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Japan:High radioactivity detected in some Fukushima rice

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Laaska News  Nov. 17,2011

An inspection of recently-harvested rice in Fukushima Prefecture has found levels of radiation higher than the government-allowed limit.

The Fukushima Prefectural government says tests have detected 630 becquerels per kilogram of radioactive cesium in rice from a field in the Oonami district in Fukushima City. The government’s maximum allowable level is 500 becquerels per kilogram.

Oonami is about 50 kilometers from the disabled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

The prefectural assessment followed tests conducted by a local agricultural cooperative on Monday, which pointed to higher dosages than the interim tolerable limit.

The prefecture says the farm in question produced about 840 kilograms of rice this year. It says the harvested rice is being kept in a warehouse and has not gone into circulation.

The prefecture says it has asked all farmers in the district to suspend rice shipments.

The central government says it has begun to assess whether to ban rice shipments from the district altogether.

This is the first time that radiation levels higher than the government limit have been found in rice crops since the nuclear accident.

Last month, the prefecture allowed shipments from the district after tests at 2 locations largely confirmed radioactive levels lower than the legal limit.

The prefecture says it will reexamine the crops from all 154 farms in the district.

A prefectural agriculture department official says the prefectural government is appalled by the test results. He says the prefecture will try to obtain information on distribution of rice from surrounding areas, and will investigate why the rice contained such high levels of radiation.

The head of the local agricultural cooperative says his cooperative takes the fact that radioactive cesium has been detected in the district seriously despite the contradictory results of earlier tests. He says his cooperative plans to conduct more detailed tests.

Laaska News.