Researchers ask Fukushima residents to move out as radiation in urine is detected

on June 27 2011 7:35 AM

Residents near the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant in Japan are passing urine contaminated with radiation, raising concern over permanent dwellings in the region.

According to radiation biologists, more than three millisieverts of radiation has been measured in the urine of 15 residents living within a radius of 30 to 40 kilometers from Fukushima reactor No. 1, which has been releasing radioactive elements after being hit by the disastrous tsunami triggered by the March 11 earthquake in Japan.

The findings about internal radiation exposure pose a serious concern for the settlements in the area, especially in the village of Litate and the town of Kawamata, Nanao Kamada, professor of radiation biology at Hiroshima University, told The Japanese Times on Sunday.

“It will be difficult for people to continue living in these areas, Kamada said, warning residents to stop eating contaminated vegetables and drinking radioactive water.

Radioactive iodine was found as high as 3.2 millisieverts in six people and the total exposure was measured between 4.9 to 14.2 millisieverts over two months since the leakage started, said the researchers.

The data is comparatively much higher than the estimated 20 millisieverts radiation exposure a year, compelling residents to reconsider their permanent inhabitation near Fukushima nuclear plant.

The figures did not exceed the maximum of 20 millisieverts a year, but we want residents to use these results to make decisions to move, Kamada added, urging people to flee to be safe from radiation risks.

A 1986 nuclear disaster at Chernobyl nuclear power plant in North Ukraine led to the evacuation of the city of Prypiat across a radius of 48 kilometers. About 50,000 Pripyat residents had to flee to escape harmful radiation from the explosion of Chernobyl reactor No. 4, which contaminated a large part of Northern Europe, including Belarus and Russia.

25 years later, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO)'s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima prefecture, Japan, was devastated by Tsunami waves in March, leading to leakage of radioactive water into the ocean.

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