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March 16th, 2011
02:43 PM ET

Experts: U.S. won't feel health effects from Japan

The situation at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan, which has suffered numerous fires, explosions and subsequent radiation leaks since Friday's earthquake, could get worse, and just how much worse is unknown.

But health and nuclear safety experts agree that even if radiation levels around the plant reach Chernobyl-like levels, Japan's disaster will not pose a health hazard to the United States.

The United States is thousands of miles from the leaks and once the radiation gets into the air, it disperses and dilutes as the wind blows it, said Nolan Hertel, nuclear engineering researcher at Georgia Institute of Technology. Radioactive particles travel with the wind and fall out onto the ground. The amount that will reach the United States will be too little to cause health problems.

"It’s not like there’s a big blob of it and it’s all going to stay together. All this stuff is either gaseous or highly diluted," Hertel said.

Still, some elevation in U.S. radiation will probably be noted, he said. The more radiation that's released from the plant, the more likely the United States will detect it. The direction the wind blows and the presence of rain also matters, said Malcolm Grimston, nuclear technology expert at the Chatham House in the United Kingdom. Radioactive caesium and iodine, some of the concerning chemicals being released by the plant, can dissolve in rain water, he said.

The distance between Los Angeles and Chernobyl is about 6,246 miles; Los Angeles to Fukushiima Daiichi is only a bit closer, at 5,368 miles.  New York to Chernobyl, located in modern-day Ukraine, is even closer at 4,629 miles. But there has been no evidence of health effects felt in the United States from that nuclear accident, which was worse in its radiation effects than Fukushima Daiichi (so far).

Also, iodine-131, the radioactive form of iodine that's a byproduct of the uranium at Fukushiima Daiichi, disintegrates into an unstable form of xenon that then becomes stable xenon, which is not harmful. Iodine-131 has a "half life" of eight days, meaning that in eight days, half of a given sample of it will be gone. So, in a few months' time, the amount of radioactive iodine will go down to negligible levels, said Bingham Cady of Cornell University.

Cady's bottom line is that there shouldn't be concern that the United States will feel health effects in the wake of Japan's crisis; the more serious issue is whether American nuclear power plants are also susceptible to these kinds of problems during natural disasters such as earthquakes.

After Chernobyl, small children developed thyroid cancer because radioactive iodine that fell from the sky got into the grass that cows ate, and those cows produced milk for drinking. But iodine is easily detected so there shouldn't be a problem with milk or water, Cady said.

"We know enough to monitor water for radioactivity and if it’s contaminated above a certain very small amount, not to drink it," he said. "Japan is so sophisticated, and so is the United States. We’re not going to go around and by mistake, drink radioactive water."

Cady and Hertel said those on the West Coast of the United States who are buying a lot of potassium iodide to protect themselves against the harmful effects of radioactive iodine on the thyroid are overreacting. Grimston said it's fine to have it around, as long as people  use it only when authorities say it's OK. Taking it unnecessarily is not a good idea.

"If it makes someone feel more secure, having a supply on hand, that’s a personal decision that that individual should make," Dr. James Thrall, chief of radiology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, told CNN's American Morning.


soundoff (338 Responses)
  1. kevin

    Hawaii is a US state too.

    March 16, 2011 at 15:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jon King

      I was thinking the same thing.

      March 16, 2011 at 17:58 | Report abuse |
    • heeler

      yeah, I'm pretty concerned...

      March 16, 2011 at 18:36 | Report abuse |
    • JCinLA

      People also need to consider the effects on the marine food chain. Alaskan salmon and halibut harvests will be a real concern. The solution to this disaster isn’t just to hope that it’s diluted in the air and water. Its very hard to believe there wont be short and long term effects in the USA. The viewpoint from the scientist seem very short sighted.

      March 16, 2011 at 19:05 | Report abuse |
    • tony

      Don't forget Saipan and Guam...they are US territories also as well.

      March 16, 2011 at 19:19 | Report abuse |
    • keeth in cali

      The article must have been written by a Republican; they don't consider Hawaii to be part of the United States.

      March 16, 2011 at 19:45 | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      While you have a point that Hawaii is closer, it is too far south to matter. Trade winds (which follow the flow of water in the norhern pacific ocean) move in a clockwise fashion between the arctic and the equator. The wind basically blows past the west coast, then heads down and west passing over HI. The pacific islands will be OK.

