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Does Tepco own a radioactive marshland in Oze national park it can not sell?

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Op Ed by Arclight2011

Published on 7 July 2014

At the early stages of the Fukushima nuclear disaster I wondered if the Oze National park had been contaminated from nuclear fallout. Chris busby had tested car air filters from Tokyo and found high levels of radioactive particles and he also tested a filter from an apartment in Tokyo and found high levels of radioactive lead (Pb).

A Japanese scientist was refused permission to check for radionuclides in the environment and had to leave his university position and then tested for contamination and found high levels of radionuclides in the forest in the mountains.

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The map below shows a radionuclide dispersion different from the IAEA/UNSCEAR version in that it shows a wide dispersion that finds its way into the mountains nearly as far as Tokyo.

Radiation fallout map of Japan
(Image by backyardworld)
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A recent finding posted by Iori at Fukushima Diary asks why is the level of contamination in Tokyo drinking water as high as Fukushima and even higher than Myiagi prefecture (that is nearer than Tokyo)? A reason might be that the reservoirs that supply Tokyo are contaminated from the higher levels of contaminates washed down from the mountains and or through the rivers from the marshes at Oze National Park, these past 3 years.

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If we look at the waters that feed the marshland in Oze National Park that is south of the Fukushima Daichi nuclear site, we might wonder if the waters that feed Oze National Park might also be suffering from contamination.

There are no known studies of this area that have been made public. However, an article published in Japan in July 2011 states that in a spa near to the mountain range an atmospheric reading showed that the contamination was as much as 50 percent of the contamination found in Fukushima city (0.45 mcSv/h at the spa).

TEPCO own some 70 percent of this unique wildlife area and were asked to sell it to compensate the people of Fukushima but that Yukio Edano, a government minister, was reported to ask TEPCO to not sell it. This is odd as the area had been losing visitors for many years before the disaster and therefore TEPCO were not showing themselves to be good stewards of the land anyway. In fact, an OECD report from 1999 said that conflicts between the private sector (TEPCO and the Oze Forest Management Co. owned by Tepco and runs 5 lodges in Oze, four of which are in the Special Protection Zone against other park organisers' wishes) and the environment agency and conservation NGOs caused difficulties that would be easier to deal with if the environment agency had overall say in the running of Oze National park.

The fact that TEPCO only provide 200 million yen a year to the overall 1.4 billion yen a year running costs (600 million yen of which comes from the government and 400 million yen from NGOs). A sluice gate that provided water from the park helps to feed the Tone River, which is used for irrigation and which dams have been constructed on its headwaters to produce hydroelectricity and to form reservoirs to supply water to the Keihin Industrial Zone. This river meets the pacific just north of Tokyo near the heavily contaminated area of Chiba.

The questions really are "why has TEPCO not sold its shares in the national park? Is it because the area is contaminated and this might be found out by the new owners? Why is the government saying Tepco should not sell it if the OECD report says that it would be more simple not to have the ownership shared with a private company?

Also the aquifer that feeds the lower marshland is connected to the same aquifer that the nuclear-disaster site is situated on. So TEPCO would want control of this large area to cover up any cross-contamination from the nuclear site?

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The contaminated ground water at Daichi is above another layer of groundwater that is deeper. The water at the lower level was found to have less pressure than the water above that which is contaminated. So that means that the lower layer of ground water has been contaminated over the last 3 years and that contaminated water may be making its way slowly towards the Oze national park marshlands that TEPCO owns.

The idea of the ice wall is to possibly lower the pressure of the upper layer under the nuclear reactors and slow down the process. Although it is reported that TEPCO have started the ice wall it seems that this means that they are drilling holes for sensors and the freezing process is not yet begun. I can find no report that the freezing of the water has started. So this means that the heavily contaminated high pressure water is still mixing with the lower-pressure deeper layer and likely traveling outwards from there.

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