Radiation detected in rice near Japan’s Fukushima

A Japanese regional government has claimed to have detected radioactive contamination in rice that was well below levels considered hazardous, amid continuing worries in Japan over food safety following the March 11 nuclear disaster.

This is the first time that a public report about rice being affected has emerged following the devastating earthquake-cum-tsunami that rocked the country this year, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The tainted rice was found in Ibaraki prefecture, a southern neighbor to Fukushima prefecture, in a city about 90 miles south of the affected Fukushima Daiichi power plant.

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Radiation From Japan Reached California Coast in Just Days

New research finds that radiation from the nuclear plant accident in Japan in March reached California within days, showing how quickly air pollution can travel, but scientists say the radiation will not hurt people.

"Its not harmful at all," said study author Antra Priyadarshi, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California at San Diego. The value of the study, Priyadarshi said, is understanding how fast the tiny particles of radiation traveled and how many particles made it to the United States.

From March 13 to March 20, Japanese nuclear plant operators flooded a stricken and overheating reactor in Fukushima with seawater. The process created radioactive sulfur that was vented into the air in steam.

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Yahoo Japan Radiation Monitoring Site Launched

Yahoo Japan Corp. on Friday started showing real-time radiation levels at 11 locations in Japan on a special online map using data gathered by a group of academics in the wake of the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. A Yahoo Japan official said the beta service, using data measured by a team from Keio University, is aimed at providing access to readings in addition to those released by the government. The readings, updated every five minutes, are taken at 11 points located mainly in northeastern and eastern Japan including Tokyo, Nihonmatsu in Fukushima Prefecture, Sendai and the city of Chiba. It will increase the number of observation points in the future, the official said.

See the site, http://radiation.yahoo.co.jp/.

Gov’t to OK incinerating, burying radioactive rubble in Fukushima

The Environment Ministry plans to allow incinerating or burying rubble from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in the coastal and central parts of Fukushima Prefecture that could be contaminated with radioactive material spewing from a damaged nuclear power plant in the northeastern prefecture, ministry officials said Sunday.

While the ministry already allows 10 municipalities where contamination levels are low to handle debris under normal procedures, it has decided to expand the eased restrictions to other parts of the prefecture, except for the government-designated off-limits and evacuation areas

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High levels of strontium detected at Fukushima

The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says it has detected high levels of a radioactive substance that tends to accumulate in human bones.

Tokyo Electric Power Company says it took soil samples on May 9th at 3 locations about 500 meters from the No.1 and No.2 reactors and analyzed them.

The utility detected up to 480 becquerels of radioactive strontium 90 per kilogram of soil. That’s about 100 times higher than the maximum reading recorded in Fukushima Prefecture following atmospheric nuclear tests carried out by foreign countries during the Cold War era.

TEPCO reported detecting 2,800 becquerels of strontium 89 per kilogram of soil at the same location.

This is the second time since April that radioactive strontium has been found inside the plant compound.

The substance was also detected in soil and plants more than 30 kilometers from the Fukushima nuclear power station in March.

When people inhale radioactive strontium, it accumulates in bones. Scientists say that strontium could cause cancer.

Tokyo Electric Power says it believes that radioactive strontium was released from the damaged plant and it will continue to monitor radiation levels.

An expert on radioactive substances says he thinks radioactive strontium may continue to be detected around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. But he says the strontium levels that might be detected in soil will be far lower than those of the radioactive cesium released in the accident by a factor of several thousand.

Yoshihiro Ikeuchi of the Japan Chemical Analysis Center says strontium tends to accumulate in bones, like calcium. But he also says its levels in the air are thought to be lower than those for soil and even if people inhale the substance, no health problems will be caused by such internal exposure to radiation.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011 02:59 +0900 (JST)
Copyright NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation)

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Japan tackles radiation concerns

Responding to fury among parents in Fukushima, Japan’s education minister said Friday that the country would set a lower radiation exposure limit for schoolchildren in areas around a stricken nuclear plant and pay for schools to remove contaminated topsoil from fields and playgrounds.

In recent days, worried parents have spoken out over what they say is a blatant government failure to protect their children from dangerous levels of radiation at local schools. The issue has quickly become a focal point for anger over Japan’s handling of the accident at Tokyo Electric Power’s Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear complex, which was ravaged by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

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U.N. panel says no ill effects seen from radiation so far

The U.N. committee on atomic radiation said Monday it has seen no ill effects on health because of radiation released from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.

"So far, what we have seen in the population, what we have seen in children, what we have seen in workers . . . we would not expect to see health effects," Wolfgang Weiss, chairman of the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation, said at a news conference.

"We cannot identify and attribute health effects to these doses," he said, adding that further and detailed data on the radiation doses is needed to say more about the probability of longer-term health effects.

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Japan: Radiation fears spur the ‘fashionable’ surgical masks of Tokyo

Reporting from Tokyo— Leaning against a wall in the busy Akihabara electronics district here, Tomomitsu Funayama was enjoying a do-nothing day off from his architectural job. Yet he looked less like a slacker than a surgeon late for a big operation.

For years, the 26-year-old Tokyo native had resisted the urge to follow the millions in this city who don face masks during the "wheeze and sneeze" hay fever and flu seasons to protect against allergens and help stop the spread of germs.

This year, Funayama joined the pack. But it wasnt pollen that concerned him; it was radioactive isotopes.

Read the rest of the story: Japan nuclear crisis: Radiation fears boost sales of surgical masks in Tokyo.

TEPCO says water may be leaking from Fukushima spent fuel pool

The operator of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says water may be leaking from the spent fuel pool of the No. 4 reactor. More than 1,500 spent fuel rods are stored in the pool, the largest number at the site.

Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, has been injecting water daily into the pool to make up for the loss of cooling function and prevent the fuel rods from being exposed and further damaged. The company found that water levels in the pool were 10 to 40 centimeters lower than expected despite the water injections.

TEPCO has poured in 140 to 210 tons of water over each of the last few days.

The walls of the reactor building supporting the pool were severely damaged by a hydrogen explosion last month. TEPCO says the pool may have been damaged by the blast as well.

According to a schedule announced earlier on containing the ongoing emergency, TEPCO plans to install concrete pillars to support the fuel pool by around July to increase its earthquake resistance.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011 09:05 +0900 JST Copyright NHK Japan Broadcasting Corporation

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Japan: Co-op sold banned spinach

A Tokyo-based cooperative has delivered spinach grown in the town of Tako, Chiba Prefecture, to consumers in three eastern prefectures despite a government ban on shipments due to concerns about radiation, the Chiba Prefectural Government said Thursday.

Some of the 74 lots of Tako-grown spinach – home-delivered by Pal System Consumers Cooperative Union to 70 households in Gunma, Saitama and Chiba prefectures – had already been consumed, it said.

A dealer in the town of Shibayama, which also has vegetable fields in Tako, shipped the spinach in question as part of 380 lots on April 10 and has said it did not know of the shipment ban, prompting the local government to issue a verbal warning, it said.

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