NYT: Gov’t to focus on 8,000+ square miles most contaminated by Fukushima fallout — “Nobody really knows how to clean up radiation” says worker

Published: February 11th, 2012 at 12:00 am ET


Title: After Fukushima Disaster, a Confused Effort at Cleanup
Source: New York Times
Date: February 10, 2012

IITATE, Japan — As 500 workers in hazmat suits and respirator masks fanned out to decontaminate this village 20 miles from the ravaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactors, their confusion was apparent. […]

A day laborer wiping down windows at an abandoned school nearby shrugged at the work crew’s haphazard approach. “We are all amateurs,” he said. “Nobody really knows how to clean up radiation.”

Nobody may really know how. But that has not deterred the Japanese government from starting to hand out an initial $13 billion in contracts meant to rehabilitate the more than 8,000-square-mile region most exposed to radioactive fallout […]

It is far from clear, though, that the unproved cleanup methods will be effective.[…]

Read the report here

Published: February 11th, 2012 at 12:00 am ET


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45 comments to NYT: Gov’t to focus on 8,000+ square miles most contaminated by Fukushima fallout — “Nobody really knows how to clean up radiation” says worker

  • Sickputer

    Good to see Hiroko get another nuke story for the NYT. She needs to get out of Tokyo though and just make short visits to Japan. No sense in killing off such a lovely and talented writer in the war zone.

  • grevisangel73

    Is there a point in cleaning the place up if it is still emitting radiation and falling right back down only to be, so called, cleaned up again?

    • Even if it stooped today, there is no known way to clean earth after fallout, only time will cleans Japan, a few million years will be a good start ! If they say they have cleaned it, let them live there and reap the harvest !
      It’s Gov. B S that will get you killed now or later !
      Government’s lie, that’s what they do ! It’s all about keeping you under their control, not about your health !
      Sorry it’;s pisses me to no end each time I see the mothers and their beautiful children in harms way !

      grrrrr !

      • Bones Bones

        I can’t believe the $13 billion in contracts for “decontamination.” That could probably feed and house every single evacuee for at least a year as far from the radiation as each chooses. It could allow the people to rebuild their lives or leave Japan for good. The solution is so freakin’ simple and they have the money to help everyone who needs it. If the wealth of Japan actually was controlled by the people of Japan, the evacuees could get their lives back and have their needs met. Kind of like our bombs and bombers instead of college educations or welfare for the needy or anything besides a negative destructive force in society. What a reality we live in. lol Time to rewrite our programming.

    • rooks rooks

      Nope, and new hot spots are popping up due to the water cycle. Those that live near water should considered themselves as in a hot spot.

      • CaptD CaptD

        11 Months and counting!

        The Japanese people and many of those of the rest of the World,
        … wait in fear because of what TEPCO and the Japanese Gov’t.
        … are trying to make money instead of stopping this Eco-Disaster…

        That is the bottom line and no amount of Nuclear Baloney (NB) type
        … “reports or reviews or Nuclear theory” makes that any better.

        Do any of US actually know what the situation is on the ground?

        I sure don’t, but I know that because TEPCO has lied, concealed data
        … and played the Japanese People’s SAFETY down, while trying to save
        … TEPCO profits instead, we all have much to fear from THEM!

        If someone told me 11 MONTHS ago that I would be sitting on the edge
        … of my chair, and blogging to save the Japanese people from their Utility
        … TEPCO & their Gov’t. overseers I would have thought they were crazy!

        This is a nuclear nightmare
        … And N☢T just for the Japanese, but the Planet!

  • InfoPest InfoPest

    I can’t believe it. The New York Times printed an article critical of Japan and the cleanup. Where the hell have they been?


    The Japanese are burning anything and everything thats contaminated. Sending the radiation up in smoke to be carried by the jet stream to the rest of the world. Then they dump the ash into Tokyo Bay so the tide can carry the radiation out to the ocean currents and around the world. The Russians had a better grasp of what they had to do. Abandon the contaminated areas forever. Stop speading it around. The sanitized article in the NYTimes bearly scratched the surface of what is wrong in Japan. Japan needs to STOP and face reality, a big piece of their little country is diseased and contagious, it needs to be quarantined. Instead they actually have a policy of distributing the contaminated soil to all corners of Japan, they call it sharing the pain. I call it genocide. Mass murder of their own people because their stubborn Japanese pride won’t let let them admit that part of their beautiful island nation is gone forever.

