South Koreans Wear Masks Out of Fear of Radiation from Japan


Washington’s Blog
April 8, 2011

As Zero Hedge noted yesterday:

As the following animation from ZAMG demonstrates, courtesy of Northeastern winds, a major cloud of radioactive Iodine 131 is currently passing right over South Korea. Making matters worse is the fact that it is currently drizzling in the landlucklocked nation, putting people on edge….

http://www.zamg.ac.at/pict/aktuell/20110405_fuku_I-131.gif

More from Arirang:

***

The weather agency’s spokesman Kim Seung-bae said at a briefing held on Wednesday, that air current analysis shows that the winds blowing from the island nation will circle clockwise and fade out towards the Pacific Ocean by Friday, leaving the Korean peninsula unaffected.

Officials added, however, they will step up monitoring traces of radioactive materials throughout Korea and especially on Jeju Island, since it will be hit before any other regions if the winds unexpectedly blow towards Korea.

As Reuters notes today, South Koreans don’t trust their government’s assurances of safety:

In South Korea, some schools closed because parents were worried that rain across the country could be toxic.

“We’ve sent out an official communication today that schools should try to refrain from outdoor activities,” an education official in South Korea said.

South Korea’s nuclear safety agency reported a small level of radioactive iodine and caesium particles in rain in the south but said it was not enough to be a public health concern.

Nevertheless, many Koreans donned face masks, and streets near schools in Seoul were more congested than usual as parents drove children to work rather than let them walk.

While gas masks might be a little over-the-top, it’s hard to fault the South Koreans from being a little worried, given that there are no “safe” levels of radiation (and see this) and that the Japanese government has not exactly been forthcoming about the nuclear crisis.


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