Plan to lower radiation readings OK’d


To facilitate the return of evacuees, the Nuclear Regulation Authority has approved a change in the way radiation doses are monitored around the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power station that will effectively result in lower readings, but observers warn this could raise public mistrust.

The change calls for basing monitoring on data from dosimeters held by individual residents.

It was proposed by the regulatory commission’s secretariat at its meeting Monday and gained broad-based consensus.

Dosimeter readings tend to be less than half of those using the existing method based on air dose rates, which assume that residents stay outdoors for a total of eight hours a day, according to the NRA Secretariat.

The proposal comes as the government is aiming to lift the evacuation advisory for areas where annual radiation doses are estimated at 20 millisieverts or lower.

The new method is expected to help promote the return of evacuees as well as reduce costs for decontaminating areas tainted by radioactive fallout from the Tokyo Electric Power Co. plant.

But a change in the monitoring method could heighten local residents’ mistrust of the government, observers said.

The NRA Secretariat’s proposal said that a key condition for allowing evacuees to return home is that annual radiation doses estimated from air dose readings not exceed 20 millisieverts.

The government will manage the doses of residents who return home by using dosimeters distributed to them. Over the long term, the goal will be to limit residents’ annual extra radiation exposure stemming from the disaster at the plant to 1 millisievert, the proposal said.

The government will also deploy counseling staff, including municipal officials, doctors and other medical experts, for returnees who are uneasy about radiation, according to the proposal.

Decontamination costs are estimated at ¥2.53 trillion to ¥5.13 trillion in Fukushima Prefecture, excluding radioactive waste disposal

In the city of Fukushima, Ichiro Kowata, 77, an evacuee from Iitate, called for the government to more fully explain the proposed method change. “Younger people say they can’t trust statements that suddenly declare areas to be safe when they have been called dangerous until now,” he said.

  • Steve van Dresser

    So the clean-up costs will come to about 100,000 yen per Japanese household. How much money is nuclear power saving Japanese consumers?

  • Starviking

    A good idea, personal dose is what is the real issue. If your dose is below a certain threshold then it will be safer to go home – rather than stay in cramped temporary homes.

    • Richard Wilcox

      Yeah, so why don’t YOU move there, are you perfectly happy being a hypocritical advisor? Better yet, TEPCO and the LDP and the Government can pay these people to move somewhere safer, what they ought to do. Fukushima is now a DEAD zone.

      There are perfectly safe and reasonable alternatives to nuclear power, don’t believe the nuclear lies! Beware Big Business hired PR firm troll disinfo!

      • Starviking

        First, there is no job for me there, and no links.

        Second, your outburst does not negate the fact that the personal dose is the most critical radioprotection measurement. If you think it is disinformation, please post your rebuttal.

        Third, where is your information on Fukushima being a “DEAD Zone”? It looked pretty alive on my last trip through.

        Fourth, are you seriously suggesting I am a “Big Business hired PR firm troll disinfo” agent?

      • japancritical

        Right, so you’ll talk the talk but won’t walk the walk There are plenty of jobs around there, dispatch companies are desperate for teachers, for example, so that’s no excuse. But you are all for sending Japanese back to living in an irradiated zone while you pontificate safely from wherever you are. Hope you’re proud of yourself.

  • Joshua

    Well if you don’t trust the corrupt government of Japan so bring your own Geiger counter!! $150 – $300 USD and will save you a lot of headaches and cancer as well!

  • japancritical

    @ the armchair nuclear power cheerleaders commenting on this thread: Off you go guys and live close to the nuclear power station. Land is cheap there now. Let us know how you and your families get on.

    • Starviking

      So, you have no well-thought out response to scientific comments, nor do you apparently wish to go to the effort of researching one.

      • robertsgt40

        I guess it’s time to redefine scientific. Four reactors in meltdown for two and a half years has bound to have burned itself out right? Just move the decimal over a couple of spaces and all clear given. Too rich. That’s why Japan banned geiger counters and dosemeters from importation. LMAO

      • Starviking

        It might surprise you, but Dosimetry is an integral part of Radiation Protection. That’s why there’s a journal called “Radiation Protection Dosimetry”.

        As for moving decimal places, well, take a look at this paper abstract from RPD:

        Feel free to comment on it.
        As for banning geiger counters and dosimeters – really? what is your source for this information? It certainly hasn’t been reported in the Japan Times, which would be eager to publish such news if it had any credibility.

    • Sam Gilman

      Aren’t you in the least bit interested in attempts to make it possible for people to go back to their homes?

      I’m afraid your post reads to me as if you’d prefer people not to go back because it would be inconvenient for your political views.

  • Starviking

    I’m a person with some scientific expertise, though nowhere near the amount in the field of oceanography as people like Prof Ken Buessler. He says there is nothing to worry about. Is he a hack too?

  • Sam Gilman

    Why do you need to know people’s offline identities? What would you do with that information? Intimidate them? Attack them through their place of work?

    Your attacks on Internet anonymity are somewhat ironic for someone who claims to be fighting the powers that be.

  • Sam Gilman

    So, you’re trying to invalidate what other people say based on where you think they live? Well, I know (because you tell people) you live in nice, rich, comfortable Tokyo, and not the evacuation settlements, and you did not lose your home in the tsunami or Fukushima evacuations. Therefore, according to your own logic, nothing you say on the matter is valid.

    Why don’t we instead have an adult conversation? For example, what level of radiation do you consider becomes a threat to health such that evacuation is necessary?

  • Starviking

    You ask how certain people can be trusted, yet you misrepresent what I said. I said that if people would receive doses below a certain threshold, then it would be safer for them to go home. I did not say they should be forced to go home.

    As for your claims about radiation exposure in and near Fukushima, I would love to know your sources. I live near Fukushima, have checked scientific sources on risks, and have come to the conclusion that hype is the greatest risk.

    As for your claim of animals being slaughtered in the North of England, and areas being cordoned off – being from the UK originally I know of restrictions on movements of animals being in place in some areas, but nothing approaching animal slaughter and prohibited areas.

  • greenthinker2012

    Your parents should be ashamed that they named you “Guest” That is not fair to a child.