Taiwan Finds Radiation on 26 Travellers from Japan


Taiwan authorities have detected radioactive particles on 26 passengers arriving on planes from Japan as the quake-hit country battles an escalating nuclear crisis, officials said on Thursday.

A day after three major airports set up scanning equipment, over 4,400 people arriving from Japan had been tested, with 26 found to carry radioactive particles so far, said the Atomic Energy Council, Taiwan’s nuclear regulator.

“Most of the radioactive particles were discovered on their shoes or clothes,” an official said. “The radiation levels detected were not harmful.”

The radiation found was at levels over 0.2 microsieverts per hour, which is higher than the background levels normally found in Taiwan’s everyday life, the official said.

All the passengers were allowed to leave after they had changed shoes or clothes or had the affected items washed with water, he said.

The 26th passenger was a woman who had worked on a mountain about 70 kilometres from Fukushima nuclear power plant, stricken by last week’s 9.0-magnitude quake and ensuing tsunami.

“The level of radioactivity detected on the woman was slightly higher than that found on the 25 other people,” the official said.

“It posed no threat to her health. So we decided to let her leave after she had changed her shoes,” he said, declining to provide further details about the woman.

Meanwhile, specialist military units trained in nuclear defence were deployed at the three airports.

Taiwan has also begun screening food imported from Japan for radioactivity, even though officials have said they believe the Japanese food products being imported were produced before the earthquake struck.

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