Wednesday, March 30, 2011

'Japan radioactivity hits other countries'

Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant

Source: Press TV

Traces of radioactive contamination found in different parts of the world are thought to be linked to Japan's malfunctioning nuclear power plant, a report says.

Low levels of radioactive iodine have been detected in the US, the UK, Iceland, Switzerland, South Korea, the Philippines, and China, AP reported.

Chinese authorities have reported the existence of low levels of radioactive iodine-131in the air, as similar traces have been detected in samples of rainwater in the US.

The Philippines' nuclear research agency has said that it has found low levels of radioactive isotopes in parts of the region, while South Korea's Institute of Nuclear Safety says it has found radioactive iodine in Seoul and other areas.

In the UK low levels have also been detected at monitoring stations in Oxfordshire and Glasgow.

Experts, however, say these small amounts of the compound do not threaten the environment and public's health.

People exposed to high levels of radioactive iodine-131, a by-product of nuclear fission, are at risk of thyroid cancer, as well other thyroid related illnesses.

On March 11, a 9.0-magnitude earthquake was followed by gigantic tsunami waves, disabling the generator supplying power to the Fukushima nuclear plant's cooling system, and causing hazardous radiation due to overheating.

Following the earthquake, radioactive leakage is said to have damaged fuel rods in reactors number one, two and three.

The International Atomic Energy Agency is expected to help seek a solution to the country's nuclear crisis.

Japan has announced that nearly 28,000 people have died or are feared dead as a result of the disastrous quake and tsunami.

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