Extreme soil contamination detected over 40 kilometers away from quake-stricken Fukushima plant

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Extreme levels of radiation have been detected in soil within 40 kilometers of the quake-stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, the science ministry said.

The finding emerged in a map published Aug. 29 that for the first time shows contamination levels of areas within a 100-km radius of the plant.

One location in the town of Okuma had the highest value at about 30 million becquerels of cesium of all types per square meter.

About 8 percent of the measured areas recorded more than 555,000 becquerels, the figure that required forcible relocation by residents in the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear incident.

The map shows that areas with high radiation levels are concentrated in a zone to the northwest of the plant within a 40-km radius of the facility.

Many of the areas with such high levels are within the no-entry zone and the planned evacuation zone, but those levels were also detected outside of the zones in parts of Fukushima, Motomiya and Koriyama cities. The no-entry zone is within a 20-km radius area of the plant, while the planned evacuation zone is an area that could see more than 20 millisieverts of accumulated radiation in a year after the March 11 onset of the plant’s crisis.

Areas showing levels exceeding safety standards are estimated at 8,300 hectares.

The Fukushima prefectural government on the same day released the results of the first measurements of radiation levels of rice paddies in the no-entry zone. The government found levels above safety standards at 20 locations out of the 89 sites examined in areas near the plant, including the no-entry zone and the planned evacuation zone.

Source: ajw.asahi.com, via Twitter search for Fukushima
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