Geographical distribution of the 134+137Cs precipitation referred to the aircraft monitoring results by the MEXT of Japan on December 16, 2011 . Adapted from ‘Extension Site of Distribution Map of Radiation Dose, etc.’ (http://ramap.jmc.or.jp/map/).
- • FDNPP-derived radiocesium was analyzed in soils along rainfall gradients in Hawai’i.
- • FDNPP-derived Cs was found in amounts larger than suggested by atmospheric models.
- • FDNPP-derived Cs was lower than historic fallout.
- • Detection of 134Cs was limited to areas that received >200 mm rainfall.
- • Areas with detectable 134Cs did not overlap with densely populated areas.
- Department of Geology & Geophysics, University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, 1680 East-West Road, POST 701, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA
- Received 18 August 2017, Revised 2 October 2017, Accepted 7 October 2017, Available online 31 October 2017
Several reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant suffered damage on March 11, 2011, resulting in the release of radiocesium (134Cs and 137Cs), as well as other radionuclides, into the atmosphere. A week later, these isotopes were detected in aerosols over the state of Hawai’i and in milk samples analyzed on the island of Hawai’i. This study estimated the magnitude of cesium deposition in soil, collected in 2015–2016, resulting from atmospheric fallout. It also examined the patterns of cesium wet deposition with precipitation observed on O’ahu and the island of Hawai’i following the disaster. Fukushima-derived fallout was differentiated from historic nuclear weapons testing fallout by the presence of 134Cs and the assumption that the 134Cs to 137Cs ratio was 1:1. Detectable, Fukushima-derived 134Cs inventories ranged from 30 to 630 Bq m−2 and 137Cs inventories ranged from 20 to 2200 Bq m−2. Fukushima-derived cesium inventories in soils were related to precipitation gradients, particularly in areas where rainfall exceeded 200 mm between March 19 and April 4, 2011. This research confirmed and quantified the presence of Fukushima-derived fallout in the state of Hawai’i in amounts higher than predicted by models and observed in the United States mainland, however the activities detected were an order of magnitude lower than fallout associated with historic sources such as the nuclear weapons testing in the Pacific. In addition, this study showed that areas of highest cesium deposition do not overlap with densely populated or agriculturally used areas. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0265931X17306896
STRASBOURG, FRANCE – The European Parliament on Wednesday warned against easing health controls imposed on food products imported from the Fukushima region in the wake of the nuclear meltdowns of 2011.
The checks were imposed on food from the area around the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, which went into meltdown after being hit by massive tsunami, spewing radiation over a wide area in the world’s most serious nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986.
The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, wants to reduce the list of foods subject to radiation tests before they can be imported into the bloc, which currently includes rice, mushrooms, fish and other seafood.
A resolution passed by a large majority of MEPs called on the commission to withdraw its proposal, saying it was “very difficult to verify whether the measures proposed are sufficient” to protect European consumers and there was reason to think it “could lead to an increase in exposure to radioactive contaminated food.
French Green MEP Michele Rivasi said extra vigilance was needed as the EU negotiates a trade deal with Japan.
MEPs criticized the Commission for not providing them with the data used to decide it was acceptable to relax the restrictions.
The matter will be reviewed in the coming weeks by experts appointed by EU member states, ahead of a vote expected in October, a parliament spokesman told AFP.
Officers from the Beijing Food and Drug Administration check imported food at a supermarket on Thursday.
Report finds many e-commerce sites selling potentially unsafe products
The Chinese Foreign Ministry has urged the Japanese government to take more effective measures to handle the environmental aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear disaster and disclose information to ensure marine environmental safety and the safety of people in other countries.
Hua Chunying, spokeswoman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, made the comment on Thursday following exposure by China’s State television station that food products from areas affected by the nuclear disaster in Japan are being sold in China.
China’s top food regulator promised on Thursday to punish such irregularities involving food safety exposed in China Central Television’s annual World Consumer Rights Day program on Wednesday.
“We have demanded local food and drug supervision authorities investigate the irregularities and transfer criminal suspects to public security authorities,” the China Food and Drug Administration said.
Food and drug authorities must strengthen supervision over food safety and severely punish culprits, it said.
Food from areas affected by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster have been sold on many e-commerce platforms in China and in some brick-and-mortar shops, including dairy, cereal, rice and wine, CCTV reported.
Although some of the products had labeling in Japanese that specified manufacturing locations such as Tokyo and Tochigi, they were covered by Chinese labels that only stated the manufacturing location as Japan, the report said.
China has banned the importation of food and animal feed from Tokyo and 11 prefectures, including Fukushima, Niigata-ken and Tochigi, since April 2011 to guard against risks, according to the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine.
