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Thursday, Oct. 20, 2011
Radiation map gives close-up fallout readings
The science ministry said Wednesday it has posted a radiation map that visitors to its website can enlarge to see to what extent their neighborhoods had been contaminated by fallout from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.
The website, http://ramap.jaea.go.jp/map/, launched by the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry is now available in Japanese only.
The map shows measurements of radiation and radioactive cesium taken from aircraft in 10 prefectures, including Tokyo and Fukushima, between April and September. It also includes data the ministry collected from soil samples at around 2,200 sites in Fukushima Prefecture and radiation levels within a 100-km radius of the power plant.
Roads, schools and other public facilities such as city halls are visible on the 1-to-12,500 scale map, in which 1 cm is equivalent to 125 meters. Areas with the highest radiation level, over 19.0 microsieverts per hour, are colored in red, while dark blue indicates the lowest level, no more than 0.1 microsievert per hour.
Users can also locate sites, such as police boxes and post offices, by typing in their names.
According to aerial measurements taken on Sept. 14-18, the Imperial Palace is covered in dark blue, indicating the lowest radiation level. In contrast, a post office in Namie, Fukushima Prefecture, is colored red, based on measurements taken from May 31 to June 24.
"We are providing the public with the information in a way that anyone can view," said Hirotaka Oku, a ministry official. "It would be appropriate for people to refer to this and consider the best way to avoid exposure to radiation."