Sunday, March 13, 2011

California ‘closely monitoring’ Japan nuclear leak

By Agence France-Presse
Saturday, March 12th, 2011 -- 11:18 pm

LOS ANGELES — California is closely monitoring efforts to contain leaks from a quake-damaged Japanese nuclear plant, a spokesman said Saturday, as experts said radiation could be blown out across the Pacific.

While officials downplayed any immediate danger, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission deployed two experts to Japan, where the Fukushima plant, which was rocked by a large explosion earlier in the day in the aftermath of Japan's strongest-ever earthquake.

"At present there is no danger to California. However we are monitoring the situation closely in conjunction with our federal partners," Michael Sicilia, spokesman for California Department of Public Health, told AFP.

"California does have radioactivity monitoring systems in place for air, water and the food supply and can enhance that monitoring if a danger exists," he added.

He was speaking as Japanese authorities moved to calm fears of a meltdown and said a huge explosion Saturday had not ruptured the container surrounding the reactor, although there had already been some radiation leakage prior to the explosion.

Experts have suggested that, if there were a reactor meltdown or major leak at Fukushima, the radioactive cloud would likely be blown out east across the Pacific, towards the US West Coast.