Vegetables in northern coastal areas have been found to contain iodine-131, the Atomic Energy Council (AEC) said yesterday.
The council sampled vegetables grown in the region after finding iodine-131 in grass and leaves in the area on Wednesday. The council said the radiation fell in rain on Sunday and Monday.
Iodine-131 has a radioactive half life of about eight days.
The council said in a statement that it randomly sampled several vegetables grown in northern coastal areas yesterday, including gynura bicolors, Brazilian fireweeds and cherry belle radishes.
“The unwashed Brazilian fireweeds were the only vegetable found to contain radiation,” the council said. “The sample contains iodine-131 of 2.49Bq per kg, which is far lower than the government standard of 300Bq per kg.”
The council added that it detected no iodine-131 in the Brazilian fireweeds after they were washed.
The council said a person would accumulate 2 microsieverts of radiation if they consumed unwashed Brazilian fireweed for a year. It said a chest X-ray delivers 20 microsieverts, so a person would have to eat radiation-contaminated Brazilian fireweed for 10 years to ingest the same amount.
As there is concern that the nation’s reservoirs might be contaminated by radiation from Japan’s Fukushima Dai-chi Nuclear Power Plant, the council said the Water Resources Agency is closely monitoring water quality.
The AEC said it will meet officials at the Central Personnel Office to discuss the possibility of canceling work and classes if radiation level hits 2 microsieverts per hour.
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