TV: Japan radiation expert says drastic measures are needed — Radioactive contamination now permanently in ecosystem — Fukushima forests must be cut down asap (VIDEO)

Published: March 11th, 2013 at 4:35 am ET


Title: Fukushima forests found to be radioactive
Source: Al Jazeera English
Author: Steve Chao
Date: March 10, 2013

Steve Chao: That the forests of Fukushima hold a dark truth is something Yuichi Onda has feared. An expert on radiation and its effects on the environment, he’s been coming to these remote parts of the region ever since the nuclear plant nearby had a meltdown. Not only has he found high concentrations of radioactive cesium, upwards of 750,000 Bq/kg in the fallen leaves and in the soil, but up in the tower he and his assistants have also measured dangerous levels in the trees themselves, suggesting that radiation has permanently found it’s way into the ecosystem. It’s left him with only one drastic suggestion for the government.

Yuichi Onda, radiation expert, Tsukuba University: Cutting the trees as soon as possible is better because the cesium is gradually transferred to the [???].

Chao: With 70% of Fukushima covered in forest, the task would be immense and Honda doubts the government will take his advice. The government is already spending billions of dollars decontaminating various towns in Fukushima. The concern Onda has is that if the forest around where people live aren’t cleared, they’ll continue to emit radioactivity, putting residents at risk.

Watch the broadcast here

Published: March 11th, 2013 at 4:35 am ET


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34 comments to TV: Japan radiation expert says drastic measures are needed — Radioactive contamination now permanently in ecosystem — Fukushima forests must be cut down asap (VIDEO)

  • Please stop in at Huffpost at contribute nicely but pointedly to this 2nd anniversary of Fukushima.

  • I was also proud to help confirm that Fukushima was a big thing

    I got up at 3AM on 3-16-2011 and decided that I needed to form an opinion about how bad Fukushima really was. We have family on the far other side of Tokyo from the Fukushima, and I wanted to be able to provide an opinion.

    Working with the available resources, many conflicted. I determined that this was a serious and large problem.

    Read that old story here. Obviously my nuke knowledge was a lot less back then, but the call was correct, and actually it has turned out far worse than I envisioned at the time.

  • We Not They Finally

    No one can SAVE those trees and the workers would undoubtedly get nuked cutting them down. And the trees are standing in already-contaminated soil ANYWAY. And then there would no foliage for the ecosystem at all. But they are all being nuked anyway. Mr. Onda probably means well and is genuinely concerned, but they need to evacuate northern Japan of its PEOPLE!!

    • hbjon hbjon

      I asked my dog if it was a good idea to chop down the trees and it reached around and licked it's privates. After a few minutes of cleaning its behind, it said, "Their getting rid of the canaries before people see them die."

  • RichardPerry

    If the tree's are cut down, what will hold the steep slopes from sliding down. The snow melt and rain will gush into low area's where cities and farms are. They are dammed if they do or dammed if they don’t.

  • PorcoRosso PorcoRosso

    Absurd comments such as "evacuate northern Japan of its PEOPLE!"
    does not help the situation.
    Dr.Shinzo Kimura suggested the best option for the people of Fukushima is to find a way to keep them living there safely
    so that they can pass on their traditions to the next generation.
    Since if the people of Fukushima leave the region one by one
    their 1000 year lomg history, traditions, culture and community
    will vanish because of the nuclear disaster.
    Dr Kimura suggests the best option is to help local farmers
    clear up their land, to remove topsoil taking the Cesium with it
    even though this involves complicated equations not easy for
    a farmer to grasp.

    • End of the Road

      And if the people are NOT evacuated, their 100 year long history, traditions, culture and community will STILL vanish because of the nuclear disaster. Dead people equals dead culture.

      • MaidenHeaven MaidenHeaven

        Agreed End of the Road. For real.. what would they do with the trees after they cut them down??? Burn them???..bury them?? And then what about the soil?..cover it with tarps as they are doing now? There is no way to contaminate, period.

