Clean-up efforts at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant, destroyed by a massive earthquake and tsunami in 2011, have significantly reduced radiation levels but untreated forested areas remain a problem, scientists said Thursday. The disaster, second only to the massive Chernobyl meltdown in 1986, spewed radioactive material over a huge area, with the Japanese authorities targeting 9,000 square kilometres (3,500 square miles) of the most contaminated land for remedial work. This involved scraping off the top five centimetres (two inches) of soil which was found to reduce the most common radiation source of Caesium 137 by about 80 percent, according to a review of studies on the clean-up operation published in the journal Soil. The main concern is that remedial work has only been done on arable and other easily accessible land while forested areas, which account for about three quarters of the contaminated zone, have been left untouched. It is believed these forests will act in effect as radiation reservoirs for years to come as material slowly washes down from them, the scientists said.
Daily Mail 12th Dec 2019 read more »