Radiation hotspot detected in Tokyo: reports

Oct 13, 2011
A view of Tokyo with Japan's highest mountain, Mt. Fuji in the background. A radiation hotspot has been detected in Tokyo, reports said Thursday as researchers carry out stringent tests to map how far contamination has spread from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.

A radiation hotspot has been detected in Tokyo, reports said Thursday as researchers carry out stringent tests to map how far contamination has spread from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.

Japanese media said researchers found of 3.35 microsieverts per hour along a street in the west of the capital -- 220 kilometres (136 miles from Fukushima -- much higher than previously reported levels.

According to calculations based on the Japanese science ministrya's criteria, the equivalent annual dose in the hotspot would be 17.6 millisieverts, just below the 20 millisieverts per year threshold that requires evacuation.

The reading is also higher than levels measured recently at Iitate, an area in Fukushima prefecture that has been evacuated.

The reading in Setagaya was taken one metre above the ground near a hedge, national broadcaster NHK said, while other parts of the same sidewalk showed lower readings.

File photo of Japanese government officials inspecting the accident at Fukushima nuclear power plant. The March 11 earthquake triggered a tsunami that tore into Japan's northeast coast, leaving 20,000 people dead or missing, while sparking meltdowns and explosions at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

The reading came after ward authorities said Wednesday that levels of 2.7 microsieverts per hour had been detected on October 6, higher than levels of less than 0.1 microsieverts in other parts of Setagaya according to official data.

The higher readings come as more tests illustrate how far fall-out from the Fukushima disaster have spread, with elevated levels of radioactive recently found as far away as Yokohama, more than 241 kilometres (150 miles) from the plant.

Radiation fears are a daily fact of life in many parts of Japan following the earthquake and tsunami-sparked meltdowns at the plant, with reported cases of , beef, vegetables, tea and seafood.

Variable winds, weather and topography result in an uneven spread of contamination, experts say, and tend to concentrate in places where dust and accumulate such as drains and ditches.

File photo shows a shopper buying cabbages at a supermarket in Tokyo. Radiation fears are a daily fact of life in many parts of Japan following the earthquake and tsunami-sparked meltdowns at the plant, with reported cases of contaminated water, beef, vegetables, tea and seafood.

Setagaya ward did not immediately confirm Thursday's reading. "We don't know the cause (of the high radiation levels) yet. We are asking experts to find it urgently and decontaminate the area," a spokeswoman said.

She added that the high readings have been shown only in a two-metre long area and below 1.5 metres from the ground.

"We also plan to check sand in the ward's 258 parks over one month from late October," she told AFP.

Radiation levels in the area have not fallen since the ward's efforts to decontaminate it on October 6, and authorities are instructing children to avoid the walkway as they go to school.

Setagaya Mayor Nobuto Hosaka told TBS: "I thought the reading must be a mistake when I first heard. We will push ahead with decontamination after confirming levels are high."

The March 11 earthquake triggered a tsunami that tore into Japan's northeast coast, leaving 20,000 people dead or missing, while sparking meltdowns and explosions at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

The subsequent release of radiation forced the evacuation of tens of thousands from a 20 kilometre (12 mile) radius from the plant and spots beyond in the world's worst nuclear accident since the Chernobyl disaster in 1986.

Explore further: New solutions needed to recycle fracking water

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Nuclear contamination found beyond Japan no-go zone

Oct 05, 2011

High levels of radioactive contamination have been found in soil in the capital of Japan's Fukushima prefecture, a study showed Wednesday, prompting calls to make the area a voluntary evacuation zone.

IAEA worried about radiation in Japan village

Mar 30, 2011

Radiation levels recorded at a village outside the evacuation zone around the quake-striken Fukushima nuclear plant are above safe levels, the UN atomic watchdog said Wednesday.

High radioactivity found in Japan nuclear workers

May 30, 2011

Two workers from Japan's stricken Fukushima nuclear plant have been contaminated by high levels of radioactive iodine, the operator said Monday, prompting fears over their long-term health.

Nuclear experts to help Fukushima decontamination

Oct 04, 2011

The UN atomic agency IAEA said Tuesday it was sending 12 international experts to Japan on October 7-15 to assist the country with clean-up efforts after the nuclear accident of Fukushima in March.

Japan disaster not similar to Chernobyl: officials

May 17, 2011

The potential health consequences of the nuclear crisis at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi plant are not equal to those caused by the disaster at Chernobyl, Japanese health officials said Tuesday

Recommended for you

New solutions needed to recycle fracking water

18 hours ago

Rice University scientists have produced a detailed analysis of water produced by hydraulic fracturing (aka fracking) of three gas reservoirs and suggested environmentally friendly remedies are needed to ...

Feds allows logging after huge California wildfire

Aug 28, 2014

The U.S. Forest Service has decided to allow logging on nearly 52 square miles of the Sierra Nevada burned last year in a massive California wildfire, a move contested by environmentalists.

User comments : 0