No contamination risk to Russia from Japan: Putin

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Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Saturday that Russia runs no risk of radiocative contamination after the incidents at the Japanese Fukushima nuclear power plant.

"There is no scenario that foresees a worsening of the situation on the territory of Russia," he said during a visit to the island of Sakhalin, which lies close to Japan, according to Russian news agencies.

There is anxiety in the Russian Far East about the possible arrival of nuclear contamination from Fukushima.

Vladimir Asmolov, deputy director of the Russian nuclear energy company Rosenergoatom, backed up Putin's remarks.

"There is no radioactive risk, everything else is speculation," he said.

Local authorities in the Russian Far East say that since Sunday they have increased measurements of radioactivity and that so far levels are within normal limits.

But the 175,000 inhabitants of Sakhalin and those living in the Primorie region, the capital of which is Vladivostok, have shown signs of anxiety, buying dosimeters and iodine capsules to swallow in case of contamination.

Putin, president from 2000 to 2008, makes a habit of visits or spectacular actions in crisis situations, helping his popularity and strongman image.

© 2011 AFP

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