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Wednesday, March 16, 2011 - 05.03 GMT

Lankan skies monitored


The Meteorology Department in coordination with the Sri Lankan Mission in Vienna and the International Atomic Energy Authority is monitoring the skies over the country for radiation leaking from the crippled nuclear reactor in Japan.

An Associated Press report said that dangerous levels of radiation leaking from the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant along Japan's northeastern coast forced Japanese government to order 140,000 people to seal themselves indoors Tuesday after another explosion and a fire dramatically escalated the crisis triggered by the deadly tsunami. Some 70,000 people had already been evacuated from a 12-mile (20-kilometer) radius from the Dai-ichi complex.

Following the latest reports on the nuclear disaster in Japan, the Meteorology Department in Colombo said they are monitoring the skies round the clock for possible contamination but have not detected any yet.

The global authority on nuclear energy, the International Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA) in Vienna has not issued any global alerts over the deepening crisis.

Chairman of the Atomic Energy Authority (AEA) Prof W. Abeywickrama addressing a press conference yesterday said his agency is in constant touch with the IAEA to obtain advice.

Japanese officials however have told the IAEA that the reactor fire yesterday was in a fuel storage pond an area where used nuclear fuel is kept cool and that "radioactivity is being released directly into the atmosphere," AP reported.

According to Prof. Abeywickrama, South Asian region may take more than a month to feel the effect of the radiation leaks with the blowing wind from Japan.

"I would say that we are on a safe track for at least a month and the monitoring is done round the clock," Prof. Abeywickrama has added.

A devastating 23-foot tsunami triggered by a magnitude 8.9 earthquake in the sea that hit the eastern coast of Japan last Friday killed thousands of people and swept away ships, homes, boats and cars.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of External Affairs is in the process of discussing with Sri Lankan Airlines to bring back Lankans who are willing to return home from Japan Of the 20,000 Sri Lankans living in Japan some have expressed their willingness to get back home.

The Postal Department yesterday announced that mail delivery to certain areas in Japan that have been affected by the recent earthquake and tsunami has been suspended.

According to the Department, mail delivery in the Japanese postal code areas of 00 to 09, 30, 31, 96, 98, 99 have been suspended.






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Last modified: March 16, 2011.

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