Ed's analysis on radiation from Japan reaching us
Tue, 15 Mar 2011 23:38:09 GMT —
A year ago, there was much fear that the Deep Water Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico would send oil to Florida then up the East Coast. That never happened. Today, fear is growing that radiation from crippled nuclear plants in Japan could traverse the Pacific Ocean and eventually reach the United States. Based on research done by Dr. Jeff Masters and analysis by nuclear engineers, I see no reason to be worried. Here's why.
Almost all the radiation being released from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear power plant on the east coast of Japan is at ground level. For now, very little is being transported to a level in the atmosphere where it could be carried by jet steam winds across the Pacific O cean. Obviously this a very fluid situation, so what if plumes of radiation did reach sufficient altitudes?
Based on NOAA's trajectory forecast models that track substances released in the air, any radiation would likely head east or northeast. Beyond three days though, atmospheric winds are so chaotic that there is much uncertainty as to where substances will go , so radiation could end up anywhere from Mexico to Canada. Remember though, this radiation is traveling over 5,000 miles and will likely settle to the ocean on its own or be pulled out of the air by precipitation.
Bottom-line, it's highly unlikely any harmful radiation ever reaches the U . S. The Cherynobyl disaster in the Ukraine in 1986 released far more harmful radiation , and it never spread beyond 1,000 miles. Even if it reached the U.S., it would be less radiation than we get from the sun on a daily basis.
For now, there is no need to worry.