China’s Xinhua News Agency has just reported a “tiny amount of radioactive material in the air over the nation’s southeastern coastal areas” has been detected.
[From Kyodo News]: “The radioactive material is believed to have drifted from Japan as a result of radiation leaking from the earthquake-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power complex.
China detected low levels of radioactive iodine-131 in the air over Heilongjiang Province in the northeast for the second day on Sunday, Xinhua said, adding that public health and the environment were not affected.
“Chinese monitoring stations detected radioactive material in the air for the first time on Saturday,” according to China’s Nuclear Emergency Coordination Commission [NECC].
Xinhua quoted NECC officials as saying that ” the radioactive level detected does not affect human health and no preventive measures are necessary.”
Kyodo News Agency also reported that plutonium, a key ingredient in nuclear weapons, has been detected in soil at five locations at the crippled nuclear complex, according to Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO), the plant’s operator. TEPCO said that the “plutonium is believed to have been discharged from nuclear fuel at the plant”, which was damaged by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. According to Kyodo News, the plutonium detection suggests “certain damage to fuel rods”.
While noting that the concentration level does not pose a risk to human health, power company TEPCO said it will strengthen monitoring on the environment in and around the nuclear plant.