Home > Japan > 1,000 corpses from Japanese quake left uncollected because of fear of radiation

1,000 corpses from Japanese quake left uncollected because of fear of radiation

April 1, 2011

www.dailymail.co.uk

The mother of one of the workers who are battling to stop a meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant said today that they all expect to die from radiation sickness ‘within weeks’.

The so-called Fukushima 50 are all repeatedly being exposed to dangerously high radioactive levels as they attempt to restore vital cooling systems following the earthquake and tsunami on March 11.

And speaking tearfully through an interpreter by phone, the mother of a 32-year-old worker told Fox News: ‘My son and his colleagues have discussed it at length and they have committed themselves to die if necessary to save the nation.

Too dangerous: This aerial photograph of the Fukushima plant shows the damaged reactors three and four at the which will now be entombed in concrete after the battle to contain radiation was lostToo dangerous: This aerial photograph of the Fukushima plant shows the damaged reactors three and four at the which will now be entombed in concrete after the battle to contain radiation was lost 

‘He told me they have accepted they will all probably die from radiation sickness in the short term or cancer in the long-term.’

‘They have concluded between themselves that it is inevitable some of them may die within weeks or months. They know it is impossible for them not to have been exposed to lethal doses of radiation.’

The woman spoke to the network on the condition of anonymity because plant workers had been asked by management not to communicate with the media or share details with family members in order to minimize panic.

The commitment from the workers at the plant came as it was revealed 1,000s of victims bodies have not been collected because of fears of high levels of radiation.

Police sources said bodies within the 12-mile evacuation zone around the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant had been ‘exposed to high levels of radiation after death’.

It follows the discovery of a body on Sunday in Okuma, just three miles from the power plant, which revealed elevated levels of radiation.

Fears have been raised that police officers, doctors and bereaved family members may be exposed to radiation as they go to retrieve the bodies.

Japan Today said authorities initially planned to inspect the bodies after transporting them outside the evacuation zone, but that is now being reconsidered.

Brave: They were known as the Fukushima 50 - but since then the numbers have swelled to between 270 and 580 depending on the stresses each man can endureBrave: Workers that were first known as the Fukushima 50 – but now includes up to 600 engineers – battle through the danger in one of the plant;s offices to try and stem the radiation leaks 

Thousands of people have been forced to leave the area around the plant, which is leaking radioactive materials as its cooling systems failed.

Cremating the bodies could spread radiation further, while burying the victims could also cause contamination in the soil.

Authorities are believed to be considering decontaminating bodies where they are found, which could damage them further.

The country’s nuclear safety agency revealed levels of radiation in the ocean near the crippled Fukushima Daiichi plant had surged to 4,385 times the regulatory limit.

And officials said that groundwater underneath the plant’s reactor had been measured at 10,000 times the government health standard.

Spokesman Naoyuki Matsumo says the elevated levels of iodine-131 were measured in groundwater 15 meters underneath one of six reactors at the plant.

It comes after Japan finally conceded defeat in the battle to contain radiation at four of Fukushima’s crippled reactors. They will now be shut down.

Details of how this will be done are yet to be revealed, but officials said it would mean switching off all power and abandoning attempts to keep the nuclear fuel rods cool.

The final move would involve pouring tonnes of concrete on the reactors to seal them in tombs and ensure radiation does not leak out.

The dramatic announcement that the four reactors are out of control and will have to be decommissioned was made yesterday by the chairman of the electric company operating the Fukushima plant.

With a deep bow and a grimace, Mr Tsunehisa Katsumata finally offered a humble apology for the failure to stop the leakage of radiation.

His face pale as he spoke in Tokyo, Mr Katsumata said he felt particularly sorry for people who have had to flee from their homes or even refrain from stepping outside while they have been trying to cope with the impact of the March 11 earthquake and aftershocks.

In admitting that four of the troubled reactors would have to be shut down for good, he left no doubt in the minds of observers that he knew the battle to keep their fuel rods cool could not be won.

Heartbreaking: Manami Kon, 4, waits for her parents and younger sister who are still missing after the tsunami in MiyakoHeartbreaking: Manami Kon, 4, waits for her parents and younger sister who are still missing after the tsunami in Miyako 

Evacuation: Nagashima Rio, who was born on March 15, is tested for radiation in Koriayama, around 44 miles from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plantEvacuation: Nagashima Rio, who was born on March 15, is tested for radiation in Koriayama, around 44 miles from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant 

‘I am very sorry for the trouble and anxiety caused by the radiation leaks,’ said Mr Katsumata, speaking in public for the first time since problems at the plant surfaced in the days following the earthquake and tsunami.

‘We’ve not been able to cool the reactors but we are employing maximum efforts to stabilise them,’ he said.

Yesterday the levels of radiation in the ocean was measured at 3,355 times above the standard.

Officials have attempted to downplay the dangers posed by the high presence of radioactive isotopes in the water, saying that the iodine-131 isotope loses half of its radiation every eight days.

