Radioactive Fallout Expected in Korea Thursday

      April 05, 2011 09:02

      Experts warn that small amounts of radioactive particles from Japan's stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant will be blown into the Korean Peninsula around Thursday.

      A spokesman for the Korea Meteorological Administration on Monday said a northeasterly wind began blowing in the morning and radioactive materials from the Fukushima plant will probably be carried in the direction of Okinawa, south of Japan. On Thursday, this wind will likely turn into a southwesterly that could carry radioactive particles accumulated in Okinawa to Korea.

      Some 20 to 60 mm of rains is forecast across the country on Thursday, and there is a chance that this will mean radioactive fallout.

      Nobody had expected the radioactive particles to travel to Korea so swiftly on this combination of winds.

      But Yun Choul-ho, the president of the Korea Institute of Nuclear Safety, said the radioactivity will become infinitesimal even if radioactive particles fly into the southern part of the Korean Peninsula.

      The KMA earlier said radioactivity would take long circuitous routes before reaching Korea since westerly winds blow in the upper atmosphere all year round.

      But the situation began changing on March 28 when radioactive particles were detected at Seoul and seven other radiation detection stations out of a total of 12, raising the possibility that those particles might were blown from Fukushima to the Korean Peninsula via the North Pole.

      The Norwegian Institute for Air Research (NILU) has offered a similar analysis recently, predicting that winds carrying large quantities of radioactive materials such as cesium will make landfall on the Korean Peninsula on Wednesday, on the assumption that it has accumulated in the air south of Japan.

      But Yun said, "Contrary to the Norwegian think tank's assumption, the radioactivity concentration keeps dropping in areas within a radius of 50 to 100 km from Fukushima." Thus even if winds blow as the KMA and the NILU predict, "radioactive materials that will fly into Korea will be so infinitesimal that they won't pose any threat to the human body."

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