A Japanese citizen who was arriving in Ukraine on Tuesday was detained by the border guards when his luggage was found to contain radioactive soil from Fukushima, the site of one of the world’s worst nuclear disasters of recent times. The man was bringing the soil to a local university for further study and analysis.
The radioactivity detector at the Borispol Airport in Kiev, the nation’s capital flagged the man’s luggage during a routine baggage inspection. Readings indicated that the mixture of soil and clay, which was in two plastic containers weighing around 12 grams, exceeded the acceptable level of radiation by “a factor of two,” according to the State Border Guard Service. The passenger, who was flying in from Frankfurt, Germany said he was bringing the soil he took from the area around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant to the Zhytomyr National Agroecological University for analysis. Authorities confiscated the radioactive soil and will be turning it over to Radon, a state-run enterprise, to look at further and dispose of if necessary.
Before Fukushima, Ukraine was the site of the worst nuclear accident in history when in 1986, a massive explosion at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant released large particles of radioactive material into the atmosphere. The Chernobyl and Fukushima incidents are the only events that have been rated as a level 7 event, the maximum classification on the International Nuclear Event Scale. The effect of the meltdown in Japan, which occurred during the Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami in 2011, is still to be determined.
[ via UPI ]