Radiation hotspots challenge Japanese response to nuclear crisis

Far-flung areas of contamination add to cleanup stress

More than three months after Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant was rocked by an earthquake and tsunami, triggering a nuclear crisis, workers are finding “hotspots” of nuclear contamination that are relatively distant from the site, adding to the stress of cleanup. Fukushima is thought to have released only 15 per cent of the radiation of the Chernobyl disaster, Reuters reports, but the government’s software modelling system—designed to predict where radiation would drift—didn’t create an accurate picture of contamination. Officials have now promised a detailed survey of the evacuated area by October, and since last week, local governments have been helping provide daily reports of contamination. Public schools around Fukushima have been equipped with dosimeters, and teachers have been asked to record hourly radiation readings to make a contamination map. Even so, many observers say more can be done.


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