March 28, 2011 11:31
The radioactive material xenon, most likely emitted in the nuclear accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan, has been detected in the atmosphere of Korea's mountainous eastern province of Gangwon, the Korea Institute of Nuclear Safety said Sunday.
The xenon is believed to have traveled from Fukushima to the Kamchatka Peninsula, then to the North Pole and down to Siberia before reaching the Korean Peninsula. KINS said the amount detected in Gangwon Province was only 1/23,000 of the naturally occurring level in some parts of the world and poses no threat to humans.
Experts have said there is almost no chance of radioactive material from Fukushima traveling directly to Korea given the prevailing winds. The only way is circuitous routes, and they do much to dissipate the radioactivity.
One would be straight east around the globe, but KINS concluded that the xenon took the unexpected North Pole route, according to a computer simulation based on atmospheric conditions surrounding the Korean Peninsula and Japan.
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