Traces of Japan’s nuclear disaster radioactivity ‘in US rain’

Low levels of radioactivity showed up in rainwater in northern California two weeks after the Japan nuclear disaster in March but soon returned to normal, a US study says.

The detected levels of radioactive isotopes caesium, iodine and tellurium were very small and posed no risk to the public, according to the findings of research funded by the US Departments of Energy and Homeland Security.

Rainwater was collected in the San Francisco Bay area cities of Berkeley, Oakland and Albany from March 16 to 26, said the report in the online journal PloS (Public Library of Science) ONE.

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Traces of Japan radioactivity in US rain

Traces of radioactivity from damaged nuclear power facilities in Japan have been detected in rainwater in the northeast United States, but pose no health risks, officials said.

Ohio reported elevated radiation levels in precipitation on Monday, after Environmental Protection Agency monitors found similar instances in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.

Researchers at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio said they detected tiny amounts of Iodine 131 from Japan in rainwater collected from the roof of a campus building.

"In theory, the Iodine 131 could have come from any radioactive waste processing facility," said geology professor Gerald Matisoff, who monitors rainwater that is carried into Lake Erie for the EPA.

"But, we know it’s from Japan. The isotope is being seen worldwide."

Matisoff "estimated the level of radiation is about one-tenth that of natural background radiation," the university said in a statement.

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