Fukushima plant’s fallout to go around globe

VIENNA/SINGAPORE (Kyodo) Radioactive substances released from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power station have already reached the United States and Iceland, and are expected to go around the globe in two to three weeks, the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization said.

The amount will be too small to affect humans, the Vienna-based CTBTO said Thursday.

The commission operates a network of monitoring facilities at 63 locations around the world, including Takasaki, Gunma Prefecture.

A senior official at the commission’s monitoring department said figures observed in Takasaki continue to go up and down and the amount of radioactive substances from the Fukushima plant can’t be said to be on the decrease.

Small amounts of radioactive substances were already detected at observation facilities in western California on March 18 and in Iceland on Tuesday, and they are expected to reach European countries in a few days, according to the official.

Diplomatic sources at the International Atomic Energy Agency said many Southeast Asian countries are worried about the adverse effects of the radioactive substances.

But Japan’s Nuclear and Industry Safety Agency said it doesn’t expect any impact on other countries, citing data observed so far.

On Thursday, Singapore’s food safety authority said it has found radioactive contaminants in four samples of vegetables from Japan.

The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority said the contaminants were found in vegetables imported from Chiba and Ehime prefectures, in addition to Tochigi and Ibaraki.

As a result, it said it will suspend food imports from Chiba and Ehime. On Wednesday, the ministry suspended the import of foods such as seafood, meat, milk, fruits and vegetables from Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi and Gunma, the four prefectures worst hit by the March 11 quake and tsunami.

The vegetables found tainted were “mitsuba” Japanese wild parsley from Tochigi, “nanohana” rape seed plant from Chiba, “mizuna” Japanese mustard from Ibaraki and perilla leaf from Ehime.