Rotterdam has announced that it will measure radioactivity on ships arriving from Japan before entering port. The move comes as thousands of gallons of contaminated water are released into the sea from the stricken Fukushima nuclear power plants.
In a statement, the Port of Rotterdam says: “For precautionary reasons, the Port of Rotterdam Authority is to measure ships from Japan at sea, before entering the port, for the presence of radioactivity.
‘We do not expect to find concentrations of radioactivity above permitted levels. In order to confirm this, we will measure the presence of radioactivity before the ship enters our port. As Harbour Master, I believe that we have an obligation to do this on behalf of those directly involved in handling the ship. By doing so we can remove many concerns and people can work safely’, says René de Vries, (State) Harbour Master of Rotterdam.
“The Harbour Coordination Centre in Rotterdam is using an alert list to be extra alert for all ships coming from Japan. This is being done in close cooperation with Customs. Every ship from Japan undergoes a strict admission and handling protocol, which begins with the first measurements at sea. This protocol is being followed to rule out any potential risks and confirm our present expectations.
“The Port of Rotterdam Authority is actively involved in setting up the above-mentioned admission and handling protocol for the ships from Japan. It is working together with organisations including Deltalinqs, Customs, the DCMR Environmental Protection Agency Rijnmond, the Rotterdam Rijnmond Safety Region, the Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority and nautical partners in setting up the protocol, which will be finalised and put into operation in the first week of April. The first ship that departed from Japan after the problems arose at the nuclear plant is expected in Rotterdam in mid-April”.
Meanwhile theJapanese power company TEPCO is discharging 10 000 tonnes of low level contaminated water from its radioactive waste treatment facility to the sea. This is in order to have sufficient capacity to store highly contaminated water found in the basement of the Unit 2 Turbine Building.
In addition TEPCO will discharge 1 500 ton of low level contaminated water in the sub-drain pit for Units 5 and 6 to prevent the water in the pit from leaking into the reactor buildings and potentially damaging safety-related equipment.
The New Zealand Customs Service issued a media release stating that it is working closely with other agencies to ensure any risk of radiation as it relates to imports from Japan is accurately assessed and effectively managed. Currently, any radioactive material that might be present will only be at trace levels presenting no hazard to health.