Nuclear Power Plant Failure Showing No Impact on Alaska

Alexandra Gutierrez, KUCB – Unalaska & Jacob Resneck, KMXT – Kodiak

While state and federal officials have been closely monitoring the situation at the nuclear power plant in Japan, they say that the failure there has not had any impact on Alaska.

Jon Edwards, a radiation expert with the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA has decided to expand its “RadNet” system, which examines air and drinking water for radiation contamination. While the EPA already had radiation monitors in place in Anchorage, Juneau, and Fairbanks, the agency is setting up new ones in Unalaska and Nome – along with an extra one in Juneau – to cover a greater geographic area across the state. The monitors arrived in Unalaska and Nome yesterday, and they’ll be up and running by next week says Bernd Jilly, chief of the Alaska State Public Health Laboratories.

Greg Wilkinson is a spokesperson for Alaska’s Department of Health and Social Services, and he says that the state does not expect those monitors to pick up high levels.

He adds that radiation levels would have to be 40 times higher than usual for there to be any health concern.

In Unalaska, residents have continued on with their daily lives. Public Safety director Jamie Sunderland stressed that community members should be doing exactly that, and avoiding medical precautions that could have adverse side effects.

In Kodiak, officials there say are in close contact with state emergency coordinators to monitor any possible threat of radiation contamination blowing over the Gulf of Alaska.

Kodiak Fire Chief Rome Kamai heads the community’s emergency planning effort.

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