Subscription Only: Radioactive ‘black soil’ patches: A scourge or a solution?
Asahi Shimbun AJW
By SHOJI NOMURA/ ASAHI SHIMBUN WEEKLY AERA
June 14, 2012
Koichi Oyama noticed something strange when he was measuring radiation levels in Minami-Soma, Fukushima Prefecture. In many places where the readings jumped, the municipal assembly member found patches of dried dark soil.
Further studies found similar patches of soil–along with high radiation readings–in parts of Tokyo. In fact, the radioactive soil has been discovered as far away as Miyagi, Yamagata and Niigata prefectures.
But for now, nothing is being done about the black soil with high levels of radiation.
“Because it normally is found on the ground, we believe it is not something that will have immediate effects on human health,” a Minami-Soma municipal government official said.
“[...] no efforts have been made to prevent the spread of the radiation,” [Ayako Ishikawa, 34, head of organization of parents] said. “I have found signs that baby carriages have passed close by such locations and of children touching the soil.”
[Tomoya Yamauchi, a professor specializing in radiation measurement at Kobe University] said: “The black soil could become airborne, and that could lead to internal exposure if the soil is inhaled through the mouth. Decontamination efforts should be implemented immediately.”
Published: June 14th, 2012 at 7:00 pm ET