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Japan nuclear health risks low, wont blow abroad

Health risks from Japans quake-hit nuclear power reactors seem fairly low and winds are likely to carry any contamination out to the Pacific without threatening other nations, experts say.

Tokyo battled to avert a meltdown at three stricken reactors at the Fukushima plant in the worst nuclear accident since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, triggered by Fridays tsunami. Radiation levels were also up at the Onagawa atomic plant.

"This is not a serious public health issue at the moment," Malcolm Crick, Secretary of the U.N. Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation, told Reuters."It wont be anything like Chernobyl. There the reactor was operating at full power when it exploded and it had no containment," he said. As a precaution, around 140,000 people have been evacuated from the area around Fukushima.

Crick said a partial meltdown of the Three Mile Island plant in the United States in 1979 — rated more serious than Japans accident on an international scale — released low amounts of radiation.

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