'Very low' levels of radiation detected in Europe, UN agency reports

11 November 2011

Small amounts of a radioactive particle have been detected in the air in the Czech Republic and other European locations, but they do not pose a health risk to the public, the United Nations nuclear agency reported today.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) issued a statement saying it had received information from the Czech Republic’s State Office for Nuclear Safety that “very low levels of iodine-131 have been measured in the atmosphere” in recent days. The agency added it has learned about similar measurements in other European locations.

The current trace levels that have been recorded do not represent a health risk and are not caused by the accident in March at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan, according to IAEA.

Iodine-131 is a short-lived radio-isotope with a radioactive decay half-life of about eight days, the IAEA stated, adding it is working with counterparts to determine the cause and origin of the radiation.

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