        • PavewayIII PavewayIII

          I'm assuming you meant 'There is no way to *de*contaminate', MH. I would disagree.

          First of all, I don't want the Japanese government or TEPCO to do anything else – they both have caused more harm than good.

          Second, removing cesium is pointless without a plan to re-concentrate it. It has to be re-concentrated and stored.

          Never mind that they shouldn't have dug it up and concentrated it to begin with – that's something for the rest of the planet to debate and change. Fukushima and other contaminated areas don't have the time to waste on hindsight right now.

          And everyone in Fukushima is aware that re-concentrating it 1) does not make it go away, and 2) there isn't a suitable place to store the concentrates for long periods of time. Both problems are less important *relatively speaking* than the problem of dragging their feet and doing nothing about the forests.

          Trees are a pretty good bio-accumulator. Not the best, but it would be insane (or at least take a 'radiation expert') to suggest mass deforestation as a solution. As long as a significant amount of cesium is being transported to the leaves, the trees are helping. The leaves and forest litter need to be harvested every year, not the trees.

          The bulk of the wood supporting the tree is not contaminated – only the outer two rings. Ultimately, it may all have to be reduced to ash. No reason to do that right now and create another problem.

  • Sickputer

    Removing trees is a ridiculous policy…removing people is the correct policy.

    Decontamination of inhabited areas is impossible whether it is urban or rural. Emigration is the answer to these difficult questions. You can't contain invisible toxins spread across all of central Japan. They need to get out and stay out for centuries.

    The same problem exists for Hanford Site. Some leaky tanks may be transferred to new containers, but the soil dumps may be out of control. Digging them out may actually worsen the spread of radiation. It's easy to scream "stop the radiation before it gets into the water table!", but actually achieving a cleanup is going to be virtually impossible. There isn't enough money in the world to build enough steel tanks for all the toxins dumped by humans. Mother nature will eventually heal the earth. Humans may not survive to witness the cleansing.

  • unincredulous unincredulous

    What sense does that make at all? Chop down the trees? The plants releasing the radiation need to be "chopped down" first. Seriously, the forests have a much longer "tradition of living" on the mountain than the people. That it is absurd to evacuate Northern Japan is no more absurd than to evacuate the trees. Besides, with all the trees gone, will living there be like it was before. If they keep living there, all they will pass on will be their damaged genes. I am so disturbed at all this talk of NWO and one-world government. If we had a truly global government maturity, we could expect the people of Japan to be evacuated to another place for their safety. Then, when the problem is resolved to bring them back. But that would damage "brand nuclear power" when it takes a long time to move the people back ( hundreds or thousands of years). If my house were on fire, I would leave it immediately. It would not matter that I have a tradition of living here for eight years and I was comfortable sitting here in my chair connected to the internet. It would not matter that I hsve food in the fridge and I don't have my shoes on….Just ask my neighbor's and they would yell fire, fire! Get out! But no, that would damage my landlord's ability to rent the apartment. No I will just sit here and burn, and tell every one that it's OK. Just scrape that black charred stuff of my computer screen and it will be OK. Japan's government is ruining "brand government." When will you wake…

    • MaidenHeaven MaidenHeaven

      +++++ unincredulous They could use the navy ships from military's around the world..and *confiscate Cruise ships…At least they would be able to get away from the most contaminated areas & be feed & have shelter.

      • unincredulous unincredulous

        I agree, MaidenHeaven. They could do something. A Tax on all of the Nuclear plants around the world. Confiscate nuclear money from everyone who ran a plant and was guilty of a single serious safety violation. Confiscate all power production from these nuclear plants and use the power to fix this nasty problem.

        It seems all that big government types do nowadays is lie about hazardous situations in order to avoid panic. They may as well just give out free zanex.They don't listen to the people who say nuke power is dangerous. (protesters are labelled terrorists. They just build the things and get the money. Then, when things go bad they go into denial mode. Shadow governments are the big thing now. More like shady governments. More like a fly-by-night criminal gang.