      March 16, 2011 at 20:10 | Report abuse |
    • James

      Parts of Alaska are closer than Hawaii. Even then, it's more than 2,000 miles for Alaska or Hawaii. Even further for the Lower 48. It's about 1,000 miles to Guam from the reactor, but the winds and the currents won't take it that way.

      March 16, 2011 at 21:11 | Report abuse |
    • Hilo, HI

      Thank you!

      March 17, 2011 at 01:24 | Report abuse |
  2. The boy from Vault 101

    I was hoping to explore the wastes with my trusty pal Dogmeat...

    March 16, 2011 at 15:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Utah

      you win everything forever.

      Seriously though, this scare is completely overblown.

      March 16, 2011 at 16:22 | Report abuse |
    • Alex

      Best comment ever.

      March 16, 2011 at 17:51 | Report abuse |
    • Gio

      You gamers are a funny bunch!

      March 16, 2011 at 18:47 | Report abuse |
    • Conner

      Well done, sir.

      March 16, 2011 at 19:18 | Report abuse |
  3. No Bummer 2012!

    The author of this article can't even spell Cesium right, so you have zero credibility on a technical article about radiation.

    March 16, 2011 at 16:23 | Report abuse | Reply
    • loltard

      Caesium is also a correct spelling of cesium.

      March 16, 2011 at 16:42 | Report abuse |
    • lingfing

      And you have no credibility if you don't realize that caesium is the British spelling!

      March 16, 2011 at 16:49 | Report abuse |
    • Arne

      If you had taken 5 secs longer you would have known that both ways to spell C(a)esium are perfectly fine. You are the one without credibility.

      March 16, 2011 at 16:50 | Report abuse |
    • Oh Boy

      Saying less isn't always a bad thing.

      March 16, 2011 at 17:30 | Report abuse |
    • lish072890

      We are really arguing the point of the Cesium spelling now? Lets be competely real folks, US scientists have no clue what they are talking about, and the ones who do, are not able to get near ANY credible news source as the government hides almost all bad news if it appears bad on their part.***Though this may sound dumb, this is an exact example of a show I watched, 24. I know all have heard of this, but the US President herself did not tell us about the "bomb" that was planted underneath our city of NYC, much like misterl lovely Bush full of crabs didnt say upon 9/11. Welcome to America, the land of the free and moreso the quiet.

      March 16, 2011 at 19:54 | Report abuse |
  4. Leanne

    All the U.S Military over there need to be moved now. It is ridiculous that they are staying there being exposed to radiation levels that are really unknown and who knows what else.

    March 16, 2011 at 16:46 | Report abuse | Reply
    • AMcCaffrey

      Unknown? They aren't unknown. They have instruments to measure these things you know.

      March 16, 2011 at 19:14 | Report abuse |
    • Bobsquatch

      Judging by the opinions of many CNN readers, I'd say there probably isn't a lot of concern for the military service members over there...not on this site.

      March 16, 2011 at 19:35 | Report abuse |
  5. Terry - Moses Lake, WA

    Do not believe the experts about radiation reaching US. They have no clue at this point. When Chernobyl went down the picocuries over Oregon and Washington were at danger levels. That was one plant. Yes radiation caused problems. If you lived here you could still see the mutated bumble bees that were deformed for several years and also changed colors to a tri color red yellow and black. Deformities now gone but color remains.

    so they can't say everything is okay.... they do not know

    March 16, 2011 at 16:52 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Toljaso

      Do not believe the armchair scientists, usually liberal basket weavers texting from their iPads, spouting fear. Levels of radiation can be detected far in advance of dangerous health effects.

      March 16, 2011 at 21:11 | Report abuse |
  6. ALERT!!!

    Don't believe da gub'ment! They just don't want you to get your POTASSIUM IODIDE! There's currently a run on it in all health food stores; can't keep it on the shelves. Get yours now.....before it's too late!

    March 16, 2011 at 17:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • RR

      "Don't believe da gub'ment! They just don't want you to get your POTASSIUM IODIDE! There's currently a run on it in all health food stores; can't keep it on the shelves. Get yours now.....before it's too late!"

      Uh, better read the article again, bonebrain. The people quoted are all university professors, not government spokesman.

