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Citizens’ Testing Finds 20 Hot Spots Around Tokyo via The New York Times

By HIROKO TABUCHI
Published: October 14, 2011

TOKYO — Takeo Hayashida signed on with a citizens’ group to test for radiation near his son’s baseball field in Tokyo after government officials told him they had no plans to check for fallout from the devastated Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Like Japan’s central government, local officials said there was nothing to fear in the capital, 160 miles from the disaster zone.

A baseball stadium in Tokyo was found to be contaminated with radioactive cesium. There have been calls for broader testing.

Then came the test result: the level of radioactive cesium in a patch of dirt just yards from where his 11-year-old son, Koshiro, played baseball was equal to those in some contaminated areas around Chernobyl.

The patch of ground was one of more than 20 spots in and around the nation’s capital that the citizens’ group, and the respected nuclear research center they worked with, found were contaminated with potentially harmful levels of radioactive cesium.

It has been clear since the early days of the nuclear accident, the world’s second worst after Chernobyl, that that the vagaries of wind and rain had scattered worrisome amounts of radioactive materials in unexpected patterns far outside the evacuation zone 12 miles around the stricken plant. But reports that substantial amounts of cesium had accumulated as far away as Tokyo have raised new concerns about how far the contamination had spread, possibly settling in areas where the government has not even considered looking.

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  1. norma field says

    It would be good for journalists to stop asserting automatically that Fukushima is the “second worst” nuclear disaster after Chernobyl. Surely these claims need to be made carefully, with the grounds for the conclusion show, but unquestioning repetition gives a claim the aura of fact. See http://lucian.uchicago.edu/blogs/atomicage/?s=why+the+fukushima+disaster+is+worse+than+chernobyl, for example.



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