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Radiation checks offered to travellers from Japan

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Radiation checks offered to travellers from Japan
Photo: DPA
14:24 CET+01:00
Travellers returning from Japan can be checked for radioactive contamination by authorities, the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) announced Thursday.

In the wake of the partial meltdown at Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant following a devastating earthquake and tsunami nearly two weeks ago, authorities were offering the tests to anyone who feared they might have suffered exposure to radiation, BfS president Wolfram König said in Berlin.

“We have various testing equipment available and are offering this for precautionary checks,” he said.

They had not yet detected any alarming levels of radiation among people travelling back from Japan, König said. However, raised levels could not be ruled out for people who had been to certain areas.

It was understandable “that many people want to see for themselves what radiation level they were exposed to in the region.”

Some 94 people had so far been checked, he said. In about one third of cases, a negligible exposure to radioactive particles had been detected. These had no effect on their health.

Three Japanese workers at the Fukushima plant were injured Thursday as authorities continued their battle to secure the facility. However tap water radiation had returned to safe levels for infants in Tokyo, officials announced.

People returning from Japan posed no danger to the rest of the public in Germany, the BfS stressed. Radioactivity absorbed into a person's body did not affect other people such as family members. Exterior contamination could be vanquished by changing clothes and showering.

The BfS has set up testing stations at its premises in Berlin and Munich and through its state partners in Bavaria, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Thuringia and Saxony-Anhalt.

There are about 20 stations around the country. The list of locations is available at www.bfs.de.

Also on Thursday leading German airline Lufthansa said it resumed indirect flights to Tokyo, after initially planning to halt its services to the Japanese capital until next Monday.

The carrier had begun redirecting flights to Nagoya and Osaka on March 15 owing to the threat of radiation.

DAPD/The Local/djw

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