SVCF Bulletin No. 53 issued on July 11, 2014

The Board of Directors and General Assembly of the Public Service Incorporated Association “Skilled Veterans’ Corps for Fukushima” were held together.

At 14:00 p.m. on June 23 (Mon), the Board of Directors and General Assembly of the Public Service Incorporated Association “Skilled Veterans’ Corps for Fukushima” convened in a seminar room of the Hibiya Library Culture Center.

Initially, a regular meeting of the Board of Directors was held, and the business report for the year 2013 and accounting reports were approved.

After this, we suspended the meeting of the Board of Directors, and a regular meeting of the General Assembly ensued.  At this meeting, four agendas were put forward and all were approved unanimously.

1. The business report for the year 2013 and accounting reports

2. The business plan for the year 2014 and the budget for the year 2014

3. Revision and alteration of article 2 in the SVCF Articles

Current: Article 2 – The head office of SVCF shall be located in the Kita ward of the Tokyo metropolis, Japan.

New: Article 2 – The head office of SVCF shall be located in the Minato ward of the Tokyo metropolis, Japan.

4. Future direction and policy

The addendum 4 was to be forwarded to the Board of Directors for detailed examination and deliberation.

After the General Assembly, we reconvened the Board of Directors meeting and the agenda: “In accordance with the Article 60 the head office of SVCF shall be located at 5-2-2 Toranomon, the Minato ward of the Tokyo metropolis, Japan.” was ratified and we closed the round. 

The SVCF 33rd regular Diet meeting

On June 26 (Thursday), 2014, the SVCF 33rd regular Diet meeting was held in meeting room No. B104 of the House of Councilors Hall.  At the onset President Nobuhiro Shiotani gave an address in memory of the late Yasuteru Yamada, founder and 1st President of SVCF, who passed away on June 17.  All attendees observed a silent prayer for a while.  Hiroe Makiyama, Diet member of the House of Councilors, also expressed a salute for the departed.  Then we discussed the main issue under the moderation of Director Tatsushi Okamoto.

The main topic of this meeting was a public hearing on “Counter measures for the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident”, which was to be explained by our guests, namely, researchers of the National Diet Library.  On the day four researchers came from Research and Legislative Examination Economy and Industry Office of the Economy and Industry Section and of Social and Labor Section.  They reported a summary of current and future projection on “reactor cooling and removal of spent fuel debris”, “contaminated water”, “mitigation of dose rate in the yard” and “actuality for the work and labor”, all within the scope of our preliminary questions prepared in advance.

A Q and A session followed.  The duties of these researchers consist of research and compilation on various sorts of materials and information for assistance and suggestion to Diet members for their execution of official role.  Though there is no room for them to be engaged in the process of legislation and deliberation in national policies, I was a bit surprised to hear an unexpected question raised by Diet member Makiyama regarding their individual stance toward counter measures for the accident.  To my further surprise, the four researchers tried to respond to the utmost extent in their capacity.  We were duly impressed by their honesty and sincerity.

In addition, it became certain as a matter of course that the SVCF watcher team is of equal significance in their capability comparable to that of the research office of the National Diet Library.  We felt a sort of empathy as professionals in the exchange between watcher team staffers and these researchers.  Unlike a stereotyped exchange with executive officials in the last and before the last Diet meetings, we felt a satisfactory and rewarding sense in this round.  By Yoshio Hirai 

Please help and coordinate with our watcher team

SVCF Nuclear Power Plant Watcher team gathers and analyzes various materials of TEPCO and governmental committees, frequently published on the TEPCO web site.  They compile and release a monthly report on the SVCF web site.  Furthermore, watcher team members mainly examine and gather news articles regarding nuclear power, published in the papers Nikkei, Asahi, Yomiuri, Mainichi, Tokyo, NHK, and Fukushima Minpo. They also issue and release a separate monthly report (besides the one from TEPCO’s source) on our web site.

We welcome voluntary coordinators even in a slight role.  Actual roles are as follows.

  1. Join in the SVCF Watcher team, analyze and summarize various materials in a report.  (to be assigned by theme)  Attend a monthly meeting
  1. Responsible to check a particular newspaper and cut out related articles, summarize and put them in a spread sheet application
  1. Edit the separate sheet of the monthly report

Note: for 2 and 3, you can work at home.

