[ RadSafe ] Fukushima’s mothers became radiation experts to protect their children after nuclear meltdown

Roger Helbig rwhelbig at gmail.com
Wed May 15 10:21:11 CDT 2019

Wonder if any of these people have a clue what they are doing or are just
going through the motions and pretending to become informed about

Roger Helbig

I see it is Australian TV news - they sucked up to people in Fallujah and
then even won a Walkley Award for their broadcast - none of them ever
checked to see if the dreaded depleted uranium was ever fired in Fallujah -
it wasn;t.

---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: nuclear-news <comment-reply at wordpress.com>
Date: Wed, May 15, 2019 at 8:14 AM
Subject: [New post] Fukushima’s mothers became radiation experts to protect
their children after nuclear meltdown
To: <rwhelbig at gmail.com>

dunrenard posted: "  The mothers test everyday items including rice, vacuum
cleaner dust, seafood, moss and soil for radiation May 12, 2019 Inside a
laboratory in Fukushima, Japan, the whirr of sophisticated equipment
clicks, beeps and buzzes as women in lab coats mov"
Respond to this post by replying above this line
New post on *nuclear-news*
<http://nuclear-news.net/author/dunrenard/> Fukushima’s mothers became
radiation experts to protect their children after nuclear meltdown
dunrenard <http://nuclear-news.net/author/dunrenard/>

[image: 1]*The mothers test everyday items including rice, vacuum cleaner
dust, seafood, moss and soil for radiation*

May 12, 2019
*Inside a laboratory in Fukushima, Japan, the whirr of sophisticated
equipment clicks, beeps and buzzes as women in lab coats move from station
to station.*
They are testing everything — rice, vacuum cleaner dust, seafood, moss and
soil — for toxic levels of radiation.
But these lab workers are not typical scientists.
They are ordinary mums who have built an extraordinary clinic.
"Our purpose is to protect children's health and future," says lab director
Kaori Suzuki.
In March 2011, nuclear reactors catastrophically melted down at the
Fukushima Daiichi plant, following an earthquake and tsunami.
Driven by a desperate need to keep their children safe, a group of mothers
began testing food and water in the prefecture.
The women, who had no scientific background, built the lab from the ground
up, learning everything on the job.
The lab is named Tarachine, a Japanese word which means "beautiful mother".
*"As mothers, we had to find out what we can feed our children and if the
water was safe," Ms Suzuki says.*

[image: 2]*"We had no choice but to measure the radiation and that's why we
started Tarachine."*

The director of the mothers' lab in Fukushima said the aftermath of the
disaster was "chaos."
After the nuclear accident, Fukushima residents waited for radiation
experts to arrive to help.
"No experts who knew about measuring radiation came to us. It was chaos,"
she says.
In the days following the meltdown, a single decision by the Japanese
Government triggered major distrust in official information which persists
to this day.
The Government failed to quickly disclose the direction in which
radioactive materials was drifting from the power plant.

[image: 3]*The mothers lost faith in government officials after they didn't
quickly communicate information about radiation levels.*

Poor internal communications caused the delay, but the result was that
thousands fled in the direction that radioactive materials were flying.
Former trade minister Banri Kaieda, who oversaw energy policy at the time,
has said that he felt a "sense of shame" about the lack of disclosure.
But Kaori Suzuki said she still finds it difficult to trust the government.
"They lied and looked down on us, and a result, deceived the people," Ms
Suzuki says.
"So it's hard for the people who experienced that to trust them."
She and the other mothers who work part-time at the clinic feel great
responsibility to protect the children of Fukushima.
But it hasn't always been easy.
When they set up the lab, they relied on donated equipment, and none of
them had experience in radiation testing.

[image: 4]*The women had to teach themselves how to use the equipment for
their lab.*

"There was nobody who could teach us and just the machines arrived," Ms
Suzuki says.
"At the time, the analysing software and the software with the machine was
in English, so that made it even harder to understand.
"In the initial stage we struggled with English and started by listening to
the explanation from the manufacturer. We finally got some Japanese
software once we got started with using the machines."
Radiation experts from top universities gave the mothers' training, and
their equipment is now among the most sophisticated in the country.

