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No radioactive materials in recent rain

No radioactive materials were found in rain that fell here over the weekend amid fears of radiation leaks from quake-hit Japan, the government said Tuesday.

The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology said that sampling tests on rainwater collected from across the nation Sunday showed no traces of radioactive iodine or cesium.

“There was no trace of either iodine-131 or cesium-137 in any of the samples collected from the 12 radiation detection centers nationwide,” the ministry said.

The ministry added that a network of 70 monitoring stations is checking real-time radiation levels in the atmosphere and the results are available on major Internet portals such as Daum, Naver and Nate.

“We expect that people can be relieved of their concerns by checking the radiation impact of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant,” the ministry said.

On Sunday, groundless rumors circulated that the rainfall could contain radioactive materials blown from the stricken nuclear plant in Fukushima, about 250 kilometers northeast of Tokyo.

A government team of nuclear safety experts will start a month-long inspection on 21 nuclear power plants and other atomic facilities on Wednesday.

Based on the “worst scenario” in which an earthquake, typhoon and tsunami hit nuclear plants and disrupt electricity, they will inspect how the buildings resist the disasters and the safety system works.

“The ministry will consider establishing an exclusive organization to strengthen the nation’s preparedness for nuclear disaster,” said Education, Science and Technology Minister Lee Ju-ho on Monday.

Currently, safety regulations on nuclear plants are carried out jointly by the ministry and the Korea Institute of Nuclear Safety.

By Lee Ji-yoon (jylee@heraldcorp.com)
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