      March 16, 2011 at 17:19 | Report abuse |
    • The Lunatic

      You obviously enjoy over reacting to things, don't you?

      March 16, 2011 at 17:27 | Report abuse |
    • David

      Um, I believe he is being sarcastic.

      March 16, 2011 at 17:47 | Report abuse |
    • Gene

      THE FUEL LIGHT IS ON, FRANK, WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE! Oh, wait, my mistake, that's the intercom light.

      (Apologies to Gary Larson)

      March 16, 2011 at 17:50 | Report abuse |
  7. Ed

    So the Jet Stream which is or was flowing right over the radiation will have little effect on the USA???

    March 16, 2011 at 17:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. jbmartin11

    And how many of you work in the nuclear field? How many of you have ever worked at a nuke plant before? How many of you can tell me in clear, concise manner what is happening over there and where you received your information from? I find it interesting that very few reporters have reported an accurate report on how nuclear plants work. Everyone needs to calm down.

    March 16, 2011 at 17:16 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Eyeinstein

      I a nuke plant anything like a flower plant?

      March 16, 2011 at 17:42 | Report abuse |
    • Eyeinstein

      I was told about nuclear fields in comic books, scary stuff!

      March 16, 2011 at 17:43 | Report abuse |
    • David

      Well, I've watched a lot of The Simpsons and studied Homer's every move 😉

      March 16, 2011 at 17:48 | Report abuse |
    • KC

      I didn't work in the nuclear field myself, but I dated a nuclear engineer, who taught me a lot. The first thing he taught me was "do you really think I'd work in that building if I thought it was dangerous?"

      March 16, 2011 at 19:38 | Report abuse |
    • Jerry

      Bruce Willis worked as a security guard at a New Jersey reactor before he turned to acting. Feel safer? 😉

      March 16, 2011 at 20:01 | Report abuse |
    • Ann

      I'd be delighted to give you a clear concise accounting: earthquake, tsunami, explosion, fire, nuclear meltdown. Is that f'ing clear enough for you? You don't have to be a rocket scientist to know that the last three in that series wouldn't have happened if there wasn't a nuke plant there.

      March 17, 2011 at 10:34 | Report abuse |
  9. tony

    US Nuclear Plant Diablo Canyon is sitting on 4 earthquake faults and the ocean, halfway between LA and SF. Even a small quake locally could put a Tsunami over it. Who's managing it ? Why the same P&E that just blew up San Bruno CA, with their overloaded gas pipeline.

    March 16, 2011 at 17:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Pete

      . . . didn't PG&E also poison the good folks over in Hinckley, CA too?

      March 16, 2011 at 18:44 | Report abuse |
    • dmg

      Diablo Canyon is 85 feet above sea level. Earthquake aside that would be one heck of a wave.

      March 16, 2011 at 18:46 | Report abuse |
    • AMcCaffrey

      The faults there are on land, not in the ocean. They will not produce a tsunami.

      March 16, 2011 at 19:17 | Report abuse |
    • TheGarin

      Not to mention most of those faults are "strike-slip" rather than "thrust" faults meaning that rather than pushing the sea floor up (which causes a tsunami), the two sides of the fault push past each other. Its not just the earth shaking folks. Might be nice to get a refresher course on basic geology before we start worrying about the next end of the world scenario...what was it last week...rebellion in the middle east and north africa?...seems like a long time ago.

      March 16, 2011 at 19:18 | Report abuse |
    • Laurie

      I believe there is a fault off the coast of Diablo Canyon.
      http://diablocanyonpge.com/pdf/12_SFZ_Report_Plate_01_Geology_35K.pdf

      March 16, 2011 at 20:28 | Report abuse |
  10. liars

    Please listen to Helen Caldicott, she is not lying to the US about potential risks.
    http://www.kpfa.org/archive/id/68279

    March 16, 2011 at 17:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Pluto Corsini

    Define Threat. Do we have nuclear power plants in this country that can withstand 8.9 richter quakes? Can they withstand it this year? Next year? 25,000 years from now? If the answer to any of those questions is "no" then the threat of this disaster is a threat to the US as well.

    March 16, 2011 at 17:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Chaz

      Really? 25,000 years from now? If you think the human race will be around in 25,000 years I've got news for you.

