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Cesium level down to quarter on sea floor off Ibaraki: study.

TOKYO, Sept. 6 Kyodo

The first sequential study of cesium concentration on the sea floor off Ibaraki Prefecture has found the level of the radioactive element in coastal areas dropped to about a quarter about 13 kilometers off shore.

The study by researchers from the University of Tokyo's Institute of Industrial Science and others measured the level of radioactive cesium, believed to have leaked from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant hit by the March 2011 accident, in a sequential manner on ocean floors starting from coastal areas off Ibaraki and Fukushima prefectures, the researchers said.

So far, cesium levels have been measured sporadically at spots ranging from several kilometers to dozens of kilometers from the shore. But capturing changing levels in sequence is hoped to pave the way for understanding variations in distribution patterns due to typhoons and sea currents as well as discovering hot spots with excessively high levels of radioactive cesium.

"It will be a tool to study how radioactive materials that have accumulated on ocean floors would affect sea creatures," said Tamaki Ura, professor at the university. "Measures cannot be drafted without the data. The government should conduct the research systemically," he said.

Ura and colleagues carried out the research in mid-August off the cities of Kitaibaraki in Ibaraki Prefecture and Iwaki in Fukushima Prefecture. The team took measurement by dragging a measuring device by boat after submerging it to a depth of 85-140 meters.

In waters off Kitaibaraki, the level of radioactive cesium that stood at about 200 becquerels per kilogram near the shore shrank to a quarter 13 km offshore.
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Publication:Japan Energy Scan
Date:Sep 10, 2012
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