Rotterdam port to measure radioactivity on ships from Japan

4th April 2011, Comments 0 comments

The Port of Rotterdam, Europe's biggest, said Monday it would measure radioactivity levels on all vessels from Japan, still battling to stabilise its crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.

"We will measure the presence of radioactivity even before the ship enters the port," port spokesman Tie Schellekens told AFP.

The port, the fourth biggest in the world, expects the first vessel that departed from Japan after last month's quake and tsunami-induced nuclear accident to arrive around mid-April.

"We do not expect to find levels of radioactivity above the permitted levels," Schellekens said.

"Ninety percent of vessels that arrive at Rotterdam from Japan are container ships that stop at other ports, like at Singapore, before they arrive here. If there is any port where vessels are meticulously inspected, it is Singapore," said the spokesman.

On the other hand, said Schellekens, port authorities "are very concerned" about those vessels transporting cars that arrive directly from Japan -- about 10 percent of total ship traffic between the quake-striken nation and Rotterdam.

A final control and admission procedure was being finalised by Dutch port, customs and environmental officials, said the spokesman.

"Our goal is to guarantee the safety of our personnel as well as allowing vessels to reach their destinations as quickly as possible."

About two million tons of containers and cars from Japan pass through Rotterdam every year.

© 2011 AFP

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