Fuji Electric has released the Food Radiation Testing System. The system can quickly and accurately measure radioactive cesium levels simply by placing items on a conveyor belt.
For 30 kg sacks of rice, measurement takes as little as 10 seconds per sack. No specialized knowledge is needed, and testing can be done while the food is still in cardboard boxes or bags.
“Unlike screening systems from other companies, in this one, measurement is unaffected by radiation from outside, even without a shutter mechanism. This system has a shadow shield, which prevents radioactive cesium in the environment from affecting the sensor directly. So, while a rice sack is inside, this machine can measure the cesium from the rice sack alone.”
“At present, in Fukushima, all sacks are tested. Although 4-6 sacks can be processed per minute, higher speed is needed. So, we’ve developed this system to make screening faster, by increasing the sensitivity and strengthening the shielding.”
This system measures cesium 134 and 137. Depending on the setting, it can also measure iodine 131, which has a short half-life. This fall, Fuji Electric plans to release systems that handle other foods in addition to rice.
“This isn’t our first radiation testing system. We released the previous model last year. That was designed to handle foods in general, when the problem of radioactive cesium in beef and rice emerged. This machine itself is currently being used only for rice, but it is designed to handle other foods. The detector at the top is movable, so it can screen different things if you input their weight and dimensions.”
Fifty of these machines have already been delivered to Fukushima. They’ll soon come into full operation, in time to test this year’s rice crop.