Friday, September 30, 2011

Hiking - Japan's New Extreme Sport

The Tokyo Shimbun has begun printing a series of helicopter surveys of concentrations of Cesium 134 and Cesium 137 in the prefectures of the Kanto Plain. Unsurprisingly, they have shown for the most part that the highest readings are found along the spines of the mountains, where the earth touches the upper atmosphere and where rainfall was the heaviest in the days following the explosions of the Fukushima Daiichi reactors.

Gunma Prefecture


Chiba Prefecture

Saitama Prefecture



They have not printed the images for Kanagawa, Tochigi, Ibaraki and Tokyo. I expect them to appear over the next few days.

The dark, almost burgundy spot in the Oku Musashi corner of Saitama Prefecture adjoining the tip of the Tokyo Metropolitan District pretty much guarantees that like my longtime dream of climbing Kumotoriyama, the highest mountain (2017 meters) of the TMD, will be a much hotter trip than it would have been before.

I cannot wait for boot decontaminators to hit the electronics stores or to see signs posted at train stations, "Hikers! Please thoroughly wash your boots before entering the train cars!"

Images courtesy: Tokyo Shimbun

5 comments:

Project Hyakumeizan said...

Many thanks for this trenchant report - which fellow Hyakumeizan blogger Wes (Tozan Tales) brought to my attention. Over on "One Hundred Mountains", I've taken the liberty of basing my own post on this news.

Of course, the 64,000 bequerel question is what is the intensity of that radiation up on the hills. Is it trivial, or is it meaningful. And can one drink the water out of the streams, as in the old days, or should one desist. As the water ultimately becomes Tokyo's water supply, these questions are of some moment....

MTC said...

Project Hyakumeizan -

The fine grained data is remarkable in its consistency: the summits of the mountains are the most contaminated, with the level of contamination decreasing as one goes down in altitude.

In the printed map for Tokyo, one can pick out the summits of Mutsuishiyama, Takanosuyama, Takamaruyama and a broad area encompasing the summit of Kumotoriyama.

Much more severely contaiminated is the northeastern ridge of the Nippara drainage, where it abuts Chichibu -- which is on par with the worst parts of Gunma and Tochigi Prefectures.

Project Hyakumeizan said...

Worrying stuff, MTC. Indeed, scarily reminiscent of the rainy weekend in May (?) 1986 that Chernobyl fallout drifted over the United Kingdom. Flatland less affected, but, for decades afterwards, various countries banned the import of meat from animals raised in the hill countries of Wales and Scotland... Too radioactive.

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