Official UN Forecast: Japan Radioactive Fallout Heading To US West Coast
An official United Nations forecast of the possible movement of the radioactive plume coming from crippled Japanese nuclear reactors shows it churning across the Pacific, and touching the Aleutian Islands on Thursday before hitting Southern California late Friday.
The Feds have deployed radiation detector to the west coast to monitor the situation. A link to the radioactive nuclear fallout map is below.
From The NYTIMES:
A United Nations forecast of the possible movement of the radioactive plume coming from crippled Japanese reactors shows it churning across the Pacific, and touching the Aleutian Islands on Thursday before hitting Southern California late Friday.
Health and nuclear experts emphasize that radiation in the plume will be diluted as it travels and, at worst, would have extremely minor health consequences in the United States, even if hints of it are ultimately detectable. In a similar way, radiation from the Chernobyl disaster in 1986 spread around the globe and reached the West Coast of the United States in ten days, its levels measurable but minuscule.
The projection, by the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization, an arm of the United Nations in Vienna, gives no information about actual radiation levels but only shows how a radioactive plume would probably move and disperse.
The forecast, calculated Tuesday, is based on patterns of Pacific winds at that time and the predicted path is likely to change as weather patterns shift.
The NY Times has published an interactive nuclear radiation fallout forecast map.
Here is the current nuclear fallout predictions for March 18th, 2010.
US Deploys Radiation Monitors to the West Coast?
In apparently related news the feds are deploying monitors to the west coast to monitor radiation levels from the fallout.
SAN FRANCISCO – More radiation monitors are being deployed in the western United States and Pacific territories, as officials seek to mollify public concern over exposure from damaged nuclear plants in Japan, federal environmental regulators said.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency already monitors radiation throughout the area as part of its RadNet system, which measures levels in air, drinking water, milk and rain.
The additional monitors are being deployed in response to the ongoing nuclear crisis in Japan, where emergency workers are attempting to cool overheated reactors damaged by last week’s magnitude-9.0 earthquake and tsunami.
Officials with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said they do not expect harmful radiation levels to reach the U.S. from Japan.
“The agency decided out of an abundance of caution to send these deployable monitors in order to get some monitors on the ground closer to Japan,” said Jonathan Edwards, director of EPA’s radiation protection division.
California already has 12 monitoring stations scattered throughout the state that test the air for radiation levels. EPA also has 40 so-called “deployable” monitors that can be moved around in cases of emergency.
EPA told The Associated Press it is adding two more stations in Hawaii and two in Guam. In Alaska, officials are setting up three new monitors in Dutch Harbor, Nome and Juneau.
The idea is to get a better geographic spread of monitoring equipment than currently exists, Edwards said.
Once up and running, the stations will send real time data via satellite to EPA officials, who will make the data available to the public online. The monitors also contain two types of air filters that are collected and mailed to EPA’s data center in Alabama.
The new stations are expected to be operational by the end of the week, Edwards said.
The agency said it does not expect to see any spike in readings on the monitors, which Edwards said measure all forms of radiation that might exist after a nuclear event like the one in Japan.
Officials in Oregon — which has two monitoring stations — held a news conference on Wednesday to reassure the public they were monitoring developments and prepared to respond.
Officials in all western states have said they do not expect to see any harmful levels of radiation reach the mainland, which is about 5,000 miles from Japan.