Atomic Balm Part 2: The Run For Your Life Tokyo Olympics

Written by Arnie Gundersen

Edited by Maggie Gundersen

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Thank you to Fairewinds’ Friends, who have written and called us to share their appreciation for Fairewinds’ post Atomic Balm Part 1, and for taking the time to read and understand our analysis of the real reasons the Summer Olympics were placed in Tokyo in 2020.   

To begin Part 2, let’s talk about the scientific studies that Dr. Marco Kaltofen and I began together back in 2012. Before the ongoing catastrophe created by the Fukushima meltdowns, the maximum allowable radiation exposure emanating from commercial atomic power reactors was 100 millirem per year (1 milli Sievert per year) to civilians worldwide. Because radiation workers receive compensation for the increased body burden they take on by working in a high radiation risk environment, workers were allowed a maximum of 5,000 millirem per year of radiation (50 milli Seiverts of 5 Rem – depending upon which term one is applying). Although that is the legal upper limit, most workers in atomic power industry actually receive approximately 2,000 millirem per year (20 milli Sieverts or 2 Rem). According to DOE 2016 Occupational Radiation Exposure

Over the past 5-year period, all monitored individuals received measurable total effective dose (TED) below the 2 rem (20 mSv) TED ACL, which is well below the DOE regulatory limit of 5 rem (50 mSv) TED annually.

Since the Fukushima meltdowns, the government of Japan changed the rules by increasing the allowable amount of radiation civilians are subjected to at 20-times higher than was previously allowed, which is almost the same as the highest dose exposure nuke workers may receive in an entire year!

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A significant portion of the Olympic games, including men’s baseball and women’s softball and the Olympic torch run, as well as the soccer training facility, will occur on land that the government of Japan has declared to be part of a “nuclear emergency”. This means that athletes and civilians will legally be exposed to allowable radiation levels that are 20 times higher than levels that exist at other athletic facilities on any other continent. Therefore, according to the National Academy of Science’s Linear No Threshold (LNT) radiation risk assessment, the athlete’s risk of radiation related maladies has also increased 20 times higher than if they stayed home.

The people living in and around the Fukushima Daiichi disaster were informed by Japan’s government that they must return to their contaminated homes and villages if the radiation levels there were 2 Rem, even though they are being subjected to daily doses of radiation that is 20 times higher than any people living near any nuclear plants in Japan were ever subjected to.

Rather than completing an effective cleanup, Japan’s government is forcing its evacuees to return to their allegedly clean but still highly contaminated homes if they wanted to continue to receive their financial refugee stipend. There are three fundamental problems that make the exposure to Japanese civilians much worse than the new dose limit.

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The first problem is with the government of Japan’s clearance criteria that only areas in and around homes have been allegedly decontaminated. I measured radiation along highways and then 50-feet into the surrounding woods, only to find that the woods remained highly contaminated, so that when it rains or snows, or the wind blows the dust or pollen from the woods, that radiation migrates back to people’s supposedly clean and radiation-free homes. I went to the top of 4-story high rooftops in Minamisoma that had been completely cleaned and repainted following the meltdowns. These rooftops were recontaminated by dust on the wind, blowing in radiation from the surrounding mountains. Peoples’ homes and communities that were claimed to be clean are indeed being recontaminated every day.

The second problem is that the government of Japan is measuring only one type of radiation prior to forcing the refugees to return. Only the direct radiation from cesium is being measured with handheld Geiger Counters. Such measurements are the measurement of external gamma rays that travel through the human body uniformly, much like X-rays. Dr. Marco Kaltofen and I have long noted that ingestion of small radioactive particles, called hot particles or fine radioactive dust (or nanoparticles), migrate into peoples’ lungs and GI systems causing internal organs to receive heavy radiation doses for years on end. TEPCO and the government of Japan are ignoring the presence of these hot particles.

The third and final problem is that some hot particles are extraordinarily radioactive, much more so than the average hot particles. In a peer-reviewed paper that Dr. Kaltofen and I wrote, we detail our scientific research which proves that more than 5% of these particles are up to 10,000 times more radioactive than the average of all 300-particles we studied. Of course, this means that peoples’ internal organs are constantly bombarded with extraordinarily high levels of radiation, much higher than the civilian evacuees are subjected to.

