Stephanie Handley-Sidhu (GEES), with Lynne Macaskie (Biosciences) and Joe Hriljac (Chemistry) visited Japan for knowledge exchange as part of the Japanese Atomic Energy Agency funded REIMEI grant (Joanna Renshaw; co-investigator).
Steph and Lynne presented at the International Seminar Series on Environmental Radioactivity (Hakkaido, Sapporo). The aim of the meeting was to open up international scientific discussions about remediation of problematic radionuclides at Fukushima. This meeting was attended by students, academics and representatives from the nuclear industry (including TEPCO and IAEA).
Steph, Lynne and Joe gave invited seminars at the 4th Advanced Science Research Center international Workshop at the Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute (Tokai, Ibaraki). This subject of the workshop was the interaction of radionuclides by micro-organisms, clays and plants. Attendees were also given the opportunity to visit the recently decontaminated Fukushima University and a contaminated Namie high school situated just meters away from the no-go zone. Geiger counting showed that at this high school radiation of surfaces was up to 50x natural background radiation, whereas, permanent air monitoring gave reading close to natural levels. Members of this workshop also experienced a category 6 earthquake on the 14th of March while having dinner, which was close to the anniversary of lasts years devastating quake. A sleepless night followed due to aftershocks.
Finally, Steph and Lynne ended their epic tour with invited seminars at Kyushu University on using microbes and biominerals to remediate problematic radionuclides. They also found time to stop briefly at the Hiroshima memorial park, placing 1000 cranes in memory of the atomic bomb victims. The trip home was preceded by a formal presentation to the JAEA REIMEI Evaluation board both to present on the activities carried out during the 2011/2012 award and to present plans for an extension for a second year, in which real trials of bionanomaterials developed at Birmingham University ‘on site’ at Fukushima are envisaged