JAPAN: Radiation Issues

March 17, 2011; 10:30 am

Q. What is the radiological consequence of the event in Japan for the U.S.?
A. At this time, there is no indication that materials from the incidents in Japan have the potential to have any significant radiological effect on the U.S.

Q. Are there any protective measures that residents in the U.S. should be considering?
A. No, not given current information.

Q. Should we be taking Potassium Iodide to protect us?
A. No, potassium iodide or potassium iodate, only protects you by protecting your thyroid from the ingestion of radioactive iodine. There is no radioactive iodine present in Maine from the Japan emergency.

Q. Is there a danger of radiation making it to the United States?
In response to nuclear emergencies, the NRC works with other U.S. agencies to monitor radioactive releases and predict their path. The NRC continues to monitor information regarding wind patterns near the Japanese nuclear power plants. Nevertheless, given the thousands of miles between the two countries, Hawaii, Alaska, the U.S. Territories and the U.S. West Coast are not expected to experience any harmful levels of radioactivity.

Q. Has the government set up radiation monitoring stations to track any radiation that may be released?
The Environmental Protection Agency is utilizing its existing nationwide radiation monitoring system, RadNet, to monitor continuously the nation’s air and regularly monitors drinking water, milk and precipitation for environmental radiation. EPA has stated that it plans to work with its federal partners to deploy additional monitoring capabilities to parts of the western U.S. and U.S.territories. There are 3 air monitoring stations operating today in Maine.