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Nuclear Expert: Exposure in Japan underestimated — ‘Medical levels’ of radioactive gases inhaled — Obviously should have evacuated much further, must faster

Published: December 26th, 2011 at 8:19 am ET
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Arnold Gundersen with A Fresh Report on Fukushima, If You Love This Planet, A Weekly Radio Program with Dr. Helen Caldicott, Dec. 23, 2011:

This week, Dr. Caldicott and Arnold Gundersen, a nuclear energy consultant with Fairewinds Associates, have another look at how the Fukushima disaster is affecting Japan, and how the U.S. nuclear industry continues its plans to build new plants in America. [...]

Transcript Summary

At 23:55 in


  • We just got information that during the first week, people in Fukushima Prefecture [actually Chiba Prefecture] were exposed to 1,300 Bq/m³ of Xe-133… that’s medical levels
  • It concerns me… obviously they should have evacuated much further, must faster… but there is an exposure that has been under estimated
  • The Japanese are saying it’s a noble gas, therefore don’t worry about it
  • As you discussed, it’s fat soluble and gets in your lungs, tissue, hangs around for quite a while


  • If you’re immersed in a cloud of Xe-133, your receiving high-level gamma radiation, like high-level x-rays
  • As well as inhaling Xe-133 exposing gonads, testicles, ovaries and other organs to high-level gamma radiation
  • It’s not just Xe-133, there’s argon and krypton as well


  • Add to that list iodine
  • If there was Xe-133, there clearly had to be iodine too
  • That means thyroid exposure

See also: Mainichi: Gov't session reveals 400,000 TIMES normal radioactive xenon-133 levels in Chiba -- Actual figure may be MUCH higher

Download the broadcast here

Published: December 26th, 2011 at 8:19 am ET
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17 comments to Nuclear Expert: Exposure in Japan underestimated — ‘Medical levels’ of radioactive gases inhaled — Obviously should have evacuated much further, must faster

  • Whoopie Whoopie

    Posted here
    Oh oh! 12/26 DEMOCRATIC PARTY UNHAPPY WITH NODA FY12 draft budget
    Good news?
    DEC 26 2011 Details of new N-agency announced / 485-strong body to tighten safety rules

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  • Whoopie Whoopie

    New Tweet:
    RT’s 10 that shaped 2011: Japan’s tsunami & Fukushima meltdown

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  • arclight arclight

    Interview with Dr. Alexey Yablokov co-author of “Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment” recorded March 27, 2011

    the japanese authorities knew this…

    5000 scientific papers from russia .. ignored!!

    describes IAEA complicity in dumbing down his findings..

    mentions USA, after 8 years a report outlining food contamination from chernobyl that was “dumbed down” and only released because of a court case!!

    so the IAEA was aware of contamination in the foods like the herring from norway found in the usa after a very short time after the CHERNOBYL accident..

    so the japanese government knew too!!

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    • Bobby1

      The Union of Concerned Scientists, “Citizens and Scientists for Envirnomental Solutions”, also rejects Yablokov’s research. They say 27,000 dead:

      The book is based on a wide variety of material, which has been compiled in a manner that is difficult to discern. According to the book (p.xi):
      … the literature incorporated into the present volume includes about 1,000 titles and reflects more than 5,000 printed and Internet publications, primarily in Slavic languages.

      Moreover, the book notes that at least some of this source material would be rejected by “Western” scientists (p.37):

      It is correct and justified for the whole of society to analyze the consequences of the largest-scale catastrophe in history and to use the enormous database collected by thousands of experts in the radioactively contaminated territories, despite some data not being in the form of Western scientific protocols. This database must be used because it is impossible to collect other data after the fact.

      Given this disclaimer, we have to discount the conclusions of this book, at least unless and until further information becomes available.”

      The UCS, an “opposition” group, says we have to ignore 5,000 Russian articles until more information is available, when Yablokov said that it is too late to go back and get more information.

      All this is because the Soviet Union did not require 95% confidence intervals to be used in the research. As if this matters. And as if these intervals are utilized in an adequate matter in the West anyway (they are not).

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      • arclight arclight

        WELL SAID !! bobby :)
        CATCH 22

        “This database must be used because it is impossible to collect other data after the fact.”

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        • arclight arclight


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          • Bobby1

            And their ICRAP radiation risk model.

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            • Mack Mack

              Other points Dr. Yablokov made:

              —-> Radiation levels in Japan are “lethal” but they’re being told “no immediate danger,” ….. due to worldwide “enormous influence from nuclear lobby.”

              —-> “All countries which develop nuclear energy some way way connected to nuclear weapons, even Switzerland, even Sweden.”

              —-> Nuclear lobbies are responsible for the extension of licenses of old nuclear power plants.

              —-> ONE MILLION ADDITIONAL DEATHS from Chernobyl.

