Radiation Up To 4 Times Higher Than Chernobyl Evac Zone Found In Soil 30 km Away From Fukushima; Rice Harvest In Question

Tyler Durden's picture

And some more bad news for rice farmers in Japan, who were already told that planting of this key crop would be banned in contaminated soil ahead of the rice planting season which begins in April and May. The problem so far has been the nobody really knows how to classify contaminated soil, and how far it spreads. Now a new study from Hiroshima and Kyoto Universities has found that the radioactive content of soil samples beyond the 30 km semi-evacuation zone is as much as 400 times the normal. From Asahi: "The predicted changes in the level of radiation at the ground surface were calculated after analyzing the amounts of eight kinds of radioactive materials found in the soil and taking into consideration the half-lives of each material. The study results are considered more accurate than the study conducted by the science ministry, which only released information concerning two types of radioactive material. [Scholars] collected soil samples from five locations in the village at depths of five centimeters. All the locations were outside the 30-km radius and were by roadways in various hamlets. The study found cesium-137 at levels between about 590,000 and 2.19 million becquerels per cubic meter." Comparing this to Chernobyl: "After the Chernobyl nuclear accident in the former Soviet Union in 1986, residents who lived in areas where cesium-137 levels exceeded 555,000 becquerels were forced to move elsewhere. The amounts of cesium-137 found in Iitate were at most four times the figure from Chernobyl." Which begs the questions: just who will be allowed to plant rice, who will have faith that the rice they are eating is not contaminated, and how soon before rice prices surge? And how long before the fully impaired disaster zone, which could possibly spread as far as 50 km away from Fukushima, be told about the inherent risks to their lives?

From Asahi:

If more radioactive materials are emitted from the crippled Fukushima plant, the level of cesium-137 could rise even further.

Calculations were also made of changes in the radiation level in the air one meter above contaminated ground over a three-month period from March 15, when an explosion occurred at the Fukushima plant.

The study found that even after three months there would be between 7 and 21 microsieverts per hour being emitted from the contaminated soil into the air.

If an individual remained outdoors for the entire three-month period, the person would be exposed to between 30 and 95 millisieverts over the period.

Assuming the cesium remains in the soil, the accumulated level of radiation after one year could be between about 70 and 220 millisieverts.

The central government is considering using an accumulated radiation exposure figure of 20 millisieverts over the course of a year as one indicator of whether an evacuation instruction should be issued.

The cesium-137 could move or be washed away by rain and wind, so there is the possibility that the actual accumulated radiation exposure figure could fall below the study's estimates.

Studies by the science ministry have found that contamination of the soil by radiation does not spread out in concentric circles, but is more irregular due to wind direction and other factors.

And more on the critical rice harvest from the AP:

Vegetables and milk were the first foods that sparked concerns about the safety of Japanese agriculture after the March 11 tsunami flooded the nuclear plant and its reactors began to overheat and spew radiation. But those worries intensified when highly radioactive water was spotted gushing from the complex into the Pacific and contaminated fish showed up in catches.

Those concerns have abated somewhat after the leak was plugged and bans on produce from some areas were lifted.

But rice has now come under the microscope as the planting season begins in April and May.

"We had to come up with a policy quickly because we are in planting season," said Agriculture Minister Michihiko Kano, who announced the ban Friday.

The ban will apply to any soil found to contain high levels of radioactive cesium, and farmers who cannot grow rice will be compensated. Rice grown in uncontaminated soil will be screened.

Yoshiyuki Ueda, a 47-year-old rice farmer from the town of Futaba, where the damaged nuclear plant is located, said he had already given up on trying to plant this year's crop because of radiation fears.

"The ground is ruined," Ueda said. "I think it will be a long time until things return to normal."

We wonder how long before the rice HFT crew processes this information and bangs the rice close limit up for several consecutive sessions.

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Yield2Greatness's picture

For many in such areas, they eat what they grow.  Grow nothing = eat nothing.

Hugh G Rection's picture

Haven't you heard about plastic rice?  Natural rice is a barbarous relic.

idea_hamster's picture

Unlike most of what ZH posts, I think this rice thing may be a non-story.

Japan already imports tons and tons of rice as a penalty from the WTO for their unapologetic support of their domestic rice farmers. 

