Experts: Radiation From Japan Arrives On East Coast, But Is Harmless

State Officials, Feds To Continue Monitoring Situation

SHOREHAM, N.Y. (CBS 2) — Workers at Japan’s crippled nuclear power plant are struggling to pump out radiation contaminated water. Water inside the plant’s unit 2 has tested at radiation levels 100,000 times above normal.

Contaminated water was also found in underground tunnels outside the reactors.

Worries over nuclear contamination are also being felt here in the United States. Health experts are monitoring drinking water and taking air samples, reports CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan.

Trace amounts of radioactive iodine 131,  linked to Japan’s crippled nuclear power plant, are showing up in rainwater samples as close to New York as Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.

But the levels are so diluted there’s been no impact whatsoever on our drinking water, according to state and federal experts.

“This tiny, tiny, tiny amount doesn’t really pose any risk. Again, the question is, will things get worse?” said Dr. Timothy Button of Stony Brook University Medical Center’s Department of Radiation.

“The real concern is large scale releases of u235 and plutonium. You want to keep those locked up. You certainly don’t want those let out into the environment.”

Button said that until Japan’s nuclear plant is stabilized, radioactive iodine may continue to show up along the East Coast, but that parents should not worry about kids playing in the rain, pets drinking rainwater, or anyone eating vegetables from their gardens.

“Any radiation is no good,” said Aquebogue resident Kathy D’Eletto said. “Believe half of what you hear and none of what you see.”

Shoreham’s nuclear power plant stands out as a white elephant – shuttered before it ever opened. Residents feared a meltdown and inability to evacuate. Now, 22 years later, they look to Japan and wonder.

“To the best of our ability we should find out what’s in our general area, as far as radiation or any type of pollution,” resident Bill Carter said.

More than 100 air samples are being collected and tested as part of the Environmental Protection Agency’s national radiation monitoring system, including some testing in our area.

Monday marked the 32nd anniversary of the Three Mile Island nuclear disaster. An equipment failure and operator errors led to a partial core meltdown at the Pennsylvania plant’s unit 2 reactor at around 4 a.m. on March 28, 1979. When the crisis ended five days later, relatively small amounts of radiation had escaped from the plant and there was no immediate word of any injuries.

Still, the accident is considered the worst nuclear disaster in U.S. history.

Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.

  • RatePayor

    OK, what I dont get is: the LILCO SHAREholders approved the building of Shoreham, without asking the residents of Long Island!. When the residents of Long Island stopped its operation, the RATEpayors had to burden the bill for its closure. ($6 billion) The RATEpayors must pay and EXTRA 3% for 30yrs. Not to mention the cost for building that place went from 70 million to over 2 BILLION! excuse me, but if a contractor told me his bill was going up over 28 times the original estimate, I would have said “pack your bags, there is NO work here” The SHAREholders should have paid for their mistake! the NEVER asked residents! God forbid they should LOSE money! I bet LIPA WONT reduce the rates by 3% when the 30 yrs are up!

  • Quetzalcoatl

    Its true you can’t believe what the Government tells you. That’s one of the all time truisms. They can’t do anything about the radiation so they tell you its not a problem. Do you think they want a panic? How many cases of cancer had all the above grounnd testing of nuclear devices in the 1940’s and 50’s caused? When the level of radioactivity in milk went above the current limit what did the government do? They just raised the limit. Why? Because there wasn’t anything else they could do, but they wouldn’t say that even though its obvious. As for taking your own precautions, what can you do? Not much if anything. You probably can’t even move to the anartic as its most likely there too, or will be before too long.

  • Dominic

    Join Dr. Bob: The Drugless Doctor on on Thursday, March 31st at Noon EST for a live Q & A about iodine. Follow Dr. Bob on Twitter, @druglessdoctor

  • michelle

    Sorry but I can;t even be live they are saying this is coming from japan the only reason they are testing is because of the problem in japan, but really it was probably ALWAYS there, from nuclear plants we have here. The water cycles is on going so it can be coming from anywhere and everywhere. They shouldnt point fingers at japan’s plant when it is probably our own plants putting these trace amounts in the air/water.

  • Vickie

    What about the fish we eat, where is it caught? Is it ever tested? no.

  • Fred

    Go on, drink the water…

  • victor

    don`t believe what your told by experts, but believe what you can see….government will tell you all is safe and little radatilon won`t hurt you, but this is just a coverup on their part,,,,take precautions on your own when it concerns radation

  • Les


blog comments powered by Disqus
Giving Tuesday
Charles Osgood Event

Listen Live