Tokyo children’s playground closed over nuclear radiation


Workers of Tokyo's Toshima ward office carry away a container after it was dug up from the ground near playground equipment at a park in Toshima ward, Tokyo. Photo: TORU HANAI

From AFP news agency:

Tokyo children’s park closed over radiation

April 24, 2015

Tokyo: Extremely high levels of radiation have been discovered in a playground in Tokyo, officials said on Friday, fanning fears for the health of children in the area.

Soil underneath a slide at the park in the north-west of the Japanese capital showed radiation readings of up to 480 microsieverts per hour, the local administrative office said.

Anyone directly exposed to this level would absorb in two hours the maximum dose of radiation Japan recommends in a year.

“Many children play in the park daily, so the ward office should explain the situation,” Kyodo News quoted a 62-year-old local woman as saying.

The radiation level is over 2000 times that at which the national government requires soil cleaning in areas around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, where reactors melted down after the March 2011 tsunami.

That standard, however, is for measurements taken at 0.5 to 1.0 metres above ground, while officials in Tokyo’s Toshima ward checked the ground itself.

Officials were made aware of the contamination after a local resident reported it on Monday and say they do not think it is connected to the disaster at Fukushima.

“Because the area in which we detect radioactivity is very limited, and readings in surrounding parts are normal, we suspect radioactive materials of some kind are buried there,” local mayor Yukio Takano said in a statement.

The park was built in 2013, two years after the Fukushima nuclear crisis, a local official said, on what was previously a parking lot for Tokyo’s sanitation department.

Top soil at the lot was replaced before the land was turned into a park, said the Toshima official.

The park has been sealed.

Fukushima disaster killing dolphins


This video from Japan says about itself:

Fukushima Update -150 Dolphins Dead After Beaching Themselves in Japan

11 April 2015

Beached dolphins in Japan were found covering a six-mile stretch of beach in the Ibaraki region Friday morning. Nearly 150 of the cetacean mammals had beached themselves in the Ibaraki Prefecture along the eastern coast of the main island of Honshu. Less than one third of the dolphins were rescued.

This video says these beached animals were melon-headed whales.

By Royce Christyn:

Dead Dolphins In Fukushima Stranding Found With White Radiated Lungs

1 week ago

Japanese scientists are saying they have never seen anything like what they discovered after autopsying a massive group of dolphins that ended up dead after being discovered stranded on a beach near the site of the 2011 Fukushima disaster.

Their lungs were white, which, according to scientists is an indication of loss of blood flow to the organs which is an indication of radiation poisoning.

The translated article comes from EneNews.

Fukushima disaster kills birds


This video is called Japanese Wild Birds.

From Science World Report:

Bird Populations in Fukushima Plummet After Nuclear Disaster

Apil 16, 2015 11:46 AM EDT

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 ‘medium-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 worse 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.

he operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says radioactively contaminated rainwater is spilling outside the facility’s port after pumps to prevent leakage stopped working: here.

Orangutan shares food with chimpanzees


From The Dodo about this video:

Captive Orangutan Sneaks Food To His Friends In Never-Before-Seen Act Of Kindness

By Stephen Messenger

April 10, 2015

Humans are commonly believed to be the most intelligent and advanced of all the great ape species, a position that’s led us to routinely subject the others to lives in confinement. But the most potent lesson on what it is to be humane just might have come from one of these non-human captives.

In a remarkable show of interspecies solidarity between primates imprisoned at the Phoenix Zoo in Miyazaki, Japan, an orangutan has been observed sharing meals with a group of chimpanzees in a cage just out of reach. Keepers say that 21-year-old orangutan Happy has made a habit of offering food given to him so that the nine chimps have a little more to fill their bellies.

Experts say this sort of seemingly selfless behavior could be unprecedented.

“We have never heard of an orangutan that bothers to offer their food to other animals living separately from the animal,” Tomoyuki Tajima, a primate specialist, told Japanese news outlet Asahi.

In the wild, orangutans are notoriously solitary creatures but they also possess a “high social intelligence,” another expert told the newspaper. Despite the differences between the apes, and the fact that Happy would never encounter a chimpanzee outside the wholly artificial setting of the zoo, he seems keenly aware that they could benefit from an act of kindness.

None of those animals have a choice about their captivity, but with the small freedom of movement this orangutan could afford, he’s decided to use it to show kindness to creatures unlike himself — usurping the cage his “loftier-minded” captors constructed to keep them apart.

Japanese midges in Dutch sea water


Telmatogeton japonicus larva, photo by Floris Bennema

Translated from the Dutch Stichting ANEMOON marine biologists:

Sunday, March 29th, 2015

The marine splash midge Telmatogeton japonicus is found since 1963 in the Northwest European coastal waters. This insect, which is native to the area of Japan and Hawaii is a discreet but certainly interesting newcomer to our shores. Interesting, because the larvae live in our brackish and saline water. Precisely in that environment we see only very rarely and very few species of insects. Locally, on eg, buoys and wind turbines in the North Sea, this species has established itself massively.