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Nuclear reactor disaster in Japan

Monday, 04.04.2011


You can receive information about the current situation in Japan on the homepage of the Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU).


Businessmen and tourists returning from Japan as well as the helpers of the rescue service and the civil protection NRW have the possibility of being examined on behalf of radioactive contamination at the Landesinstitut für Gesundheit und Arbeit (LIGA) (State institute for health and work) and at further established places. During the examination a so-called body counter can measure certain substances that have been absorbed by the body such as caesium-137 or iodine-131.

Further detailed information can be obtained on the homepage of the Ministry of Labour, Integration and Social Affairs of the Land North Rhine-Westphalia (MAGS)

A nationwide list of incorporation measuring points can be found at the (BMU)


Goods and food from Japan are tested on radioactive contamination by the NRW environment department (NRW-Umweltministerium) at the Border Inspection Posts. 

Furthermore, the department 11 of the Materials Testing Office North Rhine-Westphalia can also test goods and other materials.

  • contamination test
    in an overview test materials are tested for increased radioactivity
  • rapid measurement of relevant nuclides
    a gamma spectrometric measurement tests the presence of the radioactive substances iodine-131 and caesium-137.
  • Nuclide-specific gamma radioactivity measurement
    a gamma spectrometric measurement determines the radioactivity of the gamma emitters.
  • Special nuclide analyses of tritium and strontium
    A radiochemical analysis determines the radioactivity of tritium, strontium-89 or strontium-90.
  • Nuclide-specific alpha radioactivity measurement an alpha spectrometric measurement determines the radioactivity of uranium and plutonium isotopes.

More: Controlling goods and other materials with regard to increased radioactivity


Travels to Japan

The Federal Foreign Office has issued a partial travel warning for travels to Japan and its surroundings. If you still have to travel into areas with a possibly increased radiation exposure you should control the radiation exposure.

  • Radiation exposure due to the absorption of radioactive substances into the body (internal exposure) by e.g. the Landesinstitut für Gesundheit und Arbeit (LIGA) (State institute for health and work)
  • External radiation, i. e. radiation exposure due to radiation that penetrates the body from outside (direct radiation) by personal dosimeters

More: Control of the external radiation exposure for travellers to Japan

Recommendation for contamination values

For flights from Japan the Federal Environment Ministry has recommended contamination values for the radioactivity measurement of persons, luggage and freight. The recommendation is analogously applicable for the freight and crew of ships. Below the intervention level of 4 Bq/cm² no further measures have to be adopted, the contamination is radiologically harmless. Normal hygiene is sufficient as a precautionary measure.