Highway To The Fukushima Zone: First Person Trek Through A Radioactive Wasteland

Tyler Durden's picture

An intrepid Japanese duo has decided to do the reverse Fukushima commute and in a stunning filmed expose, drives through cracked roads, herds of animals in city streets and ghost towns to measure the radiation from 30 km out to 1.5 km away from Fukushima, where it hits 112 microsieverts, or roughly 350 times normal radiation. But don't worry. Everything is still under the recently updgraded (twice) legal limit.... for those clad in lead armor.


h/t Sudden Debt

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AN0NYM0US's picture

Highway to hell

Ident 7777 economy's picture


Hmmm ... 112 microS/hr 1.5 km from the plant ...


If one were good, one could interpolate that back to the levels on the ground at Daiichi (using, perhaps, the 'inverse sqare law') ...


With a little bit of scratching, I found:

Flying at 35,000 feet typically exposes you to about 6 microSieverts (that's 6 millionths of a Sievert) per hour  - http://www.solarstorms.org/FAAAirlines.html



Jim in MN's picture

Sorry bud, no calcs above 1,000 allowed. 

But this goes to 11,000--

Zip it!  Zip!  Zzzt!

Ident 7777 economy's picture

LOL ...


Side note: Calcs - or measurements?


Calcs can be made without limits (well, limited by the exponential limits of one's calculator or floating point library in FORTRAN or C unless one uses pencil and paper or the blackboard), measurements, of course, not so much ...

Agent P's picture

Or the three digits in CAPTCHA (which sometimes means two).

Harlequin001's picture

yes but you have to admit, it's still very bullish...

jus_lite_reading's picture




Cyrano de Bivouac's picture

Building a Faraday Cage would be a better idea .

Ident 7777 economy's picture

So, you only want to shield Faradays?

Seriously, the much-hyped 'Faraday shield' or cage is an E-field (Electric field) only shield; the 'M' (magnetic) portion may still propagate ...

Faraday shield as used in electronics


Cyrano de Bivouac's picture

Ok-lead venetian blinds and 2 hours of sunshine per day or else grow mushrooms.

1fortheroad's picture

But the faraday cage is for my laptop, O fuk me there wont be any internet

or power. Nevermind back to the greenhouse.

indio007's picture

I floated this idea on PhysicsForum. According to them it won't work.

chumbawamba's picture

OMG.  Ergo, it must have come from Japan!

This is conclusion jumping.  We're only now seeing radiation in the food supply because we're looking.  I'll bet you a silver Eagle the readings would be like that in produce across California, probably shocking amounts in some cases.  Who knows how many dirty contractors were employed over the years to make hot soil disappear.  I'm sure it happens less than it used to, but I would bet that kind of practice still goes on today.

Did it come from Japan?  Who knows.  It could have.  But it's more likely to have come from any number of sources.

Get a hold of yourself.

I am Chumbawamba.

TuffsNotEnuff's picture

The IAEA limit is 5,700 nanoSieverts/hour. ( = 35,000,000 nanoSieverts/year = 5 REM/year.)

If they came in from Niigata, to the west, the max out there is running 41 nanoSieverts/hour background radiation. From the north it's 28. From the south, about 400 (which is falling from about 1100 two weeks ago.)

112 microSieverts/hour = 112,000 nanoSieverts/hour.

And finally, the "Normal" background rad range peaks at 100 nanoSieverts/hour. Away from ports and electronic manufacturing, an average background rad level at 20 nanoSieverts/hour wouldn't surprise anyone.

Tokyo is showing 50-to-93 nanoSieverts/hour background rad readings.

The 7.3 earthquake is Japan's top story. That's one helluvan earthquake. Stronger than what leveled Haiti. One talking-head guess is that these after-shocks will delay reconstruction for a year. Not sure anybody over there wants to rebuild that coastal area -- ever.

Ident 7777 economy's picture

With that in mind, here's a map Jim in Mn posted below with readings from around Japan:



TuffsNotEnuff's picture

I think these guys get the 112 microSievert/hour reading at the edge of the debris field from the tsunami.

Helluva bath tub ring...................

We can hope it's mostly iodine. Short half-life and all. The Japanese need a break.

Ident 7777 economy's picture

That would be my question - what species is doing the 'emitting' ... throughout the area that video toured ...

Thorny Xi's picture

At the source, about 150,000uS/hour, 0.1 S/h, maybe, using IS law, some algebra and a pencil. Never trust math posts done with a pencil, though.

Triggernometry's picture

Not inverse square, use power law just like sound emanating from a source; still just an approximation, but using an exponent of 2 is inherently off in a 3D system.

Try chalk instead of pencil, it commands respect.

Ident 7777 economy's picture

but using an exponent of 2 is inherently off in a 3D system.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

If affectation were to be the volume of that 3D system .. yes.

