March 23, 2011
Fukushima Radiation Reaches Iceland
Radioactive iodine isotope particles have been detected in Iceland and are believed to have come from the troubled Fukushima nuclear power plant on Japan's northern coast, according to a Reuters report
The miniscule traces of radioactive iodine were not considered to be in any dosage to be harmful to humans.
The Vienna-based UN body for monitoring possible breaches of the atom bomb test ban, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), has 63 stations around the globe for observing such particles and can pick up very small amounts of radioactive particles.
A Vienna-based diplomat tells Reuters, "They measure extremely small amounts. It has nothing to do with any health risks."
Several CTBTO stations, another source explained, have detected particles believed to be from the Fukushima nuclear complex, which has emitted radioactive steam in the days after it has suffered cooling problems due to disruptions in the power systems of the power plant. "Reykjavik is the first in Europe," the source added.
It was predicted by scientists and announced by diplomats that very small amounts of radioactive particles were expected to reach Europe as the isotopes spread across the northern hemisphere on the jet stream.
The CTBTO, along with several US agencies, confirmed late last week that "miniscule" amounts of radiation were detected in California, where the CTBTO also has a station.
Between March 16 and 17 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported trace amounts of radiation from Japan that were detected in Washington state. The amount was equal to one-millionth of the dose rate that would normally be received from naturally radioactive sources such as rocks, bricks and the sun.
According to Austria's Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics, radiation had been detected as late as Monday, which posed no "health risk whatsoever" in Alaska and western Canada. France's nuclear safety authority ASN stated that tiny amounts of radiation would be detectable in that country on Wednesday.
"Very slightly contaminated air, with levels in the order of 1,000 to 10,000 times below those measured after the Chernobyl accident, should reach France on Wednesday with no consequences for human health," the ASN said in a statement.
The CTBTO claimed Monday, that "high levels of contamination" have been measured around the Fukushima plant. Smoke and steam rose from two of the four reactors at Japan's battered nuclear plant, Efforts to reverse the radiation leaks and avoiding a disastrous meltdown are ongoing.
On the Net:
- Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO)
- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
- Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics