Ra­dioac­tive soil re­moved from Tokyo park: of­fi­cial

The China Post - - COMMENTARY -

Work­ers have re­moved ra­dioac­tive soil from a Tokyo play­ground where ex­tremely high ra­di­a­tion lev­els had wor­ried lo­cal res­i­dents for days, an of­fi­cial said.

Soil un­der­neath a slide at the park in the north­west of the Ja­panese cap­i­tal showed ra­dia- tion read­ings of up to 480 mi­crosiev­erts per hour.

Any­one di­rectly ex­posed to this level would ab­sorb in two hours the max­i­mum dose of ra­di­a­tion Ja­pan rec­om­mends in a year.

Con­trac­tors dug out soil from the spot on Fri­day, and the ra­di­a­tion read­ing went back to nor­mal, around 0.06 mi­crosiev­erts per hour, ac­cord­ing to lo­cal re­ports.

Work­ers sus­pect the con­tam­i­na­tion was from ra­dium, which is used for med­i­cal tools and a glowin- the- dark paint for watches, re­ports said.

Yukio Takano, the mayor of Tokyo’s Toshima ward where the park was lo­cated, said in a state­ment that the prob­lem that fanned fears for the health of area chil­dren was likely to end soon.

“The amount of ra­di­a­tion has been dramatically re­duced af­ter a test ex­ca­va­tion” of the soil, said the state­ment, re­leased late Fri­day.

The con­tam­i­na­tion came

to light af­ter a lo­cal res­i­dent re­ported it on Mon­day but of­fi­cials say they do not think it is con­nected to the dis­as­ter at Fukushima.

The park was built in 2013, two years af­ter the Fukushima nu­clear cri­sis, a lo­cal of­fi­cial told AFP, on what was pre­vi­ously a park­ing lot for Tokyo’s sanita- tion depart­ment.

Top soil at the lot was re­placed be­fore the land was turned into a park.

Many fam­i­lies in eastern Ja­pan con­tinue to sur­vey the lev­els of ra­dioac­tive con­tam­i­na­tion around their houses, dis­trust­ful of gov­ern­ment as­sur­ances that most places were not af­fected by the Fukushima melt­down.

Such ef­forts have led some peo­ple to dis­cover ra­dioac­tive ma­te­ri­als that have been dumped in their neigh­bor­hoods.

Months af­ter the Fukushima cri­sis started in 2011, of­fi­cials found bot­tles of ra­dium dis­carded un­der a pri­vate house and a su­per­mar­ket in Tokyo.

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