Health effects in the U.S. are expected to be minor, experts say, following the U.N. Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization projection showing of how weather patterns this week might disperse a highly diluted plume of radiation to U.S. shores by late Friday. The image of the projection on this page does not show actual levels of radiation. Instead, it shows how a continuous source of radiation in Fukushima, Japan might cross the Pacific, thus allowing estimates of when different monitoring stations – marked with small dots – might be able to detect actual low levels of radiation over the coming days.
The forecast for the possible path of the radiation plume from Japan’s damaged nuclear reactors suggests that the plume will brush the Aleutian Islands today and might sweep into southern California by late Friday. The projection is based on patterns of winds over the Pacific Ocean, indicating that the forecast path will change as weather systems change.
Health and nuclear experts stress that radiation in the plume will be diluted due to the distance it has traveled.
In a worst case scenario, it would pose only extremely minor health problems in the U.S., according to the New York Times.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.