Saturday, 19 March 2011

Email from the British Embassy in Seoul

When one of your neighbours has problems it is only natural to consider if these might one day affect you. Living in South Korea, the situation with North Korea is always in the background but you build an immune system to the 'threat'. Now with the earthquake and tsunami disaster in Japan causing massive nuclear problems your mind turns to the possible scenario of it affecting us here.

I feel safe. I do not worry. My co-workers consider if any radiation could drift over here but I feel unqualified to talk on the subject - a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. From all the literature I read it does not seem possible that we will be affected. But I am out of my depth on this one. I am not concerned but do check the news as often as I can.

I receieved an email from the British Embassy here in Korea, as did anyone who is registered with them as a British National living in Korea. Here is an extract:

"We are continuing to follow developments in Japan closely and reviewing our advice to British nationals in the Republic of Korea. We will monitor the situation closely over the weekend.

...Our travel advice (for Japan and Korea) is kept under constant review, and is directly informed by the best scientific advice. Current assessments suggest that the situation at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan is extremely unlikely to pose an environmental risk to countries outside Japan, but the UK Government is continuing to monitor developments closely. As such, we have not changed our advice for British nationals living in the Republic of Korea. The Korea Institute of Nuclear Safety ( assesses that the risk of radiation movement from north east Japan to the Republic of Korea to be very low. Radiation levels on the Korean peninsula currently remain normal."

Being a teacher here means I am afforded the luxury of a decent salary and given the opportunity to save money. Should the situation become significantly worse and affect Korea I am lucky enough to be able to buy a plane ticket out of here for my wife and myself. One can only feel great sympathy for those in Japan and what they are going through and consider yourself fortunate enough not to be on the sharp end of this tragedy.

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