The main problem is internal radiation thru food and drinking, which in this article is not enough emphasized. Plus there is no safe level of manmade radiation.
Almost seven years after the Fukushima disaster, staff are forced to check if schoolyards are too poisonous to play
Pupils have to scan their school playground
Children are still using Geiger counters to test for deadly radiation levels at schools struck by the Fukushima disaster in Japan.
Almost seven years after the worst nuclear meltdown in decades, staff are forced to check if schoolyards are too poisonous to play.
A large Geiger counter in their playground measures the invisible threat still hanging over them after the nearby nuclear plant was hit by an earthquake and engulfed by the ensuing tsunami.
If radiation readings are too high, the children are told they cannot go outside.
Students even have their own handheld devices to check for themselves if schoolyards are too poisonous to play in.
One, 13-year-old Yume, admits what many others also feel. “I’m afraid I’m going to get cancer,” she says bluntly.
Her classmate Mei adds: “Some of the playgrounds near here have been shut – the radiation is too high.”
Device shows readings equal to having a chest x-ray
Explosion at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power station on March 14, 2011
The disaster in March 2011 was the worst nuclear incident in 30 years. Now students spend lessons scanning their school and plotting hotspots on a map back in class.
Ryu, 13, explained: “The trees are where the highest readings are. We picked up 0.23 last month.”
That level is double the 0.1 millisieverts patients face during a chest X-ray, or equal to 50 scans at the dentist.
While those last just seconds, these children are exposed constantly. The Japanese government has declared Fukushima safe, with a 20-mile no-go zone around the crippled power station itself.
Science teacher Takahira Abe, 52, leads workshops designed by Save the Children to educate about the dangers.
He said: “Fukushima will be a shadow these children live with for the rest of their lives. Most were so young life seems normal, but often when we teach them about radiation they get flashbacks.”
Kids in the area are more likely to get cancer
Science teacher Takahira Abe
They are taught about monitoring radiation in local crops and fish.
Mr Abe explains: “I want them to understand the risks – and that they are more likely to get cancers. It gives them tools to protect against further dangers.”
After the disaster Mr Abe and his wife Hiromi decided not to flee – despite protests from their son and daughter, then nine and 13. He said: “The school had a geiger counter for science, so I took readings. Levels were not too high.
“My duties as a teacher were more important. I had to stay and educate others.”
His textbook was created by Save the Children to help those living under a radiation threat. And counsellors have been brought in to help deal with mental health issues.
Mr Abe adds: “That’s one positive – we’re encouraging children to talk openly. That’s not happened before in Japan.”