Tag Archive for contamination

Radiation in Japanese rice

Radioactive rice may enter the food chain later this year

According to NHK the government announced that for Tohoku-region farmers unable to grow rice last year many rice fields contaminated with radiation can plant rice this year. The government reports that 2% of rice harvested last year contained between 100-500 bequerels of radiation, whilst 0.2% had more than 500bq which is not fit for consumption. The decision was made because of concern for farmers’ livelihoods and maintenance of good quality rice fields. Criticisms included no measures for stringent oversight preventing contaminated rice of more than 500bq to slip into the national rice supplies; no means of disposal of contaminated rice; nor financial incentive for farmers and local officials to be honest. Further, it appears to be a commercial decision in sympathy with farmers, and with less regard for consumers.

Previously there were reports in 2010 of expired rice meant for industrial uses, including glue production, was bought from government stocks and commercially resold to pre-schools and schools for childrens’ lunches in the period between about 2005 and 2010.

More pictures of Japanese rice can be found at my gallery:

 
Rice – Images by Andrew Blyth

Radioactive food in Japan

Radioactive food is becoming a real and hidden concern. The discussion of this is veiled and brief on NHK TV news, the national broadcaster. One might assume that NHK is avoiding promoting a food panic. Already prices for Hokkaido dairy products are increasing. Previously in this blog, radioactive mustard spinach, a very popular part of the Japanese menu, was discovered growing in Tokyo weeks after the 15th March explosion, and in mustard spinach imported to Singapore from Shizuoka (south of Tokyo). Now some people are concerned that rice being grown in the north may be mixed with uncontaminated rice grown in the south. According to NHK, already, rice stocks are low, as many people are stocking up ahead of the harvest season beginning now. A friend of mine went shopping in Nagoya city with a dosimeter (a radiation measuring device) and found that cucumbers in his supermarket had high levels of radiation. I wish I could get a dosimeter, they are so hard to get.

Rice and mustard spinach are pictured below.
Rice shortly before harvest

More rice pictures here, and rice harvest pictures here.

Mustard Spinach

More mustard spinach pictures here.

Testing food for radiation

NHK the national news and TV broadcaster announced that 19 prefectures in Japan are going to or are considering testing food, especially rice for radioactive caesium contamination (Cited on Alert Net from Reuters, NHK). Within weeks of the first Fukushima hydrogen explosion, it was found that green leafy vegetables, especially spinach (pictured below), was heavily contaminated with radioactive iodine, even spinach grown in Tokyo, far south of Fukushima. There has also been much concern regarding the contaminated feed given to cattle and the consumption of contaminated beef. Now rice is to be tested, as it is such an important part of the Japanese diet and economy.

Me personally, I really want to get a radiation measurement device to check both the food that I have in the fridge and cupboards now, and the local area where I live. If you can organise for one to be send to me, I’d be most appreciative, and would give you a month of free access to any one of my PhotoShelter image galleries.

Radioactive beef & Future of Fukushima

It was reported today that beef at 2,300 Becquerel of radiation, the legal limit is 500, was found in Tokyo. The beef came from cattle raised and fed within 40km of the TEPCO Fukushima Daichi Nuclear Power Plants, which is beyond the government declared evacuation zones. The radioactivity in beef, could only be possible when the cattle fed on radioactive feed, which is then absorbed into the animal.

This follows French authorities finding radioactive green tea from Shizuoka (far south from both Tokyo and the troubled nuclear reactors).

Reported tonight, a timetable for the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant clean up was released. It is expected that any existing nuclear rods would be removed within five years. Molten / melted rods that collapsed and is at the bottom of the reactor-core containment vessel may take 10 years to remove, and the complete dismantlement of the buildings will take decades. All of these estimates are dependent on the development of technology and engineering devices that can be used to achieve these goals. Currently, there are no devices or technology to decontaminate buildings to allow workers entry. There are no devices to remove melted and re-cooled radioactive material from the base of reactor cores, adding to the costs and difficulties TEPCO will face.

radioactive water released in the sea

According to the BBC and NHK, TEPCO has released radioactive water that is 100 times the legal limit into the Pacific Ocean. In previous nuclear incidents, TEPCO had deceived the public and safety regulators, and in the current crisis has been accused by the current Japanese Prime Minister for not being clear and upfront. TEPCO claims that this release is of low-level radioactive water. TEPCO also stresses that eating seafood caught or harvested from near the plant will result in very, very low levels of radioactive intake, barely above natural background-radiation levels. They make this claim presumably on the judgement that the water will be quickly dispersed and immediately diluted and without consequence to sea life. The release comes as TEPCO officials admitted that they have a lot of water in the basement of reactor number two, that has radiation levels many, many times higher than what is normally found inside a normal reactor core. Speculation from independent experts suggests that this highly radioactive water is as a result of melted rods from the core some weeks ago. View this and other sea-related pictures at my PhotoShelter portfolio.