AMERICAS: Radiation worries over Japanese cargo

Authorities in the US and other countries have stepped up scanning of air cargo originating from Japan after a incident last week sparked concern about radiation levels. Low levels of radiation were detected at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport on an incoming flight from Tokyo, sparking fears that the radiation could have come from the Fukushima […]


Authorities in the US and other countries have stepped up scanning of air cargo originating from Japan after a incident last week sparked concern about radiation levels. Low levels of radiation were detected at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport on an incoming flight from Tokyo, sparking fears that the radiation could have come from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, seriously damaged by the earthquake and subsequent tsunami. It later emerged that the radiation emanated from a shipment of medical equipment. The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said it had stepped up screening of cargo and passengers for radiation on flights from Japan but the CBP added that so far no aircraft entering the US had tested positive for dangerous levels of radiation. Japanese workers at the nuclear facility have so far failed to contain radiation leaks from the plant, which have contaminated farm produce and drinking water and prompted several countries to ban food imports from the area. Levels of radioactive iodine-131 in the sea off the plant hit 4,385 times the legal limit recently, their highest reading so far, officials said, amid a struggle to deal with large amounts of radioactive water at the site. Officials have said that tidal dispersion means there is no immediate health threat, and that the iodine degrades relatively quickly.