Sorry, this entry is only available in 日本語.
We got quite some inquiries as to what is the right time to donate to Safecast to have Global Giving match your donation 200% on March 11th, expecially in which time zone.
Well, the 200% matching is as as well as per Japan Standatrd Time (JST) and Eastern Daylight Time (EDT). So:
The 200% Match Day will run on March 10th, 2013 from 11:00:00 AM EDT (March 11th, 00:00:00 AM JST) to March 11th, 2013 23:59:59 PM EDT (March 12th, 12:59:59 PM JST)
So, your (tax deductable) donation is tripled on March 11th and a great opportunity to support Safecast in measuring the planet for radiation and – coming soon – air polution!
Saw this after March 11th? The campaign runs till March 15th, 2013 where Global Giving is matching your donation 100% and we’re really happy to receive any donation after the 15th as well!
In case you had not heard about this campaign to support Safecast – here are the details:
Our friends at Global Giving did this last year and it was incredibly helpful for us, so they’ve decided to do it again. From March 1st to March 15th they will be matching donations 100%, and on March 11th they will match 200%! The trick is there is a limited amount of matching funds available so if they are used up before the end of this campaign then matching stops. What this means is if you’ve been considering making a (tax-deductible) donation to Safecast, doing it now multiplies your impact greatly. Here’s the link to donate. You can also follow along and see how the matching program is going using this leaderboard . Thank you so much for helping us continue this work!
We are happy to announce that local citizens from Chichibu in Saitama Prefecture have joined the Safecast volunteer network. (Mr. Tateno, Mr. Sekine and Mr. Noguchi from the left)
Chichibu has beautiful countryside and is surrounded by mountain ranges. In winter the mountains are covered by snow. I found the scenery very attractive, and somewhat similar to Nagano.
It is believed that a substantial dose of cesium fallout affected this region after the Fukushima NPP accident on 3.11 in 2011. In order to understand the current situation, a local citizens’ group contacted Safecast. Chichibu is an area in which Safecast had not yet measured radiation levels.
The three people in the above photo are the founders of a local food radiation monitoring station called “The association to protect everyone’s health and life from radiation in Chichibu” (“Houshano kara minnano kenko to inochi wo mamoru chichibu no kai”). They are retired school teachers who run the monitoring station and provide services to check radiation contamination levels from food samples brought by local people. They use an Atomtex 1320A, a radiation detector made in Belarus which is designed for food, distributed in Japan by Advanced Fusion Technology, Co., Ltd.. At ¥1,600,000 it is an expensive unit. Local citizens pitched in to purchase the device, and any concerned resident can have food checked with the device by paying just ¥1,000 for a one-item test. A single-item test takes approximately 30 minutes, with adetection limit for cesium of 7 Bq/kg. They purchased the device in July 2012, and since then items they have tested which exceeded the allowable levels (100 Bq/kg) have been publicly reported through their newsletter.
So far, mushrooms, including shiitake, have shown high levels of contamination (the tendency of wild mushrooms to accumulate high levels of cesium became well known after Chernobyl). Here are some examples reported by the group:
|Food type||Region produced||Month tested||[Cs 134/137
|Fresh mushroom||Chichibu City||Dec. 2012||209.5 Bq/kg|
|Yokoze Town||Oct. 2012||367 Bq/kg|
|Chichibu City||Oct. 2012||223 Bq/kg|
|Ryokami Village||Oct. 2012||219 Bq/kg|
They also check the contamination level of soil collected from gardens and the points where water from gutters reaches the ground. The contamination levels of the latter are particularly high. For example, one of the tests found 119,700 Bq/kg at the highest. In the Chichibu area, people traditionally eat wild game, including wild deer and wild boar. Their tests have identified that wild animals have been contaminated, but although the samples they have tested have not been as high as those found in shiitake and other wild mushrooms, wild deer from the area with over 800 Bq/kg was recently reported in the press:
The core members of the group have been providing seminars, talks and workshops to share the information thy have collected. They are collaborating with neighboring regions to inform the public about radioactive substances. The group has been run mainly by retired school teachers, including a high school science teacher who retired once but has returned to teaching part-time. His knowledge about radiation has increased the credibility of the group in the eyes of locals. We look forward to including newly collected data from the Chichibu region to the main Safecast map soon.
Safecast volunteer Kiki
(Translated by Akiko)
Dirk Rösler, one of the ‘early’ Safecasters, found he was living in what is now known as the “Kashiwa Hotspot” in Chiba Prefecture, when Safecast provided him with a geiger counter in May 2011. Here is his report with his personal observations on what happened since.
