TEPCO has admitted to re-contaminating the area around Minamisoma after being confronted by the agriculture ministry. Rice in Minamisoma was found to be over the government radiation limit of 100 bq/kg. Upon further inspection the ministry found it was the outside of the rice plants that had the most contamination rather than the rice kernel itself. This indicated contamination fell on the plants rather than being taken up from the soil.
Now TEPCO is admitting on August 19th of last year they knew that demolition work at unit 3 caused highly contaminated dust to blow north of the plant. Asahi Shimbun cites some test growing inside the evacuation zone also saw higher than expected contamination rates.
This date of the known contamination release coincides with a day where workers at the plant were contaminated. At the time TEPCO blamed a cool spray system to keep workers from overheating at a bus stop as the cause of contamination. TEPCO later rescinded that claim but said nothing about unit 3 as the cause.
People currently reside in parts of Minamisoma and were likely exposed in some fashion based on being outside and in the areas the dust blew into. TEPCO will begin similar work on unit 1 in a few months. This raises even more questions about the government plant to push residents to return to the areas near the plant before the entire site is demolished.
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