Bird populations in Fukushima plummet after nuclear disaster — Science World Report

” Bird populations may have declined to a large extent in Japan’s Fukushima province due to the disaster that occurred there in 2011. Scientists have taken a closer look at bird populations and have found that since the March 11 earthquake, which caused the nuclear catastrophe, bird populations have plummeted.

“We were working with a relatively small range of background exposures in this study because we weren’t able to get into the ‘hottest’ areas that first summer after the disaster, and we were only able to get to some ‘meium-hot’ areas the following summer,” said Tim Mousseau, one of the researchers, in a news release. “So we had relatively little statistical power to detect those kinds of relationships, especially when you combine that with the fact that there are so few barn swallows left. We know that there were hundreds in a given area before the disaster, and just a couple of years later we’re only able to find a few dozen left. The declines have been really dramatic.”

The scientists also analyzed how the response of bird species differed between Fukushima and Chernobyl. One contrast was that migratory birds fared worst in the mutagenic landscape of Chernobyl than year-round residents, whereas the opposite was true for Fukushima.

“It suggests to us that what we’re seeing in Fukushima right now is primarily through the direct result of exposure to radiation that’s generating a toxic effect-because the residents are getting a bigger dose by being there longer, they’re more affected,” said Mousseau. “Whereas in Chernobyl, many generations later, the migrants are more affected, and one possibility is that this reflects differences in mutation accumulation.”

The findings are published in the Journal of Ornithology. 

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Residents would need 16 hours to evacuate if Takahama plant struck by disaster: NRA — The Japan Times

” INJUNCTION, POLARIZING: PAGE 2 – The Nuclear Regulation Authority estimates it would take up to 16 hours for the 180,000 people living within 30 km of the Takahama nuclear complex in Fukui Prefecture to evacuate if disaster struck, sources said Wednesday.

The estimate is 4 hours and 50 minutes longer the figure calculated by the Fukui Prefectural Government, which covered only 90 percent of residents of Fukui and Kyoto prefectures living within 30 km of the plant and did not take into account the time required to conduct checks for radiation contamination.

Like the prefectural government, the evacuation times estimated by other municipalities located within 30 km of nuclear power plants tend to be short. The NRA’s estimates of evacuation times suggested local governments have underestimated the difficulties of evacuation during a nuclear disaster.

That information was released a day after a court issued an injunction against Kansai Electric Power Co. restarting two reactors at its Takahama nuclear plant that had previously cleared the NRA’s safety screening, questioning the reasonability of the screening standard.

The NRA estimation includes the time required for all residents within 30 km of the Takahama complex to undergo contamination check-ups and arrive at evacuation centers after an evacuation is ordered.

The nuclear watchdog expects the maximum time required to complete the evacuation process in Fukui Prefecture, if proper traffic control measures were not followed, would be 16 hours. In neighboring Kyoto Prefecture, the figure is 15 hours and 40 minutes.

The NRA has also calculated evacuation times for other nuclear power plants in Fukui Prefecture — of Kepco’s Mihama and Oi complexes, and Japan Atomic Power Co.’s Tsuruga nuclear plant. The calculations assume residents would evacuate to either Ishikawa, Osaka, Hyogo, Nara or Tokushima prefectures.

The longest evacuation time would be 26 hours and 20 minutes for a worst-case scenario involving a disaster at the Mihama plant, almost double from what the Fukui Prefectural Government had estimated. ”

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For more news on the injunction, see this post.