Farmers plant rice near crippled Fukushima site

May 22, 2013
Farmers plant rice near Tamura city, 15km west the Fukushima power plant. Farmers have resumed planting rice for market only 15 kilometres (nine miles) from Japan's crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station, a local official says.

Farmers have resumed planting rice for market only 15 kilometres (nine miles) from Japan's crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station, a local official said Wednesday.

It was the first time since the March 2011 earthquake-tsunami-nuclear disaster that farmers have gone inside the former 20-kilometre "no-go" zone around the doomed plant to sow rice intended for sale.

The zone has been redefined to let people access areas where the levels of radiation from the plant have been relatively low. Tens of thousands of people remain unable to return to their homes.

On Saturday, three farmers started planting in paddies over an area of six hectares (15 acres) in the city of Tamura, a Fukushima regional agriculture official said.

The No. 3 reactor building at Fukushima power plant, picture in May last year. It is the first time since the March 2011 earthquake-tsunami-nuclear disaster that farmers have gone inside the former 20-kilometre "no-go" zone around the doomed plant to sow rice intended for sale.

"The work has progressed smoothly as the weather recovered," Tsuneaki Oonami told AFP by telephone.

The are located in Miyakoji district where a few dozen farmers used to live before they were evacuated after the devastating quake and tsunami left the plant spewing radiation from its molten reactors.

Since April last year, former residents have been permitted to re-enter the district during the daytime—they are not allowed to stay there overnight.

"We have considerably decontaminated the rice paddies and channelled water for irrigation there," Oonami said, adding that they still have to fight "harmful rumours" about their produce.

The farmers are using fertiliser containing potassium to help curb absorption by rice plants. All rice from the paddies will be checked for before being shipped, said Oonami.

Farmers plant rice near Tamura city, 15km west the Fukushima power plant. The disaster zone has been redefined to let people access areas where the levels of radiation from the plant have been relatively low.

More than 18,000 people were killed when the huge tsunami of March 2011 swept ashore, crushing a stretch of coastline.

The it sparked is not officially recorded as having directly claimed any lives, but it forced mass evacuations, with scientists warning some areas may be uninhabitable for decades.

It also polluted a swathe of prime farmland and provoked a crisis of confidence in Japan's agricultural produce.

Explore further: Oil globs close Los Angeles-area beaches to swimming (Update)

Related Stories

Climate change boosts a migratory insect pest

May 13, 2015

The potato leafhopper is a tiny insect—barely half the size of a grain of rice—with a bright lime green color that helps it blend in against plant leaves. Despite its unassuming appearance, this little ...

Silicon: An important element in rice production

Apr 28, 2015

Silicon (Si) is the second most abundant element of the earth's crust after oxygen. It has long been neglected by ecologists, as it is not considered an essential nutrient for plants. However, research of ...

Recommended for you

Food or fuel? How about both?

1 hour ago

In the United States, federal mandates to produce more renewable fuels, especially biofuels, have led to a growing debate: Should fuel or food grow on arable land? Recent research shows farmers can successfully, ...

Using desalination to address drought

1 hour ago

"It's a very interesting time in the water industry," says Carlos Riva '75, CEO of Poseidon Water, a company that is drawing attention as it develops, in Southern California, what will be the largest seawater ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

mnykolay
1 / 5 (3) May 22, 2013
This is totally unacceptable. Look at the Chernobyl plant explosion and you wont see anybody planting even close to it. Rice will be full of radioactive waste which is if you want to have three balls is not a good idea.
Neinsense99
2.7 / 5 (7) May 29, 2013
... Rice will be full of radioactive waste which is if you want to have three balls is not a good idea.


Your comment does not mean what you think it means. If you want three balls it is a good idea.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.