living in Russia's Far East near Japan are buying iodine pills to
fight radioactive isotopes even as the government insisted that
radiation levels in Russia are in safe limits, a media report said
As Russia and Ukraine prepare to mark the 25th anniversary of
Chernobyl disaster in April, many residents recollected the
accident when little information was released by Soviet
Some Russians living close to Japan decided not to wait for
government warnings, and many visited pharmacies to buy iodine
pills, believed to prevent the body from absorbing radioactive
isotopes, the Wall Street Journal reported.
"There has definitely been a run on these kinds of medicines in
the last two days," said a salesperson at a pharmacy in
Vladivostok, adding that it had completely ran out of iodine
Dosimeters, which measure exposure to radiation, were also selling
more quickly than usual.
"Yes, people are buying medicines in the drugstores and
dosimeters," said Alexei Rasputny, a reporter from the Novaya
Gazeta newspaper in Vladivostok, Russia's main port on the
Pacific. "But nobody is leaving, nobody is talking about that."
Japan is facing a nuclear disaster after a massive magnitude-9
earthquake followed by tsunami hit the northeastern coast March
11. Explosions and fire at the Fukushima nuclear power plant put
the nation on high alert.
Russia's easternmost regions reported steady radiation levels of
between nine and 13 micro-Roentgens per hour, well within safe
levels, according to the emergency situations Ministry.
Meanwhile, Russian military units stationed on the island of
Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands, which are disputed with Japan,
prepared for a possible evacuation because of the nuclear threat,
only days after they were warned about the tsunami.
The military also said it would help evacuate civilians from the
islands, Interfax reported.
The wind in Sakhalin was blowing from the north toward Japan,
opposing any release of radioactive materials.
Russia so far doesn't see a need to evacuate its diplomatic
personnel from Japan, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.
Russia's nuclear chief complained to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin
that his atomic experts, including a veteran of the Chernobyl
disaster 25 years ago, haven't been permitted to enter Japan.