2020 Volume 8 Issue 4 Pages 97-114
Radionuclide contamination in foods has been a great concern after the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (FDNPP) accident. To estimate time trends of daily intake and annual committed effective dose of radionuclides after the accident, radioactive cesium (r-Cs; 134Cs and 137Cs) and potassium-40 (40K) in market basket (MB) samples prepared at 6-month intervals in periods from September 2013 to March 2019 in 15 regions of Japan were analyzed using γ-ray spectrometry. The annual committed effective dose of r-Cs, calculated at non-detected radionuclide levels assumed to be half the limit of detection (LOD), appeared to decrease gradually in 11 regions close to the FDNPP that were more likely to be affected by the accident. Differences in doses among the 15 regions were large just after the accident, but gradually decreased. In particular, 134Cs has not been detected in any MB sample in any region since September 2018, and annual committed effective dose from 134Cs in all regions was mostly constant at around 0.3 μSv/year (given the respective LODs). The maximum annual committed effective dose of r-Cs in this study was decreased from 2.7 μSv/year in September 2013 to 1.0 μSv/year in March 2019. In contrast, the range of annual committed effective dose of 40K varied from approximately 150 to 200 μSv/year during that time frame and did not change much throughout the period of this study. Although annual committed effective doses of r-Cs in regions close to the FDNPP appeared to be higher than in regions far from the FDNPP, doses in all regions are remaining at a much lower levels than the intervention exemption level, 1 mSv/year, in foods in Japan.