May 01 — Relatively high levels of radioactive cesium have been detected in the sludge from a waste water treatment plant in Koriyama City, Fukushima Prefecture.
The prefectural government is tracking some of the sludge that has been shipped out of the prefecture to be used in making cement.
The prefecture’s investigation found that the sludge contained 26,400 becquerels of radioactive cesium per kilogram.
The solidified slag made from it contained 334,000 becquerels per kilogram, which is 1,300 times the level before the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
The prefecture says rain likely washed radioactive substances from the surface of the ground into the sewer, and they became concentrated through processing.
The sludge from the facility is transported out of the prefecture and used to produce cement.
The prefectural government will suspend the recycling and track the sludge that has been shipped since the accident to determine how it has been used.
The land and transport ministry says it will report the incident to the Nuclear Safety Agency, and coordinate with the Environment Ministry and other relevant organizations to find ways to process the sludge safely. The sludge must be kept at the facility until a solution is found.
The ministry says there is no precedent for this, but that it will decide soon what to do.
Sunday, May 01, 2011 23:20 +0900 (JST)