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Radiation Plume Could Hit Southern California

David McAlpine |
March 17, 2011 | 12:29 a.m. PDT

Executive Producer

The United Nations' forecast for a radiation plume. (Screencap from The New York Times)
The United Nations' forecast for a radiation plume. (Screencap from The New York Times)
A radiation plume from the troubled reactors at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in northern Japan is scheduled to skirt Alaska’s Aleutian Islands Thursday before reaching Southern California on Friday, according to a United Nations forecast.

U.S. health officials insist the radiation will be so diluted by the time it crosses the Pacific Ocean that the health risks will be extremely minor, if any at all.

The New York Times reported:

The forecast, calculated Tuesday, is based on patterns of Pacific winds at that time and the predicted path is likely to change as weather patterns shift.

On Sunday, the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission said it expected that no “harmful levels of radioactivity” would travel from Japan to the United States “given the thousands of miles between the two countries.”

The test ban treaty group routinely does radiation projections in an effort to understand which of its global stations to activate for monitoring the worldwide ban on nuclear arms testing. It has more than 60 stations that sniff the air for radiation spikes and uses weather forecasts and powerful computers to model the transport of radiation on the winds.

To see the United Nations forecast on The New York Times, click here.



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