At DFW Airport, Flights From Japan Checked for Radiation

Passengers and luggage face stepped-up inspections

By Scott Gordon
|  Thursday, Mar 17, 2011  |  Updated 12:36 PM CDT
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Federal agents checked two flights from <a title=Japan at DFW Airport for high levels of radiation but found none, officials said." />

Scott Gordon, NBCDFW.com

Federal agents checked two flights from Japan at DFW Airport for high levels of radiation but found none, officials said.

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North Texas Family Trapped in Japan

William Hall's wife and two children are stuck in a small city just south of Gunma in Japan, they're trying to travel 90 miles to get to the Tokyo airport and back to Grand Prairie. Meanwhile all Hall can do is wait.
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Customs and Border Protection agents at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport checked two flights from Japan on Tuesday for high levels of radiation but found none, officials said.

Passengers said they were checked for radiation as they got off the American Airlines flights from Tokyo’s Narita International Airport.

"As we came off of the flight, they had a little wand or something, and they did us individually just as we walked by,” said Matt Blakeman, a business consultant from Bedford who flew home two weeks early.

“There’s fear pretty much around; just the uncertainty of what’s going on," he said.

Blakeman said passengers’ luggage also was inspected.

Venus Wooten, of Dallas, was stationed at a U.S. Navy base in Japan and arrived home after two years.

“That freaked me out a little bit,” she said of fears of a nuclear catastrophe. “I don’t know what’s really going on. I’m just glad I’m out of there.”

Radiation inspections at DFW and other American airports were done randomly before. But the crisis in Japan led to a stepped-up effort to target flights from that country, officials said.

Meanwhile, U.S. experts warned of a dire situation at Japan’s most-damaged nuclear plant.

Spent fuel rods at the Fukushima Dai-ichi facility are in danger of melting down and sending massive amounts of radiation into the air, said Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko.

The U.S. government has warned American citizens within 50 miles of the nuclear plant to leave the area. The Japanese government has evacuated people in a 20-mile radius.

So far, Customs and Border Protection said its radiation checks on arriving flights did not turn up any problems.

"It's good news, right?” Blakeman said. “It means we're safe.”

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