Saturday, March 12, 2011

Radiation Risk Being Monitored by State Dept of Health

Tonight (Saturday evening), the Washington State Department of Health issued the following press release regarding radiation risk related to the earthquake in Japan which has impacted their nuclear facilities. 

Gordon MacCracken, Communications Office 360-236-4073
Tim Church, Communications Office 360-236-4077

Nuclear event in Japan poses no health risk in Washington; state monitoring

OLYMPIA:  The state Department of Health is conducting ongoing air monitoring for radiation to see if the nuclear plant incident in Japan has affected radiation levels in Washington. There have been no elevated readings.

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 will inform the public.

State health officials are monitoring the events in Japan, and are in contact with the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Environmental Protection Agency. An explosion took place at the Japan reactor site Saturday.

The nuclear plant incident in the wake of the earthquake in Japan has raised concerns among some people in Washington about windblown radiation coming to our state. Air sample readings in our state remain normal. The Department of Health Radiation Protection Program doesn't expect any change in environmental measurements taken in Washington.

Even in the event of a significant release from the reactor, radiation would be diluted before reaching our state and levels would be so low no protective action would be necessary. The state health department will continue its monitoring work as the situation in Japan develops and changes.

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