TOKYO, July 4 (AFP) – Soil radiation in a city 60 kilometres (40 miles) from Japan's stricken nuclear plant is above levels that prompted resettlement after the Chernobyl disaster, citizens' groups said Tuesday.
The survey of four locations in Fukushima city, outside the nuclear evacuation zone, showed that all soil samples contained caesium exceeding Japan's legal limit of 10,000 becquerels per kilogram (4,500 per pound), they said.
The highest level was 46,540 becquerels per kilogram, and the three other readings were between 16,290 and 19,220 becquerels per kilogram, they said.
The citizens' groups -- the Fukushima Network for Saving Children from Radiation and five other non-governmental organisations -- have called for the evacuation of pregnant women and children from the town.
The highest reading in the city of 290,000 people far exceeded the level that triggered compulsory resettlement ordered by Soviet authorities following the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster in Ukraine, they said.
Kobe University radiation expert professor Tomoya Yamauchi conducted the survey on June 26 following a request from the groups.
"Soil contamination is spreading in the city," Yamauchi said in a statement. "Children are playing with the soil, meaning they are playing with high levels of radioactive substances. Evacuation must be conducted as soon as possible." […]
Meanwhile Japan's Fukushima city denies radiation danger
TOKYO — Japan's Fukushima city said Wednesday its 300,000 people are safe from radiation from the stricken nuclear plant 60 kilometres (40 miles) away, seeking to allay fears voiced by citizen groups.
"We in Fukushima City currently believe we are not in danger," said a city spokesman... "Of course, we acknowledge that many residents are concerned. The city has taken various measures to reduce radiation levels at schools, parks and other areas in addition to regularly monitoring radiation in the environment."
City authorities have removed top soil from school yards, washed down the walls of school buildings and cleared mud from gutters to protect children from radiation exposure, the city spokesman told AFP. School children will soon receive radiation meters to monitor exposure, he said...
Radiation maps show that the areas worst affected by fallout from the the Fukushima disaster lie to the northwest, where Fukushima City is located, due to wind patterns and geographical features of the region.