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Radioactive ash found in Tokyo sewage plant: reports

by Staff Writers
Tokyo (AFP) May 14, 2011
A highly radioactive substance was detected in ash from an incinerator at a sewage works in Tokyo in late March following the nation's worst nuclear accident in Fukushima, newspapers reported Saturday.

The ash, containing an unidentified substance with a radioactive density of 170,000 Becquerel per kilogramme, was collected from a plant in Koto Ward, eastern Tokyo, the Nikkei and Sankei dailies said, quoting metropolitan government sources.

The ash in sewage plants is formed by the incineration of inorganic constituents in waste materials.

Much of the ash from the Koto batch had already been recycled into construction materials, including cement, the unnamed sources said. The volume of the ash was not reported.

A radioactive substance of 100,000-140,000 Becquerel per kilogramme was also detected in ash at two other sewage plants in Ota and Itabashi wards, eastern Tokyo, in late March, the sources said.

The substance has yet to be identified and researchers are currently looking into whether it is radioactive caesium, they said.

The March 11 quake and tsunami crippled the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, some 220 kilometres (136 miles) northeast of Tokyo, causing leaks of high levels of radiation.

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