    • Laterlukemayb Laterlukemayb

      Infopest I understand your disdain for Japan, TEPCO at the moment and it is easy to feel this way. What I don’t think people understand is, the effect exposure to these levels of radiation have on a persons physical body. Anyone working in these kind of conditions are probably doing everything they can to function as radioactive isotope coursing through your body and brain can cause confusion, fatigue as well as other psychological disorders. I would bet that anyone that was within 100 miles of this disaster is experiencing some kind of psychological deficiency, as to your suggestion to abandoning the area altogether borders on insanity since a repeat of 3/11 could happen at any time in the future thus washing tons of radioactive material into the ocean. This would surely kill all life on this planet as we know it if it hasn’t already. I know that you are not insane and it is not my intention to degrade you. You want a solution just like the rest of us and it would seem the logical thing to do if the Fukushima Plant were not right on the shoreline. Unfortunately it is not. My first idea for this mess was without doubt insane as I suggested prior to the meltdowns of taking D-9 Caterpillars and pushing the whole mess right into the ocean.

    • Bobby1

      The mass murder is not due to stubborn Japanese pride. It’s because if a large permanent evacuation zone was created, then Tepco and the Japanese gov’t would have to PAY COMPENSATION to those affected.

      It’s genocide due to money, not pride.

  • Laterlukemayb Laterlukemayb

    There really isn’t anyway of truly cleaning up this mess. What Japan needs, the worlds needs is a cutting edge technological invention that can actually see the radioactive isotopes, other than dosimeters and Geiger counters. This would allow them to see their progress and prevent the waste of spreading the radiation around from one place to the other. Then there is the disposal of the contaminated waste, where to put it. It has already been suggested that the actual dead zone will suffice for the clean up. This will pose a problem if the material isn’t properly contained in a way that is going to be virtually indestructible or the environment will be in jeopardy at some time in the future. Personally I think disposing of it on the Fukushima site is a disastrous idea knowing that in the near future they very well could have a repeat of 3/11. Overwhelming task with few solutions.

    • It reminds me of how the red coats fought the war against the first gorilla warrior’s ! Like shooting fish in a barrel !
      These cleanup men are walking dead men !
      I’ll wager that the higher echelon is taking insurance policies on these workers ! Better odds then buying insurance on Bullet Bike purchasers !

    • Once the cat is out of the bag, you cant put it back in, you cant kill it except with time.

      • Bones Bones

        Well, what if we found a way to speed up the decay process? lol That is going to be the next tech touted by the nuclear lobby as the next great innovation that keeps them going. lol

        • hbjon hbjon

          It is interesting to think about the process of atomic decay. Heck, I have a lot of time to ponder this phenomenon. A sample of the identical atoms emit the same particle at different times or intervals. Like popcorn in a puddle of hot oil. But regardless of gravity, temperature, pressure, or in a vacuum or not, the halflife does not change. They can split the atom. That changes the halflife.

        • Laterlukemayb Laterlukemayb

          There ya go “Bones” let’s devise a way to split every rogue, radical Isotope ever released and blow this planet from here to the star Sirius! LOL

        • mikey

          Next tech to negate nuke puke? I think its gotta be radiant energy with out the radiation… Yea U see there was a big drop in radiation in Australia yea it got hot over the right shoulder area
          a while back and JUST as the next wave of radiation came along the reading of the current rads almost zeroed out! An why cuz the next belt of radiation was cumin in! So in the zone between waves uf death there is a electroMag cancellation frequency or radiant signature that cancels the expression of the wave– But will we get that before the great culling…Dunno

    • jec jec

      Didnt someone invent a camera which showed where the radiation was. Tested by TEPCO I believe. BUT cost $$. So nothing more heard.