Ill feeling: Anti-nuclear protesters stage a demonstration against nuclear energy and the Tokyo Electric Power Co in TokyoIll feeling: Anti-nuclear protesters stage a demonstration against nuclear energy and the Tokyo Electric Power Co in Tokyo 

But amounts of the cesium-137 isotope – which has a 30-year ‘half life’ – have also soared to 527 times the normal level.

Michael Friedlander, a U.S. based nuclear engineer, told CNN: ‘That’s the one I am worried about.

‘Plankton absorbs the cesium, the fish eat the plankton, the bigger fish eat smaller fish – so every step you go up the food chain, the concentration of cesium gets higher.’

Fishing is not allowed with 12 miles of the Fukushima Daiichi plant, but authorities still do not know where the radioactive water is coming from.

The Tokyo Electric Power Company, which owns the stricken plant, was preparing itself to compensate for people’s losses and damage – ‘according to the law’ – caused by the radiation leaks.

Search: Tokyo Metro Police officers in protective suits look for missing people in MinamisomaSearch: Tokyo Metro Police officers in protective suits look for missing people in Minamisoma 

Desolation: Wood, fishing equipment and other debris floats on a river in OfunatoDesolation: Wood, fishing equipment and other debris floats on a river in Ofunato 

But it warned that a $24billion bank loan would not be enough to keep it afloat and pay for Japan’s worst nuclear disaster without a government bail out.

Asia’s largest utility, TEPCO has seen its share price crash 80 per cent since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami sparked the crisis.

It is also facing a massive compensation bill, thought to be as much as $12billion, as a result of the nuclear disaster.

Japan’s prime minister and other figures have heavily criticised TEPCO for its handling of the disaster.

Public mistrust in the company after a series of confusing radiation readings were issued has exacerbated the problem.

Yesterday, TEPCO President Masataka Shimizu was taken to hospital suffering from high blood pressure and dizziness.

He has not been seen in public since a March 13 press briefing amid speculation about his leadership.

Japan
Scene of destruction: A building at the plant is surrounded by mangled metal girders that were damaged in the earthquake

Scene of destruction: A building at the plant is surrounded by mangled metal girders that were damaged in the earthquake

Chairman Katsumata has taken over his responsibilities and said: ‘There are lots of discussion about nationalisation, but I will do my best to ensure TEPCO remains as a private company.’

Mr Katsumata referred to farmers and fishermen in the Fukushima region whose products – leafy green vegetables, milk and coastal-swimming fish  – are feared to have been contaminated by radiation poisoning.

Mr Katsumata also had to apologise for the inconvenience caused by his company’s rolling blackouts that have affected the entire main island of Honshu.

He left no doubts that the blackouts would continue for a long time – he said his company would do its best to work closely with the government to minimise or even avoid rolling blackouts during the coming summer.

But with four reactors now in line to be shut down and the stability of the two remaining reactors at the Fukushima plant in doubt, there are questions whether the blackouts will cease – the diminished power from Fukushima puts pressure on other electric companies operating nuclear plants around the country.

The U.S. military has sent a marine unit specialising in nuclear emergency response to be on hand if needed, ABC News reported.

Search: Divers from the Japan Coast Guard look for bodies among the debris in RikuzentakataSearch: Divers from the Japan Coast Guard look for bodies among the debris in Rikuzentakata 

Aftermath: A seagull flies past the burnt-out hulks of two ships in KesennumaAftermath: A seagull flies past the burnt-out hulks of two ships in Kesennuma 

Around 155 Marines from the Chemical Biological Incident Reponse Force (CBIRF) are scheduled to arrive in Japan tomorrow.

The team, trained in personnel decontamination and radiation level monitoring, will provide decontamination from Yokota Air Base outside Tokyo.

Japan will also be using U.S. robots to help identify radiation leaks.

The robots, which feature miniature tank tracks, radiation sensors and a camera to view what is going on, will be sent from the U.S. Energy Department in Idaho.

Traces of radiation have been found in milk in Washington state, the U.S. government confirmed.

The Environmental Protection Agency said a sample of milk from Spokane contained 0.8 pico curies per litre of iodine-131 – less than one five-thousandth of the safety guidelines.

It said it expected similar findings, but that amounts were ‘far below levels of public health concern, including for infants and children’.

  1. April 1, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    Nuclear radiation is still being detected leaking out of the Fukushima Facility in Japan. There are plutonium and other poisons entering our environment wherever we are. The effects of radiation include cancer, DNA damage, reproductive damage, hormonal damage, and thyroid damage (that’s why they want you to take potassium iodine, another dangerous toxin) but I wouldn’t. There is a much safer substances like Zeolit.

    Instead you can use natural substances. There is one that is strong enough to protect against radiation. A good article on radiation sickness protection that shows what you need do to test radiation levels and protect yourself is here:

    Radiation Sickness

    And to make sure the water you drink is safe, look at the following article:

    Water Purification Tablet

  2. Lefkithea
    April 1, 2011 at 1:54 am

    Oh so very very said!!!
    My hart goes out to the Brave People of Japan.
    Just for few greedy corporations,thousands will die now &so many more w/slow cancers.
    Is there ever going to be enought profits for the GREEDY FEW??

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