MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Trace amounts of radiation from the damaged Japanese nuclear plant have shown up in seven U.S. states including Alaska, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
The EPA said slightly elevated levels of radiation believed linked to the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant in Japan, which was damaged during the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, have been detected in Alabama, Alaska, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada and Washington. Small amounts also have been found in the Pacific islands of Guam, Saipan and the Northern Mariana Islands.
Separately, preliminary state testing indicated low levels of radiation linked to the Japanese crisis in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. In addition, utilities in North and South Carolina have reported trace amounts of radiation from the nuclear reactor in Japan.
None of the readings detected by EPA are high enough to pose a threat to the public, said spokeswoman Davina Marraccini.
“This is slightly above (normal) background . and far below health concerns,” she said.
The agency’s radiation monitoring system is managed by the National Air and Radiation Environmental Laboratory in Montgomery. That’s where the monitor that detected low levels of radiation in Alabama is located.
Doug Neeley, chief of the EPA’s Air Toxics and Monitoring Branch, said the monitoring site in Montgomery detected slightly higher than normal background radiation.
“We are seeing the pattern we expected to see,” Neeley said. “The winds come from the west toward the east. And we know where this happened and we see it picked up in monitors in the west and moving east.”
Kristen Bremer, a spokeswoman for the laboratory, said radioactivity probably will be picked up by most, if not all, monitors in the United States.