There’s some sad news from The Land of the Rising Sun today. Fukushima residents now have radioactive urine.
According to The Japan Times, more than 3 millisieverts of radiation were measured in the urine of 15 Fukushima residents of the village of Iitate and the town of Kawamata yesterday. This confirms that internal radiation exposure has occurred.
Millisieverts are a measurement of the amount of radiation dosage received by people.
Both places are about 24 miles from the Fukushima No. 1 power plant. The plant has been releasing radioactive material into the environment since the week of March 11, when an earthquake and tsunami caused core meltdowns.
"This won't be a problem if they don't eat vegetables or other products that are contaminated," said Nanao Kamada, professor emeritus of radiation biology at Hiroshima University. "But it will be difficult for people to continue living in these areas."
Kamada was on a team with doctors which included Osamu Saito of Watari Hospital in the city of Fukushima. They conducted two rounds of tests on each resident in late May; they took urine samples from 15 people between the ages of 4 and 77.
Radioactive cesium was found in both rounds for each resident.
Radioactive iodine was recorded to be as high as 3.2 millisieverts in six people in the initial survey, but in the second round they found none.
The figures show that accumulated external outside exposure was between 4.9 and 13.5 millisieverts, which puts the total between 4.9 to 14.2 millisieverts over a two month period, they said.
"The figures did not exceed the maximum of 20 millisieverts a year, but we want residents to use these results to make decisions (to move)," said Kamada.
However, it is unknown how many residents will actually be able to move.