11 October 2013, 21:52

Crippled Fukushima: California gets far more radiation than Russia - expert

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Ever since the disaster at the Japanese Fukushima nuclear plant, there’s been much concern about the enormous environmental damage it has caused. Edward Morse, Professor at the Department of Nuclear Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, in an interview with Voice of Russia, spoke of the current Fukushima effect on the US.

Talking about the radiation levels, Mr Morse said, “Right now the radiation levels have just climbed up out of the point of obscurity, when they were so low that they could not be measured. Now, the latest measurement, which is 1.4 becquerels per liter, is a measurable quantity, but it is probably not a threat to human health or to a significant seafood contamination at this point. This level right now is close to the federal limit for drinking water in the US. and obviously, no one will drink water out of the sea from around Fukushima”.

Talking about the plausible threat Fukushima still presents, Mr Morse said the matter still remained serious. He explained that there are three damaged reactors and a spent fuel pool which all, potentially, could release further quantities of radiation at larger levels than they have.

“I think that, despite some of the press stories, the Fukushima emergency workers have been doing a rather competent job of containing the relative risk that they have there,” Mr Morse pointed out.

Mr Morse said that he would encourage people to go to Japan, “just not the area around Fukushima”.

“Tokyo is completely safe as, say, New York in terms of radiation level. It is not a threat and to put it in perspective, if you fly on an airplane, you get about a thousand times more radiation doze from the cosmic rays on the airplane than you would get from anything in the air or water around Tokyo,” explained Mr Morse.

Concluding, Mr Morse said that California had got more radiation than Russia’s Far East, because the prevailing winds go from the west to the east, “In fact, we measured the radiation levels in Berkeley, they are higher than they are now in the water around Fukushima back in 2011 and we did not think that they were threatening at that time but it was interesting. And the levels to the east have remained fairly low. The most fortunate thing about this accident, compared to, say, Chernobyl, was that the winds were blowing in the direction to throw the radioactivity out to sea”.

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