Tiny traces of radiation detected as far away as Iceland
Minuscule numbers of radioactive particles believed to have come from Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant have been detected as far away as Iceland, officials revealed last night.
Traces of iodine-131, below levels of concern for human health, were discovered in an air filter used at a radiation monitoring centre in Reykjavik at the weekend, the Icelandic Radiation Safety Authority (IRSA) said.
"We believe it comes from Japan," Sigurdur Emil Palsson, head of emergency preparedness at IRSA, said.
Iodine-131 had also been recorded in places including Newfoundland in Canada and the western US, consistent with a spreading plume, he said.
Iodine-131, linked to cancer if found in high doses, contaminates products such as milk and vegetables.
The Fukushima plant leaked radiation after the March 11 tsunami and earthquake.
"It's only a matter of days before it disperses in the entire northern hemisphere," said Andreas Stohl, a senior scientist at the Norwegian Institute for Air Research. "Over Europe there would be no concern about human health."
The US Energy Department late last week confirmed that "minuscule" amounts of radiation were detected in California. It said the radiation amounted to one-millionth of the dose rate a person normally receives from natural sources such as rocks, bricks and the sun.