Tuesday, May 20, 2008

30 radioactive sources recovered after China quake

Beijing (PTI): China has so far recovered 30 of the 32 radioactive sources which were buried under the debris during the devastating May 12 earthquake, Minister for Environmental Protection Zhou Shengxian said.

He said locations of two other radioactive sources had been detected and they would also be transported to "safe areas" soon.

Altogether, 32 radioactive sources were buried under the debris during the 8 magnitude earthquake that struck last week, he added.

China said all its civilian nuclear facilities and radioactive sources in the earthquake-ravaged southwest Sichuan province were confirmed "safe" and "controllable".

The devastating earthquake has left 34,073 people dead and 245,108 people injured, according to official figures. The toll is expected to climb further with thousands more still buried a week after the disaster.

Chinas Ministry of Defence said on Sunday that all its nuclear facilities in the massive earthquake devastated areas in Sichuan province were "safe and secure".

"I could say in a responsible manner that all the nuclear facilities in affected areas are safe and secure," Major General Ma Jian, Deputy Chief of the Operations Department of the General Staff Headquarters, had said.

China has said it has activated its contingency plans for nuclear and radiation pollution as a precautionary step in Sichuan province.

The local Environmental Protection Bureaus have been issued an "urgent notice" to closely monitor the status of nuclear facilities and ensure a hundred per cent nuclear and radiation safety, the Ministry of Environmental Protection said earlier.

The region has some key atomic sites and the countrys chief nuclear weapons research lab.

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