— China issues warning on Fukushima radiation

From Global Times
By Xuyang Jingjing in Tokyo and Zhang Yiqian in Beijing
February 15, 2017

○ The Chinese Embassy in Japan issued a warning over Fukushima radiation last Sunday, causing panic in China

○ Meanwhile, in Japan, everything went on normally, tourists and residents remain largely unaffected by the matter

○ In recent years, as the popularity of Japan as a tourist destination increases, Chinese people have developed a love-hate relationship with their neighbor. Any political rift or societal change between the two countries can cause large-scale effects.

An update of an old issue in Japan has sent ripples across the East China Sea to shake China. After the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) announced its latest analysis of the inside of its crippled nuclear plant in Fukushima that showed the radiation level there has seemingly risen from 73 sieverts per hour to 530 – a potentially lethal dose – the news has been traveling fast on the Chinese Internet.

[Editor: This was misinformation; the reading was taken in an new area that TEPCO had not been able to measure before — it was not an increase. Experts say that as they are able to get farther inside, they will find higher measurements.

From Helen Caldicott: The radiation measurement was 530 sieverts, or 53,000 rems (Roentgen Equivalent for Man). The dose at which half an exposed population would die is 250 to 500 rems. So “potentially” lethal is a lie. This radiation level is even frying robots.]

Last Sunday, the Chinese Embassy in Japan issued a safety warning in reaction to this announcement, telling Chinese citizens to manage their travel plans to avoid potential radiation risks that may come if nuclear material leaks out into the surrounding environment. The warning caused even more discussion and when rumors started spreading, many Chinese became worried, some even canceling their trips to Japan.

Business as usual

A couple of weeks after the news came out, people in Japan seemed as calm and reserved as ever. There are still many Chinese tourists on the streets and in shops. According to Chinese tourism agencies, their business has been basically unaffected.

The director of a large Chinese travel agency told the Global Times last Sunday that Fukushima wasn’t a regular travel destination for Chinese tourists anyway, and the company doesn’t offer any travel packages there.

Li Dan, manager of a branch of the Beijing-based Tianping International Travel Agency, said that there haven’t been any tour groups traveling to Fukushima since the 2011 earthquake and resulting tsunami. She also said that even tourists who travel independently do not usually go to Fukushima.

Last week, Will Davis, a member of the American Nuclear Society, refuted claims that radiation levels are soaring at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant as “demonstrably false.” In a post on the society’s blog, Davis wrote that the readings have not changed and that TEPCO’s reported 530 sieverts per hour estimate was not “unimaginable” or particularly worrying.

His argument is that rather than a real increase from 73 to 530 sieverts, the 530 reading is simply a more accurate estimate of the radiation level at a particularly affected area that has remained relatively unchanged over the past few years.

Compared with China, news of the radiation levels in Fukushima has not generated much discussion in Japan. The responses from the media or public to the Chinese safety alert are also few.

For people living in Tokyo, three hours’ drive from Fukushima, life has continued as usual. While they feel a little concerned whenever such reports come out, they are not actively worried in their daily lives, several Japanese white-collar workers said.

For people trying to get their lives back to normal in the affected area, their biggest headache and frustration is the bad reputation and rumors that dog their agricultural products.

In supermarkets, consumers who are concerned about radiation contamination choose more expensive products from different areas over cheaper product from Fukushima. Local residents, NGOs and governments are still working to scrub the stain off the reputation of food produced in Fukushima.

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— Tourism is booming in Fukushima prefecture

From Japan Times

Fukushima tourism making strong progress on recovery
August 14, 2016

Excerpt:

Tourism in Fukushima Prefecture approached a milestone in fiscal 2015 after recovering to nearly 90 percent of where it was before the nuclear disaster unfolded in March 2011, the prefectural government said in a recent tourism report.

In the year ended March 31, the prefecture saw 50.31 million tourists visit its resorts, sightseeing spots and leisure facilities, data compiled by the Fukushima Prefectural Government showed earlier this month.

That’s an increase of 3.42 million on the year before and nearly 90 percent of its tourism tally in fiscal 2010, when 57.17 million tourists visited, the report said.

It is also the first time the annual threshold of 50 million has been achieved since 2011, when the Great East Japan Earthquake tipped the Fukushima No. 1 power plant into a triple core meltdown on March 11.

Fukushima officials praised their promotion drive, dubbed the “Fukushima Destination Campaign,” for bearing fruit. The campaign allows its municipalities to tap the transport resources of the Japan Railway group across the country.

We will work to draw more tourists by analyzing the effect of the Destination Campaign,” said a Fukushima prefectural official in charge of tourism promotion.

Fukushima tourism making strong progress on recovery

http://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/nature-travel/fukushima-tourism-rebound

Monterey Peninsula tourists: Stay out of the rain!

It rained on the Monterey Peninsula in central California on Monday, November 2. This is on the West Coast, bordering the Pacific Ocean.

Measurements were taken in the morning in Monterey with an Inspector Alert radiation monitor.

