Friday, August 26, 2011

#Radioactive Rice in Chiba and Ibaraki, but Not in Fukushima

Not to the extent that may cause "chaos" as Professor Kosako predicted, but the prefectural authorities have tested the early harvest and radioactive cesium has been found in Ibaraki and Chiba.

The first to find radioactive rice was Ibaraki Prefecture, but the governor vows to fight the "baseless rumor" to promote rice from his prefecture.

From Sankei Shinbun (8/19/2011):


As the brown rice grown in Hokota City in Ibaraki Prefecture was found with radioactive cesium, Governor of Ibaraki Masaru Hashimoto answered the reporters on August 19 and said "There is no problem with safety. After the formal testing is complete by the end of August, we will persuade the consumers that there's nothing to worry about consuming Ibaraki rice", and that he will do his best to counter the "baseless rumor".


Governor Hashimoto emphasized safety by saying "It is not the level to worry, even if you eat [the rice] for one whole year". At the same time, he said "Since radioactive cesium has been detected in vegetables, I wouldn't have been surprised to see it detected in rice".


Radioactive cesium was detected in the brown rice in the preliminary testing. Total 52 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium was found, with 23 becquerels/kg of cesium-134 and 29 becquerels/kg of cesium-137. The amount was far below the national provisional safety limit (500 becquerels/kg total radioactive cesium).

Governor Hashimoto is a former career bureaucrat and a graduate of Tokyo University.

Next to detect cesium in rice was Chiba.

From Mainichi Shinbun (8/26/2011):


Chiba Prefecture announced on August 25 that 47 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium was found in the mochi-rice (glutinous rice) grown in Shirai City in Chiba Prefecture in the preliminary test before the harvest to survey the effect of radioactive materials from the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant accident. The amount of radioactive cesium was far below the national provisional safety limit (500 becquerels/kg). It is the second case of radioactive cesium detection in the country, the first one being in Hokota City in Ibaraki Prefecture.


According to the division for safe agriculture promotion in Chiba prefectural government, the brown rice taken at two locations within Shirai City on August 22 was tested. From one location, 47 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium was detected, with cesium 134 22 becquerels/kg and cesium-137 25 becquerels/kg. The prefectural government plans to conduct the full survey on the brown rice after the harvest by the end of August, and if the rice tests under the provisional safety limit it will be allowed to be shipped.

But in Fukushima, hardly any radioactive cesium was detected in the early harvest rice.

From Yomiuri Shinbun (8/26/2011):


Fukushima Prefecture announced on August 26 the test results of the early-harvest rice harvested in a location in Nihonmatsu City, two locations in Motomiya City, and one location in Koriyama City.


From the location in Nihonmatsu City, 22 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium was found. No radioactive cesium was detected in all the other locations. Based on the results, the prefectural government has allowed the rice harvested in these locations, except for one in Motomiya City, to be shipped. It will be the first shipment of rice from Fukushima after the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant accident.


According to Fukushima Prefecture, two types of early-harvest rice harvested on August 25 and 26 were tested. When the rice in the Nihonmatsu City location was milled, no radioactive materials were detected. As to the location in Motomiya City (Arai-mura), the testing was done on all rice fields. If the results show the level of radioactive cesium is less than the provisional safety limit, the rice will be allowed to be shipped.

These cities are located in "Naka-dori" (middle third) of Fukushima Prefecture where highly radioactive rice hay has been found. 500,000 becquerels/kg of cesium was found in rice hay in Koriyama City, and in Motomiya City, 57 kilometers west of Fukushima I Nuke Plant, the number was even higher at 690,000 becquerels/kg.

For your reference,

  • Fukushima's radioactive cesium detection limit, according to the prefecture: 10 becquerels/kg

  • Radioactive cesium (cesium-137) in rice in Fukushima before the accident: ND to 0.14 becquerels/kg, after milling

  • Radioactive cesium (cesium-137) in rice in Chiba before the accident: ND, after milling

  • Radioactive cesium (cesium-137) in rice in Ibaraki before the accident: ND to 0.045 becquerel/kg, after milling

    (source data for radioactive cesium in rice in Fukushima, Chiba, Ibaraki from Japan Chemical Analysis Center, from 2000 to 2009)


Anonymous said...

Where there's cesium, there's strontium, and other nasty things. How much strontium in the rice? Did they test for uranium, plutonium etc?

Anonymous said...

So did they choose to under report radiation levels because they'd rather lie than face 'chaos'?

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

@anon 12:31PM,

Short answer: No.

Long answer: No, because they say there are not enough labs that can test strontium, plutonium, etc, because these nuclides are much harder to detect. blah blah blah.

@anon 12:33PM, or very carefully picked locations. It is possible that one rice paddy may test clean but the paddy right next to it could be contaminated. Or even within the same paddy. As Prof. Kodama said, it is not viable to test only at the producers' end and tell the consumers to trust the testing, because they won't.

Anonymous said...

this article speaks to the scientific proof of how much radiation is REALLY being released, share with friends who seek the truth

Atomfritz said...

Maybe rice is an excellent radiation separator?
If so, this deserves dedicated research.

Anonymous said...

To Atomfritz,

The reading I've done indicates that rice, along with other grain crops, do take up cesium rather well. Note that they are saying cattle became radioactive from eating radioactive rice hay - so that assumes rice hay does not resist radiation.

Furthermore, this article suggests that Japan is now searching for strains of rice that resist absorption of radiation: "Japanese Researchers Trying to Find Rice Varieties that Absorb Less Cesium from the Soil"

Note that the article begins with one word: Grim

horrified said...

I expected higher levels. Perhaps the rice plant has higher concentrations of cesium in the leaves than the grain/seed.

If so, then the concern will be not so much eating the rice grain, but the subsequent traditional burning of the rice stalks that comes after harvest.

And, of course, feeding the cattle the contaminated straw is also a concern.

Anonymous said...

more environmental destruction accepted across the board, yum yum cesium

Anonymous said...

Internal exposure being far more dangerous than external exposure.

Good to remind yourself that that is what these minimizers are operating on.

"because these nuclides are much harder to detect. blah blah blah."

To prove they're not that much harder, this detector can identify specific isotopes, ,


A little pricey, like ten grand.

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