A series of admissions have come out pointing to soil contamination problems worse than previously assumed.
JAEA has stated that cesium contamination is now being found 30cm down into the soil. Early in the accident contamination was sitting at about 5cm deep.
Weather conditions in Japan including extensive precipitation may have caused the drastic change. This is a considerable problem as it confounds decontamination efforts.
Decontamination efforts have already proven mostly futile as areas either don’t clean up or the levels come back up as things move around the environment. This
new revelation that contamination is sinking down further makes decontamination in the largely agricultural region likely impossible.
MEXT has found extremely high cesium contamination in the mud at Horai Dam. The lake behind the dam was found to have 3,000,000 Bq/m2 of cesium 20cm down into the mud.
This is a considerable increase over what was found in dam lakes in the area in August 2011 where levels were around 200,000~400,000 Bq/m2 of cesium.
The Environment Ministry found 154,000 becquerels per kilogram of cesium in soil in Iitate Village. This is apparently much higher than previous readings.
This puts the soil into the same category as radioactive incinerator ash that would have to be encased in special concrete barriers.
Radiation testing of food is likely to be the new normal in Japan for decades. Compared to food testing in the regions around Chernobyl, Japan’s testing has failed
to be adequate.
“Checks conducted nationwide so far are only 1 percent of what Belarus checked in the past year, a quarter century after the Chernobyl disaster, according to Nobutaka Ishida, a researcher at Norinchukin Research Institute.”
The director of Japan’s health ministry is claiming that testing of all food in Japan can’t be done and that the current system has “done enough” to reduce the risk. The public in Japan seems to disagree with this. Food testing is still the norm in the regions around Chernobyl. The public in Japan does not agree with the assurances of the national government. Some stores have begun doing their own testing and consumers are buying based on food origin to assure the product is safe.
The changes in how contamination is evolving in Fukushima further complicates the food safety issue and the safety for people residing in the region.
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