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Japan's radiation monitoring unreliable: Greenpeace

Published on Oct 23, 2012 4:23 PM
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Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda (centre) inspects the process to test rice for contamination in the city of Motomiya, Fukushima prefecture on Oct 7, 2012. Government radiation monitoring in areas near Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant is unreliable, Greenpeace charged on Tuesday, with heavily populated areas exposed to 13 times the legal limit. The environmental group said authorities were wasting time cleaning up evacuated areas and should prioritise decontamination efforts in places where people live, work and play. -- PHOTO: AFP

TOKYO (AFP) - Government radiation monitoring in areas near Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant is unreliable, Greenpeace charged on Tuesday, with heavily populated areas exposed to 13 times the legal limit. The environmental group said authorities were wasting time cleaning up evacuated areas and should prioritise decontamination efforts in places where people live, work and play.

Greenpeace found that in some parks and school facilities in Fukushima city, home to 285,000 people, radiation levels were above three microsieverts per hour. Japan's recommended radiation limit is 0.23 microsieverts per hour.

"We also found that official monitoring posts placed by the government systematically underestimate the radiation levels," said Ms Rianne Teule, Greenpeace's radiation expert, adding that some machines are shielded from radiation by surrounding metal and concrete structures.

"Official monitoring stations are placed in areas the authorities have decontaminated. However, our monitoring shows that just a few steps away the radiation levels rise significantly," she said.

 
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