Rice Grown Near Fukushima Cleared for Sale

Rice grown in some areas within a 30 km radius of the stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant will be cleared for sale this year, but concerns remain. Some samples have tested positive for radiation well above the permitted level.

So far only test farming of rice in the region was allowed.

Fukushima Prefecture on Wednesday said 44 out of 52 sacks of 30-kg rice harvested in Minamisoma, 20 to 30 km from the power plant, likely exceeded the permissible levels of radioactive materials when tested with a conveyer-belt detector.

The prefecture carried out thorough test of the 44 sacks, and detected 120 becquerels of cesium per kilogram, way over the permissible level of 100 becquerels. "It is possible to sell rice that does not exceed the level," said a prefecture official.

Meanwhile, another seven tons of highly radioactive water leaked from the desalination pipe for the water used to cool the nuclear reactor in the troubled plant at around 10 a.m. on Wednesday.

Six out of 11 people who were working on the site were drenched in contaminated water. The Tokyo Electric Power Company said a worker's mistake dislodged a pipe from the desalination device, and radioactive water leaked for about 50 minutes.

The leaked water had beta radiation levels of 34 million becquerels per liter, according to Jiji Press.

englishnews@chosun.com / Oct. 10, 2013 13:32 KST