Sat, Mar 19, 2011 - Page 2 News List

JAPAN DISASTER: Radiation levels remain normal

Staff Writer, with CNA

Levels of radiation recorded around Taiwan were normal yesterday, the Atomic Energy Council (AEC) reported on its Web site.

Radiation levels recorded by 30 monitoring stations around the country remained at 0.2 microsieverts per hour, the council said.

The report came amid a nuclear crisis that continues to unfold in Japan. Three reactors at a Japanese nuclear power plant were severely damaged by a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami on March 11. The troubled reactors have been emitting radiation into the atmosphere, causing concern about the possibility of radioactive contamination.

Local meteorologists said on Wednesday that prevailing weather patterns meant that radioactive fallout from Japan was not expected to hit Taiwan over the coming days.

In other news, Atomic Energy Council Minister Tsai Chuen-horng (蔡春鴻) said that of the 4,500 travelers arriving from Japan who were screened for radiation at the airports, only 26 were found to have excessive levels of radiation on their clothes or person.

However, this does not mean that these people were exposed to dangerous levels of radiation, although there is a high probability they did come into contact with radioactive fallout, Tsai said at a press conference organized by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus.

The council plans to further expand the passenger screenings to include seaports, the minister said.

Taiwan is also continuing to inspect food imports from Japan for radioactive contamination, but had so far not discovered anything out of the ordinary, he said.

A total of 36 Japanese food products have been sampled for tests since Japan’s nuclear disaster started, and the radiation levels in all of those products had been found to be within legal limits, Tsai said.

With nuclear safety the subject of widespread concern following events in Japan, he said that the authorities expected to complete a geological survey of local nuclear power plants next year, as part of an effort to determine whether the earthquake-proof measures currently in place are sufficient to withstand a powerful earthquake.

The AEC has asked the National Science Council to help speed up the process, Tsai said.

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