In the wake of the deadly tsunami that hit Japan in 2011 and severely damaged a nuclear reactor, Japanese officials say the levels of radiation are safe for everyone outside the reactor area itself. But as radioactive water from the plant nears the West Coast of North America — the water is expected to hit in 2014 — can we be sure it’s safe?
The nuclear reactor continues to leak radioactive water due to poor management, while Japanese subcontractors at the plant have admitted they intentionally under-reported radiation and that dozens of farms around Fukushima that were initially deemed safe by the government actually had unsafe levels of radioactive cesium.
“RadNet sample analyses and monitoring results of precipitation, drinking water, and milk provide baseline data on background levels of radiation,” the EPA said in a statement to FoxNews.com.
The agency does not monitor radiation levels at sea, however, and in a statement pointed to the International Atomic Energy Agency, which relies on Japanese government data.
Independent estimates confirm that radiated particles at sea are relatively low. One measurement comes from researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
“No acute effects resulting in mortality or damage to organs … would be expected,” he told FoxNews.com. But he added that more subtle effects might occur.
“Longer term chronic effects, cancer or genetic effects… odds are statistically low, if the concentrations in the models remain within the projections, [but] cannot be said to be zero.”
Additional leakage from Fukushima could increase the odds, he said.
“The estimates [of radiation] vary substantially and do not, at least so far, account for the continued leakage from the Fukushima site to the marine environment,” he said.
Full article: Is it safe? Radioactive Japanese wave nears US (Fox News)