Foreign Policy Blogs

Radiation in U.S. from Japan

Radioactive isotope iodine-131 has been found in water samples from six states: Massachusetts, Nevada, California, Hawaii, Colorado and Washington. The radiation undoubtedly came from Japan’s leaking reactors following damage from the Mar. 11 earthquake and tsunami. The radiation levels found in the samples were low, with a half-life of only eight days, and should not present a danger to public health.

Eric Matus, radiation physicist, Nevada State Health Division, said, “Any material released must travel 10,000 miles (16,000 kilometers) across the Pacific Ocean, during which time it will be dispersed and diluted in the atmosphere to levels that might eventually be detectable, but which will not present a health hazard nor require any protective actions.”

As FPA blogger Jeff Myher pointed out in his energy blog, nuclear reactors have low-probability, high-impact risks. Meaning that nuclear reactors have only a marginal risk of faulting, but in the event of a complication, the impact can be devastating. While I’d discourage knee-jerk reactions on regulating the nuclear industry, I think the low-probability, high-impact risks should always be assessed before building a nuclear power plant. While nuclear energy is key to Japan’s energy independence, given the potentially global impact of a nuclear meltdown, Japanese officials should stop approving nuclear power plants on geological fault lines and allowing conflicts of interests in regulating the nuclear sector.



Dustin Dye

Dustin Dye is the author of the YAKUZA DYNASTY series, available through the Amazon Kindle.

He lived in Okayama, Japan, where he taught English at a junior high school through the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program for three years. He is a graduate from the University of Kansas, where he received a bachelor's degree in anthropology.

His interest in Japan began in elementary school after seeing Godzilla fight Ghidorah, the three-headed monster. But it wasn't until he discovered Akira Kurosawa's films through their spaghetti Western remakes that he truly became fascinated in the people and culture of Japan.

He lives in Kansas with his wife, daughter and guinea pig.

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E-mail him: [email protected]