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Thursday 14 December 2017

Minute levels of radiation from Fukushima detected in Ireland

The Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland (RPII) has detected trace amounts of radioactivity in further samples following the Fukushima accident in Japan.

The levels measured are very low and far below levels which might be of concern to public health.

Dr Ann McGarry, Chief Executive of the RPII said: “In response to the ongoing situation in Japan, we increased the frequency with which we monitor air, rainwater and milk.

“Levels of radioactivity detected in air have fluctuated, but most recent measurements suggest a trend of decreasing levels over the last couple of days.”

Samples of air collected over 48 hour periods covering 28th March/30th March; 30th March/1st April; 1st/3rd April and 3rd/5th April showed levels of 550, 1000, 229 and 442 micro-becquerels per cubic metre of air of radio-iodine (Iodine-131), respectively.

These levels are consistent with the known pattern of release from Fukushima, with findings in other countries and with earlier measurements made by RPII.

If a person was to breathe these levels of radioactivity for a period of a whole year they would receive a radiation dose of less than 0.03 micro-sieverts.

This radiation dose can be compared with the dose of 4,000 micro-sieverts received on average by people in Ireland each year from natural and man-made sources of radiation.

A sample of rainwater collected in Dublin over the period 22 March/4th April showed levels of 2.6 becquerels per litre of iodine-131.

This level is of no concern from a public health perspective.

In response to the Fukushima accident, the frequency of milk sampling was increased. Samples of milk collected on April 2nd, 3rd and 4th showed levels of 0.13, 0.19 and 0.18 becquerels per litre of iodine-131, respectively.

The highest of these values is 2600 times lower than the level at which any action would need to be considered. These levels pose no risk to public health.

“These findings are of no health significance and are comparable with those detected in other parts of Europe.” concluded Dr McGarry

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