Public 'safe' from Fukushima, IAEA says

Feb. 18, 2014 at 9:07 AM

VIENNA, Feb. 18 (UPI) -- The International Atomic Energy Agency said work remaining at Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear site will be challenging but the public is relatively safe.

"In general, it is expected that the situation onsite will remain very challenging as the recovery operations progress," the United Nations' nuclear watchdog group said in a statement Monday. "Based on the information that has been made available, the IAEA considers that all members of the public are safe and that the food supply is safe and is being appropriately managed."

Last week, Tokyo Electric Power Co., the plant's operator, reported high levels of the radioactive element Cesium in groundwater samples near monitoring wells associated with the plant.

A 13-page report from the IEA said Monday monitoring of the air around the plant detected "no significant" increase in radiation levels.

A 9-magnitude earthquake and tsunami crippled the nuclear facility in 2011. Environmental groups like Greenpeace accused the Japanese utility company of failing to manage cleanup operations effectively.

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