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Hawaii Health Officials Monitor Air Levels After Radiation Release in Japan

Posted March 14, 2011, 01:20 PM HST Updated March 14, 2011, 04:35 PM HST
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By Wendy Osher

The Nuclear Regulator Commission operates on a 24-hour basis. Staff shown here are analyzing the earthquake and tsunami event implications. Photo courtesy NRC.

Air samples in Hawaii remain at normal levels following a small release of radiation Saturday at a nuclear reactor facility in Japan.  The release was reported from two nuclear reactors in Japan that were damaged in last week’s earthquake and tsunami.

Hawaii health officials say no public health risk to the state is expected given the size of the release and the distance from Hawaii.

The Hawaii State Department of Health has been monitoring the air quality on Oahu and the Big Island, with results analyzed in a laboratory in Alabama.  Results show there has not been any elevated radiation, and air samples remain at ambient or normal background levels.

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“All the available information indicates weather conditions have taken the small releases from the Fukushima reactors out to sea away from the population,” according to a statement yesterday from The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

“Given the thousands of miles between the two countries, Hawaii, Alaska, the U.S. Territories and the U.S. West Coast are not expected to experience any harmful levels of radioactivity,” the NRC stated.

A news release from the Japan Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) further indicated that the amount of radioactive material released from the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Station was relatively small.

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