      March 17, 2011 at 00:22 | Report abuse |
    • Ann

      I wouldn't bet the San Andreas is going to wait 25,000 years.

      March 17, 2011 at 10:35 | Report abuse |
  12. Wade

    According to Obama (The Fuhrer) in a 2007 interview, the United States has 57 states. What will happen to those other 7 states?

    March 16, 2011 at 17:39 | Report abuse | Reply
    • comeonnow

      Couldn't resist sounding like an idiot today could you?

      March 16, 2011 at 19:01 | Report abuse |
    • Chuck

      We need these laughs from the good folks at Fox though.

      March 16, 2011 at 19:10 | Report abuse |
  13. concerned

    The author mentions the half life of iodine – eight days – but omits the half life of cesium – 30 years. The article therefore presents an inaccurate and selective picture of the total risk posed by the current events, which undercuts the credibility and objectivity of this reporting.

    March 16, 2011 at 17:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. A.M.

    This is not true. The author and most of the public nuclear "experts" out there aren't aware of the fact that nuclear radition also seeps out on the "etheric" levels of matter. These are the finer, subtler planes of matter just above gaseous, and therefore not detectable by our out-dated Geiger Counter instruments. It's a very serious issue that must be understood by our scientists. ("etheric" energy is something even Sir Isaac Newton hinted at in his Principia...many modern scientists are now experimenting with the concept and it will soon be mainstream) The Masters of Wisdom, a group of highly evolved teachers who have guided humanity from "behind the scenes", are stepping forward at this time into public view to offer wise advice on many social issues, including the abandoning of nuclear energy and replacing with much safer and cleaner modes of energy production.

    March 16, 2011 at 17:46 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Joel

      This is the stupidest thing I've ever read.

      March 16, 2011 at 18:55 | Report abuse |
  15. Eyeinstein

    Sarah Palin will be upset about this, you just wait and see who she will blame for this one!

    March 16, 2011 at 17:46 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Hilo, HI

      Sara's not worried one bit. She can't see the particles from her backyard.

      March 17, 2011 at 01:33 | Report abuse |
  16. Eli

    Remember experts your credibility is absolutely on the line here.

    March 16, 2011 at 18:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Arcturus

    And yet EVERY news channel and "talking head' of the media are screaming doom and gloom, and arguing with the experts that profess the opinion that this issue isn't that bad...

    What did they think the average American would do, when you constantly scare them into watching more of their drivel to drive up ratings?

    March 16, 2011 at 18:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Anti-Media

    I love it how they try and dispell and fears, or dangers. What harm is there in telling the American people too spend a few bucks to gets some pills "just in case" the threat is real?

    March 16, 2011 at 18:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Ben3

    What about Hawaii ?
    It is closer.

    March 16, 2011 at 18:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Joe Glaze

    URGENT We all do have an issue. URGENT, oil and nuclear man made disasters in the works, our fault. What happens if we get x-class solar storms, resulting in our power grid going offline? March 9th an x1.5 class solar storm which caused this mess, CNN let people know on the tv of this fact. Will all nuclear reactors be able to shut down properly, running cooling systems to be supplied with electricity to cool the rods for the 9 year requirement to not effect our environment?

    March 16, 2011 at 18:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. vivianm

    Nuclear power is insane.

    March 16, 2011 at 18:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Melissa

    My family and I live in Hawaii....No one is saying anything about Hawaii...Do we need to be concerned?

    March 16, 2011 at 18:44 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jennifer

      I don't know the answer to that, but I have looked at the tradewind charts, and actually it seems it would hit Washington first...so try to rest easy? I'm in San Diego, so I feel your fear.

      March 16, 2011 at 19:26 | Report abuse |
    • Thomas

      The simple answer is no. all of the elements produced are very heavy and will fall out of the air long before hitting Hawaii.

      March 16, 2011 at 22:05 | Report abuse |
  23. goat

    how selfish can you be to worry about yourself at a time like this?

    March 16, 2011 at 18:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Florida

      That is so funny

      March 16, 2011 at 18:59 | Report abuse |
    • Mary

      If we don't worry about ourselves who will? We need to take care of our own because when the chips are down here in America not that many countries come to our aid. I'm truly sorry for all those countries and people that have been dealt disasters but our turn will come and who will help us? How many helped New Orleans outside of the US?......

