Japan Struggles to Contain Damaged Nuclear Reactors

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage

As Japanese officials struggle to contain three nuclear reactors damaged during Friday’s massive earthquake and resulting tsunami in their country, Alaskans and other west coast Americans are increasingly concerned about the possibility of radiation contamination if reactor fuel rods melt and leak from their current containment.

State agencies are monitoring radiation detectors in place in Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau. State division of Homeland Security and emergency management spokesman Jeremy Zidek says the western seaboard is safe.

Zidek says that’s not expected to change.

Stories of Japanese citizens taking iodine tablets to avoid thyroid absorption of radioactive iodine has prompted Americans to wonder if they should do the same thing. State department of Health spokesman Greg Wilkinson says the tablets, potassium iodide is not something that should be taken as a precaution here.

Because of the state’s propensity for seismic activity, both Zidek and Wilkinson urged Alaskans to focus on earthquake and tsunami preparedness rather than worry about radiation.

A plan is in the works to add some additional radiation monitoring stations in remote locations in Alaska. It’s not yet clear when this will happen, or where they will be.

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