These three additional selfie-videos that I took while in Fukushima during September 2017 show what is really happening near Fukushima. We cannot forget about the magnitude of these exposures to all people in order to create an image of normalcy by Japan’s hosting of the Tokyo Olympics.

The migrating radioactive dust from Fukushima has had and will continue to have a devastating effect on thousands of people who lived near the reactors and are now being forced to return as well as hundreds of thousands who reside much further away. Highly radioactive samples were found as far away and in such populous places as Tokyo. In its effort to try and restore everything to the way it was before the triple meltdowns, the government of Japan has failed to realize that Japan and in fact the world, is a much different place than it was before the Fukushima Daiichi disaster. Japan continues to force refugees to return to contaminated villages and is marketing what can only be irradiated products from Fukushima.

Cleaning up after a nuclear meltdown is no easy task, in fact a total clean-up is technically impossible, by slapping Band-Aids and quick fixes onto the problem instead of acknowledging the scope, severity, and root causes of the issues, the politicians and government officials of Japan and TECPO are endangering the lives of thousands of Japan’s citizens in order to protect their political standing, personal financial status, and the wallets of the nuclear industry.

According to the Asia Pacific Journal (AJP) last week, in a brilliant essay written by University of Chicago professor Dr. Norma Field, a Robert S. Ingersoll Distinguished Service Professor in Japanese Studies in East Asian Languages and Civilizations:

We might pause over predictions that the 2020 Olympics-Paralympics may end up costing 3 trillion yen (approximately 26.4 billion USD), many times the original budget for what was promised to be the most “compact Olympics” ever. These games are often touted as the “recovery Olympics” (fukkō gorin).

It is not hard to conjure ways that these monies might have been used to benefit the entire region afflicted by the triple disaster and especially, the victims of the enduring nuclear disaster. A pittance of the Olympics budget would have sustained modest housing support for evacuees, compulsory or “voluntary.” Instead, the highly restricted, arbitrarily drawn evacuation zones have been recklessly opened for return of evacuated citizens despite worrisome conditions prevailing over wide swaths of the region.

The Olympic soccer center that served TEPCO as a base for radioactively contaminated disaster workers (where they slept, donned protective gear, and were screened) has been contaminated by radioactivity yet is scheduled to be the training site for the national soccer team.

In Dr. Field’s essay for APJ, which was an introduction to a longer essay by the recently retired Kyoto University Reactor Research Institute professor: Dr. Koide Hiroaki, she wrote:

…As medical journalist Aihara Hiroko observes with not a little irony, “Surely the Tokyo Olympics will be a superb occasion for displaying ‘recovery from disaster,’” but also for revealing to the international community the “real consequences of the human-made disaster resulting from the national nuclear energy policy: the imposition of long-term evacuation and sacrifice on the part of area residents.” [Emphasis Added]

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Refugees at a shelter

Dr. Field’s introduction and Dr. Koide Hiroaki’s extensive article in APJ are crushing to read, yet they do not tell the whole story. I feel it is important to expand upon the ongoing radiation exposures that the 160,000 Fukushima refugees are still experiencing, eight years after the meltdowns. This science, that governments are hiding from people around the world, is not difficult to understand, especially if we also focus on the desire of world governments to keep alive the ever-intertwined nuclear power and nuclear weapons opportunities they have invested in so heavily ­– financially, politically, and emotionally. During my four trips to Japan, and from all the people who have written to Fairewinds from Japan since we first published our book there, I have met, spoken with, or communicated with numerous refugees from Fukushima and truly believe that Fairewinds understands their traumatic losses.

While people world-wide might cheer the Tokyo Olympians, the human perspective should focus on the real victims, those who are being shoved out-of-sight. 

The bottom line is that to reduce cleanup costs while spending enormous funds on the Olympics, the government of Japan treats its 160,000 Fukushima evacuees as if they were radiation Guinea Pigs, forcing them to return to recontaminated areas to try and convince the world everything is ok, meanwhile making it difficult for serious scientists to accurately assess the effects of radiation on these evacuees. The billions of dollars being spent on the Olympics would be much better used to help those displaced by the Fukushima Daiichi disaster. Help these families find permanent homes and employment and new supportive communities far away from the contaminated areas that they are now forcibly being returned to.

 Fairewinds will keep you informed.