U.S. says radiation detected near Japan base, relief missions continue

08:30, March 16, 2011      

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The U.S. military said on Tuesday low-level radiation was detected at U.S. Navy bases in Japan, and more service members were found exposed to radioactive plume.

The Navy advises personnel at Yokosuka and Sasebo bases to avoid outdoor activities, but vowed the relief mission in Japan will go on.

In a statement, the 7th Fleet, headquartered in Yokosuka, said the measures are "strictly precautionary in nature," and the military doesn't expect that any U.S. federal radiation exposure limits will be exceeded "even if no precautionary measures are taken."

Meanwhile, more U.S. service members in the disaster zone tested positive for radiation. On Monday, radiation contamination was found in 17 USS Ronald Reagan air crew members who returned to the ship after conducting disaster relief missions near Sendai.

The 7th Fleet promptly repositioned its ships and aircraft away from the area. The source of this airborne radioactivity is a radioactive plume released from the power plant, Navy officials said.

Radiation leak from Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, which was damaged by a deadly quake and ensuing tsunami, has forced Japan to evacuate hundreds of thousands.

The crisis drastically worsened following an explosion and fire at the reactors at the complex, which caused radiation to spew into the air. The authorities has told people living nearby to seal themselves indoors.

Despite elevated level of radiation, the Navy said relief efforts will continue, but ships that were heading to the quake-zone in East coast of Honshu will now be allowed to head for its West coast.

Source: Xinhua

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