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Agency forecasts 10% chance of radioactive fallout hitting Taiwan

2011/03/12 22:34:37

Taipei, March 12 (CNA) The chances of radioactive fallout fromtwo Japanese nuclear power plants crippled by Friday's massiveearthquake are not high, the Cabinet-level Atomic Energy Council saidSaturday in a statement.

If two plants in Japan's Fukushima prefecture release largeamounts of radiation, the probability of it reaching Taiwan is only10 percent, the council predicted.

The area most likely to fall victim to radiation from Japan wouldbe Taiwan's northeastern coast and Monday would be when it would mostlikely arrive, the council said.

If any abnormalcy is detected, the council said it will issue awarning.

The council and the state-owned Taiwan Power Co. have set up atotal of 30 monitoring stations on Taiwan's northeastern coast, inmetropolitan Taipei and in Yangmingshan on the capital city'soutskirts, the statement said.

Meanwhile, Cheng Ming-tien, director of the Central WeatherBureau's Weather Forecast Center, said the probability of radiationfrom the Japanese nuclear power plants being blown to Taiwan is low.

"Radioactive fallout is not likely to move southward to Taiwanbecause Japan's upper atmosphere is now dominated by mesosphericwinds moving east and winds blowing in a southwestern direction inthe lower level atmosphere are weak," Cheng said.

According to wire service reports, Japanese authorities expandedthe evacuation perimeter around the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear powerplant to a 20-kilometer radius Saturday evening after smoke billowedout of the facility, raising worries that large amounts of radiationhad been leaked.

Aomori, Iwate, Fukushima and Miyagi prefectures in Honshu werehit particularly hard by Friday's earthquake, the biggest on recordin the country in 140 years.

It left at least 1,000 people dead or missing as of Saturdayafternoon.

(By Lin Shu-yuan, Chen Shun-hsieh and Sofia Wu)