Test results show that children living in Fukushima city during the March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and subsequent nuclear fallout may suffer from internal radiation exposure.
It is known that the Fukushima power plant, which is still under repair, sprang several radioactive leaks during the natural disasters, contaminating both sea and tap water, as well as soil of surrounding farm areas. Produce and milk exports were both halted in the weeks following the crisis for fear of spreading contaminated foods.
According to the Guardian, “tests were conducted in May on 10 children, aged between 6 and 16, by a Japanese civic group and Acro, a French body that measures radioactivity. All 10 tested positive for tiny amounts of caesium-134 and caesium-137.”
The discovery came days after health authorities in Fukushima began checking internal radiation doses among all 2 million of the prefecture’s residents, a 30-year project that will cost an estimated 100bn yen ($12,367,100 US).
The Fukushima nuclear plant is located approximately 37 miles away from the city.
Experts say that under the circumstances, they aren’t surprised to see residents turn up with these levels of contamination. ”What we’re seeing here is residual caesium that will be around for quite a while,” Richard Wakeford, an expert in radiation exposure at the Dalton Institute in Manchester, UK.
Fukushima residents are advised to avoid consumption of contaminated food and milk, but that may be difficult considering produce contaminated at levels deemed acceptable to the government would inevitably go on sale to the public.
Following the nuclear disaster, Japanese officials began a safety review of all 54 of the country’s nuclear reactors, requesting that several coastal reactors be shut-down until more comprehensive safety measures could be put into place.
Image Credit: Flickr – mad_house_photography
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