Officials dismiss fears of radiation in Russian Far East

Russian officials on Wednesday dismissed rumors that radiation fallout from a series of blasts at a nuclear power plant in Japan may reach Russia’s Pacific Sakhalin and South Kuril Islands.

Emergencies officials say fears are unwarranted and warned residents of the islands not to take iodine and other medicines they hope will protect them from radiation poisoning.

“Even in the worst possible weather conditions, the scale of the radiation leak would not be large enough to pose a serious threat to the Russian Far East,” said Taimuraz Kasayev, chief of the Russian emergencies ministry’s Sakhalin branch.

A fire broke out in reactor No. 3 at Japan’s quake-damaged Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant on Wednesday morning. The blaze followed two fires at reactor No. 4 and hydrogen blasts at reactors 1, 2 and 3.

More Russian rescue teams dispatched for Japan on Wednesday to join a huge relief effort after Friday’s 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami, which killed thousands of people in the country’s north-east.

Workers at the plant were temporarily evacuated earlier on Wednesday due to a rise in radiation levels. Operations to cool the plant’s reactors are underway.


MOSCOW, March 16 (RIA Novosti)

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