Japan newspapers: Radioactive material used in new construction
Anti-nuclear activists hold placards during a rally against nuclear energy in Yokohama, Japan, on Saturday.
January 18th, 2012
01:20 PM ET

Japan newspapers: Radioactive material used in new construction

Gravel quarried inside Japan's Fukushima nuclear evacuation zone has turned up in construction projects in the city of Nihonmatsu, including an elementary school and a condominium, according to Japanese media reports.

The Mainichi Daily News, citing government investigators, reports Thursday that the radioactive gravel has been shipped to more than 200 companies and may be in everything from bridges to homes for evacuees from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

The disaster left more than 15,000 people dead and damaged the Fukushima Daichi nuclear power plant, causing radiation leaks when three nuclear reactors suffered meltdowns.

The government established a 20-kilometer (12-mile) evacuation zone around the damaged plant on April 22. The suspect construction material came from a quarry in Namie, within the evacuation zone, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported. But it was originally shipped to 19 companies between the time of the quake and the establishment of the zone, according to a Mainichi report.

The radiation was traced to the three-story condominium in Nihonmatsu after the city checked elementary and middle school students for radiation exposure from September to November. A girl living on the condo's first floor was found to have higher than normal exposure, according to the Yomiuri report.

Subsequent tests on the condo found higher levels of radiation inside the building's first floor than was recorded in the outside air, Yomiuri reported. Lower levels of radiation were found on the building's two upper floors.

Ten of the 12 households living in the condominium were families who had moved there from the evacuation zone, Yomiuri reported.

The gravel has since been traced to earthquake-proofing projects in elementary and high schools in Nihonmatsu, the Nihonmatsu Municipal Board of Education has said, according to a Mainichi report.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura said Monday that radiation exposure in the Nihonmatsu condo was well below what the government would consider an evacuation level, according to an Agence-France Presse report. Nevertheless, the city will move the four households on the first floor, according to the Yomiuri report.

Economy Minister Yukio Edano said the government will hold "emergency discussions" on creating radiation standards for building materials, according to a Mainichi report.

Kinki University professor Hideo Yamazaki told Mainichi the Japanese government should have had been monitoring the movement of any materials much earlier.

"What happened was something the government could have predicted," Mainichi quoted him as saying. "It's frustrating that the government does not think about the movement of materials, including gravel.... The government's actions have all been reactionary, and the locals are paying for it."

Breast milk may be tested for radiation

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Filed under: Earthquake • Japan • Natural Disasters • Nuclear • Tsunami
soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. banasy©

    I'm not surptised, but this is horrific all the same.

    January 18, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  2. defeatist

    Oh well. Pretty much the whole country is radioactive, isn't it?

    January 18, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  3. BobNAlabama

    Nuclear reactors, as inaminate objects, don't "suffer" meltdowns. Only humans and animals suffer.

    January 18, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      You are correct!
      Not to mention, nature...

      January 18, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Cesar The Chorizo Champ of Chiuaua

    It's good material! It should be used!

    January 18, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jimmy

    Well I'm not uptight
    Not unattracted
    Turn me on tonight
    'Cause I'm Radioactive

    January 18, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
  6. rooney©

    They're going to have a lot of problems like this, for a long time. It's a shame.

    January 18, 2012 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Mmmmm ♔♕

    that is just great. every customs office will have to add new screening criteria to jahpan's exports on whether it is radioactive.

    January 18, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Ifeelia

    Go figure, who would have thought other wise.At least their goverment is not hideing it ,like some goverments do.

    January 18, 2012 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Joey Isotta-Fraschini©™

    There is too much sadness to comprehend when this is considered as a national issue.
    I imagine one person or one family near the plant and think of the other suffering neighbors as unseen but known.
    Then I get some sense of what is felt in that country.

    January 18, 2012 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jazzy

    The mess just keeps piling up! It's no wonder we all don't just do what is right for the planet, ourselves, and animals... But NOOOOOO!
    john Balushi

    January 18, 2012 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Philip

    I don't know. This new round of exposure could offset the last one(s). (hiroshima/nagasaki) Who knows? In 30 years, their kids might not be little Americans anymore...gettin' chunky, mouthy, and video crazy. Maybe they'll mutate into little puritans. It could happen.

    January 18, 2012 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Ifeelia

    @Philip,do you think anybody is going to take you seriuosly? Or is that your sence of humor trying despertly to escape from your body?

    January 18, 2012 at 7:33 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Lee Fong Lumberyard (R-Ohio) "Geritol 50ct. $8.99; Gerbels $2.99ea."

    I had ma sh it check for gamma ways. 2×4's always good. balsa,bamboo,teak all check ok bi nrc.
    Free Gerbels for kids when mom and dad get lumber. Little fellows not radioactive either.
    ni ps don like u.s. since heroshima. now dog chase own tail...funny.

    January 18, 2012 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
  14. hamsta

    remember the radon scare of the 70s and 80s?good thing three mile island was contained or we could be dealing with something worse than radon still today.

    January 18, 2012 at 7:52 pm | Report abuse |
  15. hamsta

    Just maybe thats why god wanted us to be stupid naked apes in a forest.but nooo eve had to listen to satan and eat from the tree of knowledge.

    January 18, 2012 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse |
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