[ RadSafe ] Up to 1, 000 bodies left untouched within Fukushima no-go zone

Roger Helbig rhelbig at sfo.com
Thu Mar 31 03:32:42 CDT 2011

Why could they not use respiratory equipment and protective clothing to
collect the bodies?  Why could they not decontaminate them?  These bodies
are not going to be radioactive forever.  They were not irradiated, at
worst, they have Cesium-137 contamination.  Is that not right?


Roger Helbig


From: abolition-caucus at yahoogroups.com
[mailto:abolition-caucus at yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Pol Heanna DHuyvetter
- Mayors for Peace (in Hiroshima)
Sent: Wednesday, March 30, 2011 10:54 PM

A very sad story reported by Japan Times Thursday, March 31, 2011

Up to 1,000 bodies left untouched within Fukushima no-go zone


Radiation fears have prevented authorities from collecting as many as 1,000
bodies of victims of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami from within the
20-km-radius evacuation zone around the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant,
police sources said Thursday.


One of the sources said bodies had been "exposed to high levels of radiation
after death." The view was supported by the detection Sunday of elevated
levels of radiation on a body found in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, about 5
km from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.

The authorities are now considering how to collect the bodies, given fears
that police officers, doctors and bereaved families may be exposed to
radiation while retrieving the radiation-exposed bodies or at morgues,
according to the sources.

They initially planned to inspect the bodies after transporting them outside
the evacuation zone, but the plan is being reconsidered due to the concerns
over exposure.

Local residents have been forced to leave the zone since the current nuclear
crisis began unfolding at the Tokyo Electric Power Co. plant, which is
leaking radioactive materials as its cooling systems for its reactors and
nuclear spent-fuel pools have been knocked out by the disaster.

Even after the bodies are handed over to the victims' families, cremating
them could spread plumes containing radioactive materials, while burying the
victims could contaminate the soil around them, according to the sources.

The authorities are considering decontaminating and inspecting the bodies
where they are found. But the sources said that cleansing decomposing bodies
could damage them further.

Victims can be identified through DNA analysis of nail samples, but even
then considerable time and effort must be taken to decontaminate the
samples, according to experts.

Elevated levels of radiation detected on the victim in the town of Okuma
last Sunday forced local police to give up on retrieving the body.

"Measures that can be taken vary depending on the level of radiation, so
there need to be professionals who can control radiation," said an expert on
treating people exposed to radiation. "One option is to take decontamination
vehicles there and decontaminate the bodies one by one."

More information about the RadSafe mailing list