South Korea Finds Hotspot Over 10 Times Normal Background Levels – Found to be Cesium-137

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South Korea’s Institute of Nuclear Safety says it has discovered a patch of pavement in Seoul is emitting radiation at levels 10 times higher than normal.

The government-funded research institute says the radioactive pavement was identified during a field investigation Wednesday in the residential Wolgye-dong neighborhood.

The institute says the pavement is emitting radiation from cesium-137 at 10 times the normal background level. The institute says a more precise reading will be released in “three to five days” after further evaluation, but it stresses that the level detected is not dangerous to humans.

Cesium-137, with a half life of about 30 years, is among the radioactive isotopes released by the meltdown of three reactors at the Fukushima-1 Nuclear Power plant in Japan.

Researchers say they are not yet able to determine why a significantly higher level of radioactive cesium has turned up in pavement in a residential area of the capital.

Source: Via: @Enformable



Back on March 17th, experts thought it extremely unlikely that radiation from Fukushima would affect South Korea, due to the fact that it would have to travel such a long distance.



Concerns about a radiation fallout from Japan’s nuclear disaster prompted some schools in South Korea to close on April 7th as rain fell over most of the country, but the nuclear safety agency played down immediate health risks.

South Korean government officials and experts have said the likelihood of contamination by radiation leaked from Japan’s Fukushima plant, some 1,000 kilometers east of the Korean Peninsula, is slim because the current winds are westerlies.



“Given the current direction of winds and weather forecasts, the westerlies are expected to continue to blow,” said Lee Seok-ho, senior official at the state-run Korean Institute of Nuclear Safety.



Another expert also played down the risk of radiation leaks.

Lee Eun-cheol, a nuclear engineering professor at Seoul National University, said at the conference, “The radiation level (at the Fukushima plant) is relatively low and is being dispersed by winds for now. I think the severity of radiation leaks is not to a degree that poses a risk to our people.”

“So, there is no need to wear masks,” the professor said.

Separately, South Korean police launched a crackdown on people who spread unfounded rumors that radiation would soon affect the Korean Peninsula.

Source: Yonhap News Agency Via: @Enformable

However Seoul first confirmed the existence of radioactive particles in the air on March 28, 17 days after the Fukushima nuclear power plant was damaged by a tsunami that followed the March 11 magnitude-9 earthquake that struck Japan.

By March 29th, radioactive iodine was again detected in Seoul, prompting authorities to begin testing fish in Seoul and seven other locations.

The institute said in a statement the amount was so small that there was no immediate risk to public health or the environment.

Source: Via: @Enformable

By April 16th, the Korea Institute of Nuclear Safety confirmed in a Yonhap news agency report Saturday South Korea’s 12 detection centers have identified traces of iodine-131, cesium-137 and cesium-134.

Source: Via: @Enformable

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