April 15, 2011 / 1:43 PM / 8 years ago

EU sets radiation threshold for Japanese ships

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European ports should check radiation levels on all ships coming from Japan to see if they exceed a new limit after last month’s nuclear accident, the European Union’s executive said on Friday.

“We want to exclude any risk, even if it is a very small one, for the safety of the workers in the harbors and the citizens,” EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said in a statement.

The European Commission suggested a new EU-wide limit of 0.2 microsievert-per-hour above normal levels.

The proposal was not binding and individual countries will have to decide whether to comply.

The announcement came a day after the first ship to leave Japan following the accident at Fukushima nuclear plant docked at Rotterdam port in the Netherlands.

More ships are expected to arrive in Europe from Japan in the coming days a spokeswoman for Oettinger told journalists.

If port authorities detect radiation levels above the threshold, governments should notify the Commission and the ship in question should be thoroughly washed, she added.

The EU has separate radiation limits for food and other goods imported from Japan, which it has tightened several times in recent weeks.

“So far, we have not detected one single case where we can say there was food (or) other products which had higher levels (that) would give rise to health concerns,” the spokeswoman said.

Reporting by Charlie Dunmore

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