As an update to from last year, I would like to provide a brief report on the situation in Abiko City. Even though the area is mostly referred to the Kashiwa hotspot, my impression from measurements has been that the consistently highest levels of radiation are found in Abiko City, not Kashiwa City. Personal and professional circumstances allowed me to move out of the area in October 2011. Now, one year later we are visiting our former home and meeting old friends and neighbours. Very sadly I have to say that the things I had predicted have become reality. The positive aspect is that radiation levels seem to have somewhat dropped. My average reading in 2011 was 0.6µSv/h (1.0 µSv max.), now 0.3-0.4µSv/h (0.7µSv/h max.), although this might be impacted by switching from Medcom Inspector to CRM 100 device, which traditionally gives me lower readings. The negative aspect is that, for me, these readings are still rather high considering permanent residence in the area. Whether this will result in any physical health impact is debatable and remains to be seen long term. Admittedly, the likelihood must be very low.
Radiex 2012 was a major trade show for products and services related to radiation monitoring, decontamination, and remediation, and was held at the Science Museum in Kitanomaru Koen in Tokyo from Sept 24-26 this year. When Dan Sythe, CEO of International Medcom, told us that he planned to attend and invited us to share his booth, we jumped at the chance. Medcom, which makes the Radalert and Inspector series of detectors, has been a staunch Safecast supporter from the very beginning, and provided us with much needed radiation detectors as well as extremely helpful advice. Medcom, as those who have been following along already know, will be the first manufacturer of our original open-source geiger counter, designed by Andrew “bunnie” Huang, and also does quite a bit of business in Japan, where its devices enjoy a very high reputation for reliability and cost-performance. We had quite a few reasons to want to participate, such as to make new contacts, talk about our work, and show off our devices. But we also looked forward to spending a few days hanging out with Dan.
Our preparations were a bit more involved than most of our presentations usually are, since we needed to design and print banners for the booth and several different flyers in both Japanese and English, organize display cases and lighting, and prepare new talks. Lots of volunteers pitched in, and amazingly we were ready on time for the Monday morning opening. About six of us manned the booth at one point or another, and Dan, Pieter, Kalin, and Joe gave talks, while Pieter and Dan participated in a panel discussion on the final day of the event.
This summer I returned back to Holland for a summer break. As I had not had a chance to Safecast Holland yet (all bGeigies where in heavy rotation here in Japan!), I decided to make a special version of the bGeigie, so I could easily carry it on board of an airplane, and measure radiation on the way to Holland. Also a small form factor would allow for easy mounting on a bicycle (I don’t own a car) and use it while walking. Lionel Bergeret adopted the bGeigie software to run flawlessly on the Nano. Ergo, the bGeigie Nano was born. The initial prototype was based on a black Pelican 1010 case, and for the trip it was rebuild it into a transparent, yellow case with better mounting of the LND 7313 pancake tube. Over the past three months, the bGeigie Nano has matured quite a bit from this initial prototype, but more about that “any time soon”!
Sorry, this entry is only available in 日本語.
Safecast at RADIEX2012
Safecast will be participating at RADIEX2012, Sep 24-26 in Tokyo. Titled
“Radioactive Decontamination & Radioactive Waste Disposal International Forum”,
this event will take place at the Science Museum in Kitanomaru-koen (near
Takebashi Station). International Medcom Inc., a strong supporter of Safecast from the beginning, is generously allowing us to share their booth.
Come to see our devices, including prototypes of our new mobile and fixed
sensors, and help us spread the word about Safecast’s open data initiative. On
September 26th (paid, whole-day session) Safecast and Medcom will make a
presentation and take part in a panel discussion with other exhibitors.
Other presentations are still being arranged, stay tuned for the complete
schedule. General admission is free after registration. Also pre-registration
is available on the RADIEX web site: https://radiex.jp/entry/
More information: http://www.radiex.jp/e/index.html
Location: Science Museum, 2-1, Kitanomaru-koen, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 102-0091
Contact: Secretariat of RADIEX 2012: Tel: +81-44-872-9071 Fax: +81-44-872-9072
During a visit to Germany in November 2011, Kenichi Hasegawa, a resident of Iitate, Fukushima prefecture said that in March 2011 the Iitate Mayor had requested him and Professor Imanaka of Kyoto University to keep secret the extremely high radiation levels that they had measured.
When Professor Kaneko of Keio University went to Iitate with a survey meter in February 2012 he realized that the area surrounding the monitoring posts deliberately had been decontaminated to produce readings far below the actual radiation levels for the area.