Previously, they generally just let that imported rice rot -- now, they may eat it. 

Can't see a big net change in the markets.


Fish Gone Bad's picture

It is interesting to note how bad people admit this meltdown is.  There has been plutonium ejected from the core, as well as an exposed core spewing out radioactive products.  There is no staging going on, so there is no plan in place to fix this mess.  Chernobyl was bad.  This will make Chernobyl actually look "not that bad".  This is may very well end up being the absolute worst disaster ever.  Time will tell.

TruthInSunshine's picture

Japan may raise nuke accident severity level to highest 7 from 5

Japan May Raise Nuke Accident Severity Level

NIKKEI.com - 1 hour ago
The disclosure prompted the government to consider raising the accident's severity level to 7, the worst on an international scale, from the current 5,


BobPaulson's picture

Exactly. Agriculture accounts for only 5% of the world economic activity, so we could eliminate all farms and still have 95% of our GDP rolling along fine. On top of that, clean water is only sold as a commodity in a minute fraction of the economy, so the importance of clean water is highly overrated tree huggers who don't understand economics.

Meatier Shower's picture

Now that is double-plus good.

Dionysus's picture

Haha, best comment ever.

Jendrzejczyk's picture

And a golf clap for you kind sir!

msamour's picture

So of the 95% of GDP, what would you suggest you eat if you get rid of all the farms? From what I remember from biology, we can't digest paper.

tmosley's picture

Uhhh, pretty sure subsistence farming isn't exactly the norm in technological superpower Japan.

sabra1's picture

plastic rice is great, after you poop it out, it can be resold!

jus_lite_reading's picture

THANK YOU!!!!! They knew this all along and that's the problem. They hid the evidence because of money and the factories that are in the area. That is what they care about.


AND A French research group said now radiation in the EU is no longer "negligible"!


Yup! Better buy a greenohouse and grow your own shit!

SheepDog-One's picture

Trickle down effect to Apple with no parts for China assembly. Toyota closing US and UK plants. Nissan and Honda and others sure to follow. OH but the CNBC geniuses 'priced it in' first day though Im sure.

jus_lite_reading's picture

NIssan and honda have already closed their UK plants!

trav7777's picture

what are you going to water it with?

OldPhart's picture

Interestingly, the west coast got the brunt of fall out after the passage across the Pacific.  But we hear very little about radiation effects.  Yet, clear across the US and the Atlantic, the French are getting high doses?

What aren't our owners, and our nannies, telling us?

Thorlyx's picture

No shit ? That's a big surprise.

carbonmutant's picture

Market is selling off...

3 to 1 negative.

SheepDog-One's picture

My goodness...well its certainly 'priced in' I'm sure!

Truthiness's picture

I really feel for these people. The psychological toll must be horrendous :(

carbonmutant's picture

That reminds me I need to buy some more Koshihikari.

Thorlyx's picture

can anyone say if fuck-u-shima is still releasing airborne radioactive particles, or is all the shit in the water?

Maxter's picture

Latest satellite picture I saw had steam coming out of 2 to 3 reactors.  This mean release of radioactive particle.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

These photos from behind the Fukushima plant show you how high the water was. These are official TEPCO images found on their web site. Simply amazing and they say it all, including why they are in such trouble. The entire site was completely flooded. It doesn't say if this was even taken during the peak of the flood.


Before the tsunami on March 11.



During the tsunami on March 11, 2011


trav7777's picture

incredible...probably will find out that the fatal misstep was to engage diesel immediately upon loss of landline power.  At that point, they were still underwater.

Had they manually overridden and waited like 30m or whatever, the water'd have cleared and the generators would not have inhaled it and died.

Then again, it looks like 5-6 feet of water that high up on a hill wtf.  All the electronics may have been drowned, who knows.

sabra1's picture

or. the hot dogs are ready!

truont's picture

Yoshiyuki Ueda, a 47-year-old rice farmer from the town of Futaba, where the damaged nuclear plant is located, said he had already given up on trying to plant this year's crop because of radiation fears.

Yoshiyuki-San, focking get a clue.  All signs point to "Get lost".

You were considering going back home to plant crops next to Chernobyl^2?

