Radiation Report

Today in Tokyo, Hidehiko Nishiyama, a spokesman at the Japan Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, said, “It’s very possible that there has been some kind of leak at the No. 3 reactor” at the stricken Fukushima Daiichi plant. That came on the heels of bad news yesterday, when two workers stepped in water near the plant registering radiation levels 10,000 times higher than water used to cool the reactors. Hence the speculation that a reactor core is cracked.

Japan expanded its suggested evacuation zone from 20 to 30 km (13 to 19 mi). The specificity of the announcement was important, but missed by most media. The government said the expansion was due to suppliers being unwilling to venture close to the afflicted power plant due to fears of radiation — not due to higher levels of radiation. Thus, due to it becoming difficult for people to live a normal life in an area suffering a shortage of basic goods, those residing near the plant were advised to find temporary quarters elsewhere. The government assured citizens that radiation levels were still safe everywhere beyond the immediate vicinity of the struggling plant, despite perception to the contrary.

The measurements I’ve been monitoring confirm that view.

As of 10 am Friday (9 pm Thursday EDT), radiation in Tochigi City near my office 178 km (111 mi) from the plant remains far below the level in my March 16 report at only 0.124 microsieverts per hour (μSv/hr). Recent history of this measurement:

  • 0.224 μSv/hr Mar 16 at 12 pm
  • 0.216 μSv/hr Mar 16 at 4 pm
  • 0.195 μSv/hr Mar 17 at 10 am
  • 0.189 μSv/hr Mar 17 at 4 pm
  • 0.183 μSv/hr Mar 17 at 11 pm
  • 0.175 μSv/hr Mar 18 at 8 am
  • 0.172 μSv/hr Mar 18 at 10 am
  • 0.165 μSv/hr Mar 18 at 7 pm
  • 0.148 μSv/hr Mar 19 at 7 pm
  • 0.133 μSv/hr Mar 21 at 9 pm
  • 0.153 μSv/hr Mar 22 at 12 pm
  • 0.124 μSv/hr Mar 25 at 10 am

Located 225 km (140 mi) from the plant, the Shinjuku measuring station in downtown Tokyo recorded 0.129 μGy/hr between 8-9 pm (7-8 am EDT) today. The unit used there is the microgray (μGy), a measurement that’s equivalent to the microsievert (μSv) used above. Thus, Tokyo’s radiation is at a low level.

I’ve received a lot of email from expats in the Tokyo area asking about iodine tablets. From the Centers for Disease Control potassium iodide (KI) fact sheet: “The thyroid glands of a fetus and of an infant are most at risk of injury from radioactive iodine. Young children and people with low stores of iodine in their thyroid are also at risk of thyroid injury. … Adults older than 40 years should not take KI unless public health or emergency management officials say that contamination with a very large dose of radioactive iodine is expected. Adults older than 40 years have the lowest chance of developing thyroid cancer or thyroid injury after contamination with radioactive iodine. They also have a greater chance of having allergic reactions to KI.”

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  1. John
    Posted March 29, 2011 at 11:39 pm | Permalink

    Good work! Hope you keep updating the radiation reports for those hungry for real news.

  2. Heather Porter
    Posted March 26, 2011 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    I recently received an email from Donald Yance, my longtime nutritionist/herbalist who is world-renowned for his work, particularly with cancer. Here is a quote, spoken on a high level even for holistic-oriented people, but you can get the message:

    “”The use of iodine for the inhibition of uptake of radioactive iodine is a special case, and must be treated with caution. High iodine intake can result in a hypersensitivity reaction in certain individuals. Also, many people make the mistaken assumption that iodine loading protects the body from radiation in general, but it only protects the thyroid from radioisotopes of iodine. Although iodine is important for thyroid protection it is not the most important thing for systemic protection. The goal is to provide cellular chromosomal protection and inhibit genetic instability that could otherwise be caused from the effects of radiation exposure.”

    I cannot attach the complete email here, but in short, he says one of the best ways to treat radiation exposure, and that coincidentally is already a part of everyday life for the Japanese, is miso soup with seaweed.

    For those who want more detail, he goes on to say:

    “…Adaptogens, medicinal mushroom extracts, whey protein, cruciferous vegetable extracts, and sea vegetables are some examples of tools useful not only in the case of emergency, but for everyday life.

    The best protection from generalized radiation exposure are agents that protect and enhance glutathione production, as it is the primary detoxifying compound for protection from radioactive materials. Glutathione is made from three amino acid substrates: cysteine, glutamine and glycine. Having these amino acids in the body at sufficient levels to build all of the glutathione it needs is critical for protection.There are several cofactors that help to generate glutathione. These are selenium, alpha lipoic acid, and whey protein concentrate. Taking these daily is of great benefit for radiation protection.

    In addition, broccoli and cabbage seed/sprout extract are an excellent source of compounds called isothiocyanates. These sulfur-rich molecules are very good for drawing heavy metals out of the body and for helping to build glutathione, as well as being excellent regulators of the tumor suppressor gene system in the body. These extracts can be taken long term with no suppressive effects on thyroid function. The goitrogenic (thyroid inhibiting) effect of eating raw cruciferous vegetables is not observed clinically when administering these isothiocyanate rich extracts.”

    Sorry for the lengthy comment, but I felt I could not hold this information back. I can’t display proof myself, but I can say if you’re going to trust anyone in this field, it is this very gifted and brilliant man (and I don’t trust a lot of people in this field!).

    • Posted March 26, 2011 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

      All true, Heather. Thank you for this. Doctors here in Sano have mentioned that people should keep eating seaweed, specifically a type called in Japanese kombu, because it does help detoxify the body of many harmful substances including radioactive material. Luckily, I like miso and seaweed, so I’m all set!

      I should mention, however, that it’s impossible to eat seaweed in quantities that are truly cleansing for the body. In the spirit of every-little-bit-helps it’s a good thing to do — and healthy in other ways — but in fact it doesn’t provide protection from a full-blown radiation crisis. Good thing we’re not experiencing one.

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