Public undisturbed as NE China detects Fukushima plant radiation

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The first signs of radioactive materials from the quake-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan was found in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province on Thursday, China's nuclear authorities said on Saturday.

An infinitesimal amount of radioactive iodine-131 was detected in the atmosphere in northeast Heilongjiang Province. After conducting tests, China's National Nuclear Emergency Coordination Committee (CNNECC) confirmed on Saturday that the radioactive material was from the Fukushima plant.

The radioactive material was found in monitoring stations in Dongning, Hulin, Raohe and Wusu townships on Heilongjiang's northeast border, said Xu Lijuan, the deputy head of the provincial radiation monitoring station.

However, the committee said that the amount of radioactive materials was only one-hundred-thousandth the normal level; hence, no protective measures are needed. It added that the statement was based upon research from Chinese nuclear authorities, the World Meteorological Organization and the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The news did not cause much disturbance in China. CNNECC's statement was extensively copied and disseminated over the Internet. However, the topic ranks behind "Earth Hour" in China's major microblog websites because many Internet users are preparing to turn off their lights at 8:30pm in support of environmentalism.

"The radioactive materials traveled slower than I expected," Internet user Yijiantaohua posted on, a Chinese microblog website.

Internet users have been sharing tips on radiation protection on forums and social networking sites since the radiation leak from Fukushima was first reported after the magnitude 8.9 earthquake and tsunami that devastated northeast Japan on March 11.

Meanwhile, Beijing's Xidan Avenue remains crowded with weekend shoppers. Wu Wenting heard the news from a friend's short message but went on with shopping. "Life has to go on anyway. Besides, we are quite far from Fukushima."

Life continued normally, even in Heilongjiang. There was no significant disturbance caused by concerns over radiation.

No other radiation monitoring facilities in China have reported abnormal radioactive activities.

Despite the Japanese nuclear crisis, China remains undeterred in its goal of developing nuclear power as a clean energy source, said Tian Jiashu, the Environmental Protection Ministry's nuclear safety director.

China has drawn on the best nuclear energy standards and practices among industrialized nations. The country can guarantee the safety of its nuclear power facilities, Tian said.

China plans to have 66 nuclear power plants by 2020 with a total capacity of 66 million KW, which would come to about 6 percent of the country's total power capacity.

The country suspended approvals for new projects this month due to a safety review, but will not cancel nuclear development plans, he added. "We will not give up eating after a choke."

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