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article imageRadiation in urine found in residents near Fukushima

By Lynn Herrmann     Jun 29, 2011 in Environment
Tokyo - Japan's Fukushima nuclear disaster has taken another bad turn as residents located about 20 miles from the Daiichi nuclear facility now have radiation detected in their urine and one official said it will be "difficult" for people to live in the area.
Around 15 residents in the village of Iitate and in the town of Kawamata, located about 20 miles from the site of the Daiichi nuclear meltdown,, were found to be passing radiation in their urine, with some experts saying there “won’t be a problem” if vegetables are not consumed.
More than 3 millisieverts of radiation was discovered in the residents, it was confirmed this week. Levels of radioactive iodine as high as 3.2 millisieverts were found in six people, with total exposure levels over two months since radiation leaks began measuring between 4.9 and 14.2 millisieverts.
International Business Times (IBT) notes these levels are much higher than estimated 20 millisieverts annual radiation exposure.
Nanao Kamada, a professor of radiation biology at Hiroshima University, said: “This won't be a problem if they don't eat vegetables or other products that are contaminated,”
IBT reports. “But it will be difficult for people to continue living in these areas.” he added.
While noting the two-month internal radiation poisoning levels did not exceed the annual limit, Kamada urged people to leave the area due to the radiation risks. “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.”
At a general shareholder’s meeting on Tuesday, Tokyo Electric Power Co. president Masataka Shimizu stepped down from his position, admitting the company had “lost sight of the good of the customer and of local areas, and there remains a tendency to make moves based solely on the company’s internal logic,” according to the Mainichi Daily News.
The Daiichi nuclear plant has suffered setback after setback, with official reports being belatedly forthcoming. Two months after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami struck northeast Japan, TEPCO finally admitted three of the Daiichi reactors suffered meltdowns within hours of the natural disaster.
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