[image: 5]*The women were eventually taught more about testing radiation by
world class experts.*

*Food safety is still an issue*
The Fukushima plant has now been stabilised and radiation has come down to
levels considered safe in most areas.
But contamination of food from Japan remains a hotly contested issue.
Australia was one of the first countries to lift import restrictions on
Japanese food imports after the disaster.
But more than 20 countries and trading blocs have kept their import ban or
restrictions on Japanese fisheries and agricultural products.
At the clinic in Fukushima, Kaori Suzuki said she accepted that decision.
"It doesn't mean it's right or wrong. I feel that's just the decision they
have made for now," she says.
Most results in their lab are comparatively low, but the mothers say it is
important there is transparency so that people know what their children are
*Fukushima's children closely monitored after meltdown*

[image: 6]*Noriko Tanaka was three months pregnant when the Fukushima
nuclear plant melted down.*

Noriko Tanaka is one of many mothers in the region who felt that government
officials were completely unprepared for the unfolding disaster.
She was three months pregnant with her son Haru when the disaster struck.
Ms Tanaka lived in Iwaki City, about 50 kilometres south of the power plant.

[image: 7]*The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant melted down after the
2011 earthquake and tsunami.*

Amid an unfolding nuclear crisis, she panicked that the radioactive iodine
released from the meltdown would harm her unborn child.
She fled on the night of the disaster.
When she returned home 10 days later, the fear of contamination from the
invisible, odourless radioactive material weighed deeply on her mind.
"I wish I was able to breastfeed the baby," she says.
"[Radioactive] caesium was detected in domestic powdered milk, so I had to
buy powdered milk made overseas to feed him."
Ms Tanaka now has two children —seven-year-old Haru and three-year-old Megu.
Megu (left) and Haru wait patiently for their thyroids to be checked.
She regularly takes them in for thyroid checks which are arranged
free-of-charge by the mothers' clinic.
Radiation exposure is a proven risk factor for thyroid cancer, but experts
say it's too early to tell what impact the nuclear meltdown will have on
the children of Fukushima.
Noriko Tanaka is nervous as Haru's thyroid is checked.
"In the last examination, the doctor said Haru had a lot of cysts, so I was
very worried," she says.
However this time, Haru's results are better and he earns a high-five from
Dr Yoshihiro Noso.
Doctors found that Haru had several cysts during his last thyroid check,
but things look better this time.
"He said there was nothing to worry about, so I feel relieved after taking
the test," Ms Tanaka says.
"The doctor told me that the number of cysts will increase and decrease as
he grows up."
Dr Noso says his biggest concern is for children who were under five years
old when the accident happened.
The risk is particularly high for girls.
Girls like Megu could be at greater risk than boys from radiation exposure.
"Even if I say there is nothing to worry medically, each mother is still
worried," he says.
"They feel this sense of responsibility because they let them play outside
and drink the water. If they had proper knowledge of radiation, they would
not have done that," he said.
Mums and doctors fear for future of Fukushima's children
After the Chernobyl nuclear disaster of 1986, the incidence of thyroid
cancers increased suddenly after five years.
Dr Noso travels across the country to check up on the children of Fukushima.
Doctor Noso has operated on only one child from Fukushima, but it is too
early to tell if the number of thyroid cancers is increasing because of the
"There isn't a way to distinguish between cancers that were caused
naturally and those by the accident," he says.
"In the case of Chernobyl, the thyroid cancer rate increased for about 10
years. It's been eight years since the disaster and I would like to
continue examinations for another two years."
As each year passes, the mothers' attention gradually turns to how their
children will be treated in the future.
Noriko Tanaka's biggest fear now is the potential discrimination her
children may face.
Noriko Tanaka has a seven-year-old son and a three-year-old daughter.
Some children, whose families fled Fukushima to other parts of Japan have
faced relentless bullying.
"Some children who evacuated from Fukushima living in other prefectures are
being bullied [so badly that they] can't go to school," Noriko Tanaka said.
"The radiation level is low in the area we live in and it's about the same
as Tokyo, but we will be treated the same as the people who live in
high-level radiation areas."
Noriko is particularly worried for little Megu because of prejudice against
the children of Fukushima.
"For girls, there are concerns about marriage and having children because
of the possibility of genetic issues."
Noriko fears her daughter Megu will face discrimination because she was
born in the fallout zone
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*dunrenard <http://nuclear-news.net/author/dunrenard/>* | May 15, 2019 at
3:14 pm | URL: https://wp.me/phgse-CCq

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