Radioactive cesium over national standards found in fish over 200 km from crippled Fukushima Daiichi reactors

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New radiation standards took effect in Japan on Sunday, with the new government-set allowable limit of 100 becquerel replaced the temporary 500 becquerel limit following the Fukushima Disaster.

On Tuesday, the Gunma prefectural government announced  that 426 becquerels of radioactive cesium per kilogram had been detected in smelt caught in Akagi Onuma lake in the prefectural city of Maebashi.

This is the third announcement from the Japanese government related to cesium contamination found at significant levels over 200 km from the Fukushima plant.

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology measured contamination levels in each prefecture in eastern Japan last year following the Fukushima disaster, including Gunma Prefecture from Aug. 23 to Sept. 8 using prefectural government helicopters.

In Gunma Prefecture, the recorded data showed that the largest amount of cesium-137 accumulated in the northern part of the prefecture, in amounts up to 300,000 becquerels per square meter.   The evacuation level at Chernobyl was 37,000 becquerels.

Only two months after the March 11th earthquake, 780 becquerels per kilogram of radioactive cesium was detected in tea leaves picked in Shibukawa City, in Gunma Prefecture.

The ministry also studied the path of radioactive fallout on surrounding water systems.  Sand beneath ponds and lakes in some mountainous areas of Gunma prefecture produced relatively high readings of radioactive cesium, which likely flowed in from the surrounding woods, where radiation levels are high.

The ministry released the results of measurements in each prefecture on its Japanese website.

In a Yomiuri report on April 1st, details of a survey by the Japanese health ministry were released.  Of the 421 cases studied, about 80 percent involved seafood and river fishes, and the remainder involved shiitake mushrooms and the meat of wild animals such as boars and birds.

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