      March 16, 2011 at 19:21 | Report abuse |
    • Jennifer

      selfish? when you have children, you will know why people are worried.

      March 16, 2011 at 19:27 | Report abuse |
    • Andy

      @Mary...it is really simple to do some research these days. 🙂 The answer to your question about who helped US when Katrina hit...

      check it out:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_response_to_Hurricane_Katrina#cite_note-3

      Come one people...don't just listen to CNN/FOX/MSNBC...have your fingers do some walking and use Google to find answers!

      March 16, 2011 at 20:32 | Report abuse |
  24. John

    I'm concerned, this is a global disaster even if we don't get radiation poison directly.

    March 16, 2011 at 18:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Joe Glaze

      It is sad.

      March 16, 2011 at 18:57 | Report abuse |
    • Alyssa

      I wish there was a 'like' button...I 100% agree!

      March 16, 2011 at 20:39 | Report abuse |
    • angelaD

      Absolutely! This will become a threat to all of mankind even if you are not directly hit.
      It makes me thick to my stomach to think about what is still coming.....

      March 16, 2011 at 22:13 | Report abuse |
    • angelaD

      meant to say sick..

      March 16, 2011 at 22:16 | Report abuse |
  25. FirstResponder

    Fortunately, nobody in the USA, nor anywhere else in the world for that matter, has contracted cancer since the Chernobyl incident. And obviously, since this incident can't possibly be any worse, we all definitely have nothing to worry about. Phew!

    March 16, 2011 at 19:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Thom

    Isn't it sad that we have to have a debate on whether or not the government will tell us the truth about a potentially lethal health risk?

    I don't care what party you belong to, the feeling is universal.

    March 16, 2011 at 19:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jennifer

      that's a good point. I'm a proud, voting american...but yes, you just don't trust anymore....sad.

      March 16, 2011 at 19:28 | Report abuse |
  27. Shaan Phillips

    why not I think that we should worry 100's of times, look at what 8.9 magnitude earthquake can do? now think about 30.9 magnitude that may hit all the countries on 05/21/2011 on judgement day. I'm just saying and pleading with God for his mercy.

    March 16, 2011 at 19:18 | Report abuse | Reply
    • 7o3y

      at least being the crazy man that your making yourself out to be...say it with conviction"think about the 30.9 magnitude that MAY hit all countries".when it comes down to it im not gonna believe some theory freak...imma believe the good man upstairs cuz when he is ready to unleash it on us he will let all of us know.

      March 16, 2011 at 19:24 | Report abuse |
  28. Preacher

    I'll be dead by the time it causes harm to the U.S. : )

    March 16, 2011 at 19:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. leland

    this is fuked up...how many of you think your government doesn't care about you?....cog?

    March 16, 2011 at 19:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. raisinghell

    What irritated me is we are in a financial crisis here at home, food,gas,etc are all rising yet here we are again stretching ourselves thin trying to help yet another country....but who is helping us??? I feel bad for those bring effected by this disaster, natural and man made. But they have their own red cross, government, etc. Let them help themselves so we can concentrate on us.

    March 16, 2011 at 19:23 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Andy

      Btw....we are in the mess we are because of our own selfish greed and fraud! Just FYI. We sold MBS to the world that were worth nothing. We have transferred knowledge to the world (for money of course)..as they say..."You are what you eat!".

      March 16, 2011 at 20:35 | Report abuse |
  31. oh god

    What about the power plant in seabrook their guards or no good

    March 16, 2011 at 19:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. anonymous

    Anytime somebody tells you not to panic, that means they probably thought you will panic, which means it's worse than what they are telling you to begin with.

    March 16, 2011 at 19:25 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Thomas

      or it just means that most people don't know anything about radiation other than from the simpsons. There really is nothing to worry about in the US and this is nothing like Chernobyl, which many plant workers survived. I personally know a man who worked at 3 mile island and have been to ORNL's HFIR. It's not anywhere near as bad as journalists with their political science degree would have you believe.

