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For Immediate Release: March 21, 2011
Linda Gunter, International Specialist, (301) 455-5655 (cell) (301) 270-2209 x 2 (o)
Paul Gunter, director, Reactor Oversight, (301) 523-0201 (cell) (301) 270.2209 x 3 (o)
Cindy Folkers, Radiation and Health specialist, (240) 354-4314 (cell) 301.270.2209 x 0 (o)

Leading French radiological laboratory says
high radioactive contamination levels found as far as 100 kilometers away
Contamination rates in spinach and milk very high;
should be withdrawn from stores

TAKOMA PARK, MD – The Commission for Independent Information and Research on Radioactivity, known as CRIIRAD, an independent French laboratory created after the 1986 Chernobyl explosion, is reporting that radioactive contamination of spinach sampled as far away as 100 kilometers from Fukushima are at dangerously high levels and should not be consumed. Milk sampled in Fukuhsima Prefecture towns about 60 km west-northwest from the reactor site was also found to be contaminated.

CRIIRAD has been collaborating with Beyond Nuclear to provide analysis of water samples collected around U.S. nuclear plants, testing primarily for tritium (radioactive hydrogen) which is known to have leaked at numerous U.S. reactor sites.

Contrary to earlier media reports that trace levels of radioactivity have been measured in certain food products coming from towns near Fukushima Daiichi, and that these levels are "not dangerous," CRIIRAD has analyzed the measurements and their provenance, concluding there is serious cause for concern.

"Results from tests on food are finally available," stated the CRIIRAD press release. "The information that there is no danger is erroneous. High levels of contamination – and not traces – of radioactive iodine 131 have been measured in spinach - between 6,100 bequerels per kilogram (Bq/kg) and 15,020 Bq/kg with an average measurement of 10,450 Bq/kg."

Furthermore, the sampling sites were not, as stated by Japanese authorities, in towns close to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plants. The sampling sites were at seven towns from the Ibaraki prefecture situated 100 km south of the nuclear plant.

"If a five-year old child ingests 10,000 Bq of iodine 131 that is the admissible dose limit of 1 microsievert (1 mSv) for one year," said the CRIIRAD release. "For two-year old children, the dose limit is reached after ingestion of 5,500 Bq."

"As long as this nuclear accident continues to release radioactivity into the weather system, a wider and farther swath of contamination can be expected to spread into agricultural, dairy and meat products," said Paul Gunter, director of Reactor Oversight for Beyond Nuclear. "Unfortunately, the legacy of a nuclear accident is this enduring radioactive contamination that will persist for decades and longer."

New data available to CRIIRAD on Sunday show that other spinach from Hitachi city (Ibaraki county, 100 km south) collected on March 18th have a contamination of 54,100 Bq/kg iodine 131 and 1,931 Bq/kg Cesium. In this case, the dose from ingestion of only 184 grams of spinach for children between two and seven years old will be 1 millisievert.

"Contaminated food products – those at risk like leafy vegetables, milk and fresh cheese – should be withdrawn from consumption," said the CRIIRAD statement. "Certainly these are not high radiation doses with immediate risk. Nothing like the exposure levels for the teams working at the Fukushima reactors. Nevertheless, protective measures are essential: the contamination as a consequence of the ingestion of contaminated foods is augmented by the inhalation of radioactive gases and aerosols and exposures to radioactive plumes and deposits in the soil."

Efficient countermeasures and proper information about radiological doses should be provided to the Japanese people in order to reduce long term cancer risk and other health risks, the laboratory statement said.


Beyond Nuclear aims to educate and activate the public about the connections between nuclear power and nuclear weapons and the need to abandon both to safeguard our future. Beyond Nuclear advocates for an energy future that is sustainable, benign and democratic. The Beyond Nuclear team works with diverse partners and allies to provide the public, government officials, and the media with the critical information necessary to move humanity toward a world beyond nuclear.

Contact information: Beyond Nuclear, 6930 Carroll Avenue, Suite 400, Takoma Park, MD 20912 Tel: 301.270.2209 Fax: 301.270.4000, Email:, website:

Supporting scientific documents

J1 11_03_20_Japon_Aliments_criirad V1.pdf     (in French)

J2 Epinards_IBARAKRI_19 mars.pdf     (in Japanese)

J3 Lait_Prefecture_Fukushima.pdf     (in Japanese)

J4 20110320IbarakiPrefNationalFoodContamination_22b(2).pdf     (in Japanese)

Update on March 21, 2011


CRIIRAD is a national independent laboratory based in Valence, France, which was formed after the Chernobyl reactor explosion in 1986 when the French government failed to take protective measures, resulting in widespread exposure in France (caused by numerous radioactive hotspots from Chernobyl fallout). It is completely unaffiliated with any government entity and its work has never been scientifically challenged.

Over the years, CRIIRAD has identified the radioactive contamination in France from the Chernobyl fallout; the country's 210 abandoned uranium mines whose tailings have paved school playgrounds and parking lots; the deliberate effort by the French government to apply the wrong scientific protocol in an attempt to discredit a medical study that found leukemia clusters near the La Hague reprocessing facility; and the revelation that Areva's uranium mining activities over the past 40 years in Niger and Gabon have left the drinking water, air and soil contaminated with unacceptably (and illegally) high levels of radioactivity. (CRIIRAD's Web site can be viewed – in French – at

Copyright © Beyond Nuclear, 2011.
Reprinted for Fair Use Only.

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