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'Minuscule' fallout reaches United States

Tiny amounts of radioactive fallout has reached the US – but experts say that initial readings are “about a billion times beneath levels that would be health threatening”.

This satellite image provided by Geoeye shows the Fukushima Dai Ichi nuclear power plant taken Thursday March 17, 2011. J
This satellite image provided by Geoeye shows the Fukushima Dai Ichi nuclear power plant taken Thursday March 17, 2011. J
Image: AP Photo/GeoEye Satellite Image

RADIOACTIVE FALLOUT FROM Japan’s crippled nuclear plant has reached Southern California but the first readings are far below levels that could pose a health hazard, a diplomat said Friday.

The diplomat, who has access to radiation tracking by the UN’s Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization, cited readings from a California-based measuring station of the group.

Initial readings are “about a billion times beneath levels that would be health threatening,” the diplomat told The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity because the CTBTO does not make its findings public.

The organisation forecast earlier this week that some radioactivity would reach Southern California by Friday. A CTBTO graphic obtained Thursday by the AP showed a moving plume reaching the US mainland after racing across the Pacific and swiping the Aleutian Islands.

The diplomat’s comments backed up expectations by IAEA officials and independent experts that radiation levels — which are relatively low outside of the immediate vicinity of the Japanese plant — would dissipate so strongly by the time it reached the US coastline that it would pose no health risk whatsoever to residents.

- AP

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