Japan drone with radioactive gas crashes into Pacific

The drone had 107.7 kilobecquerels of krypton 85 in sealed glass capsule.

Tokyo: An unmanned Japanese military plane carrying a small amount of radioactive krypton gas crashed into the Pacific but there was no danger of nuclear contamination, officials said on Saturday.

The plane was dispatched from a F-15 fighter on a test flight early yesterday off Iwo Jima island, some 1,200 kilometres south of Tokyo, but crashed with a stalled engine two minutes later, a Defence Ministry official said.

The drone was carrying 107.7 kilobecquerels of krypton 85 in a sealed glass capsule to be used for igniting the jet engine, a science and technology ministry official said.

"The quantity was close to the lower limit of the restricted range," said Tomokazu Ueda, an official in charge of nuclear safety at the ministry.

"If the capsule is shattered underwater, it would not have any impact on the environment," he said. "If it is totally inhaled, it would not affect the human body either."

The drone, 5.2 metres long, belonged to the Defence Ministry`s institute of technical research and development.