Toxic cars sold in Japan seven months after nuclear meltdown

James Raia

Seven months after the nuclear meltdown in Japan that occurred in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami, vehicles contaminated by the radiation in the area have received new registrations and license plates and sold as used cars.

Vehicles from the area around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, which suffered a series of meltdowns March 11, were scheduled to be destroyed. But dealers have been selling them, according to the Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun.Toxic cars sold in Japan seven months after nuclear meltdown 1

Dealers have traditionally bought used vehicles in Japan and exported them to Russia and Southeast Asia, according to the Telegraph. In June, Russian police turned back a half-dozen used cars from Japan after finding they were contaminated with radioactove isotopes.

 Authorities in South America, Australia and the U.S. have also stepped up inspection of new and used cars coming in from Japan.

Now, with testing also being conducted at Japanese loading docks, dealers are selling the potentially lethal cars on the domestic market.

Nearly 700 cars have been barred from export for exceeding the legal radiation limit of 0.3 microsieverts per hour. One van that was re-registered and sold within Japan was found to emit 110 microsieverts of radiation an hour.

Article Last Updated: October 26, 2011.

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