June Survey Shows Radioactive iodine spread south of Fukushima – Iodine 131 found higher than Cesium 137

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A Japanese government survey shows that radioactive iodine emitted from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant spread not only northwestward but also to the south of the plant.

The science ministry sampled soil at 2,200 locations, mostly in Fukushima Prefecture, in June and July, and created a map indicating the extent of the radioactive contamination as of June 14th.

Officials were able to obtain data for iodine 131 at only 400 locations, because of its short half-life of 8 days.

The latest map shows that iodine 131 spread northwest of the plant, just like cesium 137 as indicated on an earlier map.

But the substance was also confirmed south of the plant at relatively high levels.

The researchers found that accumulation levels of iodine 131 were higher than those of cesium 137 in coastal areas south of the plant.

Ministry officials say clouds that moved southward over the plant apparently caught large amounts of iodine 131 that were emitted at the time.

Iodine 131 is known to cause thyroid cancer through internal exposure. The ministry is therefore trying to determine at what levels the substance spread immediately after the accident at the plant in March.

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