Tuesday, March 22, 2011

High radiation detected 40km from Nuclear Fukushima Plant

Japan's science ministry says radiation exceeding 400 times the normal level was detected in soil about 40 kilometers from the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

The ministry surveyed radioactive substances in soil about 5 centimeters below the surface at roadsides on Monday. The ministry found 43,000 becquerels of radioactive iodine-131 per kilogram of soil, and 4,700 becquerels of radioactive cesium-137 per kilogram about 40 kilometers west-northwest of the plant. Gunma University Professor Keigo Endo says radiation released by the iodine is 430 times the level normally detected in soil in Japan and that released by the cesium is 47 times the norm.

Endo says the data means that a person staying at the location for one year would be exposed to 4 times the amount of radiation allowed by national standards. The professor says there is no immediate health risk, but that radioactive cesium can accumulate in soil and that radiation levels must continue to be monitored. The science ministry says there is no environmental standard for radioactive substances in soil, and that it sees no problem at this time.

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