‘No major risk to California due to radiation’

PTI Boston | Updated on November 17, 2017 Published on March 18, 2011

Small amount of radioactive material, blowing from Japan’s damaged nuclear power plants, is expected to reach California today but experts have said the radiation would be “within safe limits” and poses no major risk, according to a media report.

Radioactive isotopes are being blown towards North America “high in the atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean” and will reach California as soon as Friday, a report in the Los Angeles Times said.

“The material should begin showing up on the (US) West Coast as early as Friday, though it could take up to an additional week for the 5,000-mile trip from Japan to Southern California,” the report said.

US network of sensors, known as the ‘Radnet’ operated by the Environmental Protection Agency and comprising 100 radiation monitors across the country, are monitoring the level of radiation that is flowing from Japan towards the US West Coast.

The EPA said it was monitoring the situation closely. Its Radnet system had not yet detected radioactivity and it has added additional portable radiation monitors in Guam, Alaska and Hawaii.

The US President, Mr Barack Obama, also assured Americans that there was no danger of radiation for the country.

“I want to be very clear: We do not expect harmful levels of radiation to reach the United States, whether it’s the West Coast, Hawaii, Alaska, or US territories in the Pacific,” Mr Obama said in Washington.

“Let me repeat that: We do not expect harmful levels of radiation to reach the West Coast, Hawaii, Alaska, or US territories in the Pacific. That is the judgment of our Nuclear Regulatory Commission and many other experts.”

The Los Angeles Times report said the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which oversees the US nuclear industry, “did not expect dangerous levels of radioactivity to hit the West Coast, Hawaii, Alaska or US territories in the Pacific.”

The radioactive levels that reach the US could increase over time since emissions from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant have grown since the disaster broke out last week, the report added.

Experts have, however, said the particles would “wash out of the atmosphere” before they reach the US.

A specialist at nuclear watchdog group Union of Concerned Scientists Mr Edwin Lyman said the US was not at any serious risk.

Published on March 18, 2011
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor