Gamma Radiation In Fukushima-Downwind Ibaraki Disclosed, 30 Times Above Normal

Tyler Durden's picture

For all who have been looking for realtime radiation data from Japan, you are in luck. Or maybe not, as the data unfortunately indicates nothing good. The System for Prediction of Environment Emergency Dose Information (SPEEDI) releases gamma radiation data online. The site is jittery and apparently not suited for major traffic which is why we represent several screen captures of the data. While it is not surprising that according to the website both Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures are entirely "Under Survey" as it makes sense that the government does not want to generate panic, SPEEDI has disclosed some tell-tale data about cities in Ibaraki prefecture, which is just a hundred or so miles north of Tokyo, and is just south of the ill-fated Fukushima prefecture. And the data is stunning: based on a N, NE and NNE wind direction (where it originates), meaning all coming from Fukushima, with a normal reading in the 80 nGy/h range, the city of Kounosu Naka is at 3,024, Kadobe Naka is at 2,416, Isobe Hitachioota is at 1,213 and many others are in the mid to upper triple digit range! Again, this is based on wind coming out of Fukushima and ultimately headed toward the capital. Indicatively, normal terrestrial plus cosmic gamma radiation is about 80 nGy/h.

Below we present screencaptures as of moments ago, as apparently the Japanese government seems to believe that abnormal gamma radiation levels are perfectly notmal:

A map of all prefectures, showing maximum gamma radation readings. Note Ibaraki at 3,024 nGy/h, and Kanagawa right below it (and downwind) at 224 nGy/h compared to low double digts for all other prefecture.

Not surprisingly, Fukushima is completely N/A, as every single reading is Under Survey, also known as censored.

But the stunner is Ibaraki. We will let this one speak for itself:

As a reference, based on background radiation measurements in the lower atmosphere at
different altitudes above sea level up to 1100 m and over the land were
made at a temperate latitude (40°) in the Thessaloniki region, North
Greece, before and after the Chernobyl accident (26 April 1986), using a
portable γ-ray scintillation detector and a Cutie-pie survey
meter with an ionization chamber, the average value of the total
background radiation at ground level was 87 nGy h-1
(10.0 μR h-1, 25 cps), i.e. 60% from terrestrial radiation, 55 nGy h-1 (6.3 μR h-1, 15 cps) and 40% from cosmic radiation, 32 nGy h-1 (3.7 μR h-1,
10 cps), before the Chernobyl accident, while, after it, the total
background radiation was doubled,
due to the long-lived radioactive
fallout suspended in the atmosphere and or deposited onto the ground.

h/t Jon

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Popo's picture

Where does it fall on the Banana Equivalent Index?

mrgneiss's picture

I saw some pretty crazy posts on the last radiation related article; here are some sane words from a survival guru:

Bad Asset's picture

Yeah, JWR knows his stuff.  I read his blog everyday.

blunderdog's picture

10 micro-rems per hour is normal dose, say it's really bad and because of this locals are getting 500 micro-rems per hour...a bit higher than reported in the post--factor of 50x rather than 30x.

Safe short-term whole-body exposure is up to 10 million micro-rems.  Up to 100 million micro-rems you won't feel anything, but slight decrease in white-blood cell count may occur.  At 100-200 million micro-rems you start seeing nausea, more signficant WBC decrease, tiredness, etc--still generally recoverable.

So if current levels stay elevated at 500micro-rems/hr, locals would be exposed to significantly dangerous levels of radiation after about 400,000 hrs.

This is not to say anything good is happening or this is not a serious issue.  Nuke meltdowns are bad and the guys working on the plants are likely to be exposed to significant radiation levels.  The stuff reported in the post is not significant.  This will likely turn out to be the most serious nuclear disaster of history in the long run.  It may not kill as many folks as Chernobyl, but the potential to be significantly worse is very real.

ZerOhead's picture

"It may not kill as many folks as Chernobyl, but the potential to be significantly worse is very real."

Here lurks the potential global Black Swan. (Sorry for the caps) Do not dismiss what 40 years of stockpiled spent fuel rods could do if combusted...

Why you ask?

Because they store the used fuel rods in a cooling pool above and adjacent to... are you ready for this?

ALL 6 of the GE Mark 1 reactors.

If the cooling pumps to the spent fuel storage pools fail the water will evaporate and the spent fuel will heat and may combust. I don't think I even have to tell you how bad that development could be but it would certainly likely be global.

