Radioactive sediment found miles from Japan nuclear crisis zone
Residents in the nuclear crisis zone undergo radiation screening tests last month in Minamisoma in Fukushima prefecture.
October 12th, 2011
02:46 PM ET

Radioactive sediment found miles from Japan nuclear crisis zone

Officials in Yokohama, Japan’s second largest city, are investigating soil samples after a radioactive substance was found in sediment atop an apartment building about 155 miles (250 kilometers)  from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, according to news reports.

The discovery has raised concerns that leaked radiation from three Fukushima reactors that suffered meltdowns after the March earthquake and tsunami may be more widespread than thought, The Japan Times reported Wednesday.

The findings come after a travel alert issued by the U.S. government last week, warning Americans in Japan to avoid areas near the stricken reactors.

The alert recommends that U.S. citizens stay away from areas within 20 kilometers (12 miles) of the nuclear facility. The State Department also admonished Americans to stay away from territory northwest of the plant in a zone that Japan calls the "Deliberate Evacuation Area." The zone includes Iitate-mura, the Yamagiya district of Kawamata-machi, Katsurao-mura, Namie-machi and parts of Minamisoma.

The radioactive isotope strontium-90 was detected on a rooftop by a private agency responding to a resident's request, The Japan Times reported.

Strontium-90 has been found in Japan at concentrations up to 20 becquerels before the nuclear crisis, The Japan Times said. The latest discovery found the strontium-90 level at 195 becquerels, according to the paper.

Since strontium-90, which has a half-life of 29 years, is widely dispersed in the environment and the food chain in trace amounts, external exposure is minimal, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. With internal exposure at high concentrations, strontium-90 can accumulate in the bones and is “one of the more hazardous constituents of nuclear wastes,” according to the EPA.

Meanwhile Wednesday, Tokyo Electric Power Co., the embattled utility whose territory includes the nuclear crisis zone, held a disaster drill at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power, according to news reports.

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Filed under: 2011 tsunami • Energy • Environment • Japan • Nuclear • World
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    It's recommended that US citizens stay away from areas within twelve miles of the plant?
    I don't want to go to any area in that country, or near it.

    October 12, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  2. jordan scene©

    Wow so they're finding strontium at 10x the normal concentrations prior to the disaster. So what are they going to do about it? How long does this stuff even take to decay naturally anyways?

    October 12, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Oscar Smokes alotta pot

      29 year half life so around 280 years for Strontium to "go away"

      October 12, 2011 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    Hello, jordan.

    October 12, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  4. THE ONE AND ONLY DRAKOREX1

    AMAGINE THAT, REALLY? IM NOT SURPRIZED

    October 12, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  5. chrissy

    I agree joey and with all the storm activity lately how much of that sediment has been carried to other countries including our own??

    October 12, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  6. banasy©

    Hi, gang!
    I agree...I wouldn't go *near* Japan!!!

    October 12, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    That was the real banasy, even with the three exclamation points. She can type in j-
    apa-
    n
    and get it past the filter.

    October 12, 2011 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  8. banasy©

    I usually don't use three; the 'right-wing thug' came out in me...

    October 12, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
  9. nipalitchs

    I would think that it being down played, for the goverment lies as soon as they open thier eyes . Every day.

    October 12, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jj

    hey all! last night i didnt mean to assume that you were livin like a fat cat. its just that i seem to recall you sayin you wore a suit to work. so i assumed, well you know where im goin with that. thats what i get for assuming things duh. i too work many hours and understand where you're coming from

    October 12, 2011 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
  11. nipalitchs

    penacitchaz is my brother.I think you know him very well Jj.

    October 12, 2011 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Oscar Smokes alotta pot

    more than six months later and CNN is just barely starting to get whiff of this... Guess if it doesn't involve a war machine it is not worth it...

    October 12, 2011 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    Let's see...
    29 years...
    I'll be 116 in two months...
    no, it's OK.

    October 12, 2011 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Catherine's Health Hub

    "This just in!" Oh sure. It's been reported since March 11 on by credible sources;. How about the fact that every it rains in the US/Canada/Northern Hemisphere, gama/beta/and every other type of radiation skyrockets.

    October 12, 2011 at 9:57 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio)"Right Wing Insanity"

    Glow in the dark go_ks.

    October 13, 2011 at 12:53 am | Report abuse |
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