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Radiation from Japan‘s Fukushima nuclear plant is unlikely to reach India. It could, but wind direction and geography are working in India’s favour. Dismissing anonymous email and text messages warning against exposure to rain, top atmospheric scientists assured that wind and rain are unlikely to carry radioactive particles from Japan to India.

“It is very, very unlikely. I do not think we have any reason to worry on that count,” SK Dash, head of the atmospheric sciences department at IIT-Delhi, told HT.

The first signs of high levels of radiation spreading beyond Japan were found in Russia’s Vladivostok.

The International Atomic Energy Agency has rated the Fukushima incident at level 6, just a notch below the 1986 disaster in Chernobyl in the Ukraine – the worst nuclear reactor catastrophe in history.

Chernobyl radiation spread across west Europe and Russia, sparing just the Iberian Peninsula. A brief and small spike in radiation levels – attributed to Chernobyl – was observed even in Rajasthan.

But the easterlies, winds that blow from the east to the west and could have carried radioactive particles towards the Indian sub-continent, are currently weak.

The dominant winds are blowing across Japan’s northwestern shoulder to its east, taking the radiation from Fukushima into the Pacific, potentially threatening the islands there.

The intensity of radiation also typically decreases with distance.

Radioactive particles need to be pumped up to several kilometers into the atmosphere for them to potentially form nuclei for rain clouds.

Unlike volcanoes, which throw up ash and dust particles several kilometres into the sky, the explosions at the Fukushima reactors appear to have been relatively milder.

Even if radioactive particles were to form nuclei for clouds, India need not worry because of its geography, the scientists said.

“Remember, the pre-monsoon and monsoon showers we receive are from the southwest monsoon, not related to winds from the east,” Pune University atmospheric scientist Anandakumar Karipot said.

 

 

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