Hiroshima will reassess reach of ‘black rain’

HIROSHIMA (Kyodo) The Hiroshima Municipal Government said Tuesday it will re-examine the extent of the radioactive “black rain” that fell after the 1945 U.S. atomic bombing of the city.

The two-year study beginning in April is the first such review in about 20 years, the city said.

Using computerized weather simulations, the analysis aims to provide new evidence to the city and atomic bomb survivors in their efforts to persuade the central government to offer more free medical checkups to people who were exposed to the contaminated rain, according to officials.

A large-scale survey of atomic bomb survivors in 2008 indicated that black rain may have fallen in an area at least double the size designated by the central government.

The municipal government said it has budgeted about ¥9.8 million for the study in its initial plan for fiscal 2010, which begins in April.

A panel of experts set up in 1988 by the city and the Hiroshima Prefectural Government concluded in 1991 that the area affected by black rain was almost identical to that identified by the central government.

The finding has since been questioned by other experts, including meteorologists, who pointed out problems with the model, including the altitude of the atomic cloud and the quantity of radioactive materials produced by the Aug. 6, 1945, explosion.

The new study will start by discussing with experts those variables and others, such as the weather on the day of the bombing and the drifting of smoke from fires, officials said.

Antinuclear meeting

NAGASAKI (Kyodo) An international antinuclear conference in Nagasaki has urged countries with nuclear arms to halt further development of the weapons.

The fourth Nagasaki Global Citizens’ Assembly for the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons ended Monday by adopting the “Nagasaki Appeal,” which also asked world leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama, to visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki to see the aftermath of the A-bombs.