Most of the radioactive fallout from the disaster at the Fukushima nuclear plant dropped into the ocean and began circling the planet, Japanese researchers say.
The news comes as Japan is expected to announce its first ban on rice sales in the wake of the nuclear disaster, after samples showed radioactive contamination well above legal limits, officials said.
Up to 80 per cent of the caesium released by the Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant after the March 11 disaster landed in the Pacific and made its way into other oceans around the world, scientists at the Meteorological Research Institute said. "The rest has fallen on land" in and around Fukushima, according to Hiroshi Takahashi, a researcher at the institute in Ibaraki, north-east of Tokyo.
"The results mean that the ocean was more contaminated than land, although recent data have shown that ocean pollution resulting from the accident was well below levels affecting humans," Mt. Takahashi said.
Meanwhile, the rice finding will further worry nervous consumers, already fretting over the safety of domestic produce.
Authorities in Fukushima prefecture say rice produced near the atomic power plant contained caesium measured at 630 becquerels per kilogram. The government safety limit is 500 becquerels.
"We are considering an instruction to restrict shipments of the rice,"
from this area, chief cabinet secretary Osamu Fujimura said.
Canberra Times p13, 18 November 2011