There are fears that if Japan’s crippled nuclear reactor has a meltdown, the fallout could eventually reach the West Coast of the United States.
There was a second explosion at the plant in Fukushima on Sunday, sending a cloud of radioactive smoke into the air (video below). Officials are frantically working to avoid a full-fledged meltdown, as a third reactor has lost its cooling capacity. If that does happen, the concern is that the fallout could hit America, according to a report in the Daily Mail.
“The exclusion zone keeps being raised,” nuclear expert Dr. John Large, who has visited the Fukushima plant, told the Sunday Express.
“First it was 3km, then 10, now 20. This plant has gone through all the steps that occurred at Three Mile Island, and that led to total meltdown.” He said where the radiation ends up in “in the lap of the gods.” Powerful 30,000 foot winds could carry the debris across the Pacific and hit America within four days.
However, University of Washington Professor of Atmospheric Science Dan Jaffe said the fears are being overblown.
“Based on what we’re seeing in terms of the radiation that’s being released now, there is no risk at all.” Jaffe told Q13 Fox in Seattle. “Even in the worst case scenario there is a low likelihood of much risk over the Pacific Northwest.”
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission agrees, believing there is no danger of radiation drifting as far as the West Coast.
Engineers have been fighting to keep the reactors under control after the tsunami knocked out emergency coolant systems on Friday. They tried to cool radioactive materials at the reactors with seawater but stopped after it resulted in a rise in radiation levels and pressure.
The plant’s operator said that radiation levels at the reactor were still within legal limits and the government said the Unit Three reactor’s inner containment vessel holding nuclear rods is intact.
Video by Mark Berman Opposing Views
in Society / Headlines
We’re advising all of our readers on the West Coast to make sure they have a sufficient supply of potassium iodide tablets