State: Radiation from Japan poses little risk to Washington

March 12, 2011

By Staff

NEW — 6 p.m. March 12, 2011

The state Department of Health has not detected any elevated radiation readings in Washington as Japanese officials struggle to avert a meltdown at a damaged nuclear power plant.

The state agency is conducting ongoing air monitoring for radiation to determine if the incident has affected radiation levels.

The agency’s Radiation Protection staff expects no public health risk in Washington, and the monitoring is precautionary. If the situation changes in Washington, the Department of Health plans to inform the public.

State health officials are monitoring the events in Japan, and remain in contact with the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Environmental Protection Agency.

The nuclear plant incident in the wake of the earthquake in Japan has raised concerns among some people in Washington about windblown radiation coming across the Pacific Ocean.

Since the disaster, air sample readings in Washington have remained normal. The state’s Radiation Protection Program does not expect any change in environmental measurements taken in Washington.

Even in the event of a significant release from the Japanese reactor, officials said radiation would be diluted before reaching Washington. Moreover, officials said levels would be so low and no protective action would be necessary.

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