MOSCOW, April 18 (RIA Novosti) – Radiation levels in the areas surrounding the quake-hit Fukushima nuclear power plant have dropped, but still exceed the long-term target of the Japanese government, according to a report issued by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry on Friday.
The report, quoted by the Asahi Shumbun daily newspaper, says that Fukushima evacuees will receive radiation doses from 0.7 to 3 millisieverts per year after they return to their homes, following the lift of an evacuation order in surrounding areas earlier this month.
Employees of the forest industry living in Tamura city, Miyakoji district, will be exposed to 2.3 millisieverts of radiation per year, while teachers will receive from 0.9 to 1.2 millisieverts and farmers will receive only 0.7 millisieverts annually. Citizens of Kawauchi, where the evacuation order might be lifted in July, are risking even more as radiation levels there amount to 3 millisieverts a year.
The Japanese government earlier said it is determined to bring radiation levels in Fukushima Prefecture down to 1 millisievert or less. Meanwhile, people have been allowed to return to their homes in areas where the radiation levels have dropped to at least 20 millisieverts.
At the request of evacuees, Japan’s National Institute of Radiological Sciences and the Japan Atomic Energy Agency were asked to measure air dosage rates and individual radiation doses in Fukushima’s three major cities: Tamura, Kawauchi and Iitate. The midterm report was prepared last October, but was withheld by the government and only released today after numerous inquiries from Japanese media and the victims of Fukushima disaster.
Last August saw the worst radioactive water leak at the crippled Fukushima plant since the 2011 disaster, after 300 tons of water with strontium levels equaling 80 million becquerels per liter leaked from a storage reservoir into the Pacific Ocean. The leak was then classified as a level three incident on the International Nuclear Event Scale.
In March 2011, Japan was hit by a massive magnitude 9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami, claiming more than 15,000 lives and causing a number of explosions at the Fukushima plant. In what has been dubbed the world's worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl, three of the plant’s reactors underwent a partial meltdown as radiation leaked into the atmosphere, soil and seawater.