A particular feature of the 40-year old General Electric Mark 1 Boiling Water Reactor model – such as the six reactors at the Fukushima site – is that each reactor has a separate spent-fuel pool. These sit near the top of each reactor and adjacent to it, so that cranes can remove spent fuel from the reactor and deposit it in a swimming-pool-like concrete structure near the top of the reactor vessel, inside each reactor building.


If the hydrogen explosions damaged those pools – or systems needed to keep them cool – they could become a big problem. Keeping spent-fuel pools cool is critical and could potentially be an even more severe problem than a reactor meltdown, some experts say. If water drains out, the spent fuel could produce a fire that would release vast amounts of radioactivity, nuclear experts and anti-nuclear activists warn.


GE brings good things to life!

Or not.



blunderdog's picture

Try to get with that whole "orders of magnitude" concept.  I posted a few useful numbers.  Remember that virtually all the radioactive material in these plants used to be spread out elsewhere on the planet.  We aren't manufacturing that much of the stuff.

barkster's picture

jpm silver suppression records were probably stored in the building  >:-))

ZerOhead's picture

I respectfully disagree.

Primary uranium fuel isotopes are U235 and sometimes U238. U235 is fissile. U238 becomes P239 upon addition of a single proton. (breeder processes)

Half lives of uranium isotopes?

Uranium-238 is the most stable isotope of uranium, with a half-life of about 4.468×109 years, roughly the age of the Earth. Uranium-235 has a half-life of about 7.13×108 years, and uranium-234 has a half-life of about 2.48×105 years.[68]


Uranium 234, 235 and 238 are relatively stable my friend... the fission by-products?

Not so much.

So yes... there is a BIG difference to what gets pulled out of the ground. This stuff is soooo radioactive that it actually glows! (under water anyway...)

blunderdog's picture

It's not just a matter of opinion, of course.  The stuff we are "manufacturing" is nastier than the stuff we're mining.  But it was coming about ANYWAY, it's just a question of where/how it is concentrated.

Half-lives of billions of years and creation of fission by-products with half-lives of only thousands of years.  It's bad, no doubt.

Given the last report here, for certain now I say this is the worst nuclear disaster we've seen.

How much fissile material was involved in Hiroshima and/or Nagasaki?  Is this bigger or smaller than those events?  Is it worse to kill everyone instantly or make them sick over years/decades?

Again with the simple/blunt basics: this is nowhere near fucking "the world's" health.  Orders of magnitude.

jmc8888's picture

It just keeps seeming like it can't get worse, and then it does.

One thing I hope we can compare it to, and who knows if it plays out like this, but just for comparison, is that in the Three mile island meltdown, when it dropped to the bottom of the container, it started to cool down and 'only' went through 5/8th of an inch of the 5 inches of concrete it was. Hopefully, a similar outcome would occur. 

Pretty stupid once again to keep the spent stuff, THAT close to the reactors. (and below it?) WTF

So if 3.M.I. reactor only cut through 5/8th an inch, lets hope it won't get through to the bottom where the rods are.

Who knows after the explosions though what shape it's in.  Still probably be pretty hard though to get through.  We'll see and obviously hope for the best.


blunderdog's picture

Pretty sure it's already way worse than 3MI.  Compare to two Chernobyls (or three) all occurring right next-door to each other at the same time.

Kaiser Zose's picture

oh its worse than TMI...they've blown up 2 Rx Buildings and maybe a torus/supression pool...and likely trashed 2 or 3 reactors and released more rads just from junk in the RB in the first explosion than TMI did net/net.  Yeah, its worse.

sushi's picture
  1. 0241: And Mr Kan also confirms earlier reports that a fire has broken out at Fukushima's reactor 4.


Addressing the nation, Prime Minister Naoto Kan says that "there is a high risk of futher radioactive material coming out".

The premier also urges people within 19 miles (30km) of the Fukushima complex in the area "to remain indoors".

No word yet on Gojiro.

So Units 1, 2, and 3 have all suffered explosions. Unit 4 was one of the units that was offline at the time of the quake. The situation is clearly proceeding according to plan.

TuffsNotEnuff's picture


The big spike to SPEEDI data occurred back on March15th when the first disaster was in process. It lasted for 36 hours before returning below the 1,200 nanoGrays/hour level.

5 REM/year is the IAEA safety level for lab workers.

5 REM = 35,000,000 nanoGrays = 5,700 nanoGrays/hour for a year.

If the very highest peak of radiation at Hitachinaka City in Ibaraki Prefecture had continued for a year and a test subject had sat outside, hugging the monitor 24/7/365 --- then that person would have accumulated 2/3 of the 5 REM/year IAEA standard for safety. -- here's the SPEEDI site.

Hitachinaka City is sitting at 441 nGy/h. That is less than 10% of the 5 REM limit.

