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: Red tide off northwest Florida could hit economy

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New camera sheds light on mate choice of swordtail fish

4 minutes ago

We have all seen a peacock show its extravagant, colorful tail feathers in courtship of a peahen. Now, a group of researchers have used a special camera developed by an engineer at Washington University in ...

Making quantum dots glow brighter

54 minutes ago

Researchers from the University of Alabama in Huntsville and the University of Oklahoma have found a new way to control the properties of quantum dots, those tiny chunks of semiconductor material that glow ...

Recommended for you

Far more displaced by disasters than conflict

8 hours ago

Disasters last year displaced three times more people than violent conflicts, showing the urgent need to improve resilience for vulnerable people when fighting climate change, according to a study issued ...

Coral growth rate plummets in 30-year comparison

15 hours ago

A team of researchers working on a Carnegie expedition in Australia's Great Barrier Reef has documented that coral growth rates have plummeted 40% since the mid-1970s. The scientists suggest that ocean acidification ...

Environmentalists and industry duke it out over plastic bags

16 hours ago

Campaigns against disposable plastic shopping bags and their environmental impact recently scored a major win. In August, California lawmakers passed the first statewide ban on the bags, and Governor Jerry Brown is expected ...

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.