Moscow 'detects radioactive particles' from Japan

1st April 2011, Comments 0 comments

Radioactivity from Japan's damaged nuclear reactor has been detected in the atmosphere around the Russian capital Moscow, officials from the municipal facility treating nuclear waste said Friday.

Radon, a company set up in Moscow to monitor radioactivity and dispose of radioactive waste in central Russia, has been detecting traces of iodine and strontium isotopes since last week, deputy director Oleg Polsky said.

The minuscule amounts were possible to detect only via the company's powerful filtering systems and don't pose any health risks, he said.

"Starting March 23rd, we began registering activity, whose make-up corresponds to that which comes from accident situations on nuclear reactors," the company's Sergei Gordeyev said.

Detected isotopes include radioactive Iodine-131 in aerosol and gas form, cesium-134 and cesium-137, and tellurium-132, he said at a press conference in Moscow.

"The isotopes confirm that it's a process connected with the accident," said Polsky, "but these traces are not dangerous for people."

The earthquake and tsunami that ravaged Japan's northeast coast and left about 28,000 dead or missing also knocked out reactor cooling systems at the Fukushima plant, which has leaked radiation into the air and sea.

Jitters continued throughout Asia this week that radiation had drifted over their territories, even though they emphasised the levels were so small there was no health risk.

Traces of radioactive iodine believed to be from Japan's damaged nuclear plant have even been detected as far afield as Britain, officials said Tuesday.

© 2011 AFP

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