The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Nuclear Regulatory Committee (NRC) said although radioactive isotopes from the crippled Japanese nuclear power plant will be blowing toward California as soon as Friday, the agencies are confident there is no need to worry about any health risks, the Los Angeles Times reported.
According to experts, only very small amounts of radiation will make their way in the winds of the Pacific Ocean over to the West Coast of North America — about 5,000 miles from Japan.
A network of radiation sensors, known as Radnet is operated by the EPA and will be watching for any signs of radiation that are higher than a safe limit for Californians. Radnet has a system of 100 radiation monitors that work 24 hours a day.
Initially the NRC said it did not expect any radioactivity to hit the West Coast, Alaska or Hawaii—but since the release of that statement, emissions from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant have grown.
Edwin Lyman, a specialist at the nuclear watchdog group Union of Concerned Scientists, said that it was possible radioactivity could migrate from the region, he did not believe the U.S. was at any serious risk.
"We can never say never," Lyman said. "My judgment is that there will probably be measurable radiation, but except for a few hot spots it is not something we should really worry about."