Fukushima Accident Not Harmful to Pennsylvanians, Report Says

Nov 9, 2011

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has released its Fukushima Nuclear Accident Report, explaining the agency's response and findings after the March nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan. The nuclear crisis followed the devastating tsunami and earthquake that struck Japan.

David Allard, director of the Bureau of Radiation Protection in the DEP, said that because of the state's five nuclear plants, they were able to more easily monitor what was happening. "We have co-located with our nuclear power plants a lot of environmental surveillance," said Allard. "I have a whole section that basically, their full time job is to deploy radiation monitors, air filters, charcoal type air filters, which is a specific type of air sampling device in filter paper."

The DEP conducted sampling and monitoring in the air and water supplies to determine whether Iodine 131, an element from Fukushima's radioactive release, was present. Allard said Iodine was found in the U.S., but not in dangerous amounts.

He said that there was no health risk to any Americans from the event. "We knew that right from the beginning," said Allard. "Just the distance and the amount of dilution (shows) there was no health risk to the public in the United States, West Coast, Alaska. The EPA actually deployed some additional samplers up in Alaska. They had some mobile equipment."

The DEP teamed up with several agencies including the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the EPA, and the state Department of Health to ensure Pennsylvanians were kept safe.