Forestry Agency to test Fukushima cedar pollen for radioactivity
The Forestry Agency plans to measure the amount of radioactive cesium contained in cedar pollen originating from Fukushima Prefecture.
The proposed study, the first of its kind, would take place between November of this year and January 2012, the agency said on its website.
The agency said that cedar pollen tends to begin to fill the air in February, so it is important to establish whether or not the pollen is radioactive before that date. If significant amounts of radioactive cesium are detected, the agency said it may start to provide radioactive pollen count forecasts.
According to the agency, 20% of Fukushima Prefecture is forested and contains approximately 185,000 hectares of cedar trees. The agency said that a study on this scale has never been carried out before, and scientists are not yet sure how the cesium will concentrate in the leaves and pollen of cedar trees.
The study team is expected to produce an interim report on their findings in mid-December.