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Korea: Independent monitoring nuke-sites

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 
#456
26/07/1996
Article

(July 12, 1996) A National Civilian Radioactive Monitoring Network has been established in South Korea. Last September during the annual audit by the National Assembly and ministries, it was discovered that many radioactive monitoring systems in the country were not functioning at all.

(456.4521) WISE-Amsterdam - This has led the NGO Green Korea to prepare a network for independent monitoring by citizens around nuclear plant sites. Starting this year, citizens' committees of local residents at the four sites (with a total of 11 reactors) will check for radiation, using small hand-held radiation detectors. They will also plant a radiation-sensitive plant, the spiderwort (see box), around nuclear facilities.

Source: Green Korea Report, Spring-Summer 1996
Contact: Green Korea, 385-108 Hapjong-dong, Mapo-ku, Seoul Korea
Tel: +82-2-325-5525
Fax: +82-2-325-5677
E-mail: environ@chollian.dacom.co.kr

Spiderworts (Tradescantia) are being used as biological indicators of radiation emitted from nuclear power plants. This monitoring was developed in the 1960s by Dr. Sadao Ichikawa, a radiation geneticist at the Department of Agriculture, Kyoto University in Japan, and others. Now all the reactors in Japan and some in Europeand the United States of America are monitored with the Spiderworts. The Spiderwort strategy is employed by encircling the reactor site with many potted plants and regularly collecting them for scoring. The spiderwort experiment shows the important biological aspects of radiation exposure: attachment, incorporation, and concentration. It has demonstrated the extent of genetic damage from biological concentration of low levels ofradiation in living plant tissue. Some cells of the stamen hairswill change color from blue to pink after exposure to radiation.This change is used as an indicator of somatic mutation or othercell damage. The Spiderworts will show in a short time (8 to 12days) what would take years to appear in the affected population. The scoring can be done on a low-powered microscope.
Source: No Nukes, by Anna Gyorgy and Friends. South Ends Press,1979.