Japan Radiation Fallout Reaches California Coast But No Threat to Health

Destruction is seen in the wake of last weeks 8.9 magnitude earthquake and tsunami in Ofunato, Iwate prefecture, Japan, on March 17, 2011.     UPI/Keizo Mori

Japan radiation fallout took to the skies and made the trip across the Pacific, finally reaching the coastline of California. However, experts say there are no immediate health issues or concerns.

"Basic physics and science say there can't be any risk or harm to the United States," including Hawaii, Alaska or U.S. territories in the Pacific Ocean, Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko said Thursday during a White House briefing, as quoted by UPI.

A diplomat in Vienna told the Associated Press that Japans radioactive fallout has reached Southern California, but first readings are about a billion times beneath levels that would be health threatening.

Emergency crews have been trying to restore the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant's cooling system and prevent overheated fuel rods from releasing massive doses of radioactivity.

In the week since the massive earthquake and tsunami, Japan's government and the utility that runs Fukushima have struggled to contain the plant's cascading troubles.

The quake and unfolding nuclear crisis have led to power shortages in Japan, forced auto and other factories to close, sending shockwaves through global manufacturing and trade, and triggered a plunge in Japanese stock prices.

"Public safety is our top priority, and it is therefore vital that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission extensively investigate the risks posed to nuclear facilities in the United States as soon as possible," Sens. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., chairwoman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, and Tom Carper, D-Del., chairman of the Clean Air and Nuclear Safety Subcommittee, wrote to Jaczko.

"We believe it is important to assist Japan to ensure that the nuclear disaster is contained as quickly, safely and effectively as possible, and we will closely monitor the situation as it unfolds."

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