The affectation here is to an X by Y surface (defining an area), ostensibly the meter's test aperture/opening where the 'rays' under consideration make entry to whatever sensor is used ... the meter observes an X by Y area so many feet back from a source, which, incidentally, is not a point source, but many sources ... the IS law would only work as a crude approximation, falling off in usefulness as one approaches the plant and the many 'point' sources ...

Deliverator's picture

The assumption that the field measured is emanating from a point source is false.

Radioactive debris was scattered all over the area, most likely from the Tsunami, explosions, and pressure releases. The field is likely to be much more uniform, increasing as one approaches the plant, but there is simply not enough information available to make anything like an informed guess as to what the field would be in the 500 or so metres surrounding the plant.

Deliverator's picture

I used to work in an accelerator facility producing medical radioisotopes. We weren't too concerned working in fields of 112uSv/hr (11.2 mR for you old-schoolers), but then we wouldn't be a field like that for anything like 24/7, either.

If it's that hot, that far from the plant, I'm thinking that's one serious, serious mess they have going on there.

Eternal Student's picture

And on that highway to hell, a Japanese tourist with a camera is doing a heck of a better job than an American Corporate "Journalist".

TruthInSunshine's picture

I posted this way down on this thread, but for those interested, here is a link to the Areva 33 page report that Gundersen based much of his analysis on:


WTFisThat's picture

Surplice, 33 pages long ...

johnQpublic's picture

no way i could keep driving throught that with the detectors going off like that


small peni, but gigantic balls

Antarctico's picture

Giant balls, indeed.  I was on the edge of my office chair watching this thinking what it would take to get me to do this.  It wasn't a long list, but it included using a rental car, wearing one of those goofy disposable Tyvek suits, and using a respirator.  These guys really manned up doing this in a Prius and street clothes.

TuffsNotEnuff's picture

For most of the trip they're between 800 to 3,000 nanoSieverts/hour. (nanoGrays/hour is the SPEEDI unit, so translating to nano- makes sense. Most normal background rads go 20-to-100 nanoGrays/hour so it is convenient for public information. Gray and Sievert are interchangeable for this application.)

5,700 nanoSieverts/hour totals to the 5 REM annual limit if you're outside 24/7/365.

However... not wearing a N99 or N100 mask wasn't "balls." It was crazy stupid. Getting cesium into your lungs, not a good idea.

Manthong's picture

Like scenes out of Omega Man, just missing Charlton Heston and the zombies.

Antarctico's picture

Like scenes out of Omega Man, just missing Charlton Heston and the zombies.

Hell yea, but don't forget his "free" convertible cars and his submachine gun.  Omega Man was one of my favorite movies when I was little.

Ricky Bobby's picture

If it was the US, you would see the zombies. I find it amazing that their citizens have the freedom to do this. Here it would be martial law, looting, police gone wild, robbery, violence, and mahem. Just think Katrina on steroids.

patb's picture

Give it a month.  Mutated Bird Flu could easily cause the "Dead" to walk.

Seasmoke's picture

end of the world type stuff......amazing, sad, scary, angry

Paul Bogdanich's picture

"end of the world type stuff"


Really.  Pretty bad.  All damaged nobody working on it or cleaning it up.  Just empty.  That place will be a real tourist attraction in 20 or 30 years after it gets some age on it and the packs of dogs are nice and feral.      

trav7777's picture

KidofSpeed Part 2

SteveNYC's picture

KidofSpeed was fascinating, highly recommended to all those who have not yet seen the pictures/read the story.

whatsinaname's picture

A better link to kidofspeed is www.elenafilatova.org (or.com)

antisoshal's picture

Kid Of Speed was also a hoax. I thought that was pretty common knowledge now. She admitted it after a while, then removed the admission. The photos were taken during a tour and the story was made up. Interesting facts about the area, but otherwise just the usual internet hoax...

TerraHertz's picture

WRONG. For starters, spend some time on her site. She has taken multiple, long roadbike tours through the zone over the years, with many photos and commentaries. Her photostudies of small farming communities, houses etc decaying away are very haunting.

Then there's her other pursuits, in other parts of her site. Serpent's Wall, and exploring old WWII bunkers. Trailbiking around historic WWII battlefields and digging up relics. Details of her dad - retired nuclear ..hmm I forget that detail, think it was nuclear bio-safety studies or something like that.

When you actually read her exploits, it's clear as day that she is exactly the kind of person who *would* do solo bike tours of the Dead Zone.

Also, I've emailed with her on related topics - she's the real deal.

And her DVD sets of Chernobyl photos and videos (hers and historic ones she has collected) are well worth the burn & post price she charges.

The stuff about her being fake, is itself a fake rumor that was put out by State sources, attempting to discredit her. She's talked about that too in the past, not sure if it's still somewhere on her extensive web site.

WaterWings's picture

Nice post.

The "usual internet hoax" - as if. In the Age of Google the guy doesn't even post a link. FAIL.

