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Radioactive caesium and iodine have been discovered in the urine of 15 residents in Iitate and Kawamata, two locations hit hardest in mid-March by fallout from the damaged nuclear plant at Fukushima, 35 to 40 kilometres away.
Japanese researchers have found radiation in all 15 people tested last month from the area near the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Kamada found iodine-131 at doses up to 3.2 millisieverts in six people in the first round of tests, but none in the second. Half of any given amount of radioactive iodine decays away every 8 days, so it's possible most of it had disappeared by the end of May.
Kamada also found contamination from radioactive caesium in all the Fukushima samples. This brought the doses experienced over about two months to between 4.9 and 14.2 millisieverts.
But he expressed surprise that iodine was found, as it should have decayed by a factor of 50 by early May.
Meanwhile, the Fukushima prefectural government approved a plan on Friday to issue personal dosimeters to 280,000 children and 20,000 pregnant women in Fukushima. Ten dosimeters will also be installed in each of the 500 elementary schools in the prefecture, reports the Asahi Shimbun.
He said that although the radiation was considerably higher than typical annual natural doses of around 1 millisievert, the levels shouldn't pose too much of a hazard provided the amounts begin to fall in coming months.
"These sort of levels pose a pretty small additional risk," he says.
Situation Update No. 138 On 30.06.2011 at 11:23 GMT+2 A small amount of radioactive substances was found from urine samples of all of 10 children in Fukushima surveyed by a Japanese civic association and a French nongovernmental organization, the groups said Thursday. David Boilley, president of the Acro radioactivity measuring body, told a news conference in Tokyo that the survey on 10 boys and girls aged between 6 and 16 in Fukushima city suggested there was a high possibility that children in and near the city had been exposed to radiation internally. The highest levels found by the survey were 1.13 becquerels of radioactive cesium-134 per 1 litre of urine from an 8-year-old girl, and 1.30 becquerels of cesium-137 in a 7-year-old boy. The city is located 60 kilometres north-west of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station, which has been leaking radiaoactive material into the environment since it was hit by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. The radiation levels detected did not represent an immediate risk to health, but those two isotopes of cesium have half-lives of two and 30 years respectively, raising concerns about the long-term contamination of the environment and locally grown foodstuffs.