Rain contains radioactive material

Published on The Korean Times, by Kim Rahn, April 7, 2011.

From parents of kindergartners to office workers, the entire nation was gripped by concerns over “radioactive rain,” Thursday, when traces of radioactive material were detected in rainwater on Jeju Island … //

… KINS officials said the levels were too low — almost negligible — to pose any serious health risks. “Even if a person drinks 2 liters of such rainwater every day for a year, the exposure concentration level will be 0.037 millisievert (mSv), far lower than the 1 mSv government safety standard,” a KINS official said.

However, the level of iodine this time was six times more than Monday’s 0.357 Bq/l reading.

KINS shortened the air examination interval at Jeju’s checkpoint Tuesday to three hours from the usual 24 over the possibility that radioactive substances from the Fukushima plant in Japan may be being deposited on Korea.

No harm to humans: 

Other government agencies also emphasized the low level of radioactivity, saying the rain was not harmful to humans.

“We have westerly winds prevailing, and it is unlikely the air above Fukushima containing radioactive substances has come directly to Korea. So we see the rain as not harmful to human beings,” Lee Ho-young, the prime minister’s secretary, said after a meeting of related ministries.

Lee said the government has examined food products imported from Japan and will continue to do so, adding all 1,450 samples so far have proven to be radioactivity-free.

Regarding cooperation with the Japanese government he said Tokyo responded positively to Korea’s proposal to dispatch researchers to Japan. Lee said Korea, Japan and China will seek to form a council on the issue.

Despite the government stressing the “harmlessness” of the rain, people were covered in rainproof gear.

Some schools closed: … (full text).

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