Japan: Post-Fukushima radioactivity low, gamma ray radiation more of a concern

VIENNA - Japanese officials reporting on the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster say that gamma rays from the rubble left by the accident are now a greater concern than radioactive cesium still being emitted from the crippled nuclear plant.

A report to an International Atomic Energy Agency meeting presented Monday says that cesium being released from the plant is at approximately 0.01 becquerels per hour, well below the health-hazard level. Shinichi Kuroki, who presented the report, says the greater challenge is to reduce relatively high gamma ray radiation from the plant debris.

A powerful earthquake and tsunami hit the Fukushima plant 17 months ago, overwhelming its safety systems and spreading radioactivity over a large area.

IAEA chief Yukiya Amano urged delegates to maintain their "sense of urgency" on post-Fukushima nuclear safety.

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