Major supermarkets and e-commerce platforms in Beijing started to inspect imported food products following the CCTV report and found no product from any of the 12 areas, Ji Ye, an official at Beijing Food and Drug Administration, said.
The administration is also conducting inspections of food enterprises in Beijing, including MUJI and 7-Eleven, and will recall any product that is imported from the affected areas, he said.
More than 13,000 online shops in China were suspected of selling food from these banned areas, according to the Shenzhen Market and Quality Supervision Commission, CCTV reported.
Law enforcement officers from the commission found nearly 20,000 packages of “Calbee” brand oatmeal, which is from Tochigi, at a company in Shenzhen, the report said.
Some supermarkets, including Japanese brand MUJI, are also suspected of violations, CCTV said.
MUJI said on Thursday that the two kinds of products, a cereal beverage and a muffin, are made in Fukui-ken and Osaka, which are not on the list of imports banned by China’s quality supervision authorities.
Signs at Cold Storage supermarket in 2011 clarifying that food imports are from safe regions in Japan, and are tested by the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore.
TOKYO – Singapore is keeping in place curbs on food imports from Fukushima, which six years ago on Saturday (March 11) was hit by an earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) has told The Straits Times.
This is despite the authority having announced a review on easing curbs in January last year, and Japan’s repeated insistence that its strict food safety standards already exceed international requirements.
Japan’s reconstruction minister Masahiro Imamura had said last month that it was “irrational” to restrict the import of Japanese food products that are sold on the market, lobbying countries and regions to lift their food bans on imports from the disaster-hit regions.
On March 11, 2011, a 9.0-magnitude earthquake struck under the Pacific Ocean at 2.46pm local time (1.46pm in Singapore), triggering a 10m wall of water that ravaged the north-east Japanese coast. It crippled the Fukushima No. 1 power station, causing meltdowns in three of its reactors.
The AVA did not explicitly address the reasons it has opted to retain the curbs, but a spokesman told The Straits Times on Saturday that the authority “periodically reviews food import conditions to ensure food safety for our consumers, without unnecessarily impeding trade”.
Last year’s review came as Agriculture Minister Hiroshi Moriyama requested Singapore ease its restrictions during a meeting with National Development Minister Lawrence Wong. During their talks, Mr Moriyama noted that the European Union had begun to relax its regulations on Japanese food imports.
The AVA banned the import of some food products from 11 prefectures after the incident, but some of these restrictions were lifted in 2014, after “an inspection and comprehensive risk assessment of food from Japan”.
However, curbs on seafood and other produce from several areas remain in place.
Singapore does not allow the import of seafood, agricultural produce and forest products – including wild berries, wild mushrooms and wild boar meat – from areas in Fukushima prefecture where agriculture remains banned, or within a 20km radius of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Meanwhile, seafood and forest-gathered or harvested products from prefectures neighbouring Fukushima – namely Ibaraki, Tochigi and Gunma – still require pre-export tests, the AVA added.
“All food products from Japan still require a certificate of origin to identify the prefecture of origin of the food product,” the AVA spokesman said on Saturday, adding that it will continue to closely monitor food imports from Japan to ensure that they comply with Singapore’s food safety requirements.
She added that current imports from Fukushima prefecture are “insignificant” and accounted for less than 0.1 per cent of total food imports worldwide last year.
Mr Imamura had said last month that 21 countries have lifted the bans while many countries and regions have “significantly relaxed” the restrictions.
He told a news conference: “Japan carries out an inspection of radioactive substances according to the world’s strictest level of standard limits based on scientific evidence. Only foods that have passed the inspection are circulated on the market. Of course, exported foods are subject to the same strict inspection process.”
But the easing of food import curbs from Fukushima remains a deeply political issue in several territories. In Taiwan, a public hearing over whether the territory should ease its ban last December was scuppered by rioting.
Mr Imamura stressed that Japanese standards, which specify general foods containing radioactive substances of 100 becquerel (Bq) or higher per 1 kg should not be sold, “are extremely strict compared to those in the European Union or the United States, or the international Codex standard”.
He said: “Last year, no rice, vegetables and fruits, livestock products, cultivated mushrooms, or seafood products grown in Fukushima prefecture were detected to have exceeded standard limits.”
He added that inspections on rice grown in Fukushima prefecture are done for “all bags of rice, not only samples”, and that in 2015 and 2016, no bags of rice exceeded the standard limit.
As for seafood, no items have exceeded the standard limits since April 2015, he said.
“It is irrational to restrict the import of Japanese food products that are sold on the market, which have passed very strict inspection,” he said. “We would like the authorities in each country and region to see these scientific and objective facts.”