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`No radiation fears` in Fukushima for Louvre works

Last Updated: Thursday, January 26, 2012 - 22:05

Tokyo: A Fukushima museum official on Thursday
played down concerns in France about the possible
contamination of artworks soon to be loaned to the nuclear hit
region by the Louvre.

The Paris museum plans to send 24 pieces to Japan,
including to Fukushima prefecture, home to the stricken
nuclear plant, in a show of solidarity with the disaster-hit

The touring exhibition will run from April 27 to
September 17 in Japan`s Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima
prefectures, a Louvre official told a joint news conference
with Japanese museum officials at the French embassy in Tokyo.

The artworks -- paintings, sculptures, drawings and other
works from different eras and civilizations -- will arrive on
July 28 at the Fukushima prefectural Museum of Art some 60
kilometres (37 miles) away from the tsunami-hit nuclear power

Tetsuo Sakai, head of the Fukushima museum, said
radiation levels inside the exhibition room averaged 0.05
microsieverts per hour -- a long way below government-mandated
evacuation levels.

However, he acknowledged radiation levels outside the
facility have been much higher, still hovering at around 1.0
microsievert per hour.

Museum officials are now removing a contaminated lawn as
part of their efforts to reduce levels of radioactivity ahead
of the exhibition, he added.

"With these efforts, radiation levels will decline
further and further," Sakai told the news conference.

The show was organised as a gesture of solidarity with
the Japanese, after last year`s massive March 11 earthquake
and tsunami hit the northeast of Japan, sparking the Fukushima
nuclear disaster, the Louvre official said.

"The proposed project is going to encourage Fukushima
people, telling them, `You are not alone`," the Fukushima
museum chief said.


First Published: Thursday, January 26, 2012 - 22:05
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