From: Sui-Lee Wee, Reuters, BEIJING
Published March 19, 2011 09:49 AM

WHO says Japan radiation localized, no immediate threat

The World Health Organization believes the spread of radiation from a quake-crippled nuclear plant in Japan remains limited and appears to pose no immediate risk to health, the WHO's China representative said on Friday.

"At this point, there is still no evidence that there's been significant radiation spread beyond the immediate zone of the reactors themselves," Michael O'Leary told a group of reporters.


"At the same time, we know that the situation is evolving and we need to monitor closely and see what happens over time. Things can obviously change, and have changed, over this last week."

Japan has been battling for nearly a week to bring under control the overheating Fukushima nuclear plant after it was battered by a massive earthquake and tsunami.

Experts and officials fear a major leak of radioactive substances from the plant could pose a serious health risk, and China and nearby countries have stepped up monitoring of radiation levels.

O'Leary suggested that the impact of such an event on China would be small, but said other factors mattered too.

GeoEye's IKONOS satellite image was taken over the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan at 10:19 am (Tokyo time) on March 17, 2011 and released to Reuters on March 17.  Credit: Reuters/GeoEye Satellite Image/Handout

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