Japanese radiation poses no risk to UK

Behind the Headlines

Wednesday March 30 2011

The radiation detected is within regular background levels

Trace levels of radioactive material have been detected in the UK following the recent failure of the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan. While some media reports have suggested this could be dangerous, the levels of radiation detected are extremely low. The arrival of these trace amounts of radioactive material poses no health risk to people the UK.

The radiation from these airborne particles is well below the normal, harmless levels of background radiation that we are naturally exposed to every day.

The Health Protection Agency (HPA), which is monitoring situation, has said: “Any radiation that could potentially reach the United Kingdom would be miniscule and no threat to people's health. There is no health risk to people living in the UK from the release of radioactive material from the Japanese nuclear power plant.”

The radioactive isotope detected in the UK, called iodine 131, is found only in the brief period following specific nuclear events, after which it rapidly decays. The presence of these particles suggests the radioactive material came from Japan, rather than being due to a significant rise in UK radiation levels.

The HPA also said that levels of radioactive iodine may rise in the coming days and weeks, but this would still be "significantly below any level that could cause harm to public health".

Analysis by Bazian

Edited by NHS Choices


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