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Japanese scientists attempt to breed radiation resistant rice via The Telegraph

Scientists here are testing more than 100 varieties of rice in an effort to breed a strain of Japan’s most important crop that is resistant to radioactive caesium.

By Julian Ryall in Tokyo

12:01PM BST 23 Aug 2011

With the harvesting season approaching, vast tracts of rice crops across northeast Japan will have to be destroyed after being contaminated with radioactivity that has leaked from the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant, crippled by the March 11 earthquake and the tsunami that it triggered.

Thousands of acres that are within the 18-mile no-go zone around the plant will not even be harvested as radioactivity levels are too high for the farmers to return to their paddies.

The authorities have admitted that it will take decades to decontaminate areas within the exclusion zone, including agricultural land, but scientists at the Fukushima Agricultural Technology Centre hope a new strain of caesium-resistant rice will enable local farmers to return to the land.

Working with agriculture experts from the University of Tokyo, the researchers are testing more than 110 varieties of rice from around the world – including those indigenous to India, Bangladesh and parts of South America – to determine whether any have a natural resistance to absorbing caesium from the soil.

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  1. yukimiyamotodepaul says

    This is what my friend, Aiko Kojima, pointed out a long time ago, national policies often, too often, ignore farmers’ health. Rice can be, may be, resistant to cesium, but humans can never be….

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