Tsuyoshi Inajima and Yuji Okada
Aug 24, 2011
Japan will more than triple the number of regions it checks for airborne radiation as more contaminated “hot spots” are discovered far from Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s crippled Fukushima nuclear power station.
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
The government said it will increase radiation monitoring by helicopter to 22 prefectures from the six closest to the plant, which began spewing radiation after an earthquake and tsunami struck the station in March. The plan comes after radioactive waste more than double the regulatory limit was found 200 kilometers (125 miles) from the plant this week.
Authorities have refused to give a cumulative figure for radiation released from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant after estimating in June that fallout in the six days following the quake was equal to 15 percent of total radiation released in the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986. The authorities have been too slow to widen airborne radiation testing, said Tetsuo Ito, the head of Kinki University’s Atomic Energy Research Institute in Osaka.
“The government should have expanded the monitoring area by helicopters much earlier to ease concerns among the public,” Ito said in a telephone interview yesterday.