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Swedes worry about radiation

Published söndag 13 mars 2011 kl 11.29
Saturday's explosion in the nuclear power plant Fukushima in northern Japan. Photo: BBC World News.

The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority is following developments in Japan day and night, and has decided that its experts will take calls from the public also on Sunday, thereby responding to people worried about what is happening. But the Authority insists there is no risk that radioactive fallout from a possible meltdown in a nuclear power plant in Japan would affect people in Sweden.

The advice to Swedes caught up in the developments in Japan is to follow instructions from the Japanese authorities.

Already on Saturday, Leif Moberg, head of research at the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority was answering questions online posed by the public on the Swedish Radio News website.

Many of the questions concerned how far the radioactive emissions would go and the safety for people here in Sweden. Moberg stressed that still a lot is unknown about the situation at the power plants in Japan. But one thing the was certain about: there is no need for people in Sweden to worry about a fallout here. "At very specific weather conditions, we could, with our very sensitive instruments, measure very low levels of certain radio active substances," he told in one answer.

There were also questions from Swedes currently in Japan. "Jonas" asked: "If there really is a meltdown, what would it mean to me right now in Tokyo, only 230 kilometres away?". Moberg replied: "It completely depends on whether there are any emissions and how much will get out, if it is blowing towards Tokyo and if it rains as the radioactive cloud passes Tokyo. In other words, it is difficult to answer based on the information we have now".

Other questions were more in detail about what could have happened at the Fukushima-plant. The signature "Ellen Norrman" asked how it can be allowed to build a nuclear power plant close to a known earthquake area. Leif Moberg says that it is up to the Japanese to decide, but that they have taken a number of precautions when building the plants in order to respond to an earthquake. He does note, however, that the debate about the risks of building nuclear plants in these areas comes and goes.

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