California downplays Japan`s radiation risk

Health officials in California are assuring residents of the state that nuclear radiation from Japan`s damaged reactors pose little danger to the US.

Last Updated: Mar 16, 2011, 13:36 PM IST

Boston: Health officials in California are
assuring residents of the state that nuclear radiation from Japan`s damaged reactors pose little danger to the US.

"What we`re being told is that there is no threat to
California at this time," California Department of Public
Health spokesman Mike Sicilia was quoted as saying by the `Los
Angeles Times`.

"It is a matter of distance. Dangerous radioactivity
could not cross the 5,000 miles of the Pacific without
petering out".

Nuclear radiation from Japan`s damaged Fukushima reactors
could reach California within days but experts say the amount
that makes its way across the ocean should pose no danger.

California and federal health officials have opened
hotlines to answer questions about possible radiation risks,
the report added.

Atmospheric scientist with the California Air Resources
Board in Sacramento Tony VanCuren said only a "catastrophic
release" of radiation would be able to carry dangerous levels
across the ocean.
At that rate, it would take five to 15 days for particles
to reach California.

Authorities in California have also tried to reassure the
people that the kind of nuclear crisis facing Japan was highly
unlikely at the state`s two nuclear power plants.
The state`s San Onofre nuclear power plant was built to
withstand a 7.0 magnitude quake.

Quake experts have said the chance of a 9.0 quake and
tsunami occurring in the southern half of California were
highly unlikely.

"There`s no offshore fault in any of Southern California
that`s exactly like the one that broke in Japan," the LA Times
quoted Thomas Jordan, director of the Southern California
Earthquake Center at USC, as saying.

PTI