Average radiation at Kawamata town homes halved after decontamination work

Airborne radiation at homes in the Yamakiya district of Kawamata, Fukushima Prefecture, has been reduced to an average of 0.53 microsievert per hour after the completion of residential decontamination by the Environment Ministry, down 49 percent from 1.04 microsieverts an hour prior to cleanup work. The preliminary average air radiation reading at 1 meter above ground was released on Feb. 14 by the ministry's Fukushima Office for Environmental Restoration at a meeting with local residents at the town's health center. Decontamination under the ministry's direct jurisdiction was completed by August last year for the 350 homes and surrounding forests in the Yamakiya district, but work on some 960 hectares including farmland and roads is to be conducted from now on. "Once we proceed with decontamination of the farmland and other areas, it is possible that the air radiation dose in residences may fall further," said a senior official at the office. According to the office, the highest radiation reading at the Yamakiya houses reached 1.75 microsieverts per hour, while the lowest dose was 0.18 microsievert an hour.