Rice grown near crippled Fukushima nuclear plant served to govt officials

Rice grown near crippled Fukushima nuclear plant served to govt officials

Rice from fields in the Fukushima prefecture, evacuated after the worst nuclear disaster in Japan, will be served to government officials for 9 days in a bid to demonstrate the safety of the country’s most-beloved crop, a local broadcaster reported.

  The rice cultivated in several decontaminated fields in the  Yamakiya District in Kawamata Town and Iitate Village, two areas  designated as evacuation zones after the March 2011 nuclear  catastrophe, will be served in a government office in Tokyo from  Monday.

  Over half a ton (540 kilograms) of rice will be part of a test to  prove the effectiveness of the decontamination process. Officials  from the Fukushima prefecture have given assurances that the rice  contains no radioactive substances.

  The rice balls tasted especially good after the great effort put  into cultivating the crop, said Senior Vice Environment Minister  Shinji Inoue on Monday. Parliamentary Vice Environment Minister  Tomoko Ukishima also joined the tasting.

  A farmer from Kawamata Town told NHK that he will continue to  cultivate the rice now that he knows it tastes good. Because the  zone was evacuated after the nuclear crisis, he said that he had  traveled from his temporary home to the paddy fields to tend the  crops.

  Some 160,000 people escaped the vicinity of the Fukushima Daiichi  nuclear plant after an earthquake in March 2011 triggered a  tsunami that hit Japan’s coast, damaging the plant’s three  nuclear reactors. The catastrophe that hit Fukushima became the  world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.

  Several months after the accident at the power plant in November  2011, samples of rice grown in Onami town in Fukushima Prefecture  showed radioactive contamination above the safety limit. The  grain contained caesium – a radioactive isotope – that was  measured at 630 becquerels per kilogram, while the government-set  safety limit is 500 becquerels.

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