UK | Japan: 34,000 children issued with radiation monitors

Posted on June 15, 2011


UK | TELEGRAPH | 15 Jun 2011

Officials of the Fukushima City Board of Education said that all children between the ages of 4 and 15 will be given dosimeters to carry with them around the clock.

The city is around 40 miles from the nuclear plant, and well outside the 12-mile exclusion zone, but concerned parents have demanded that the city act to protect their children.

“The most important reason we have decided to take this step is to ensure the children’s safety,” the spokesman said. “We also need to collect as much data as possible on radiation levels in the city.”

He admitted that the board had also been swayed by pressure from parents, although radiation levels in Fukushima City are below designated thresholds.

Parents point out, however, that the Japanese government has raised the legal limit for exposure since the plant was devastated by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. Prior to the accident, the annual permissible dose was 1 millisievert per year; that now stands at 20 millisieverts.

After visiting a kindergarten in Fukushima, where parents were helping to scrape a layer of contaminated topsoil off the playground, Kumi Naidoo said the people of the prefecture face a combination of “a radiation catastrophe” and “an information limbo.”

Greenpeace also pointed out that while the Soviet government in 1985 swiftly evacuated anyone living in areas close to the Chernobyl nuclear plant with radiation readings above 5 millisieverts a year, the Japanese government has instead responded by raising its estimation of what is safe to 20 millisieverts.

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