FUKUSHIMA, Japan (Kyodo) — A dairy farm near the disaster-struck Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in northeastern Japan began shipping raw milk again on Tuesday.
It was the first milk shipped for processing and public sale from an area previously designated for evacuation following the March 2011 nuclear disaster at the seaside plant in Fukushima Prefecture, according to the prefectural government.
Milk produced at the farm in the Naraha district had been checked for radioactive cesium every week from last May to December, with no reading ever surpassing the government-set limit of 50 becquerels per kilogram. In fact, the readings were below the testing equipment detection limit.
Around 400 kg of raw milk from 18 cows was shipped Tuesday.
“We were able to start operating this farm again with the support of so many people,” said farm head Hiroaki Hiruta, 48. “I want to pay a debt of gratitude by making good milk.”
Following the disaster, in which a massive amount of radioactive material was spewed into the air and sea, the central government banned milk shipments from the area in March 2011. Restrictions were lifted last December for the area where Hiruta’s farm is located.
Similar restrictions are still in place for eight other districts, including the towns of Okuma and Futaba where the nuclear power station is located.