Traces of iodine-131 detected in Europe

Photo: Traces of iodine-131 detected in Europe / Other News

Low levels of a radioactive isotope have been detected in several European countries in the past days, but the source of the emission was unknown, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Friday, DPA reported.

"The IAEA believes the current trace levels of iodine-131 that have been measured do not pose a public health risk and are not caused by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident in Japan," the Vienna-based agency said.

"But it's a concern because there is a source somewhere," an offical close to the IAEA said, adding that atmospheric measurements were made in countries including Austria, the Czech Republic and Hungary.

He said that iodine-131 could theoretically be released by a nuclear accident, as was the case at Hungary's Paks power plant in 2003. The emission could also come from a plant producing radioactive pharmaceuticals.

People who take a transatlantic flight are exposed to a radiation dose 40,000 times as high as the one detected recently, the Vienna health ministry said.

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