Japan:Sunflowers help remove radiative materials
Laaska News Sept. 9,2011
A Japanese study shows that sunflowers can help reduce the levels of radioactive materials in farmland soil by up to half.
The findings were announced on Thursday by a Kobe-based private-sector group made up of former staff members of Japan’s RIKEN research center.
They grew sunflowers in 4 fields in Minamisoma City, within 30 kilometers of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
The researchers said in one of the fields the level of radioactive cesium per kilogram of soil fell by 20 percent, from 2,100 becquerels to 1,680 becquerels, in 2 months. In another field, the level fell by around half.
Sunflowers that have absorbed radioactive materials need to be buried in the ground, and the group says finding disposal sites will be the key to promote the decontamination method.
The group said it will ask farmers near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant to grow sunflowers so it can check levels of radioactive materials in soil on a regular basis.