November 26, 2011
More cesium found in rice harvested in Fukushima in Japan
The Yomiuri Shimbun
FUKUSHIMA, Japan — The Fukushima prefectural government in Japan has announced that radioactive cesium beyond the provisional regulatory limit was detected in unmilled rice harvested at five farms in the Onami district of Fukushima Prefecture.
Radioactive cesium exceeding the limit of 500 becquerels per kilogram was recently detected in harvested rice at another farm in the area, fueling concerns among consumers.
This time as much as 1,270 becquerels of radioactive cesium per kilogram was detected in unmilled rice, the prefecture said Friday. The rice has not been shipped to the market. Instead, it was stored in farmers' warehouses or a local agricultural cooperative, or was distributed to farmers' relatives.
The prefectural government is currently analyzing all the rice grown by the 154 rice farms in the district, or 4,752 bags containing 30 kilograms of rice each. It has finished inspecting 864 rice bags from 34 farms so far.
Apart from the first farm where rice was found to have been contaminated, excess radioactive cesium has been detected in 103 rice bags from five farms.
Excess cesium was detected in all 24 rice bags from the farm that produced rice in which radioactive cesium at 1,270 becquerels per kilogram was found. The minimum level of contamination at that farm was 970 becquerels per kilogram.
Radioactive cesium between 540 and 1,110 becquerels per kilogram was detected from unmilled rice from another farm, according to the prefectural government.
The five farms are located from one to 2.5 kilometers (0.62 to 1.55 miles) from the first farm in question. They have nothing in common with the first farm topographically, such as using the same freshwater from a mountain in their rice paddies.
In addition to the Onami district, the prefectural government is inspecting rice harvested in Date, which includes some hot spots recommended for evacuation, and in three other cities - Fukushima, Soma and Iwaki - which include areas with relatively high levels of radiation.
The local government plans to compile all results by mid-December.
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