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Dublin: 1 °C Sunday 15 December, 2019
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Fukushima radiation still present in Irish air samples

The Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland says continual tests show Fukushima’s radioactive leak over our heads.

The heavily-damaged building at the number 4 reactor at Fukushima I: radioactive iodine-131 remains presence over Ireland.
The heavily-damaged building at the number 4 reactor at Fukushima I: radioactive iodine-131 remains presence over Ireland.
Image: AP

IRELAND’S RADIOLOGICAL WATCHDOG has said it has continued to detect trace levels of radioactivity in Irish air, following the ongoing difficulties at the troubled Fukushima I power plant.

The Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland said it had upped the level of testing it was carrying out since it first detected radioactivity over Ireland on Tuesday, and that the presence of the radioactive iodine-131 isotope had increased moderately in that time.

The RPII stressed, however, that the levels measured so far were “barely detectable, and pose no health risk”.

The level of radiation was so slight, its chief executive Ann McGarry said, that breathing in such a level of radiation would expose a person to less than 0.01 microsieverts (mSv) over the course of the year.

That dose was around 1/400,000th of the amount someone could expect to be exposed to by natural and man-made sources – like microwaves or television sets – in an average year.

“The releases of radiation to the atmosphere from Fukushima as a result of the explosions and fires during the week after the accident appear to have ceased,” McGarry said.

“If this situation continues we expect to see a decline over time in the average levels of radioactivity detected in Ireland.”

Testing over a 48-hour window from Monday to Wednesday that had led the RPII to declare the Fukushima leakage as present in Ireland had shown the level of iodine-131, or ‘radio-iodine’, to be 550 micro-becquerels per cubic metre of air – an almost negligible level.

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Gavan Reilly

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