  • Laterlukemayb Laterlukemayb

    The question here is why are there none that have assessed the situation and come up with at strategic plan to deal with the clean-up. Sure there are those within the industry that have the know how to deal with radioactive contamination. If not the people of Japan are in bigger trouble that we thought. I DON”T think that the world abandoning the people of Japan to deal with this catastrophe by themselves is the right and just thing to do. I know there are many in the world with the expertise and know how to train workers in the best way to handle this situation. I haven’t heard about the world community coming to their aid to help. At the same time I can say the neither have I heard the Japanese government ask for help with it either. Not sure if it is pride or that they are trying to withhold the seriousness of the disaster from world. I can tell you that there are many that have a pretty good assessment on the magnitude of the disaster just by discerning what has been divulged to the public so far.

    • ion jean ion jean

      Same mentality as tossing your Babies off a cliff rather than Surrender to Allied Forces in WWII…sharing the pain…a demented idea from an advanced and corrupted culture…

      Beware the conqueror nation!!! Look what they did to the Chinese at the beginning of the war…Hitler loved them cause they could walk right in and slaughter half a million people to to steal some rice…

      Now they’re slaughtering millions worldwide with their radioactive garbage!!!!!

      The US needs to step up and protect the health of its People since they started this whole mess in the first place…

      The Revolution will not be televised…it is being posted to YouTube!

  • dear jones

    Forget about Japan they are finish, try to save the rest of the world.

  • Bleifrei Bleifrei

    they do not want to learn
    they will continue to distribute
    until all have the same pro …
    except for the elect …
    they will not collect and centrally store …
    they will continue to drain water daily 50-100t …and waste and dust….how much???
    nearly all live in future will be nuked more and more and more….and the evolution will startet an new game with new actators

  • Noboby knows how to clean up radiation! Radiation cannot be cleaned, it can only be spread! Japan officials, by sending residents back to these ereas are sending its people to death, with our officials silent complicity!

    • stopnp stopnp

      What about the debris fires? Genious! Lol. Spread it everywhere. Send it across the pacific to my house. Thanks guys 🙂

  • markww markww

    Take the money evacuate people ans then setup labs to help the ones radiated and then put markers up in a 300 mile area YES 300 mile area to keep out radiation dead zone

  • StillJill StillJill

    1,2, and 3. Very good markww! That would really start the SOLUTION!

  • First it was 100 square miles… then 1500 square miles, now it has grown to 8000 square miles.. I still think this is going to get MUCH bigger before it all ends… more like the article below.

    Consider the fact that if #4 spent fuel pool falls over and spills out all contents, you can kiss all of Japan goodbye.. How many square miles is that? If they continue to emit a river of radiation the way that they are now, (in secret), eventually the same thing will happen. Where are the 3 or more 65 ton melted, out of control, radioactive corium blobs? Where’s Waldo? No one knows.

    Japan Paper: Professor now reveals “a high level of radioactive materials” detected over 1,000km from Fukushima last April January 30, 2012 http://enenews.com/japan-paper-professor-now-reveals-a-high-level-of-radioactive-materials-detected-over-1000km-from-fukushima-last-april

    If we expand the contaminated zone to go 1,000 miles away, and square it, how many square miles of contaminated area is that?

    Their government has yet to face the facts. At least in Russia, the government set up official contaminated zones, with three levels of contamination.

    It seems like Japan wants to legalize contamination in the whole nation, and never admit ANYTHING is contaminated, ANYWHERE. Yea, just move back to Fukushima, we are going to open a resort inside the Fukushima plant and let tourists go through it, for $200 a head, 5 minutes to take a look inside the reactor, and swim in the #4 spent fuel pool.

  • Sickputer

    Japan is a sacrificial lamb in the name of global economic stability. The measures needed to stabilize Fukushima Daiichi have been discarded because the massive money, manpower, and effort to stabilize Japan’s nuclear disaster is an option they will not consider.

    Ten trillion dollars and ten million workers might not be enough. This is truly World War III and the leaders can’t grasp that concept like Enenewers. Oh yes the world leaders understand the significance of this crisis, but they will not commit to fighting it with the necessary resources.

