by radioactive particles from a crippled Japanese nuclear plant this week,
South Korea's state weather agency said Wednesday,
easing radiation fears here amid forecasts of imminent heavy rain.
The Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA)'s announcement
marked a turnaround from its earlier prediction
that radioactive contaminants from the Fukushima nuclear power station
may be carried to the peninsula by seasonal winds.
...Concerns about radiation exposure have deepened in South Korea
since the KMA raised the possibility earlier this week
that radioactive materials may soon reach the peninsula by southeasterly winds.
Heavy rain is expected here around early Thursday.
"There seems to have been a misunderstanding
in the process of interpreting (an analysis of air currents)," Kim added.
..."Even if radioactive particles reach South Korea,
the impact will be negligible to human health and the eco-system.
... The nuclear safety institute said it detected minuscule traces of iodine-131
in all 12 air particle detection centers across the country
and cesium-134 and cesium-137 in 11 areas.
The samples were collected from 10 a.m. Monday through 10 a.m. Tuesday.
KINS said no rain fell in the country during this 24-hour period...
...Iodine, cesium and xenon are all by-products of nuclear fission
and were released by the Fukushima power plant...
The KMA, meanwhile, confirmed that it has held three artificial rain tests
in the country's eastern and central regions of Gangwon and Chungcheong this year,
but refuted claims that the "secret" experiments
were aimed at protecting the country from radioactive contamination.
...The last two experiments, conducted on March 14 and 25,
have sparked suspicions that they were intended to block the radiation wave stemming from Japan.
April 6 (Yonhap)