National

Man admits selling radioactive samples

Kyodo

A man from Fujisawa, Kanagawa Prefecture, is to be prosecuted for selling radioactive substances without a permit, Tokyo police said Thursday.

The 54-year-old man has admitted to selling samples of americium-241 to eight people, said the police, who referred the case to prosecutors. Some of the customers used the material to test radiation-detection instruments.

The man told police he anticipated rising demand for radiation meters following the March 2011 disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant and ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics — and he planned to cash in.

He told police he bought 15 pieces of the radioactive isotope sandwiched between radiation-absorbing metal plates from a website overseas for ¥1,100 to ¥1,200 each.

Police believe he then sold the samples to the eight people between September 2013 and March this year for ¥3,500 to ¥4,500 each.

The sale was unauthorized and a violation of the radiation hazards prevention law. The radiation exceeded allowable limits, the police said.