TIME Japan

Low-Level Fukushima Radiation Set To Hit West Coast

Tokyo Electric Power Co. Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant Tour
A Japanese power company employee walks past storage tanks for radioactive water at the Fukushima Daiichi plant Japan, in Nov., 2013. Bloomberg via Getty Images

Researchers who are tracking the radiation released during Japan's Fukushima reactor disaster say low levels will hit the U.S. in April, but added it shouldn't be enough to pose a threat to human beings, wildlife or the environment

Low levels of radiation will reach ocean waters along the United States’ West Coast next month, scientists said, as fallout from the Fukushima nuclear disaster drifts across the Pacific Ocean.

Radiation will be at levels low enough to leave humans and the environment unharmed, scientists predict, but there are calls for increased monitoring as federal agencies currently do not sample Pacific Coast seawater for radiation, reports USA Today.

A 9.0 magnitude earthquake in March 2011 triggered a tsunami with waves as high as 133 feet off the coast of Japan, killing more than 15,000 people and injuring 6,000. The disaster cut off power to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant complex, causing meltdowns at three reactors and leaking contaminated water into the ocean.

Models show the contaminated water reaching north of Seattle first, then move down the West coast, most likely in April, scientists said.

[USA Today]

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