Vietnamese officials Wednesday said they were yet to detect radiation in local seawater and denied recent rumors about contamination of the seas that prompted many people rush to buy iodized salt for storage.
Vuong Huu Tan, chief of the Vietnam Atomic Energy Commission, said his agency's tests on seawater samples taken at observation stations found no radiation.
Nguyen Nhi Dien, head of the Da Lat Nuclear Research Institute in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong, also said tests on seawater in the central province of Ninh Thuan did not detect any radioactive contamination.
The officials made the statements as rumors about radioactive seawater spread through the country and residents of the central coastal areas, from Quang Tri to Quang Nam provinces, rushed to buy iodized salt.
The rumors went around after Japan released radioactive water from its quake-crippled Fukushima Daichi nuclear power plant into the ocean, and early this week increased the severity of the emergency at the plant to the maximum seven, placing it on par with the world's worst nuclear crisis in Chernobyl.
The radioactive water from Japan was slightly contaminated, Dien said. He said that in such vast sea, the radiation, if dispersed, won't affect the environment and human health, he added.
People need to stay calm and keep themselves updated with information issued by the media and the Ministry of Science and Technology, Dien said.
He warned that recently some people have made use of current happenings to start rumors that sent the public into a panic.
Meanwhile, Nhi said that radioactive levels in the air from the fallout that entered Vietnam last weekend has decreased over the past few days and will probably disappear in the next few days.
So far, local experts and officials have maintained that the radiation in Vietnam poses no risk to human health.
In case, it reaches dangerous levels in the air, people will be given iodide tablets to decrease the risk of being contaminated, news website VnExpress said, citing a Health Ministry response plan to Japan's nuclear incident.