Fukushima Radiation Map

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    A joint survey conducted by the Japanese and U.S. governments has produced a detailed map of ground surface radioactive contamination within an 80-kilometer radius of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant:

    After the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, those living in areas with more than 555,000 becquerels of cesium-137 per square meter were forced to relocate. However, the latest map shows that accumulated radioactivity exceeded this level at some locations outside the official evacuation zones, including the village of Iitate and the town of Namie.

    “I am surprised by the extent of the contamination and the vast area it covers,” said Tetsuji Imanaka, assistant professor of nuclear engineering at the Kyoto University Research Reactor Institute. “This (map) will be useful in planning evacuation zones as well as the decontamination of roads and public facilities.”

    The map confirms in greater detail what was already known: most of the leaked radioactive material went to the northwest, with relatively high amounts reaching areas slightly outside of the 30-kilometer evacuation zone. Iiitate, which is outside the original evacuation zone, yet is covered with a streak of red on the map, is in the process of being evacuated.

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