Radioactive cars being sold
Fukushima Power Plant
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OCT 28, 2011 | BY KIM I. HARTMAN
Tokyo - News reports from Japan have revealed that car
dealers in the country are selling automobiles that were
contaminated by radiation following the Japanese earthquake
and tsunami that resulted in a series of meltdowns at the
Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
A large number of previously owned radioactive vehicles that
originated from within the exclusion zone that surrounds the
Fukushima prefecture's power plant have made their way into
the used car market, according to NBC News.
Asahi Shimbun newspaper reported that dealers, anxious to
unload the contaminated cars, are re-registering the
automobiles and then selling them with their new license
Following the natural disaster that struck Japan in March,
automobile manufactures announced they would begin testing
all new vehicles for the presence of radioactive material
before they left the plant. The national radiation limit in
Japan for cars being exported for sale in other countries is
0.3 microsieverts an hour.
Car dealers who often export used vehicles to Russia and
Southeast Asia are having shipments to those countries
refused because of high radiation levels. Customs
authorities in Russia have turned away hundreds of vehicles
that were shipped to their country by Japanese used car
dealers. Russia has been joined by Chile and Australia, who
have both received shipments of automobiles contaminated
with low levels of radiation.
As testing for radiation gets tougher, car dealers in Japan
are left with two choices, destroy the vehicle as the
government has required, or obtain new documentation and
unload the automobile to an unsuspecting Japanese buyer.
Many are opting for the latter.
One Japanese resident is reported to have purchased a van
that was found to emit 110 microsieverts of radiation an
hour from a dealer who says he bought the vehicle at an
auction for $16,000, reports Fox News.
After the van was refused for export, the car dealer said he
tried to decontaminate the vehicle and was able to get the
radiation level down to 30 microsieverts. Majirox News
reported, he decided to sell it it at an auction in Japan
anyway. "What do you expect me to do. Take a loss on it,” he
A used car dealer in the Fukushima prefecture said, “If they
have Fukushima or Iwaki number plates, we re-register the
cars elsewhere in the Kanto region and then auction them."
To stop this unscrupulous business practice the managing
director of the Japan Automobile Exporters Association,
Yutaka Shioda, said, “All cars being auctioned in Japan
should undergo radioactivity tests.”
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