7 Apr 2011

South Korean schools close over radiation fears

9:46 pm on 7 April 2011

Some schools in South Korea have been closed over fears that rain being blown over from Japan may be carrying radioactive material from a damaged nuclear power plant.

The Fukushima Daiichi plant was badly damaged after a 9.0-magnitude earthquake triggered a tsunami that devastated much of the north-east coast of Japan on 11 March.

Nearly 170 schools and kindergartens in one province have cancelled or shortened classes because of what one official called anxiety over conflicting claims on the safety of radiation exposure, the BBC reports.

There was particular concern about pupils in remote areas who may have a long walk to attend lessons.

But in the capital Seoul officials have refused to cancel classes and called for a calm response from parents and pupils.

The South Korean government says the amount of radioactive material in the rain is miniscule and does not present a risk to human health.