5,700 vs. 441 is the measure of heaviest risk.

That "441" is the single highest reading in Japan outside the evacuation region. Most monitors within 5 kilometers of this one are showing readings from 88-257. You'd have to go outside 24/7/365 to collect this exposure:

-- 441 nGy/h - 10:00 PM local time on the 6th

-- 464 nGy/h - 10:00 PM local time on the 5th

-- 463 nGy/h - 9:00 PM local time on the 4th

-- 480 nGy/h - 9:00 PM local time on the 3rd

-- 499 nGy/h - 9:40 PM local time on the 2nd

-- 536 nGy/h - 5:10 AM local time on the 1st of April

-- 556 nGy/h - 9:40 AM local time on the 31st

-- 575 nGy/h - 11:00 PM local time on the 30th

-- 597 nGy/h - 4:40 AM local time on the 29th

-- 646 nGy/h - 6:50 PM local time on the 28th

-- 684 nGy/h - 10:20 PM local time on the 27th of March

The first big spike came down quickly. Then a second spike with the water drops also fell within 24 hours.

The claim that the Chernobyl plant exhibited an 87 nGy/h background radiation count immediately after the accident is false. That is a flatly false statement. The source can claim to confuse nanoGrays with milliSieverts and microSieverts. Fox News had that problem, too.

For general environmental work such as this a Gray equals a Sievert.

All this Chicken Little crap does serve specific interests -- Big Oil and Big Coal.

Fuck 'em. I'm hunting for an electric car and hoping to power it from a nuclear plant that is 8:1 to 15:1 greener than natural gas, oil, or coal fired generation systems.

Also, "Clean Coal" translates to Iain'tgonnacuminyermouth.



TuffsNotEnuff's picture


Kanagawa is the closest monitor. It is reading 97 nanoGrays/hour.

That is, if barely, inside the NORMAL RANGE for background radiation in a port city.

We're talking relatively tiny amounts of radiation. Less than you get flying cross-country. In the neighborhood with poisonous radioactive foods such as bananas and spinach.

Ignorance ==> Fear ==> Big Oil and Big Coal slamming a competitor.

Those bastards go heavy on denying global warming, so expect all manner of lying crap related to radiation. And every shill account on the Internet fired up and screaming.

Sudden Debt's picture

I am 34 years old.
Never have i known a year this crazy
it's like we are all finishing off mother earth

it makes me just sad that when we'll die we'll be leaving behind a planet that wont resemble what we had 2 decades ago when i was a kid.
I've seen many wonders of the world and all of them are not what they where 10 years ago.

And whatever happens today will leave a scare for generations to come.

This scares the shit out of me.

I never believed in a reset day. But what is happening these last few years make me doubt
this can't end well. Japan is turning into a death mans island at this rate...

ShittyLipsMcCrapStain's picture

Get a grip ferfuksakes. It's a horrible natural disaster....but its no where near TEOWAWKI....


FWIW...that radiation is gamma...relatively short lived low energy particles...

Ifn you start seeing alpha levels then you got a major problem.


If any country on the planet is prepared to deal with such a tragedy it is Japan.

But it is gonna COST  BIG....gonna be a big straw on the world economy camel.


SkySavage's picture

Gamma radiation = bad

"Gamma-rays have the smallest wavelengths and the most energy of any other wave in the electromagnetic spectrum. These waves are generated by radioactive atoms and in nuclear explosions. Gamma-rays can kill living cells, a fact which medicine uses to its advantage, using gamma-rays to kill cancerous cells."


Remember what happened to Bruce Banner...


And +1 for the post...Tyler's got mad physics skills.

eblair's picture

He has a point.  Gamma radiation is made of high energy photons, i.e. the same stuff that you see and that you pick up on your radio and your sell phone and that gives you a tan.  Alpha radiation on the other hand is way worse; it is made up of a humongous Helium nucleus (sans electrons) and can just smash everything in its path (like DNA).  If the gamma radiation spikes to 30x for a week, that wouldn't be that big a deal.  You really need to do a time average to determine effect.

pyrometer's picture

You're confused.  Alpha particles are relatively harmless unless inhaled.  Gamma particles have a very long half life and very deadly.

SelfishMan's picture

Actually gamma is the high energy radiation with highest frequency of waves (only thing higher is cosmic rays and some artificially created waves). Alpha is the lower frequency waves that are close to Xrays.  Alpha rays are the least penetrating and molecule modifying. Thus they pose the least danger to health. Gamma are the most penetrating and are the ones that cause the radiation sickness.

invention13's picture

Gamma rays and cosmic rays are electromagnetic radiation, like ligth waves, only shorter wavelengths.

