Readings around plant do not correlate with those observed 100km away

Steve Watson
March 21, 2011

Radiation levels observed in food and milk grown and produced significant distances from the stricken nuclear power plant in Fukushima do not correlate with readings supposedly found in the immediate vicinity, suggesting that the real levels are being withheld from the public.

While the government is still playing down the danger of the situation, Spinach with radioactive iodine 27 times more than the government-regulated limit has been found in the city of Hitachi in Ibaraki Prefecture, which is located over 100 kilometers away from the nuclear plant in Fukushima.

Under Japanese food sanitation laws, there is a 2,000 becquerel safety limit. Kyodo news reports that Ibaraki authorities found one kilogram of spinach grown in open air in the city containing 54,000 becquerels of iodine.

Unsafe levels of cesium were also found in the spinach.

The International Atomic Energy Agency has confirmed the higher levels of radiation in food and milk, while the World Health Organization has urged Japan to halt food sales and shipments.

The Japanese government has done so, but only in limited amounts from Fukushima and three other surrounding prefectures, stressing it is only a precautionary measure.

Peter Cordingley, WHO’s Western Pacific spokesman, said: “Quite clearly, it is not what we thought in the early stages. It is more serious.

However, a government spokesman urged the public not to panic, stating “Eating food with (radioactive levels) exceeding provisional limits isn’t going to affect your health.”

Yukio Edano, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary, said: “Even if you eat and drink them several times it will not be a health hazard. So I would like you to act calmly without reacting.” Asked if he would be happy to give spinach and milk to his family, he said: “Of course.”

China and South Korea have announced that they will test all food imports from Japan, which now pose more of a risk than airborne radiation, which can dissipate.

U.S. food-safety officials have said they are not concerned.

The Japanese government is still not releasing official information on radiation levels in the vicinity of the plant, stating that they are “still under survey”.

Other levels further away from the plant keep being revised downward and retroactively altered, prompting some to suggest that the real levels are being covered up.

TEPCO, the company in charge of the plant has released some readings taken around the plant. The latest, taken on March 19 at 200 meters from the northwest corner of the Reactor No.1, showed the level of radioactive iodine at 6 times as high as the safety limit; it also showed the existence of cesium.

Clearly these levels do not tally with those observed in food and milk up to 100km away.

In addition, Kyodo has also reported that radioactive cesium found in sea water is 24.8 times over the safety limit and that radioactive Iodine found in sea water is 126.7 times over the limit.

In a blatant attempt to downplay the danger being posed by radiation, the Japanese government has also raised the decontamination threshold by nearly 20 times from 6,000 cpm to 100,000 cpm.

Kyodo news reports:
…the government’s task force to tackle nuclear accidents instructed municipal governments near the crisis-hit Fukushima plant on Monday to ease conditions under which they require people to undergo mandatory decontamination.

A radiation level of 100,000 counts per minute will be introduced as a new standard for decontamination, up from 6,000 counts per minute, the government said, adding that raising the bar will not endanger health.
The EPA says it has not yet detected any concerning levels of radiation in the United States.