The background air radiation level was approximately 31 CPM.(alpha, beta and gamma radiation)

The radiation monitor was then enclosed in a bag and placed in the rain. Measurements of beta and gamma radiation generally ranged from 70s to 113 CPM (alpha radiation was blocked by the bag). Readings in the 90s were common. Measurements might have been higher if alpha was included.

On Tuesday morning, the day after, a 10-minute timed measurement of air radiation levels. The reading average over 10 minutes was 44 CPM (alpha, beta, gamma) — a 42% increase in air radiation levels from Monday.

This was “hot” rain.

Rainfall and snowfall should be regularly tested for radiation levels. If you get higher than normal readings, alert your family, friends and schools. Children should not be playing in the rain unless low radiation levels are verified. They should also not be playing outdoors when airborne radiation spikes occur. School districts should have good quality radiation monitors, and post the numbers for students and staff to refer to.

When it rains or snows, use umbrellas, and use precautions in storing rain- and snow-contaminated items, such as shoes, inside your home. Dump bird baths and outside pet water after rain, wash out, and fill with fresh water. Frequently dump and refill due to fallout, and if getting high rad readings, do this daily. It won’t eliminate the exposure, but it will reduce their internal intake.

Monterey Bay: “anchovies…some of the last along California’s coast”, plankton levels low, whales searching for food, squid disappearing, starving marine life — ecosystem in collapse

Posted on ENE News:

Monterey Herald, Nov 3, 2015 (emphasis added): Local whale watching tour companies and conservationists claim the anchovy population has “collapsed” due to environmental reasons… Fishing groups disagree, though they note the bay has seen some dramatic environmental changes.

Santa Cruz Sentinel, Oct 30, 2015: Monterey Bay anchovy numbers in decline, groups say… “Since late September, the whale numbers have decreased, their behavior has changed and their food, anchovies, are less abundant,” said Nancy Black, marine biologist… Whale watching tour companies and conservationists claim the anchovy population has “collapsed” due to environmental reasons… The fishing industry says that’s not the case though ocean conditions have been unusual. Some scientists, however, are finding a drastic decline in the forage fish… [Pacific Fishery Management Council staff officer Mike Burner said,] “The council’s definitely concerned with some of the things they’ve heard.”… “The population has truly collapsed,” [said] William Sydeman, president and senior scientist at the Farallon Institute. “There’s no way fishing could have that kind of impact, so it had to be environmental.”… plankton populations are low, affecting their predators up the marine food chain… “When anchovy numbers are low, they crowd at the coast and appear to be abundant,” Sydeman said… At the same time, the lack of anchovies offshore are maybe in part why scores of sea lions and sea birdsare starving up and down the coast. “Right now we’re seeing that the whales are more scattered and seem to be looking harder for food,” said Dorris Welch, marine biologist…

Monterey Herald, Oct 19, 2015: Plenty of anchovies in Monterey Bay, but maybe not elsewhereMarket squid are disappearing, and in their place, fishing boats are reeling in piles of anchovies. But while they appear abundant, conservation groups warn that the forage fish may be at their lowest levels since the 1950s. “It’s an anomalous year,” said Diane Pleschner-Steele, executive director of the California Wetfish Producers Association. [Oceana’s Geoff Shester said,] “new information shows that the stock is at such a low level right now, it’s literally in a state of collapse.” Survey cruises conducted by the Southwest Fisheries Science Center detected little to no anchovy eggs from 2010 to 2013… Sit on the docks where anchovies are sorted and you’ll likely see lots of the silvery fish piling up. But it’s a mirage, warns William Sydeman, ecologist of the Farallon Institute, who coauthored the paper that estimated anchovies at low levels. “People think that if they’re in Monterey Bay, they must be everywhere,” Sydeman said. “They’re not. They’re only in Monterey Bay.” Sydeman said anchovies tend to aggregate near shore when their numbers are low…

KION, Oct 21, 2015: California’s last anchovies crowd in the Monterey Bay; Researchers say a massive decline of the fish is throwing off the ecosystem — Several conservation groups and whale watching operators are very concerned about the anchovies in the Monterey Bay… Recently, fishermen have been hauling out 120 tons of anchovies every night, but those anchovies are some of the last along California’s coast… “The anchovy abundance out here, and off the entire state, has gotten to some of the lowest we’ve seen since the 1950s,” [Oceana’s Geoff Shester] said. “Scientists are calling it an actual collapse.”… Anchovies are an important part of the ecosystem. That’s why these groups say if nothing is done, there could be long-term impacts. “We’re really worried that right now we are seeing major die-offs of sea lion pups and pelicans because they’re starving and not able to reproduce,” Shester said. “And that’s because there’s not enough sardines and anchovies out there.” “We’ve noticed the numbers of whales have dropped significantly,” [marine biologist Nancy Black] said.

Watch KION’s broadcast here

http://enenews.com/tv-massive-decline-fish-throwing-ecosystem-along-california-coast-expert-population-collapsed-theyre-gone-virtually-everywhere-whale-numbers-dropped-significantly-squid-disappearing-video