News of the WeekJapan

Exposure Levels Tracked Around Nuclear Accident

Science  19 May 2000:
Vol. 288, Issue 5469, pp. 1153
DOI: 10.1126/science.288.5469.1153a

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TOKYO-- More than 6 hours passed before the Japanese government set up radiation monitoring equipment at the scene of a nuclear accident last fall, leaving a critical gap in the record of the amounts and types of radiation released in the accident 110 kilometers northeast of the capital. That gap has now been filled by a group of Japanese university researchers, whose results appear this week in a special issue of the Journal of Environmental Radioactivity. In 21 reports, the team has reconstructed the aftermath of the accident by collecting over 400 samples of irradiated table salt, sugar, stainless steel cutlery, coins, and gold and silver jewelry.