[UPDATE] Radiation from Japan Reaches Nevada

By: CBS/Associated Press
By: CBS/Associated Press

[UPDATE] 3-26 6:55 PM--

RENO, Nev. (AP) -- Minuscule amounts of radiation from Japan's damaged nuclear plant have reached Las Vegas, but scientists say it
poses no health risk.

Ted Hartwell of the Desert Research Institute's Community Environmental Monitoring Program says extremely small amounts of
the radioactive isotopes iodine-131 and zenon-133 reached a Las Vegas monitoring station this week.

He says he's certain the isotopes came from Japan because they're not usually detected in Nevada, but the readings were far below levels that could pose any health risks.

Minuscule amounts of radiation from Japan have been reported elsewhere in the West, including California, Colorado, Hawaii and

Nevada state health officials have said they do not expect any risk to Nevada from Japanese radiation releases because of the distance the materials would have to travel.


Trace amounts of radiation from Japan have been detected in Chicago, CBS News station WBBM-TV reports.

Travelers coming in from Japan on Wednesday triggered radiation detectors at O'Hare International Airport as they passed through customs. Only very small amounts of radiation were detected.

"We are aware of the radiation," said Chicago Aviation Department spokeswoman Karen Pride. "We are adding screenings and precautionary measures."

In one instance, radiation was detected in a plane's air filtration system. Radiation was also found in luggage and on passengers on flights from Japan.

Mayor Richard M. Daley and other city officials wouldn't provide any additional details, saying federal authorities were handling the situation.

"Of course the protection of the person coming off the plane is important in regards to any radiation and especially within their families," Daley said at an unrelated event.

The mayor said the city has no local policy when it comes to detecting radiation at the airports.

"That would be up to the federal government. Every city can't have a policy. One says yes, one says no, you can't do that. You have to have a federal policy dealing with anyone entering the country in regards to the situations like that," Daley said. "And they handle it very professionally and it will be up to Homeland Security. We've been working with them. They have the primary responsibility."

Homeland Security officials would not comment specifically on the radiation at O'Hare. But officials from Customs and Border Protection, which monitors ports, said they are monitoring radiation levels on flights and passengers coming from Japan.

"U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is monitoring developments in Japan carefully and is specifically assessing the potential for radiological contamination associated with the ongoing impact of the earthquake and tsunami to Japan's nuclear facilities," customs spokeswoman Cherise Miles said in an e-mail.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Thursday that no harmful levels of radiation have reached the U.S. since the nuclear crisis in Japan sparked by last week's devastating earthquake and tsunami, the Associated Press reports.

Homeland Security announced it was screening passengers and cargo entering the United States from Japan for "even a blip of radiation."

Customs and Border Protection routinely screens passengers and cargo for radiation. Agents have been advised this week to pay particular attention to arrivals from Japan.

Napolitano said the screening of passengers and cargo is being done "in an exercise of caution."

The agency handles more than half a million radiation alarms a year, though most are related to medical procedures.

United Airlines is the largest U.S. carrier to Asia. The airline said it isn't cutting flights to Asia but is monitoring the situation in Japan. United uses Tokyo's Narita airport as a hub for flights further into Asia.

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by shadow on Mar 28, 2011 at 04:20 AM
    No way the disposal of tons of spent neon lights could be affecting the readings, right?
  • by poor vegas where will paris hilton party now Location: ga on Mar 27, 2011 at 11:05 AM
    nevada needs a bailout now.
  • by joedeph2 Location: tallahassee on Mar 27, 2011 at 05:30 AM
    create green, you must be like 13 right? what`s the difference between floridians and americans?
  • by Anonymous on Mar 27, 2011 at 04:09 AM
    goverments are keeping the public in the dark as usual. yes, this is a sad situation for japan - but the public needs to know the truth about the entire situation. this is an example of government officials doing what they do the best - LYING
  • by I thinkIamglowing Location: tall on Mar 26, 2011 at 04:59 PM
    an example of how the gov't works with nuclear fallout- I was taught in school with the army that if you send 30 soldiers into a radioactive area, and 7 of them come back with a reading of, for ease of comment, a level of 12 on their meters, and the remaining 23 return from the area with a level reading of 1, you add it all up and average it out, so it is reported that 30 men recieved "only" a level readingof 3.5, which is considered "SAFE" Someone is going to get sick, the 7 with a 12..... Makes me wonder why they will tell us what the radiation source is, the type also, but do not tell us what levels are being recorded by the equipment.
  • by wendy Location: leon on Mar 26, 2011 at 03:59 PM
    i beleive nothing these people and the government says.
  • by create green energy quicker if possible Location: Florida on Mar 18, 2011 at 06:47 AM
    No more nukes in Florida. Shut down and do saftey tests of those plants already here. They are getting too old. Way to go Rep. Michelle Rewinkle-Vasalinda (Dem.) on your stand to promote more reusable green energy over nuclear! If Floridians and Americans used less energy, electicity, gasoline, fuel, by conserving, then we would not be run out of it. So sad to see Japan suffer like this.
  • by JHR2525 Location: Florida on Mar 17, 2011 at 08:06 PM
    Seems we have been misled by the liberal progressive Media pundits again. They said that no problems are to be expected from Japanese radiation coming to America.. If alarms are now sounding at our airports, then we DO need to pay attention and get info, you think? Where is OUR government's public information on this developing health & security crisis? Our Leader is absent ---again. Why?
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