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    No rise in radiation in Russian Far East despite wind shift

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    Radiation levels were within the norm early on Friday in Russia's Primorye Territory and Sakhalin despite winds blowing from the Sea of Japan.

    Radiation levels were within the norm early on Friday in Russia's Primorye Territory and Sakhalin despite winds blowing from the Sea of Japan.

    Russia started monitoring radiation levels in the Far East after radioactive substances leaked from the blast-hit Fukushima 1 nuclear power plant in Japan.

    "The wind shifted on Friday, and now comes to Primorye from southeast, from the Sea of Japan. However, the wind will not bring radioactive clouds to the area, as it does not bring air masses from where radiation levels are above the norm," a source in the local meteorological service said.

    In Primorye, including Vladivostok, Russia's largest city on the Pacific, exposure rates varied from 10 to 15 micro-roentgen per hour, while in Sakhalin they ranged from 5 to 15 micro-roentgen per hour. Exposure rates of up to 30 micro-roentgen per hour are considered normal.

    In a bid to avoid panic among the population, the government of Kamchatka has launched a hotline, allowing every local resident to receive radiation monitoring results directly and at any time.

    Meanwhile, Reuters reported, plumes of white smoke or steam are seen rising from blast-hit units Two, Three and Four.

    Japanese nuclear officials did not comment on the causes of the smoke.

    Cooling systems of the Fukushima 1 NPP were knocked out by the powerful 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami which hit Japan last week. Earlier this week, blasts were reported at units One, Two and Three, and at least two fires at the spent nuclear fuel storage facility at unit Four. Temperatures remain high in units Five and Six.

    VLADIVOSTOK / YUZHNO-SAKHALINSK, March 18 (RIA Novosti)

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