Taiwan finds radiation on Japan travellers

2011-03-17 12:18
Taipei - Taiwan authorities have so far detected radioactive particles on 25 passengers arriving on aircraft from Japan, where one of the worst nuclear crises in history is unfolding, officials said on Thursday.

A day after scanning equipment was set up at three major airports, more than 4 400 people arriving from Japan had been tested and 25 were found to carry radioactive particles, said the Atomic Energy Council, Taiwan's nuclear regulator.

"Most of the radioactive particles were discovered on their shoes or clothes," an official said.

All were allowed to leave after they had changed shoes or clothes or had the affected items washed with water, he said.

Specialist military units trained in nuclear defence were deployed at the three airports.

Taiwan has also begun screening food imported from Japan for radioactivity, even though officials have said they believe the Japanese food products being imported were produced before the earthquake struck.

Last Friday's 9.0-magnitude earthquake and ensuing tsunami have crippled the Fukushima nuclear power plant, 250km northeast of Tokyo.

No public health risk

Meanwhile Reuters reported that South Korean officials detected unusually high levels of radiation on three passengers arriving from Japan on Thursday on the first day of such checks at the country's main Incheon airport, news reports said.

A Japanese man in his 50s who is believed to have lived in the Fukushima prefecture had a reading exceeding 1 microsieverts from his hat and coat, which is several times the normal reading, South Korea's Yonhap news agency said.

The level poses no public health risk and officials will release the three passengers, YTN television said.

South Korea's nuclear safety agency has said it considered 300 nanosieverts per hour as the ceiling of normal level of radiation in atmosphere. One microsievert translates to 1,000 nanosieverts.

The checks at the airport were voluntary, a Reuters photographer at the airport said.

Vice-Science Minister Kim Chang-kyung told lawmakers on Thursday that officials were preparing to set up monitoring devices at the southern port of Busan soon to measure radiation levels on ferry passengers arriving from Japan.


Read more on:    south korea  |  japan  |  taiwan  |  natural disasters  |  earthquakes  |  nuclear  |  japan earthquake
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