Radioactive particles detected in more Chinese provinces

08:51, March 29, 2011      

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Radioactive particles of "extremely low levels" have been detected in the air above Shanghai and other southeastern coastal areas, but it will not affect public health or the environment, Chinese authorities said on Monday.

"The incident at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant hasn't had any impact on the environment and people's health in China thus far," said a government statement.

Meanwhile, there are more setbacks for the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant located some 240 kilometers north of Tokyo. Workers on Monday discovered new pools of radioactive water leaking from the complex that Japanese nuclear experts believe had caused soaring levels of radiation seeping to nearby soil and seawater.

To make things worse, workers also detected plutonium, a key ingredient in nuclear weapons, in the soil outside the Daiichi plant, though Japanese officials insisted the finding posed no threat to public health.

Confusion at the broken Japan plant has intensified fears that the nuclear crisis will continue for months or even years amid alarms over radiation making its way into produce, raw milk and even tap water as far away as Tokyo.

The air containing excessively low levels of contaminants in southeastern China's coastal regions, were revealed in a statement issued by China's National Nuclear Emergency Coordination Committee.

The latest find was in the air above Shanghai, the provinces of Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Anhui and Guangdong, and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

It said that Chinese nuclear and health experts believe the air is not harmful, and no protective measures are needed at present stage. The committee said the detected levels of radioactive iodine-131 were below one-hundred-thousandth of the nature's radiation.

Two days ago, experts also detected the roughly same levels of pollutants in the air over China's northeastern Heilongjiang Province, about 1,700 kilometers from Tokyo.

Su Guodong, an engineer with the Shanghai Environmental Protection Bureau, said the bureau was strictly following the results of the monitoring and closely working with other government departments, the Shanghai Daily reported on Tuesday.

"The detected iodine-131 is very low in Shanghai and won't impact people's health," Su said. "The public shouldn't panic. The daily monitoring data is publicized on the website of the Ministry of Environmental Protection and the government will carry out appropriate measures."

Shanghai Food and Drug Administration said Monday it hadn't detected any food exceeding the standard so far. Officials went to local supermarkets, wet markets and restaurants to conduct spot checks and take food samples for examination and analysis, the newspaper reported.

"The checked food also includes domestic products such as aquatic products from Dalian, where it is more likely to be tainted by the nuclear crisis in Japan," said Li Jie, vice director of Shanghai Food and Drug Supervision Agency.

The Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant was crippled March 11 when a tsunami spawned by a powerful earthquake slammed into Japan's northeastern coast. The huge wave destroyed the power systems needed to cool the nuclear fuel rods in the complex.

Since then, three of the complex's six reactors are believed to have partially melted down, and emergency crews have struggled with everything from malfunctioning pumps to dangerous spikes in radiation that have forced temporary evacuations.

By People's Daily Online
  Weekly review  


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