Greenpeace statement on radioactivity levels in Japan’s food and water

Press release - 23 March, 2011
Tokyo, 23 March 2011: Greenpeace responded today to reports of increased radiation in food from areas surrounding the Fukushima/Daiichi nuclear plant, and the detection of radioactivity in the Tokyo water supply by calling for more effective protection of public health an immediate and transparent availability of information.

“This alarming rise in reports of radioactive contamination in Japan’s food chain and water supply once again demonstrates that the government’s constant reassurances and downplaying of the Fukushima nuclear crisis and risks public health are at best unreliable,” said Greenpeace energy campaigner Dr Rianne Teule.”

“A few days ago, Tokyo Metropolitan Government stated that radiation levels had decreased in the city, yet today warns that babies should not be given Tokyo tap water. The authorities may be trying to brave about the current crisis by trying to avoid causing panic, but are they risking people’s health in the process?”

“The Fukushima disaster once more demonstrates that it is impossible to guarantee public safety in the event of nuclear accident”, continued Teule. “Over the last two weeks, we’ve had inconsistent and unclear information from Japanese authorities, and often contradictory advice from international nuclear regulators.”

“Any attempt to throw the nuclear industry a climate change lifeline in the wake of the Fukushima crisis is a dangerous deceit. The only smart response to this nuclear wake up call would be for governments around the world would be to heavily invest in energy efficiency and to redouble their efforts to harness safe and secure renewable energy sources.”

ENDS

For further info:

Greenpeace International Press Desk Hotline +31 (0) 20 7182470

Rianne Teule, Greenpeace International Energy Campaigner: +31(0) 650 640 961

Notes:

Tests carried by the Tokyo metropolitan government found 210 becquerels of iodine-131 per 1 liter of tap water in the city, more than twice the limit of 100 becquerels considered safe for: babies. Tokyo Metropolitan Government statement.

The Japanese authorities have started reporting on the contamination levels found in 11 different vegetables. In many vegetables, such as broccoli and cabbage, from the Fukushima prefecture - the most contaminated area, the radioactivity levels exceeded safety limits set by the Ministry of Food and Safety. In Motomiya, 50 km East of the plant, the Ceasium-137 concentration in ''kukitachina'' leaves was detected to be 82,000 becquerels per kilogram, 164 times the limit. Government called on consumers not to eat the 11 vegetables and food exports from the contaminated areas have been banned. Ministry of Food and Safety statement

An updated Greenpeace briefing on radiation and health can be found here.