Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

(Photo: Noriko Hayashi / Greenpeace.)

Greenpeace: 'Unreliable' Monitoring of Fukushima Radiation

Clean-up efforts 'misguided,' residents express 'distinct distrust'

Common Dreams staff

Environmental activist group Greenpeace reported Tuesday that government monitoring of radiation near the disabled Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan is unreliable, and  that some heavily populated areas are exposed to 13 times the legal limit of radiation.

Three Greenpeace radiation-monitoring teams traveled last week to Fukushima City to record and assess contamination threats, the organization reports.

A check of 40 monitoring posts between Oct. 16 and 19 showed that 75 percent of the radiation readings close to the posts were lower than readings for their immediate surroundings.

Contamination levels within 25 meters of the posts were up to six times higher than at the posts.

"Greenpeace found that in some parks and school facilities in Fukushima city, home to 285,000 people, radiation levels were above three microsieverts per hour," Agence France-Press reported. "Japan's recommended radiation limit is 0.23 microsieverts per hour."

Clean-up efforts have been "misguided," Greenpeace's Japan nuclear campaigner Kazue Suzuki said, according to AFP.

"One home or office may be cleaned up, but it is very unlikely that the whole area will be freed of radiation risks within the next few years," given the mountainous and heavily forested nature of the region, she said. "The government continues to downplay radiation risks and give false hope (of returning home) to victims of this nuclear disaster."

Concerns about the radiation are not new, and in March, Greenpeace found a newly installed radiation monitoring post that showed a "relatively low level of contamination," the organization reports. But the station was "placed smack in the middle of a small area that had been clearly decontaminated." Stepping asway from that immediate area, contamination levels "rose sharply."

Earlier this month, The Association for Citizens and Scientists Concerned About Internal Radiation Exposures expressed concern that Japan's science ministry "manipulated its measurement of radiation levels in Fukushima Prefecture to show figures lower than they really were."

Greenpeace reports that during last week's trip, residents of the area spoke of a "distinct distrust" of information coming from the government, and little confidence in the government's ability to clean up the radiation.

Governent officials also told Greenpeace that they were "hamstrung" by a lack of workers, funding and "a lack of direction and engagement from the national government."

 

* * *


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Federal Court Strikes Down Ruling That Blocked Biden's Drilling Moratorium

"Today's decision demonstrates how flawed the preliminary injunction issued in June 2021 was, and that Interior must quickly take action to reform the federal fossil fuel program," said one environmental lawyer.

Julia Conley ·


Two Weeks Before Payments Resume, Progressives Tell Biden 'Time to Cancel Student Debt'

U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said that "we're having conversations daily with the White House and borrowers will know directly and soon from us when a decision is made."

Jessica Corbett ·


Progressive Mandela Barnes Leads Ron Johnson by 7 Points in New Poll

"People are done being represented by an out-of-touch, self-serving multimillionaire like Ron Johnson," said Wisconsin's Democratic Senate nominee.

Kenny Stancil ·


Rights Groups Tell Zuckerberg to Stop 'Dangerous Censorship' of Abortion Content

"Meta's censorship of information on abortion and reproductive health is jeopardizing the safety and human rights of millions across the U.S."

Jake Johnson ·


Florida State Attorney Andrew Warren Files Suit to Fight Suspension by Gov. Ron DeSantis

The Republican's move "was nothing more than an authoritarian takeover of the office motivated by the governor's own political agenda," said the head of a U.S. network of elected prosecutors.

Jessica Corbett ·

Common Dreams Logo