Alpha particles are helium nucleii (2 protons, 2 neutrons). They are easily stopped.

Beta particles are energetic electrons.

long-shorty's picture

Sudden, I am 34 yrs old as well, and though I am disheartened by state of affairs in the world, it helps to put things in perspective. About a quarter of a million people died when we bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki. And roughly 60 million died in World War II. Life is always a struggle against entropy; some days are just easier than others, and at those times it's easy to take things for granted.

chumbawamba's picture

That's useful perspective.

I am Chumbawamba.

goldfish1's picture

I think I'll throw up and go to bed.


Tail Dogging The Wag's picture

"cheap" oil and "cheap" nuclear energy made it possible for humans to multiply to 7 Billion. Read 7 thousand million humans on the planet. With limited and finite resources for such a number of inhabitants, you have something guaranteed:  war, famine, and disease. We are seeing wars for land, resources such as oil, food, and water.

hambone's picture



Blast reported at Japan's Fukushima No. 2 reactor


Now that's the TRI FECTA!!!  Third reactor just blew. 

"The dying is the easy part, it's the living that's hard."

Spalding_Smailes's picture

I posted about this below and sent Tyler link, they heard an explosion but the building is still intact ... ...


It's not blown yet but they are pulling out operators, siren sounding in Tokyo, 10,000 times normal radition outside of unit.( per fox news)

Arch Duke Ferdinand's picture

"The dying is the easy part, it's the living that's hard."

Riot Like They Did in 1929 (Parody  1999 Prince)

rewritten by A D F....

reader2010's picture

The Club of Rome said it 40 years ago.

dark pools of soros's picture

you can always go to Cleveland.. it never changes

Sweet Chicken's picture

I nominate this as best post of the last two weeks. Bravo!

Misstrial's picture

Sudden Debt:

Calm down....ever watched Man vs. Wild? Notice how he compliments himself frequently?

Bear Grylls says to himself, "Good job, good job"  -  and so should you.

Cultivating a positive mental attitude is good for you and keeps you from making errors in judgement that could cost you your life.


TonyV's picture

Every generation felt the same way about their time.

Winisk's picture

Looks like a nasty longterm trend to me.   

Bicycle Repairman's picture

I am tired of scientists with a vested interest telling us "All is well" when clearly it isn't.  In any case this is a contingent event and we would be fools to not protect against the downside.  The downside being catastrophic.

Reptil's picture


MIT joined the Ministry of Propaganda, or so it seems.

Jim in MN's picture

MIT in very deep with China re: coal and nuclear development, among other things.  Pretty sure they don't fly coach either.

Oh regional Indian's picture

Joined? Reptil, MIT is a part of the establishment that made "Science", or rather the glorified, clay-footed, "constant" filled lie that is sold to us as science...all glamorous and sexy.

And it sure looks like a lot of MIT types dropped in here, to calm us down. All is well, all is swell, beta, gamma, it's just rays. Like Sugar Ray and Solar ray, they punch, but it only gives you nose-bleed and then you drink some cold lemonade and all is swell.

Well, it's not. And will not be. And you know what, that is still no cause for panic. Panic is for the fearful. Is everyone here a scardey schroedinger's kitty? Keyboard Goliaths bitching about TeeVee this and that and S&Ineed to Pee, bad?

C'mon guys and girls, these are epic times. Hero making times. Time to do epic shit. And that does not mean fight. The battle is all inside us. We live a world that reflects our insides.

Free energy? Only till it is. And then suddenly it isn't and you feel like a junkie in with-drawl. The genie in the lamp turned out to be a monster, but so far, it's reach is short the 3,000 miles needed to grab you in NY, NY. 

Don't be afraid. Death is transformation. Don't put too much by this "great" civilization. Eyes off TeeVee for a few years and you realize that it has given little, except the white man means to subjugate everything. A few white men at that. Why it turned out that way is a tale for the next ones. When full disclosure and full exposure is the past and a rather battered populace needs to figure out, really quickly, how to prepare the bed and lay a seed that sprouts something full of essence.

Life-style? Bah.

Find some life-substance. 


Babycatcher's picture

Man!  I like you Oh.  Always glad to read what you have to say.

Theta_Burn's picture

Hey dipshit we may very well be entering the surreal here.


Popo's picture

The Banana Equivalent Dose:


Let's not forget that eating a banana also exposes one to many times the "normal" amount of radiation.


disabledvet's picture

"everything gives you cancer/there's no cure/there's no answer."  i do hear where your comin' from tough guy nor of course will any of us argue with you.