On June 23rd and 24th I attended the Citizen-Scientist International Symposium held in Inawashiro, Fukushima along with a few other Safecast members. The symposium was entitled the “Scientific basis for investigating into health effects of the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant and for establishing required future measures” and drew experts from throughout Japan and around the world. Two organizations that are partnering with Safecast by sharing radiation measurements were participating in the event: symposium co-host “Citizens’ Radioactivity Measuring Station“ and cooperating organization “National Parents Network to Protect Children from Radiation” (the Fukushima bureau is partnering with Safecast.) The symposium was made possible through the planning and management of the many hosting and cooperating organizations including many located in Fukushima. The symposium brought together scientists and citizens one year after the Fukushima Nuclear Accident to discuss the effect of radioactive emissions on soil, food and health, and to learn what types of research and activities various organizations and research institutions have been undertaking.
At the symposium I learned that there are researchers and medical doctors who are continuing to closely assist people in Fukushima dealing with anxiety from the stresses stemming from the events of and recovery from last year. Honestly speaking, learning about these people’s efforts was a pleasant surprise and I believe this type of support must be heartening. Their dedication reminds me of the story of Dr. Masazumi Harada who recently passed away. Dr. Harada began treated patients of Minamata Disease from the early days. I had the chance to meet him once and he was a friendly doctor with a sincere smile who never forgot to consider how things seemed from a patient’s perspective. It is hard to fathom how much Dr. Harada helped the patients of Minamata. At the symposium I realized there were many researchers and doctors serving the people in Fukushima in the style of Dr. Harada.
This symposium aimed to provide a platform for scientists to share their research with general citizens so that the understanding could be put to use in their everyday lives.
Presentations included: ”Genetic Effect of Radiation” (Norio Niikawa/ Health Sciences University of Hokkaido)”, “Estimation of radioactive fallout over land and ocean after the accident at Fukushima Dai-ichi Power Plant” (Masayuki Takigawa/ Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology), and ”Internal Contamination of Fukushima Citizens: what we learned from the recent whole body counter measurements.”（Ryugo Hayano/ The University of Tokyo, Physics Department.）Further topics included the present state of agricultural crops, and the danger of low level radiation and internal exposure. My impression from hearing their presentations and discussions was that not only are many of the researchers themselves obviously very focused on the developments in Fukushima from a research perspective, but their concern is on a very personal level as well.
The symposium hall
Each day ended with panel discussions in which experts from various fields sitting around a round table like on “Asa Made Nama Terebi” [late-night live TV program in Japan with discussion of political issues.] The symposium attendees sat nearby and listened to the discussion.
There are many things going on presently in Fukushima that aren’t known by the rest of the world. The government’s botched response after the nuclear accident in Fukushima has already been exposed and is widely known, but until I heard it directly from the Fukushima citizens I didn’t know about all the problems with the government’s handling of health related issues including health exams and policies, etc.
For example, even though the amount of class time held outside on school yard is limited to 2 hours per day, it is not mandatory for students to wear a filtering face mask when outside. Another example: if children who are given thyroid gland exams are found to have higher than normal doses of radiation which fall under the official threshold, they are not allowed to receive further exams. Under normal medical practice, it is a matter of course that if they so desire any individual or guardian can request and obtain an additional exam. However in Fukushima no matter how much concerned parents request further tests for their children, they are not allowed to be retested for two and half years. The reason given is that “it will cause anxiety in the local community.” Actually the current situation is causing more anxiety.
Parents in Fukushima said that on a daily basis they question whether they really made the right decision in terms of their children’s welfare to stay in Fukushima and they aren’t sure what type of food is safe to give to their children.
As you know, Safecast is an organization that measures radiation levels. After attending the symposium I feel more strongly that Fukushima’s needs for the efforts of gathering of quality data are not going away.
Safecast did not present at this symposium, but we (Pieter Franken, Joe Moross and other volunteers) were able to introduce the activities of Safecast to many people.
Safecast’s Pieter, Joe, and Hideki Washiyama with Lake Inawashiro at their back. 。
I also want to mention, that attendance to the symposium was free of charge. My hat goes off to the organizers for their efforts and drive to be able to pull of such an impressive conference without charging the attendees. Thank you!
Translation: Stephen Rife
PS: An hour to the west of Inawashiro, at a closed-down elementary school in Aizumisato Safecast members are working on a b-geiger counter. It is such a beautiful area surrounded by rice paddies. At night, you can enjoy lightning bugs and a sky full of stars.
Monitoring Post at a closed-down elementary school in Aizumisato. It is solar powered.