      March 16, 2011 at 22:14 | Report abuse |
  33. bszop

    People's over-reaction to this is pathetic. I spent 4 yrs as a nuclear reactor operator on a submarine, so I was within ~100ft of the reactor a LOT. Knowing how reactors work, and given the information being reported, I agree with some of the comments that the networks are playing this up for ratings. People ignore what scientists say, but instead listen to what people opposed to nuclear power have to say. As much as I am for greener energy, 20% of the power in the US is supplied by 104 nuclear reactors. Its going to take a ridiculous amount of solar and wind farms to replace that. As far as health concerns go, you probably received more radiation from doctor visits in the last year than you will from this...

    March 16, 2011 at 19:27 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Krissy

      Yes, and you wore one of those radiation detectors every day to make sure that you didn't exceed your dose of radiation levels. The reactors on subs are also contained...AND much smaller. If there was a meltdown, you wouldn't be on the sub...and no one would be anywhere near it.

      I am not saying we should panic over this...but just because you were on a boomer...Trident or Fast Attack doesn't mean youare the espert on what is happening. I don't trust ANY government when it comes to information this important. They will lie. They always do. Even if we were at risk, there isn't a lot we can do about it. So, I would suggest that everyone sit tight and let the chips fall where they may. PS: Thanks for your service...my hubby served on subs for 20 years...18 of it in the PACNORWEST.

      March 16, 2011 at 19:48 | Report abuse |
    • Krissy

      PSS: sorry for the mispellings...I missed them when proofing.

      March 16, 2011 at 19:49 | Report abuse |
  34. Ticktock

    When we dropped the big bomb, the radiation didn't affect us so don't worry too much about it.......(typing from my underground bunker secretly located somewhere in the US)

    March 16, 2011 at 19:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Karma Girl

    Uh did you forget about Greece after Chernobyll? Infants born during that period had birth defects directly related to the crisis. So don't tell us that we should fear not. That's BS. Whatever happens on this planet affects all of us no matter where we are. What about sushi? It is flown in to LA every day. are you going to tell us to keep eating that too???!!!

    March 16, 2011 at 19:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • KC

      Actually, the UN Commission on Chernobyl concluded that the birth defects were the type that ordinarily occur at low statistical levels throughout the world, and therefore were NOT a result of the explosion. There's also not a higher level of birth defects around Three Mile Island. But the anti-nuke protestors will grab onto even one birth defect as "proof" of their cause. See my post above, where I dated a nuclear engineer, who assured me it was safe.

      March 16, 2011 at 19:45 | Report abuse |
  36. Will Robinson

    What about the risk to passenger aircraft now flying through invisible radiation clouds??

    March 16, 2011 at 19:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Gene

      Holy carp (sic), that's right. It's like the neutron bomb, kills people but leaves property intact, so the airlines have no incentive to avoid the clouds!
      This is all the doing of Lee Harvey Presley, two hobos from the grassy knoll, and Clay Shaw, and you sheeple who believe the Hot Dog Report are pathetic dupes of the Industrial-Inferiority Complex. Jim Garrison had it all figured out in 1949, BEFORE it happened.

      March 17, 2011 at 11:16 | Report abuse |
  37. Widgets928

    How about we put this on the main page in bold letters and take the fear mongering, ratings grab headlines off?

    March 16, 2011 at 19:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Sean

    God forbid anything remotely like this happens here. Cities will shutdown; Police will have every road closed down for 100 miles, gas will hit 6 or 7 a gallon, jugs of water will become commodities that people will mug for, it will be out of control. Literally 1000's of jobs will be lost. With everyone fearing lawsuits, it will be a huge stalemate, with productivity coming down to zero (just look at the BP disaster, and how ALL oil companies had to stop production in the Gulf).

    March 16, 2011 at 19:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Predictor

      ... and worst of all, we won't have internet access to keep complaining about it.

      March 16, 2011 at 19:55 | Report abuse |
  39. egore

    Glad that @No Bummer got called out on the spelling of cesium. As if even a typo would invalidate an entire opinion piece. No wonder there is an over reaction to this unfortunate situation.

    March 16, 2011 at 19:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • gene

      Yeah!

      Typos don't kill opinions, people kill opinions! (?)

      March 17, 2011 at 11:45 | Report abuse |
  40. Kentstand it

    Are you already forgetting the nuclear bomb testing in the new Mexico/ Nevada area where our goverment bathed us in all kinds of radio activity?

