Japanese professors detect high radiation on island in Taiwan

Kyodo

Two Japanese scholars say they have detected high levels of radiation on Orchid Island, a temporary underground storage site of low-level radioactive nuclear waste off Taiwan’s southeastern coast.

Katsumi Nakao, an anthropology professor of J.F. Oberlin University in Tokyo, and Yo Kato, an associate professor of the School of Radiology of Tokyo Metropolitan University, told a news conference at Taiwan’s legislature Tuesday that they detected high levels of radiation near a health clinic on northern Orchid Island earlier this month.

If a healthy person were exposed to that much radiation for 10 hours, they said, it would far exceed the amount a person can safely receive in a year.

They said they were not certain whether the radiation had anything to do with the storage facility located in the south of the island.

Lin Chia-lung, a member of the main opposition Democratic Progressive Party who helped organize the news conference, urged the Taiwan government to conduct a thorough investigation into their findings and provide health checkups for everyone on the island.

Nakao and Kato were invited by the Atomic Energy Council to conduct a two-day survey of Orchid Island’s radiation level with five Taiwanese nuclear specialists last week.

The findings by the Taiwanese specialists were normal.

The council dismissed the findings of the Japanese academics, saying the devices they used were subject to the influence of microwave radiation from mobile phone towers.

Nakao and Kato conducted an earlier survey on Orchid Island in September after it had been lashed by Typhoon Tembin. They said high levels of radiation were detected at an elementary school.