Finally we are getting some reports of the amount of radiation on it’s way to the US…..But they are still being vague and not giving the measured amounts.
Low Levels of Radioactive Material Begin to Be Detected Across Pacific
A network of international monitoring stations has begun to pick up the signatures of radioactive elements emitted by Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, a Swedish official said Thursday.
At high, sustained doses, these radioactive elements—including iodine and cesium—can be dangerous to human health.
However, the amounts released from the plant so far are small, and are largely being dispersed over the Pacific.
Currently, “they don’t pose a danger” to the U.S. or even other Asian countries, said Lars-Erik De Geer, research director at the Swedish Defense Research Institute, who has seen the data from the monitoring stations.
The radiation-detecting network is run by the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization, a Vienna-based group that monitors any breaches of the test ban. It runs more than 60 such stations, including two in Japan. A unit in Kamchatka, Russia, more than 1,000 miles northeast of Fukushima, was the first to detect signs of the radiation.
Dr. De Geer said the terms of the treaty prevented him from divulging specific details, such as the exact readings of different radioactive isotopes picked up by the monitoring network.
Radioactive materials tend to be released from a damaged nuclear plant in a certain pattern. First, a range of less-dangerous gases are liberated, including tritium, krypton and xenon. They typically dissipate in the atmosphere and pose little threat.
Overheating fuel rods then discharge gaseous forms of certain volatile radioactive elements, including cesium, iodine, strontium and tellurium. As these rise, they latch on to dust in the air and become particulates, a quarter the size of a grain of sand.
These are the elements that post the most risk in case of a nuclear catastrophe, and were some of the most harmful after Chernobyl. Cesium 137, for example, emits high-energy gamma rays. Inhaling or ingesting cesium-137 distributes the radioactive material in the soft tissues, especially the muscles, and increases the risk of cancer.
Tokyo Electric Power Co., the Fukushima plant’s owner and operator, has said cesium has been detected at the plant, but it was unclear what levels were found.
At Fukushima City, 60 miles from the plant, the recorded amount of radiation on Thursday was 20 microsieverts per hour, a level that is roughly 1,000 times higher than in Japanese cities far from the plant. Still, scientists say it isn’t enough to cause long-term health effects.
Officials at Fukushima City also said that they found iodine, cesium-135 and cesium-137 in drinking water, at about one-quarter the levels that would make the water unfit to drink.
An AP article said this:
Radioactive fallout from Japan’s crippled nuclear plant has reached Southern California but the first readings are far below levels that could pose a health hazard, a diplomat said Friday.
The diplomat, who has access to radiation tracking by the U.N.’s Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization, cited readings from a California-based measuring station of the group.
Initial readings are “about a billion times beneath levels that would be health threatening,” the diplomat told The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity because the CTBTO does not make its findings public.
The organization forecast earlier this week that some radioactivity would reach Southern California by Friday. A CTBTO graphic obtained Thursday by the AP showed a moving plume reaching the U.S. mainland after racing across the Pacific and swiping the Aleutian Islands.
The diplomat’s comments backed up expectations by IAEA officials and independent experts that radiation levels – which are relatively low outside of the immediate vicinity of the Japanese plant – would dissipate so strongly by the time it reached the U.S. coastline that it would pose no health risk whatsoever to residents.