Japan radiation stays low down, air travel fine: U.N.

GENEVA Fri Mar 18, 2011 9:10am EDT

GENEVA (Reuters) - Radiation leaking from a damaged nuclear plant in Japan has not reached the upper atmosphere, leaving air travel safe except for in the immediate area around the plant, a U.N. weather expert said on Friday.

"All our information is that the release is restricted to the very low levels of the atmosphere," said Herbert Puempel, an expert with the United Nations' weather agency the World Meteorological Organization.

"Under the current situation there is no reason to fear for international air travel," he said, adding that there was also no need to screen incoming passengers on flights from Japan.

Puempel also said the cold weather, which has heightened the human misery caused, was now moving away.

"The wintry spell is coming to an end," he said. "Hopefully this could take off a little pressure."

(Reporting by Andrew Callus; editing by Philippa Fletcher)

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