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          • arclight arclight

            this bit of “fallen angel” by a bally good irish band, if taken out of context terriblY, kinda REMINDS ME OF MY RELATIONSHIP WITH THE IAEA!! sorry bout this SNOW PATROL!! :)
            NO NUKES!!

            “Raising cities to dust
            Faces dripping in lust
            Fallen empires and raging bush fires

            All your words confounded
            Secret lives bound and hid
            Living backwards in tangled back woods

            You ruined everything right
            So good I can’t see the light
            From my cave I can see the wave
            Fallen empires and raging bush fires

            We are the light, we are the light!!”

            SNOW PATROL, EIRE, 2011

            thanks for that SP, works nice!!



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  • Dr. McCoy

    Enjoy what life we have yet to live as our governments are bought and paid for shills of an industry where there is zero margin for error. Fuke is the worst industrial accident in the history of humanity yet without this website we wouldn’t hear a peep about how horrible it is. That should tell you something.

    Take the corporate money out of government and just maybe we’ll have a chance. Until then we are all just collateral damage estmates on a risk assessment sheet…

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  • Of course this means we got our fair share also, cough, cough !

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  • LetThemEatYellowCake LetThemEatYellowCake

    More notes from that interview ( :

    - Arnie Gundersen says 70 tons fuel in reactor 1. He says Tepco says 90% of fuel in Reactor 1 melted.

    - Mentions Tepco’s recent 20-ton surface leak into Pacific of strontium contaminated water used to decontaminate.

    - 30PBq (petabequerels), or 30 + 15 zeroes in ocean release.

    - That is 30 million billion distintegrations per second – He says that’s with their modeled ASSUMPTION THAT ONLY ONE ATOM OUT OF 100 gets out of the nuclear containment.

    - Gundersen thinks a miserable assumption and due only to government minimization. Nuclides now coming from mountains, coming down and settling streams and soil. Behind dams etc is particularly highly concentrated. ICRP assumes strontium and cesium dissolved in water uniformly. Not happening. 90% trapped in small muddy hot particles, lie on bottom, absorbed by roots, etc.

    - Cesium in fish meat, strontium in fish bone. Japanese eat both. 5″ fish already high concentration.

    - First week, Fukushima residents exposed to 1300 b/m3 of xenon133. High external gamma and inhaling to fatty tissue. xenon, argon, krypton – high gamma emitters.

    - Total releases from Chernobyl were 75 petabequerels (PBq). 30PBq already leaked, population density though is much greater than Ukraine.

    - about cattle meat testing – at first, they only rubbed the hide of the cow, not tested the meat.

    - 10-15% entire nation of Japan contaminated. Helen says, 50% rice from Japan grown in fukushima at least.

    - How contaminated? Depends on set criteria but Gundersen agreed that the NYT article removing top 5″ of soil in entire prefecture would help BUT their academics want to throw that in ocean too.

    - Gundersen’s biggest worry is #4 SFP. He says no one has ever analyzed the impact of a potential fall which he fears a 7.0+ quake could knock it down. He referred to the Brookhaven Natl

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    • LetThemEatYellowCake LetThemEatYellowCake

      Brookhaven Natl Lab study – if fuel pool uncovered would burn and could kill 187,000 from just the plume of smoke. Incredibly serious, #4 sits high in building.

      - also mentioned North Anna, although being designed to withstand a 6, the chance of such was 1 in 26000 years. It came after 30 years. Need to access the worst case scenario as Fukushima built for 6m tsunami and got a 15m tsunami.

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    • PraisingJesus(Eashoa’ M’sheekha) anne

      “Total releases from Chernobyl were 75 petabequerels (PBq). 30PBq already leaked, population density though is much greater than Ukraine. ”

      Amount released by Fukushima is actually more than 20 times that of Chernobyl. Wherever the figures came from they are WRONG! Also MOX is 2,000,000 worse than enriched uranium. Anyone who breathes in a small amount of MOX will 100% die from that exposure.

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      • LetThemEatYellowCake LetThemEatYellowCake

        Thanks for pointing that out. During the interview Mr. Gundersen mentioned that too that all of those numbers were “assumptions” from Tepco, and implied they were wrong too. He did not mention MOX though which is, you’re correct, horrifically underestimated in damage and hardly even mentioned at all!

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  • unspokenhermit

    If everything is well managed and or controlled by affluent nuclear lobby then we may never get the exact picture of what has happened inside the Fukushima Daiichi and how harmful it’s impact can be on entire Japan.

    I just stumbled upon this study detailing high altitude radioactive contamination from Fukushima. It uses TEPCO and MEXT emission data to develop dispersion models of the radiation. If the models are correct the concentrations of contamination at upper altitudes are orders of magnitude higher than the concentrations at near ground levels.

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