne Radiation 1 (24 July 2013) by one DiogeneseNJ who was helpful and reassuring in those difficult days two years ago. He takes issue with my comment that 100 mSv of exposure to radiation causes cancer. I thought this was the received wisdom and the one figure that is generally accepted. However, the RERF (Radiation Effects Research Foundation), a cooperative Japan-US research organisation dating back to Hiroshima, says the 'association remains unclear'. In addition, there is new research (Dec. 2011, Berkeley Lab) on cellular repair processes which does show that exposure is not linear, i.e. low-rate doses are not as damaging as a single dose.

There is also a link to a paper showing how my glass badge worked (clever technology) and a final comment about risk concluding that when you factor in air pollution, Koriyama is probably a healthier place to live than Tokyo! Anyway, see for yourself at the following link. Unfortunately, the links on the comment itself don't seem to connect. You'll have to copy and paste. But worth it. The references are easy to understand.

Here, the news is dominated by the issue of contaminated water leaking into the sea. It's been rated a Level 3 accident. Two more tanks have been found to be leaking - and it's highly radioactive stuff (100 mSv/hour). Japan's nuclear watchdog, the NRA, visited the site today and complained of 'sloppy management' (zusan na kanri), for example radiation around the tanks is neither measured nor recorded. If it had been, the leaks might have been spotted sooner. Things didn't seem too bad at first back in April. But every time something goes wrong, Tepco  apologizes - and then make the same mistakes over and over. The PM has said the government will get involved but there's no money till next year. Action is needed not words.

The other issue being discussed here is the removal of the children's classic manga Barefoot Gen (Hadashi no Gen) about the atomic bombing in Hiroshima from school libraries in Matsue in a burst of political correctness on the grounds that the book shows violence to women and the images might disturb children. Barefoot Gen does depict the grisly reality of the bomb: horrid pictures of people's skin melting and hanging loose. But there's been an uproar. Japan as a country has not been good at facing up to responsibility for causing the War, but it has been good at keeping the horror of war alive. There's a national consensus that war should never be repeated. So most people, I'm glad to say, oppose the banning of this book.

Some welcome rain has given us a few cool days but the heat is to return this weekend.
All the best

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