Please notify SVCF secretariat of your enrollment

A Report on SVCF’s Monitoring Program
Nobuhiro Shiotani, Monitoring Team Leader

In general, the first thing one must do in an area that is suspected of being contaminated with radioactive material, is to measure and record the radiation levels there.  The first person that should enter such an area is the individual in charge of measuring.  In some instances, that individual can be exposed to very high levels of radiation.

All work procedures are determined and followed, depending on the results of the radiation measurements. Monitoring is a necessary part of any area that is suspected of being contaminated with radioactive material.

Proposals to the central government and TEPCO are the starting point for SVCF Monitoring

 The beginning of the SVCF Monitoring Program can be traced back to August 3, 2011, when proposals were submitted to the central government and TEPCO.

In the proposal,

1)    Involvement in the environmental contamination monitoring of the area within the nuclear power plant and the 20 km area (the area of high contamination concentrations are also taken into consideration);

2)    Debris removal within the nuclear power plant and the areas of high contamination concentration, including the 20 km area, and the involvement in decontamination work.  Monitoring was the first thing to be proposed.

In the concrete plan at that time, we had proposed that we would be the individuals who made the radiation measurements of the area inside the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power plant worksite, and were to get environmental radiation measurements at fixed points (55 in all) within the 20 km area, which was assigned to TEPCO.  We wanted to assist in gathering and recording information on the radiation levels of the area where debris collection is being done, especially in coming up with a work plan for work site technicians and workers and to control radiation levels in areas where the levels are high. In addition, we wanted to record the changes in environmental radiation in these areas, and share this information with the next generation.

Starting the monitoring program in Kawauchimura 

However, while the central government and TEPCO continue to prevent the SVCF from participating, Kawauchimura, whose eastern side is within the 20 km area, has been given the green light to have its citizens return to the village (the end of January, 2012), and while this attitude is opposed to that of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power plant, the things they have in common is that they are both affected by radiation contamination, and both are within the 20 km area.  We believe that an important way we can provide support for the victims is to determine the radiation levels to which these victims will be returning, and to record these findings.

While we continue to work with the central government and TEPCO to obtain permission for SVCF to assist in getting measurements of these areas with high radiation levels, we have, for now, decided that we can help the victims of Kawauchimura, by going to people’s homes when requested, and measure the radiation dosages of these homes.

Fill the gap of governments

In a relatively flat area in Naraha Machi, there are large houses in which 2 or 3 generations live together.  There is a windbreak forest to protect the ground and house or the ground borders a farm land or forest.  In the case of large living zones, there remain untouched parts, which seem to have been missed intentionally or unintentionally.

On the other hand, like Kawauchi Mura in which forestry once flourished, Japanese cedar forest or mountain directly adjoins behind a house.  As for forest or grove, weeding, removal of fallen leaves, and pruning are only provided within a 20 meter zone from the house.  On present showing, it is unsatisfactory and uncertain when victims consider possible return, since uniform clean-up works by the central government and local government hardly seem to present reasonable or scientific data as a basis for their decision making.

SVCF exchanged an agreement with Kawauchi Mura in September 2012 and Naraha Machi in October 2013, and as a filling gap work, measure possibly untouched areas, in which seemingly public clean-up service is not provided, or wherever indoors, outdoors, and on the premises, in response to a request from the resident.

SVCF cannot assert the adverse effect to the health condition

Low dose rate exposure to the health condition has not been scientifically confirmed either “positive” or “negative”.  Exposure effect varies in various aspects.  We see an onset of traceable epidemiological cancer, for instance thyroid cancer or leukemia, or epidemiologically unsuitable case such like child’s immunological system or circulatory organ which Chernobyl clinicians have surveyed and reported.

Therefore, SVCF cannot assert the effect either “positive” or “negative” and nothing is said of acceptable annual dose rate, for instance 1 mSv or 20 mSv per year.  All what SVCF can do is to measure radioactive exposure in life environment for victims and inform them of the level.  We leave the decision of action to the requestor.  (Continued in next bulletin)