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Japan:Radioactive cesium detected in Tokyo tea leaves + Related News

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Laaska News Oct. 19,2011

 Radioactive cesium in levels above the government standard has been detected in tea leaves produced in Tokyo and Saitama, north of the capital. The contamination is believed to have been caused by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant accident.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government says 3 brands of tea leaves grown in northwestern Tokyo have been found to contain 550 to 690 becquerels of radioactive cesium per kilogram. The government limit is 500 becquerels.

The Saitama prefectural government says it found 504 to 2,063 becquerels per kilogram in locally-grown leaves of 97 brands.

The samples tested by the prefecture were not early-picked leaves, which are said to be more likely to contain radioactive material. The prefecture had already found that such leaves of 14 brands contained radioactive cesium above the limit.

The authorities have asked the producers to dispose of their tea leaf stocks.



Radiation monitoring by drone begins in Fukushima


A city near the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has begun monitoring radiation levels of farmlands and forests with a small unmanned helicopter.

The move comes after the central government lifted an evacuation advisory for parts of Tamura City and 4 other municipalities outside the 20-kilometer no-entry zone around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant at the end of last month.

On Wednesday, the Japan Atomic Energy Agency began monitoring radiation using the drone at the request of the city. The agency tested a 300-meter-long, 150-meter-wide area of a rice field from a helicopter equipped with a measuring instrument about 20 meters above the ground. It also carried out tests on forests.

Data transmitted by the helicopter is reportedly translated into radiation levels 1 meter above the ground and indicated by instruments at ground level.

Aircraft are suitable for measuring radiation levels of large areas and other locations that are difficult for people to access.

In the areas of Fukushima Prefecture where the evacuation advisory has been lifted, residents had previously been advised to stay indoors and prepare for emergency evacuation. But many residents decided to evacuate their homes.

The tasks facing Tamura and the 4 other municipalities are decontamination and radiation monitoring for both residents and evacuees.

Laaska News.