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What does the State Department, EPA and the NRC say about the potential dangers of radiation reaching our shores...

 

State Department:

 

 

Q: Is the radiation dangerous? What can I do to protect myself?

 
A :Our number one priority is the safety of U.S. citizens overseas, and we take the risks of exposure to radiation very seriously. U.S. citizens should follow guidance provided by the Japanese civil defense authorities in the event of a radiation emergency.
The U.S. government is communicating closely with the Japanese government. We are committed to providing you with the most current information as we receive it. You will find more detailed information on radiation emergencies from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Emergency Preparedness and Response website at http://emergency.cdc.gov/radiation/.

 

Q: Is it safe to stay where I am?

 

A: In response to the deteriorating situation at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, we recommend that U.S. citizens within 50 miles (80 kilometers) of the power plant evacuate the area or take shelter indoors if safe evacuation is not practical. U.S. citizens in the vicinity of other nuclear power plants should continue to monitor local media for up-to-date safety information.
 

Q: Do I need to find Potassium Iodide? Will the Department of State provide it?

 

A: The Department of State does not have the resources or authority to provide medical treatment, including such things as potassium iodide, to private U.S. citizens.  U.S. citizens should check the CDC guidance on the use of potassium iodide in the event of a radiological emergency http://emergency.cdc.gov/radiation/ki.asp. U. S. citizens are encouraged to monitor information provided by the Japanese Civil Defense Authorities regarding the use and availability of potassium iodide.
 

Q: I have heard travelers arriving in the U.S. from Japan are being treated differently because of radiation, what can I expect?

 
A: U.S. Customs and Border Protection has issued information on radiation on their website: www.cbp.gov.

EPA:

What are EPA’s radiation air monitoring capabilities?

 
EPA’s nationwide radiation monitoring system, RadNet, continuously monitors the nation’s air and regularly monitors drinking water, milk and precipitation for environmental radiation.

The network contains approximately 100 air monitors across the United States and 40 deployable air monitors that can be sent to take readings anywhere in the country.

The near-real-time air monitoring data is continually reviewed by computer, and if the results show a significant increase in radiation levels, EPA laboratory staff is alerted immediately and further reviews the data to ensure accuracy.

The system has been used to track radioactive material associated with foreign atmospheric nuclear weapons testing as well as for monitoring foreign nuclear accidents such as Chernobyl.

EPA maintains additional monitoring capabilities that can be deployed to any location in the United States or its territories during radiological emergencies.


Is this monitoring able to cover the whole U.S.?

 
EPA’s nationwide radiation monitoring system, RadNet, contains approximately 100 air monitors across the United States that in 49 states and covers about 70% of the U.S. population and 40 deployable monitors that can be sent to supplement the system and take readings anywhere in the country.


What are the deployable monitors? What do they measure?

 
EPA has 40 deployable radiation air monitors that can be sent anywhere in the United States to gather data.
The RadNet deployable monitors have built in weather stations and measure gamma radiation.
Like all RadNet radiation air monitors, the RadNet deployable monitors send both weather and gamma radiation readings to EPA’s National Air and Radiation Environmental Laboratory, hourly.


When will this data be available to the public?

 
The near-real-time air monitoring data are continually reviewed by computer and are usually posted to EPA’s Central Data Exchange website within 2 hours of arriving at the laboratory.
If the results show an abnormality in radiation levels, EPA laboratory staff is alerted immediately and reviews the data to ensure accuracy before posting.


How will EPA share this data?


The near-real-time air monitoring data are continually reviewed by computer and are usually posted to EPA’s Central Data Exchange website within 2 hours of arriving at the laboratory.

If the results show an abnormality in radiation levels, EPA laboratory staff is alerted immediately and reviews the data to ensure accuracy before posting.
The public can access the RadNet data at www.epa.gov/cdx. Users must create a username and password before accessing the site.


I read about the RadNet system, are these additional units linked into that system or are they different units?

 
The deployable monitors are part of the larger RadNet system.
Like the fixed radiation air monitors, The RadNet deployable monitors send radiation air monitoring data to EPA’s National Air and Radiation Environmental Laboratory hourly.


Why do I have to log-in to the CDX site to get this information?

 
EPA’s Central Data Exchange (CDX) website houses a variety of environmental data, including the RadNet air monitoring data.
Due to the sensitivity and importance of the data, EPA has had a longstanding practice of using password protection.


Where has EPA has deployed additional radiation air monitors?

 
EPA maintains additional deployable radiation air monitors that can be sent to any location in the United States or its territories during radiological emergencies.
EPA made the decision to deploy additional monitors to aide us in gathering data from a position closer to Japan.
EPA has sent two radiation air monitors to Guam.
In an effort to cover the widest possible area, one of those monitors from Guam will be transferred to the Northern Mariana Islands in Saipan.
EPA has sent two additional monitors to Hawaii.
EPA has sent three additional air radiation monitors to Alaska.
The additional monitors will be set up in Dutch Harbor, Nome, and Juneau.
They are expected to be operating by the end of the week.
 
 

NRC (Nuclear Reglatory Commission)


 
NRC SEES NO RADIATION AT HARMFUL LEVELS REACHING U.S. FROM DAMAGED JAPANESE NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS
 

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is coordinating with the Department of Energy and other federal agencies in providing whatever assistance the Japanese government requests as they respond to conditions at several nuclear power plant sites following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. The NRC has sent two boiling-water reactor experts to Japan as part of a U.S. Agency for International Development team.


In response to nuclear emergencies, the NRC works with other U.S. agencies to monitor radioactive releases and predict their path. All the available information indicates weather conditions have taken the small releases from the Fukushima reactors out to sea away from the population. 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.


During a nuclear event the NRC has requirements to protect populations around reactors. For instance, the U.S. evacuation standard at 10 miles is roughly equivalent to the 20-kilometer distance recommended in Japan. The United States also uses sheltering in place and potassium iodide, protective measures also available in Japan. United States citizens in Japan are encouraged to follow the protective measures recommended by the Japanese government. These measures appear to be consistent with steps the United States would take.


The NRC will not comment on hour-to-hour developments at the Japanese reactors. This is an ongoing crisis for the Japanese who have primary responsibility.

 
 

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