Earlier this week, I had a chance to interview David moore, a concerned husband and father of two living in Tokyo. He built a home radiation lab consisting of Geiger counters, dosimeters, a multichannel analyzer for nuclide spectrometry, and a lead shielded testing tube for his two inch Scintillator. He has been testing for radiation, and radio nuclides in samples from all over Japan. He has tested everything from food to dirt and is accurate down to 6.5 Bq. His website is http://sites.google.com/site/tokyokidsradiation/ where he posts all of his data, charity work, clean-ups, and information. He also has a community Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tokyo-Kids-Radiation/227762067240468.
Summary of the interview.
David talked about his experience in Japan during the Earthquake, Tsunami and Radiation disaster. It was amazing to hear him describe a concrete tunnel he was in during the earthquake twisting and turning like a snake. He spoke about how, even though the Japan earthquake unnerved so many, once over, they were quick to line up for the next train and continue as if nothing had happened.
"For me, I had that, 'oh shit! I have to run away,' feeling." David admitted.
His wife, stuck in a building on the ninth floor, was forced to stay in the building by her boss, and had to walk 6 hours home across town in high heels after work ended, because by then all transportation had been closed down.
David had actually lived through the two major natural disasters of the century. Not only had he lived through the Japan earthquake, but also lived through the Katrina Hurricane Disaster in New Orleans. He explains how people cleaned store shelves and horded everything they could in both disaster. The Japan disaster food hording wasn't so bad, he explained to me. "In my home town, a man killed his sister over the last bag of rice," during the Katrina disaster.
After the initial shock of the earthquake and tsunami the Nuclear power plant in Fukushima was on the news. Plant Dai Ichi in Fukushima had three nuclear meltdowns with reactors spewing radioactive particles into the air. David explained to me how the school he worked at, on his advice as the nuclear meltdown began, and for the safety of the children, canceled classes for their protection.
As the nuclear situation got worse, their care and safeguarding efforts grew. They had taped up their windows, created a decontamination area in their entry hallway, and wore masks anytime they went outside the house.
As time passed, and they grew more and more discontent with the lack of radiation information being reported by the news and government, David's family began reaching out for information. He brought some dirt that he had measured with a simple dosimeter from an area around his home to a Nuclear Scientist at Tokyo University's Isotope Center, Dr. Shozugawa. The good doctor initially measured the dirt with a scintillation probe and was surprised by the level of contamination. The doctor requested to take some of the sample to test further. After some time the doctor reported back to David that the dirt was in excess of 22,000 Bq of cesium. That is when he and his wife realized they had to work to protect their environment and children on their own, because the Mayor of the town dismissed his findings. David put teams together and began doing cleanup/radiation decontamination in his neighborhood.
David began building his own Radio Nuclide lab and with the help of many people from FaceBook Groups like Tokyo Radiation Levels, Japan Food Safety, and his own community, Tokyo Kids and Radiation, he was able to calibrate his equipment to detect as little as 6.5 Bq of radiation. THe process wasn't easy as most radiation detector making companies were charging up to 3.5 times the value of their equipment in Japan. Unfortunately, these companies are still gouging the market and an underground of radiation testing equipment sales is a movement of it's own in Japan. David explains how he detects radiation, how a scintillation probe works, how gamma spectrometry works and other information you may find useful in building your own lab.
After months of building his data, and website where he posted that data, and thousands of dollars - he began to draw a picture of the situation in Japan. The Japanese agricultural economy was going through a slow suicide, and it is still happening.
Overall, this interview was very insightful and informative. If you want a first hand account of the stress of the march 11th earthquake, tsunami and the stress of the ongoing nuclear disaster, this interview will provide that. I hope you like the interview and hope that you will support TK&R and other groups like it in Japan. They are growing in number and need all the support they can get.
You can find the Podcast on iTunes. Search for Grinning Studios, the episode is number five. Or you can listen to it online: http://grinningstudio.blogspot.com/p/podcast.html
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David Moore from Tokyo Kids & Radiation,
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