Japan:Cesium from nuke plant spread along mountains
Laaska news Nov. 25,2011
An aerial survey has shown that radioactive cesium from the Fukushima nuclear disaster has accumulated along the mountains of eastern Japan.
Japan’s science ministry released on Friday the results of the helicopter survey, covering 22 prefectures in eastern and central Japan.
The results are indicated in a colored map showing varying levels of cesium in soil. The radioactive substance has a long half-life, and is likely to affect the environment for decades.
Areas immediately northwest and south of the nuclear plant are indicated in red and yellow. This shows they have the highest concentrations of cesium, at above one-million becquerels per square meter.
Areas in blue, with concentrations of 30,000 becquerels or more, are seen spreading out toward Miyagi Prefecture — about 60 kilometers to the north, and to Gunma Prefecture — about 200 kilometers southwest.
The pattern appears to correspond to the location of mountain ranges in the region.
In one of the routes of contamination, clouds carrying the radioactive substance apparently hit a mountain range northeast of the plant, before being carried by the wind to peaks far north of Tokyo.
The science ministry says the mountains could have blocked the radioactive fallout from spreading further.
The ministry plans to expand its aerial survey early next year, focusing on western Japan and the northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido.
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