How serious is the risk to the US west coast?
Q. This incident appears to be getting worse and very little new information is now coming out?
With this in mind, how serious is the risk to the US west coast and what measures should we be taking?
A. Thank for your enquiry Bill, which is typical of many we are receiving right now.
As you say, information is limited right now and it is difficult to tell what the real situation is. What is clear is that this is a major incident and that it is ongoing, with potentially VERY serious consequences.
Whether these will have any effect outside Japan is largely dependent on what happens next. As at early morning 3/16/11 it appears that 3 reactors have suffered serious damage at Fukushima Daiichi 1 plant and that 2 of the remaining reactors are also experiencing difficulties.
Some radioactive material has clearly been released already, although what the source of the material was is not clear. As some radioactive caesium and iodine has been detected, it would seem clear that at least 1 reactor core has been breached.
The significance of this for people in the US is probably not high at present, however if the situation gets worse, then it is possible that this may change.
We obviously need to keep an eye on this for now and see how things develop. As this happens, we will update this and other relevant pages.
Thanks again for your question.