In the wake of the 2011 tsunami that caused a meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan, there was a fear that radioactive cars and trucks could be bound for export. Within days of the tragedy, Nissan was already testing its vehicles' radiation levels (pictured above), and the rest of the Japanese auto industry followed soon after. However, three years after the natural disaster, it appears that some used models are still making it out and winding up on the roads in Central Asia.

Next time you take a drive in Kyrgyzstan, you might want to have a Geiger counter handy. An impound lot in the capital city of Bishkek has already amassed a collection of 70 irradiated cars, according to Autoweek. The radioactive vehicles are making into the country through dealers that purchase used models from Japan. They are then driven over the border from neighboring nations to make radiation checks less likely.

It's hardly an isolated problem for Kyrgyzstan. According to Autoweek, the Russian port at Vladivostok turned away 132 irradiated Japanese vehicles as recently as January 2014. In some cases, Japan is willing to take the models back, but Bishkek is stuck with its 70 contaminated cars to find a way of dispose of them.


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  • 37 Comments
      AP1_S2K
      • 5 Months Ago
      GT-R aka "Godzilla" + radiation = that's where he gets his powers from
      Darth Nader
      • 5 Months Ago
      Tell you what, Nissan: I'll take a "lightly irradiated" GT-R off your hands for 60% off. Just putin' the offer out there.
      SloopJohnB
      • 5 Months Ago
      I'd take my chances in an irradiated GTR.
      Stinkyboy
      • 5 Months Ago
      Faster and Furiouser 8. Staring Vin Diesel and LL Cool J. They have to sneak into Japan and steal all the radiated cars. In turn, they drive them super fast until the radiation dissipates. They are doing this so the cars are not exported to North Korea and turned into WMD's.
      Car Guy
      • 5 Months Ago
      So what were the levels and how do they compare to a dangerous level? Terrible reporting. BTW, Bananas also emit radiation - beware............
        SCOTTM
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Car Guy
        The half-life of a "naturally occurring" Potassium based radioactive ion in a banana is infinitesimal to the half-life and destruction caused by radioisotopes Cesium 137, Iodine 129 and 131, and more importantly Strontium 90. Once either one of these are ingested or inhaled, cancer is just about certain.
      usa1
      • 5 Months Ago
      Just because you can measure something doesn't mean it's dangerous. No context is provided on the levels vs natural background levels, dangerous levels, etc. However, we all understand that there's little rational discussion when it comes to radiation levels.
        SCOTTM
        • 5 Months Ago
        @usa1
        Yeah, the pile of dung idea that ingesting or inhaling "some" amount of ionizing radioactive isotopes can be "good" for you is largely propaganda dispersed by the ever profitable nuclear power industry and their bedfellow the NRC (Nuclear Regulatory Commission).
          Cory Stansbury
          • 5 Months Ago
          @SCOTTM
          Actually, the idea is well supported by over 3000 studies as compiled by T.D. Luckey. This work has been further supported by gentlemen such as Dr. Ron Mitchel, Dr. Sylvain Costes, and Dr. Jerry Cutler, and many others. The idea that dose risk can be extrapolated to zero is rather absurd in itself and not well supported by the best available science. In fact, the French Academy of Sciences, UNSCEAR, Health Physics Society, and WHO all advice against this practice. What's interesting is that in all of my experience with the NRC, I've never once gotten the impression that they were on my side. I think "cold" is the best description I can give. That said, they did accept my whitepaper after 500+ hours worth of work and millions and millions in testing to support it, so they probably were paid off. What has your NRC interaction experience been like?
      Cory Stansbury
      • 5 Months Ago
      Good chance that someone mortified by this article read it while their computer sat on a granite counter. Oh the irony.
      GR
      • 5 Months Ago
      While the radiation leak in Fukushima is a serious concern, many who are paranoid about radiation really do not understand how it works nor the realities of the dangers. I recall that after the tsunami and news of the crippled and leaking nuclear plant in Japan, Californians were freaking out and buying iodine pills from fear of radiation exposure. Many Americans and Canadians blamed the smallest abnormalities in nature on the radiation leak in Japan. Also, photos on the internet surfaced of strange or deformed vegetables and plants from Japan which blamed the radiation although many of the photos were actually taken before the tsunami and were of just natural defects that any farmer actually would come across. In essence, radiation is one of those things many people don't understand yet have a fear of and will use/believe false information about it out of paranoia. Something like a car from Japan can be irradiated but it would have had to come from a place near Fukushima. Most of Japan is detecting radiation levels no different from the rest of the world. Honestly, you are getting more radiation from reading this on your screen than anything from Japan given A) you aren't in or near Fukushima nor B) possess something from that area. While I by no means intend to downplay the seriousness of the radiation leak that is still ongoing in Japan, the irrational fear by those living on the other side of the largest ocean on Earth needs to be in check. The Japanese in Japan are the ones who need to be worried, not someone on the other side of the planet. Many people irrationally fear cancer from radiation while they have no qualms about the fast food/junk food they gobble down and remain ignorant on how much more diet has to do with cancer than most other factors.
      Cayman
      • 5 Months Ago
      All Japanese cars contain radiation from Fukushima... Heck, probably every car built anywhere technically has "some" radiation from that accident, but what's important is how much radiation.
        barkeep
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Cayman
        Probably not just Japanese cars, but parts from suppliers based in Japan for every manufacturer after the quake/tsunami may have trace amounts of radioactivity.
        SloopJohnB
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Cayman
        You'll probably get more radioactivity from that bag of kitty litter you picked up on the way home.
      homerrlb
      • 5 Months Ago
      Yeah... I'll take that slightly irradiated GTR off of their hands for them!
      vi_per
      • 5 Months Ago
      Why the *ell would people put reactors on earthquake fault lines? And how many years are the bureaucrats going to take to clean up Fukushima? Just such irresponsibility imo.
      David Judkovics
      • 5 Months Ago
      http://www.fairewinds.org/hot-particles-and-measurement-of-radioactivity/ How many of these cars are carrying hot particles?
        Cory Stansbury
        • 5 Months Ago
        @David Judkovics
        I'd love to debunk this myself, but my friend has already done such a good job, I shall refrain from elaborating: http://www.hiroshimasyndrome.com/fukushima-fud/arnie-gundersen-s-fukushima-hot-particle-myth.html
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