“If There Were a Reactor Meltdown or Major Leak at Fukushima, the Radioactive Cloud Would Likely be Blown Out … Towards the US West Coast”
by George Washington
Agence-France Presse notes:
California is closely monitoring efforts to contain leaks from a quake-damaged Japanese nuclear plant, a spokesman said Saturday, as experts said radiation could be blown out across the Pacific.
“At present there is no danger to California. However we are monitoring the situation closely in conjunction with our federal partners,” Michael Sicilia, spokesman for
California Department of Public Health, told AFP.
“California does have radioactivity monitoring systems in place for air, water and the food supply and can enhance that monitoring if a danger exists,” he added.
Experts have suggested that, if there were a reactor meltdown or major leak at Fukushima, the radioactive cloud would likely be blown out east across the Pacific, towards the US West Coast.
“The wind direction for the time being seems to point the (nuclear) pollution towards the Pacific,” said Andre-Claude Lacoste of the French Nuclear Safety Authority, briefing journalists in Paris on the Japanese crisis.
Earlier the NRC said it was “examining all available information as part of the effort to analyze the event and understand its implications both for Japan and the United States.”
The winds could shift at any time, blowing radiation into Tokyo or other parts of Japan.
However, even if the prevailing winds remain off-shore – towards California and Washington – those American states are still a long way away. As AFP notes:
While US nuclear experts acknowledged the seriousness of Japan’s reactor crisis, some stressed that taking steps in the United States such as distributing iodine tablets — which prevent iodine 131 from being absorbed into the body — would be “vastly premature.”
“It’s a big ocean. These (radiation) releases are essentially going to be at ground level,” said Ken Bergeron, a physicist who has worked on nuclear reactor accident simulation.
“We should not confuse it with health issues in the United States.”
Japan is roughly 5,000 miles (8,000 kilometers) from the US West Coast.