A Man without Qualities's picture

The problem is, the half-life of many isotopes is to long, you simply can't wait until it's cleared up, but rather the longer you wait, the further into the soil the material has seeped.  This was what drove the Soviet decision, given the area covered, there was no way to remove that much topsoil.  

This is a significant area of arable land in a nation which doesn't have that much to spare.


Bruno the Bear's picture

Don't follow the white light!


Don't eat yellow snow!


Don't eat rice that glows in the dark!


So many rules nowadays.

Cleanclog's picture

Japanese don't deserve all these difficulties and ongoing earthquakes and continued radiation.  

But, everyone who said this would all be back to normal lickety-split, and will hardly affect Japanese GDP - they're all so full of shit!  Even the GDP predictions of reduced 3% are way too low.  Have you seen pictures? There is no way that this is just a little bump/blip.

Enough already with saying what you hope instead of actually sharing reality. Or just promoting your own positions. 

Thorlyx's picture

"Japanese don't deserve all these difficulties and ongoing earthquakes and continued radiation."


Karma is a bitch and one with long memory

tmosley's picture

Right, bad things happen because your grandparents existed in a place that had a government that did bad things.

Nice one.

PenGun's picture

 Everyone gets exactly what they deserve.

zerozulu's picture

Yellowstone was last time erupted like 2 million years ago.

Bastiat's picture

Yeah? Then things don't look so good for the USA.

d_senti's picture

"Karma" supposedly affects people on an individual level. Unless the modern Japanese are the reincarnation of the Japanese soldiers in Nanking (strange how reincarnation only sticks to one nationality like that), you're an idiot.

Muir's picture



"Or just promoting your own positions."


Ahhh, hmmm....




-The Zero Hedge Conflicts/"Full Disclosure" Policy



You should assume that at all times we are so totally just talking our book it would shock and awe you like the unexpected, early-morning arrival of a cluster of BGM-109C Tomahawks (were you a believer in the importance of "optics" that is).

If we make a off-hand remark about New Zealand sheep herders it's because we are long New Zealand West Island Cold Kut (NZ-WICK) Wool futures and Kiwi brand Condoms ("For it's pleasure").  If we are joking around about Cliff Asness, it's because we have developed a synthetic short of ARQ.  If we jest about Joe Sixpack, it's because we are trying to hype our cheap-American-beer holdings so we can exit quickly.  Basically, we are telling you about a position we believe in strongly enough to invest in.



idle muesli's picture

Japanese don't deserve all these difficulties and ongoing earthquakes and continued radiation. 


The Japanese people surely don't deserve all this.  That said, these problems were home-made, and somebody's fault.

When the media will not interview nationally famous politicians who say nuclear power plants are a disaster waiting to happen, and professors who resign from government nuclear power plant oversight boards in protest of the lax standards are also ignored, it was not an unavoidable disaster, but one deliberately created with malice aforethought by TEPCO and the politicians and media channels TEPCO had bought.

I hope that the coming years and devastation will allow them to be prosecuted with the full force of the law, and complete ostracisation.

Cone of Uncertainty's picture

How long before we start seeing geiger counters attached to the shopping carts at the super markets and at checkouts?

Quality control bitches.

PolishHammer's picture

Next version of iPhone in addition to thermometer, GPS and gyro will feature geiger counter.  It will be a bestseller in Japan and increase GDP.

Thorlyx's picture

I am quite sure the BoJ will print some rice after they are done bailing out the nikkei and Tepco.

Conrad Murray's picture

Good thing not many people eat rice. Otherwise, this could cause some unrest.

Fenlander's picture


Sounds bad.  Very bad for the people who live there and agricultural livelihoods.  I feel for them and am glad it is not me suffering their losses of loved ones, homes and income.


Does anyone know of some reliable data or websites concerning radiation released by airblast nuclear weapons, specifically  of the sort dropped at Hiroshima and Nagasaki?  It seems to me that Japan got over those, but how long did it take, and were the amounts of radiation released comparable to Fukushima?  Larger?  Smaller?  Different?


Truthiness's picture

Actually wouldn't be surprised one bit if the long term damage to GDP is significant. Farming/fishing villages bore most of the brunt; yes, it will take time to restore supply chaings, but they'll allocate steady power supply to industry and productive geographies. The irradiated areas will just fall off the map...(although they will continue to glow a bit in the dark)