New radiation monitoring network to serve Taiwan post-Fukushima

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A model of one of the portable radiation monitoring systems

On April 9th, the Atomic Energy Council of Taiwan announced a radiation monitoring network which will serve as the island nation’s first line of defense against nuclear disasters will be set in place by the end of next year.

The detection of radioactive fallout in Taiwan just seven days after last year’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant crisis in northeastern Japan clearly illustrated how such incidents occurring overseas could pose a direct threat to the island, the AEC said.

The Fukushima fallout that was observed in Taiwan, concerned the island citizens,  who expressed concerns about the country being affected by radioactive contamination, leading to the AEC decision to implement a new national network.

AEC Minister Tsai Chuen-horng pointed out that nuclear accidents abroad have “become a completely new challenge for our country’s nuclear accident response system.”

Previously, monitoring centers had only been set up in areas around Taiwan’s nuclear power plants and waste storage sites, with most concentrated in New Taipei City and the southern counties of Pingtung and Taitung.

30 stations are now in place on the outlying islands of Kinmen, Matsu and Penghu, and recently in Hsinchu County and the eastern counties of Yilan and Hualien.

Four more stations will be set up this year in other locations, including Keelung City on the north coast, with stations to be added in the counties of Nantou, Changhua and Yunlin next year to complete the network.

The AEC has also joined efforts with the U.S. National Nuclear Safety Administration, which has agreed to dispatch personnel to Taiwan in July to assist in staff training and the establishment of related facilities.

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