Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Radiation in Seoul

Since the nuclear plant explosion near Tokyo at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, the Japanese economy has plummeted. Food exports are way down as some foods have been shown to contain high-levels of radiation, and tourism has been sadly reduced, resulting in little fuel to stimulate the depressed economy. A friend told me earlier today that from Seoul, S. Korea she could get a ticket for next to nothing, just 75 round trip. I think that translates as US$75 or even possible 75,000 KRW (Korean won), which is approximately the same. Japan is desperate to promote their tourism.

Well, tomorrow I fly to the US and have a short stopover in Japan, just a couple of hours. However, when I checked-in online earlier today, a notice popped up stating that people willing to be bumped could give notice at the Delta desk in Tokyo. I've been bumped a few times when not in a hurry, and am not feeling particularly rushed this round; however, I think checking the radation level for a 24-hour stay in Tokyo might be health-wise.

Hmm ... Some quick sleuthing online brought up a rather shocking bit of info: basically, Seoul has more radiation emission than Tokyo! According to the July 11, 2011 listing of several majors cities around the world (printed below but also linked), Tokyo's radition yesterday was .057 while Seoul's was .111, pretty close to double that of Japan's. The caption marketing Japan as not having dangerously high levels of radition is clearly stated in the title caption: "The dose of radiation in Tokyo is not high in comparison with that in major cities in the world."

So I thought I would follow the proffered link to find out more about radiation levels in S. Korea. The up-to-date reading states that 고산 (a bit southeast of Wonju and located centrally inland) is recording the lowest level of radiation today with a fluctuation between 63 and 67 [does that translate on the model that Japan is using as .063 and .067? - not clear as a different testing scale could be used in measuring these numbers] while 속초, on the east coast and a city closest to Japan, registers a fluctuation between 178 and 181 [ .178 and .181? - again not clear]. This is recorded in 국가 환경방사선 자동감시망 감시결과 which loosely translates as "Automatically Piloted Country-wide Environmental Radiation Observation Results".

I'm still not sure whether I'll ask for the layover or not, but living - not just passing though - a country that has such high radiation levels is a weee bit unnerving.

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