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Canada says not at risk from Japan radiation

The Canadian governement is actively monitoring the situation and assessing the potential risks to the country. -AFP

Tue, Mar 15, 2011

OTTAWA - Canada said Tuesday that the damage to a nuclear power plant in Japan caused by a massive earthquake was "not expected to pose any health or safety risk" to the North American country.

"The government of Canada is actively monitoring the situation and assessing the potential risks to Canada as a result of the damage to power plants in Japan," the public safety ministry said in a statement.

"The situation in Japan is not expected to pose any health or safety risk to Canada," it said, adding that authorities had been in touch with Japan, the International Atomic Energy Agency and the international community.

Japan's nuclear crisis escalated Tuesday as two more blasts and a fire rocked the quake-stricken Fukushima No.1 nuclear plant, sending radiation up to dangerous levels.

People living up to 10 kilometres (six miles) beyond a 20 km (12-mile) exclusion zone around the nuclear plant have been warned to stay indoors.

Authorities have also detected higher than normal - though not harmful - radiation levels in the capital Tokyo some 250 kilometres (155 miles) away.

Dr. Perry Kendall, the chief provincial health official in British Columbia, on Canada's Pacific coast, said any radiation that reached there would be too widely dispersed to cause any health problems.

"Modelling of possible scenarios suggest that any release into the atmosphere of nuclear particles would take five to six days to reach British Columbia, by which time it would be so dispersed as to be not considered a health risk," Kendall said in a statement.

Canada has expressed condolences for the more than 2,400 people killed in the earthquake and resulting tsunami and offered aid, including a 17-member disaster victim identification team it said was ready to be deployed.

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