Monday, May 16, 2011

Radioactive Contamination Found Outside of 50 Kilometer Exclusion Zone. Is This a Threat to Tokyo?

The news has it that radioactive fallout from the Fukushima crippled reactors have contaminated an area outside of the government sanctioned 50 kilometer exclusion zone.

This is very bad news for those poor folks living in the contaminated area and north of there. I hope that this situation can be resolved as soon as possible and that those poor folks - all of them - affected by this tragic incident can soon return to normal lives as soon as possible. 

Even with this information, as has been stated over and over on this very blog, this new information still does not constitute a threat to Tokyo. Why? As I have written, since the beginning of this mess, in Life in Tokyo Goes On:

"First the good news. For those of us living in Tokyo or to the south or west of the nuclear accident, we are in pretty good shape. Why? Think about it; All weather systems and storms come up from China or the southern island of Kyushu direction. They then hit western Japan, Hiroshima, Osaka, Kyoto in the Kansai area, and then move on up into to Kanto region where Tokyo is. The storms always move this way. 

This means that the prevailing winds are always blowing from the south or the west. This is good news for us in Tokyo as the nuclear fallout will head north or out over the Pacific ocean.

The prevailing winds in Japan blow from south or west. They always have. Radioactive materials, since they are materials, and in many cases, "heavy," cannot blow upwind nor can they flow upstream.

Think about it, dust does not blow against the wind. Sludge does not flow upstream. It can't. It's not my wishes, it's simply the way nature works.... Physically impossible.

If this accident had happened at the power plants south of Tokyo, Hamaoka or Tokai, then we might have a major problem here in Tokyo... (I can say that, while very surprised that they agreed to it, I am happy that Hamaoka is being decommissioned!)

The Fukushima nuclear accident is most definitely a problem for those living near the disaster area - or north of it - but for those of us living 230 kilometers upwind from it, in Tokyo, it is merely an inconvenience (not to belittle a major problem).

The fact that the "new" area where the contamination has been found is downwind from the Fukushima nuclear power plants, but a quick glance at a relief map of Japan shows you a "valley" between mountains that is a perfect funnel for the wind (always has been) to blow through that area. That mountain range is called the Ou mountain range. 

It would have been very irresponsible for anyone (me) to point that out to people before the fact, I think. It would have been "よけな話" since I am neither a meteorologist, geologist, nor trained in any area of nuclear science. If I had pointed that out, it would have been fear mongering or sensationalism.

Here is a standard relief map of Japan. Notice the Ou mountain range with the highest peak being Mt. Zao (dark black circle) - red arrows point to the apex of the Ou mountain range. There are blue arrows that show the direction of prevailing winds. People who really stopped to think about it who lived in that area must have suspected the worst was to come. Poor folks.

I suspect that, now some people will put two and two together and seriously consider leaving with their children. I would think long and hard about it if I lived in the "line of fire" of the blue arrows. I think it would be prudent to do so.

Here is a map of the "newly" affected area:

Here is a map just released of the affected area outside of the exclusion zone. I have added a red arrow showing the direction of contamination outside the stated exclusion zone. It is downwind heading straight for Mt. Zao and the Ou mountain range. Of course, the contamination will turn, with the wind, when it comes against the Ou mountain range. Like I said, considering weather conditions (direction of prevailing winds) this should come as no surprise to anyone.

While this news about the contamination being blown outside of the exclusion zone is bad news for sure, it shouldn't come as any surprise to anyone. It certainly doesn't show any extra danger to Tokyo which is 230 kilometers to the south.

As the old saying goes, "You don't need to be a weatherman to know which way the wind blows." 

To see the current level of radiation in Tokyo (and to see that it is 100's of times within the safe levels and to compare to before the nuclear incident), click here: If that link doesn't work, copy and paste this:


Anonymous said...

Winds are NW in winter; SE in summer.

But is it not true that sometimes the wind actually blows off-shore in the north, areas like fukushima, then over the ocean it sometimes circles south, and then blows onshore below tokyo, making a sort of circular weather pattern. (I saw much better examples but can't find them. We may "know the way the wind blows", but do we always know where did it travelled from?).

There are so many layers to the currents. So it's not just storm systems. There are convections winds as well. (Here Hawaii, we oft get lower part jet stream currents moving from the north, crossing around north tip of island chain, and then circling around the islands - as it did a few days ago. Indeed, it appears here as Southerly summertime winds; yet it contains air currents -and /whatever is in them/ from the north. And of course Hawaii had the highest readings of contamination in milk last month; higher than drinking water limits (after which they decided it's important to stop all extraneous testing - don't want any more bad publicity)

I can't imagine cumulative doses of radiation is not affecting Tokyo at all. Are you only relying on government readings?! Didn't we just hear officials admit they lied/withheld readings to not panic the public? Are there private individuals/companies doing testing of soil, groundwater, rainwater and milk - if so, do you have the link?

Since you only need one lil particle, inhaled or consumed, to do a whole lotta damage (regardless of propaganda regarding comparisons to "Safe" background radiation levels ) and we are finding these ionized particles across the globe, it's surprising there aren't some higher levels found at all in Tokyo.

Hope it's true. Keep up the good work!

mikeintokyorogers said...

Thanks Anonymous for the great update. Here's daily (hourly) radiation levels measured in Tokyo NOT from the government:

One saving grace for us in Tokyo is that cesium and plutonium are very heavy particles and extremely difficult for winds to carry (the water & up into the rain are different stories!)

Anonymous said...

I suppose the cesium in the tea leave harvest in Kanagawa Prefecture, southwest of Tokyo, was not carried there by the wind from Fukushima...but was trucked in! The reality of heavy cesium contamination in Kanagawa makes your wind theory invalid.

hou said...

There are convections winds as well. (Here Hawaii, we oft get lower part jet stream currents moving from the north。
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