MOSCOW, July 24 (RIA Novosti) – Dispersal of 1.12 trillion becquerels of radioactive cesium during last summer’s debris removal at the Fukushima-1 nuclear power plant could have contaminated the rice, grown in the prefecture, The Japan Times reported on Thursday, referring to a statement made by Fukushima nuclear power plant operator TEPCO.
The dirt and dust, dispersed during work to remove building debris at the plant’s reactor 3 may have caused a contamination of the rice, grown in Fukushima prefecture, The Japan times quoted TEPCO as saying.
According to a TEPCO representative, up to an estimated 280 billion becquerels per hour of radiation were released into the environment over four hours on August 19, 2013, when debris removal works were carried out.
The rice, tainted with radioactive cesium was produced at paddy fields located about 20 kilometers (12 miles) north of the power plant.
Several areas within 20-kilometer zone from the plant are still considered unfit for habitation due to the high level of radioactive contamination.
The Japanese government published a plan to stop contaminated water stored in the plant’s reservoirs from flowing into the sea; however, it is not working as well as expected, and about 300 tons of radioactive water leaking out per day.
On March 11, 2011, the Fukushima nuclear power plant was hit by a powerful earthquake and tsunami that caused a partial meltdown of three of the plant’s nuclear reactors as radiation leaked into the atmosphere, soil and sea.
The incident was the world’s worst nuclear disaster since the 1986 Chernobyl catastrophe.
TEPCO has been widely criticized for being inadequately prepared for a tsunami and for its slow response to the disaster.