March 17, 2011

EPA Deploying Additional Radiation Monitors

In the wake of concerns over damaged nuclear plants in Japan, US officials have deployed additional radiation monitors to the Aleutian Islands in Alaska, Hawaii, and Guam, various media outlets are reporting.

According to the Associated Press (AP), the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission has stated that they do not expect any American territories to experience harmful radiation levels originating from earthquake and tsunami-ravaged Japan.

"The agency decided out of an abundance of caution to send these deployable monitors in order to get some monitors on the ground closer to Japan," Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Director Jonathan Edwards told the AP Thursday, adding that they hoped to cover a wider geographic area than they had previously.

Richard Cowan of Reuters, citing an EPA official who asked not to be identified, said that the agency has an additional 40 monitoring units which could still be dispatched.

"They are standing by in various places and we'll have the ability to launch them and set them up in other states if we feel there is a need," the source told Cowan, adding that the seven additional monitors were only being dispatched due to "an abundance of caution."

Edwards told the AP that the stations, which should be operational by the end of the week, would transmit data in real time, via satellite, to the EPA. The organization would then, in turn, make the data available to the public online.

"Since Friday, Japan has been struggling to deal with damage to several nuclear power facilities stemming from a massive earthquake and tsunami that has left thousands dead," Cowan said. "With radiation levels inside some of those facilities reaching unsafe levels, U.S. officials have urged American citizens to evacuate the area near the Fukushima nuclear complex."

EPA officials emphasized to both Reuters and the AP, however, that they do not anticipate any harmful levels of radiation reaching the areas where the new monitors were being deployed, or anywhere in the United States, for that matter.


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