    March 16, 2011 at 19:51 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Widgets928

      There hasn't been any nuclear testing by the US, of any kind, since 1993. But, hey, remember when the US had slavery? It totally has no bearing on the current situation but fear mongering gets me attention.

      March 16, 2011 at 19:59 | Report abuse |
  41. param

    sure don't worry at all, can anyone remind me how godzilla was born?

    March 16, 2011 at 19:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Dirty O

    Geez. I may live on the East Coast but I'm going to go out and buy KI tablets when they are restocked. Let the West Coast have them first. Better yet-West Coast come East ASAP.

    March 16, 2011 at 20:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. 21k

    well of COURSE we shouldn't worry! we all know that our nuke plants are run by some of the most well-paid CEO's, whose compensation plans are based on how much they can increase profits by cutting costs. they would NEVER do anything to risk the well-being of the bottom 90 per-centers who live near the plants. (see: kenneth lay, jeff skilling....)

    March 16, 2011 at 20:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Chalupa attack

    I didn't even have to read the article. We're on our own people.

    March 16, 2011 at 20:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. GPS

    Wow can it be!!!! Voices of reason coming out of CNN!!!

    March 16, 2011 at 20:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Ladyrantsalot

    Is "distance" the only consideration? Don't we have to factor in the jet stream?

    March 16, 2011 at 20:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • tct

      No, it would take a nuclear blast to bring the isotopes that high in the atmosphere.

      March 16, 2011 at 20:58 | Report abuse |
    • Kevin

      I agree. The author of this report and article probably didn't take into account the global wind patterns. New York is in the opposite direction of the northern hemispheres wind patterns. All most all of the upper level winds in the northern hemisphere blow from west to east. Comparing Chernobyl – New York radiation levels with the potential of a Fukushima Daiichi – Los Angeles radiation levels is pretty irresponsible.

      March 16, 2011 at 21:05 | Report abuse |
  47. Baruch

    It is right not to panic, but it is foolish to believe that there is no danger. We in the US will most likely not feel the effects of the radiation for 10 to 20 years, except in the cases of children of course, who are more susceptible. Cancers will continue to increase and it will happen first in the young. But cancer rates are already increasing due to all kinds of things from environmental toxins to bad food. This will just add to that steady increase.

    It is right not to panic but it is also right to be honest. The situation is out of control, we have probably not seen the worst yet, and radioactive material is being released into the environment. It will gradually be distributed around the planet, just as the radiation from Chernobyl was distributed and caused cancers.

    March 16, 2011 at 20:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Jonny

    WE WON'T FEEL IT
    right, see that does make me feel it because, honestly, Who Truly Trusts ANY Government and their honesty and how much they genuinely Care about their people. . . .

    March 16, 2011 at 20:35 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Widgets928

      You're a moron. Seriously. Take your tinfoil hat and do us a favor and just get off the internet.

      March 16, 2011 at 21:00 | Report abuse |
  49. Jonny

    Nuclear waste, Nuclear meltdowns, Nuclear Catastrophe's

    How many has the world faced that we should be soooo certain of the outcome ?

    March 16, 2011 at 20:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • tct

      Natural laws don't change just because a nuclear plant is involved, we know enough to be able to state with certainty that nothing short of a multi-kiloton explosion at the plant would be capable of hitting the US with substantial radiation.

      March 16, 2011 at 21:00 | Report abuse |
    • LEB

      Especially compared to the number of environmental disasters caused by oil spills and gas leaks. The second biggest oil spill in history happened just last year, and there have been many since then. Yet there have been no explosions since 1986, and few incidents of contamination that affected more than a few dozen people (compared to millions of people who have been affected by oil spills). In at least two cases since 1986, the cause was carelessness of plant workers. And there have also been no incidents in the US since 1979.

      March 16, 2011 at 22:42 | Report abuse |
  50. PrayingAngel

    Everyday that passes without harm or sickness I give thanks on a personal level,and when the world suffers at times like these I wish I could do something more than just pray for everyone, it is my opinion that we all live in a false sense of security anyways because it is obvious to me that our time on this planet will expire eventually-if it's not earthquakes & tnusamies,global warming & drougts then it'll be astroids & dark energy ripping at us-yet the spirit of mankind is enduring & great! We will survive whatever comes until it is larger than this life we know.

    March 16, 2011 at 21:02 | Report abuse | Reply
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