Around May 16, 2004, Filatova posted to her website that she was "being accused that it was more poetry in this story then [sic] reality. I partly accept this accusation, it still was more reality then [sic] poetry"; by May 24 she had removed the note.[4] On the first page of her KiddofSpeed website there is a dialog embedded by the owner of her host server pointing out that regardless of whether or not "poetic license" was taken, the site serves to "remember a forgotten region".




There is "big money" promised to be made in the atomic energy industry. Just 1 kg (2.2 pounds) of refined uranium would produce about the same amount of energy as 50 freight cars fully loaded with coal (3,000 tons). Refined uranium, therefore, has nearly a 3 million to one advantage in shipping weight compared to coal. This naturally attracts powerful, big-money political and business interests who do not give a damn about the safety of reactors and health of people. Their only concern is driving profit with milking a cow, so they put it into harness, urge it with the whip and milk it without limit, .. the outcome is always the same - instead of milk they are squeezing out blood.

Ident 7777 economy's picture

Kid Of Speed hoax  <----Getting a lot of hits on a Google search for





I am based in Kyiv and writing a book about Chornobyl for the Joseph Henry Press. Several sources have sent me links to the "Ghost Town" photo essay included in the last e-POSHTA mailing. Though it was full of factual errors, I did find the notion of lone young woman riding her motorcycle through the evacuated Zone of Alienation to be intriguing and asked about it when I visited there two days ago.

I am sorry to report that much of Elena's story is not true. She did not travel around the zone by herself on a motorcycle. Motorcycles are banned in the zone, as is wandering around alone, without an escort from the zone administration. She made one trip there with her husband and a friend. They traveled in a Chornobyl car that picked them up in Kyiv.

She did, however, bring a motorcycle helmet. They organized their trip through a Kyiv travel agency and the administration of the Chornobyl zone (and not her father). They were given the same standard excursion that most Chernobyl tourists receive. When the Web site appeared, Zone Administration personnel were in an uproar over who approved a motorcycle trip in the zone. When it turned out that the motorcycle story was an invention, they were even less pleased about this fantasy Web site.



Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elena_Filatova

The photos are arranged in the form of a story presented as an account of a trip by a biker who travelled alone in the radiation zone. However, Chernobyl tour guide Yuri Tatarchuk claimed that Filatova "booked a tour, wore a leather biker jacket and posed for pictures."

Around May 16, 2004, Filatova posted to her website that she was "being accused that it was more poetry in this story then [sic] reality. I partly accept this accusation, it still was more reality then [sic] poetry"; by May 24 she had removed the note. On the first page of her KiddofSpeed website there is a dialog embedded by the owner of her host server pointing out that regardless of whether or not "poetic license" was taken, the site serves to "remember a forgotten region".


WaterWings's picture

Hi, Mr. Sockpuppet!

He said, she said. Some writer for the NY Times reports,

billed as a tale ''where one can ride with no stoplights, no police, no danger to hit some cage or some dog,'' was a sensation, duping uncountable viewers before being discredited. 

Like Krugman we're supposed to take his word for it rather than getting more details. Does going on a tour change the 1,000 words we get from each of her photos? Did she ride her motorcycle to the tour; wearing her jacket. Ooooooh, then she posed for photos! Hoax! Do hoaxes regularly include radiated landscapes were humans refuse to live to avoid long-term effects?

Ident 7777 economy's picture

I cited sources ... there is a name to go with one of those sources, to wit, the Chernobyl tour guide who spilled the beans on 'the kid of speed'.

What's your beef with cited sources and eye witnesses?

You don't like the truth?

Truth interfering with a business model involving fear, and EOTW 'planning' for Berekey water filters, canned 10-year lifetime ham and assorted veggies -

- or water wings?



WaterWings's picture

Is that all you've got? LOL. You forgot to mention gunz and ammoes.

You call this a credible source?

If you had actually taken the time to look at the photos you would see much evidence of motocycle riding and geiger readings. And how do "authorities" block off that entire zone anyway? Do they have guards posted on every road to protect people from wandering in? It's huge! Calling it a hoax is lazy and dishonest in itself.

Ident 7777 economy's picture

Is that all you've got?

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

All  it took was one Einstein to prove the theory of Relativity ... against a much larger group who said he was wrong - who won that fight?

msamour's picture

At the risk of seeming to take sides here i'd like to offer this little bit of reflection. While it is possible that she did lie, it is also possible that other people are compelled, or coerced into "debunking" her story because of the implications it has. After all, technically, no one is allowed to go in that area, so the authorities would have a hard time explaining why she was there.


Another thing to note, It is easy to go places when you are driving a motorcycle because obstacles can easily be gone around, and some road that may be impassibe to cars, may not present the sam problem to motorbikes, which are more manouvreable. My last point would be, unless you interview the party that is countering her version of the story yourself, as in you have the person skin and bone and fron of you, and that you are able to determine this person's vested interest as to why he is telling you what he is. His version of the story is just as much of a lie than hers might be. The reality is that you do not hold agency on the thruth no more than a proponant of this girl that claims to have ridden the forbidden zone.