China's Shandong Sickness Source Revealed
By Lucy Hornby
CHENGDU, China (Reuters) - China has found what it termed 50 "hazardous sources of radiation" due to last week's earthquake, a senior official said on Friday, though he insisted the situation was under control.
But Wu Xiaoqing, vice environment minister, said there had been no accidental releases of radiation.
"Thirty-five of the radiation sources have been recovered, and the location of another 15 has been confirmed, but they have not yet been recovered," Wu told a news conference in Beijing.
"Three are buried in rubble and another 12 are in dangerous buildings, which staff cannot go into," he added. "At present, tests from the scene show that there has yet to be an accidental release of radiation."
The disaster area is home to China's chief nuclear weapons research lab in Mianyang, as well as several secretive atomic sites, but no nuclear power stations.
Eleven days after the 7.9 magnitude quake shook the mountainous province of Sichuan, hundreds of thousands of soldiers, relief workers and ordinary residents are now focused on reconstruction.
The known death toll from the quake already exceeds 55,000, but more bodies are expected to be found as the debris from the dozens of flattened cities, towns and villages is cleared.
A top provincial official said China would need to rebuild whole towns and villages from scratch to rehouse the millions displaced by the quake, a task which could take three years. Continued...