In an abandoned Japanese village, cows grazing lush green plains begin gathering when they hear the familiar rumble of the ranch owner’s mini-pickup.
Article by Rural News Group
This isn’t feeding time, though. Instead, the animals are to be measured for the effects of radiation 15 times above the safe benchmark. The cows’ pasture is near Fukushima, a name synonymous with nuclear disaster. This former agriculture haven once had 3500 cattle and other livestock. Farmers who defied a government order to kill their cows continue to feed and tend about 200. But the herds won’t be used as food; now science is their mission. Researchers every three months test animals within a 20km radius of the Fukushima plant, where three reactors suffered core meltdowns after being swamped by a tsunami in 2011. It is the first study of the impact on large mammals of extended exposure to low-level radiation.