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‘Artificial rain mulled to ...block Japan radioactivity’

April 6, 2011 - 20:10 By 김소현
The nation’s weather agency considered creating an artificial rainstorm above the Taebaek Mountains along the eastern coast to block the inflow of radioactive materials from Japan’s crippled nuclear plant, an opposition legislator said Wednesday.

Rep. Shin Hak-yong of the Democratic Party said he was told that the Korea Meteorological Agency attempted the rainmaking despite the possibility of causing “radioactive rain.”

“The KMA had initially said that the Westerlies (prevailing winds) would keep the radioactive materials from the Japanese plant from blowing in our direction,” Shin was quoted as saying by Yonhap news agency.

“But I was told that when the winds were expected to blow from the east, (the KMA) tried to create an artificial rainstorm to shut off the radioactive materials in the East Sea.”

The KMA later changed the location to above Taebaek Mountains, which lie close to the eastern coast, due to difficulties in securing an aircraft for rainmaking far away from the shore, according to Shin.

The plan was cancelled, however, as there were no easterly winds, he said.

“Rainmaking above international waters would be okay, but if they do it above the mountains, that would have caused radioactive rain,” Shin said.

“I seriously don’t know what they were thinking.”

Shin also warned that Seoul should come up with measures to quickly detect or find out about possible nuclear plant accidents in China. He made the calls in a press release prior to the government’s parliamentary interpellation session Wednesday.

“A total of 22 nuclear power plant accidents in China have been reported so far, but most of them were reported two to six months after the accidents took place,” Shin said.

“Because radioactive materials from China’s nuclear plant accidents could have an impact across the entire Korean Peninsula within three days, Seoul should take steps to find out about such accidents in a timely manner.”

By Kim So-hyun (