Thursday, March 24, 2011


From the Wall Street Journal.

Levels of radioactivity from Japan's damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex may be above government limits for infants in some areas outside the plant's 20-kilometer evacuation zone, according to the latest estimate to fuel an international debate over how close civilians should be allowed to the plant.

The new estimate, by a state-funded monitoring body, came as fears over Tokyo's tap water eased. Tests Thursday also showed radioactive material in a major plant supplying water to the capital has fallen to below the level the government says could pose long-term health risks to infants. Elevated levels in samples from the plant Tuesday and Wednesday sparked official warnings and bottled-water sales.
But the model showed that areas where cumulative exposure over 12 days reached 100 millisieverts—the government's maximum for infants—extended beyond the evacuation zone. A map based on data from the center showed areas that received a cumulative 100 millisieverts extended as far as about 40 kilometers northeast and south from the plant.

Government officials said the center's estimate doesn't require a larger evacuation, under even the most conservative standards. They said a person would have to have been in the area, and outdoors for the entire time since the March 11 earthquake, to receive that full dose.
Still, the test results demonstrate the uncertainty surrounding the measuring of radioactive emissions from the power plant.
This is an example of a long hard slog getting the plant under control is going to be. 

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