    • Usefulbreather

      It seems like burying the entire site would at least stop the bleeding of radioactivity into the atmosphere. I realize ground water would be contaminated, but why not use tunnel boring machines to create a large cavern beneath the site. A small explosion could create a cave-in and the entire mess could fall into a deep sinkhole. This could then be buried by Earth, Lead, Boron, and Concrete until it is no longer contaminating the air. The underground contamination seems far less dangerous at this point. Can someone please tell me why we haven't made any attempts to bury this thing in the last two years?

      • weeman

        If you cover up corium their is a possibility of recriticality due to buildup of heat, you must cool.

  • PorcoRosso PorcoRosso

    Dr. Kimura said that, although there are hotspots
    which are dangerous,he does not want to scare people
    away, but rather to find a way to keep people
    living safely in Fukushima, in a bid to do this,
    he is helping farmers to clean up their land
    and remove top soil taking the Cesium with it.

    • unincredulous unincredulous

      Helping farmers by removing the top soil. Genious. Pray for a dust bowl drought here in the US. All the help a good farmer needs. Yeah,and the fishermen will get a grant to remove that pesky water in the ocean

    • End of the Road

      Would this really help? Fuku is still spewing radiation — up it goes, and comes back down when it rains and snows. The humane and moral thing to do is help the people relocate far away.

  • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

    Meanwhile, back at the nuke plants…
    "Since no progress can be made in the most critical areas of the reactor buildings, TEPCO has been forced to put most efforts towards removing the 1,533 spent fuel assemblies from the Unit 4 spent fuel pool, but even that requires special construction, unique equipment, and will be a process that takes years to complete. The next question becomes where to put the spent fuel once it is removed from the spent fuel pool. There is a common fuel pool building which houses spent fuel from multiple reactors on-site, but it only has a capacity of 6,800 assemblies and already holds 6,300. TEPCO is hoping to remove some of the oldest spent fuel from the common fuel pool and put it into dry cask storage ahead of its pre-disaster schedule."
    The foot dragging continues.

  • W8R W8R

    When you are talking about contamination with half lifes of hundreds, thousands, even millions of years, you cannot "fail to see the forest for the trees". So you cut down the trees, and new ones grow. From the same radioactive soil, with the same leaking mess nearby. At least the trees help contain the mess.
    Leave the trees, move the people.. Duh..

  • PorcoRosso PorcoRosso

    Tracking the spread of Cesium – Dr. Shinzo Kimura

  • TheBigPicture TheBigPicture

    Nuclear industry's reactors caused this, and must be outlawed.

    If not, there'll be more meltdowns, in more countries, as the technology is unstable.

  • PorcoRosso PorcoRosso

    Cutting the trees down would be one mega ecological
    disaster compounding another one. People should just
    be warned to steer clear of the contaminated forests
    for the forseeable future.

  • Wotcha Wotcha

    WTF is that bright yellow thing that went across the view @2.37in? It's VERY fast, so pause the clip a bit before and be ready …………..I saw it in realtime and it was very quick then, so I waited for the TBS timelapse to review it.

    • Au Au

      I was hoping it was a UFO and that aliens were here to help us out of this mess but, I think it is a light on top of an emergency vehicle and the light looks like it is moving fast because the film is sped up x20.

  • Arizonan Arizonan

    Listen LIVE now to the Fukushima Symposium in New York City: Live stream link –
    Experts from around the globe!

  • Sol Man

    The very people that pushed this idiot technology upon the entire world should be the exact group charged with costs of the repairs. anywhere.

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    There goes the watershed…what happens when the typhoons come through?

  • harengus_acidophilus

    "Fukushima forests must be cut down asap"

    And sell it to whom?


  • Fukushima – Radioactive Straw, Pine Needles 177,000 Bq/Kg, Pollen With 253,000 Bq/Kg In Japan; via @AGreenRoad

  • Fukushima Cesium Levels in Japanese Forest Soil Almost Double From 2011 To 2014; via @AGreenRoad