Monday, October 10, 2011

Nuclear contamination found beyond Japan no-go zone

High levels of radioactive contamination have been found in soil in the capital of Japan's Fukushima prefecture, a study showed Wednesday, prompting calls to make the area a voluntary evacuation zone.

Some 307,000 becquerels of caesium per kilogramme (2.2 pounds) of soil was detected in an independent survey conducted on September 14 by a radiological engineering expert and citizens' groups.

The Japanese government's legal limit is 10,000 becquerels per kilogramme.

The contamination is believed to have been caused by radiation that has leaked from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, which was crippled by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

The development comes days after Japan lifted evacuation advisories for five areas between 20-30 kilometres from the nuclear plant and as it looks to convince tens of thousands of people that it is safe to return home.

The groups tested soil samples from several areas near central Fukushima some 60 kilometres (35 miles) away from the plant.

"We are urging the central and local governments to have children and expecting mothers evacuated from the areas," said Takeshi Sakagami, a member of Citizens Against Fukushima Aging Nuclear Power Plants. more