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

Brennan, Mike (DOH) Mike.Brennan at DOH.WA.GOV
Thu Mar 31 13:06:04 CDT 2011

This is yet another example of people losing track of the real risk.
First, not everywhere in the evacuated zone is contaminated equally:
some places are fairly high, others are at background on any handheld

Second, there are other hazards that are much, much higher risk.
Unstable buildings, massive debris piles, standing water of unknown
depth are all kill-you-dead-right-now physical hazards.  While I am not
an expert on biological hazards, wading in water that has had
decomposing human bodies in it for the last two weeks can't be good for
you.  There are a lot of chemicals used in everyday civilization that
can be problematic if not controlled properly, and throughout the area
effected by the earthquake, the smart money is that they aren't
controlled, anymore.  Hell, the cold weather can kill you if you aren't

Given everything, the rad contamination probably isn't in the top ten
risks associated with recovering the bodies, and anything that protects
from the bio or chem hazards will do fine for protecting from rad

The decision makers need to shift out of "normal" mode into "emergency"
mode, and stop pandering to excessive and unfounded fears.  

I know everyone here knows this, but if I don't rant on this every now
and then, my head will explode.

-----Original Message-----
From: radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu
[mailto:radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu] On Behalf Of Roger Helbig
Sent: Thursday, March 31, 2011 1:33 AM
To: 'The International Radiation Protection (Health Physics) Mailing
Subject: [ RadSafe ] Up to 1,000 bodies left untouched within Fukushima
no-go zone

Why could they not use respiratory equipment and protective clothing to
collect the bodies?  Why could they not decontaminate them?  These
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
- 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
bodies of victims of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami from within the
20-km-radius evacuation zone around the stricken Fukushima nuclear
police sources said Thursday.


One of the sources said bodies had been "exposed to high levels of
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
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
the evacuation zone, but the plan is being reconsidered due to the
over exposure.

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

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

The authorities are considering decontaminating and inspecting the
where they are found. But the sources said that cleansing decomposing
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
vehicles there and decontaminate the bodies one by one."

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