    If they did truly commit such a Herculeum effort then the nuclear industry would be finished virtually overnight because of the fears of another country-destroying event. It may take several more countries destroyed forever by toxic radiation before the plants fall silent everwhere.

  • markww markww

    Japan is KILLING ITS OWN PEOPLE trying to get rid of radioactive materials. When the sea of Japan and the bays are full of radioactive materials they will kill all the people in their country by contamination.

  • chrisk9

    I have supervised decontamination efforts in nuclear facilities in many locations. Most areas of nuclear plants are relativity “clean” as there minimal sources of contamination in most areas. When rooms have radioactive piping and pumps in them there will be times when maintenance work will create some contamination, usually on the floor surfaces. Most times this will be a limited challenge to decontaminate. But when there is an airborne source of radiation one would almost never try to clean the area until the source of of the radioactivity is stopped.

    Decontaminating the countryside while the source is still spewing radioactivity is just incredibly stupid and non productive, and Tepco of course knows this. It is very easy to measure levels of contamination and decontamination progress. How many billions of dollars will they spend until they admit this idea sucked big time. We should start a lottery on the amount, I am taking infinite dollars since they never admit they are wrong.

  • or-well

    Decontaminate mountains!
    It’s cleaning up on deceit –
    profit fountains,
    all corporate neat.
    Don’t get in a tizzy
    we’ll scrub an area
    as big as new Jersey,
    easy peasy neat as a pin,
    counting on help from J-gov spin.
    So it’s a myth, a lie, a big fake –
    along with dead leaves
    there’s money to rake!

    • CaptD CaptD

      I too have been watching since 3/11 and Japans Trillion Dollar Eco-Disast­er has also affected many of us globally!

      I have considered myself a supporter of Japan and Japanese products for a very long time but 3/11 has fundamenta­lly changed my opinion of the Japanese Gov’t !

      I never considered that the Japanese Gov’t. would allow global radioactiv­e pollution to “be made in Japan” yet after 6 months it still continues, PLUS the ongoing radioactiv­e pollution continues to be covered up and or SPUN by TEPCO, with the Gov’t.’s approval!

      What I now understand is that the Japanese culture is lacking something very basic, which is the ability to just say NO! By not being able to say NO, the Japanese people have no way to guide their Leaders or change their Countries Policy! Japan is doomed to additional suffering because Man cannot control Nature, despite what all nuclear engineers say…

      Please Respect Nature

      It’s OK to just say N☢

      The World is watching

  • StillJill StillJill

    Yes or-well,….and as long as there is money to rake in,…..they will.

  • Laterlukemayb Laterlukemayb

    I would venture to say that the bodies piling up in the effort to contain this mess is staggering. Remember that two catastrophic explosions occurred dispelling the contents of years of stored MOX fuel rods (uranium+plutonium) into the atmosphere and environment. This is not news as it was shown in the onset that the cooling pools above Unit 1 were “just gone” non-existent. To say the Japanese are dealing only with what contamination is resulting from the defunct reactors is delusional. There is literally tens of tonnes of radioactive waste spread over who knows how much of the environment. Nobody on Earth will remain untouched by this with the exception of those on the International Space Station, and those poor souls will have to come down eventually. The Japanese marching against Nuclear Power is at best damage control from a growing anger among the nations as we all come to the realization that this disaster may realistically wipe humans from the face of the planet. To little to late. Unless someone invents a time machine in the very near future to go back and correct the mistakes that resulted in the unforeseen events the Apocalypse is upon us. The best we can do is at this point is reflect on our own characters and morals and see what improvements can be made. There is going to come a time when we will be faced with who we really are as resources become scarce.

  • PoorDaddy PoorDaddy

    Excellent! Thanks Jebus for sharing.

  • CaptD CaptD

    If the Japanese were smart, they would dedicate this area as a mock Lunar practice area and develop it the same way they would develop a lunar base…

    This would allow the other counties that are interested in planning a lunar base to join together and figure out how to use technology to work in an radioactive environment, yet on Earth. While they are doing it they could also develop a solar capacity that could be used by Japan, instead of a lunar base!