Japan travelers arrive at O'Hare amid radiation worry

March 15, 2011 2:15:22 PM PDT
Some passengers flying to Chicago are concerned about the volatile nuclear plant situation in Japan, and at least one airline is now taking steps to monitor radiation levels.

Some arriving at O'Hare International Airport had one word to describe it -- scary. Others who spent time in Japan say they believe they do not have much to be concerned about.

"I was very concerned and glad to get out of Japan actually this time," said Wolfgang Junger, of Boston.

Reports came out Tuesday that radioactive levels had become significantly higher on a quake-stricken power plant in Japan. The French embassy's says a low-level radioactive wind could reach Tokyo later Tuesday.

"I had no fear when I left Tokyo. When I hear that is affecting Tokyo, I am feeling a little bit worried," said Kanie Norichika.

Lufthansa is now scanning aircraft returning from Japan for radioactive activity. Nothing has been detected yet.

One professor landed in Chicago from Japan Tuesday and was in Japan when the disaster struck. He says he is unconcerned about possible contamination.

"In terms of personal concerns for my health and safety, the low-level releases were not that great," said Prof. Kenneth Oye.

A U.S. aircraft carrier deployed off tsunami-hit Japan for relief efforts has been repositioned after detecting low-level radiation from the malfunctioning nuclear power plant, according to a U.S. statement. So far, the passengers arriving in Chicago say no measures have been taken yet to scan them for possible radioactivity before they set foot on American soil.

"I think they have everything under control. They are taking all precautions. There does not seem to be any panic," said Sandi Nicely.

In a sign of mounting fears about the risk of radiation, China says it has canceled flights to Tokyo.


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