Could Nuclear Radiation From A Meltdown Of The Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Reactors In Japan Reach The United States?

The possibility of a full-blown nuclear meltdown of one or more of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear reactors seems to increase by the hour.  Millions of weary Japanese citizens are desperately hoping that the worst case scenario does not play out.  A major nuclear disaster is the last thing that they need at this point.  So could radiation from a meltdown of one or more of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear reactors reach the United States?  Unfortunately, the answer is yes.  Right now authorities in Japan are hoping to avert a full-blown meltdown and keep the radiation that is escaping to minimal levels, but at this point it appears that they are fighting a losing battle.  Yesterday, yet another of the reactors exploded.  The explosion at Fukushima Dai-ichi unit 2 was the third major explosion in four days.  Previously there had also been huge explosions at unit 3 and at unit 1.  Japanese authorities are feverishly trying to pump sea water into all of the reactors in the complex in an attempt to cool them down.  At this point authorities in Japan have admitted that the levels of radiation in the areas immediately surrounding the reactors “can impact human health”, and Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan is saying that the risk that further radioactive material will be released is “very high”.  Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano has told the media that fuel rods in three of the reactors appear to be melting and that he cannot rule out the possibility of a full-blown meltdown in all three of the problem reactors.  Right now, the Japanese government is advising all people living within a 30 kilometer radius of the reactors to stay indoors.


As far as Japan is concerned, the worst case scenario is that multiple reactors could experience a meltdown and they could end up facing a situation of trying to deal with “many Chernobyls”.

Tokyo has 13 million residents, and there is a very real possibility that during a full-blown meltdown the winds could shift and carry a massive radioactive cloud in that direction.  That would be an unprecedented health disaster.

But could a full-blown meltdown at one or more of the reactors mean a health disaster for the United States as well?

During the Chernobyl disaster 25 years ago, radiation was spread literally throughout the entire northern hemisphere.  If the worst case scenario happens in Japan, the prevailing easterly winds would likely transport radiation from Japan directly to the west coast of the United States.

Nuclear expert Joseph Cirincione recently told Fox News the following….

“The worst-case scenario is that the fuel rods fuse together – temperatures get so hot that [they] melt together into a radioactive molten mass that busts through the containment mechanisms. So they spew radioactivity into the ground, into the air, into the water. Some of that radioactivity could carry in the atmosphere to the west coast of the United States.”

During a full-blown meltdown, radioactive material would be blasted high into our atmosphere.  Once the material was high enough in the atmosphere, the jet stream would pick it up and transport it at high speeds across the Pacific Ocean.

The following video shows how the jet stream takes air currents from Japan straight over to the northwest United States.  If radiation gets into the jet stream over Japan, the first major land mass that it is going to encounter is North America.  Just check out the video below….

So how long would it take radiation from Japan to reach the United States?

Well, according to a report on, it wouldn’t take long….

It would take roughly seven days for the radiation to reach Anchorage, eight days until it reached Honolulu, ten days for Seattle and eleven days before it hit Los Angeles, according to figures calculated by Expert Senior Global Meteorologist Jim Andrews.

What could potentially make things even worse is the kind of fuel being used in these reactors.  Apparently mox (mixed oxide) fuel is more dangerous than the conventional fuel used is most nuclear reactors.  According to the BBC, a Japanese engineer named Masashi Goto told a news conference in Tokyo the following….

Japanese engineer Masashi Goto, who helped design the containment vessel for Fukushima’s reactor core, says the design was not enough to withstand earthquakes or tsunamis and the plant’s builders, Toshiba, knew this.

Mr Goto says his greatest fear is that blasts at number 3 and number 1 reactors may have damaged the steel casing of the containment vessel designed to stop radioactive material escaping into the atmosphere.

He says that as the reactor uses mox (mixed oxide) fuel, the melting point is lower than that of conventional fuel. Should a meltdown and an explosion occur, he says, plutonium could be spread over an area up to twice as far as estimated for a conventional nuclear fuel explosion. The next 24 hours are critical, he says.

Why in the world did anyone think that it was a good idea to build nuclear reactors in Japan anyway?  The truth is that Japan sits on or next to four different tectonic plates.  It is one of the most tectonically active regions in the world.  Anyone should have been able to foresee that any nuclear facility built near the coast in Japan would eventually be hit by a tsunami.

But unfortunately a whole bunch of nuclear reactors were built along the coast in Japan.  And right now problems are starting to develop at facilities other than the Fukushima Dai-ichi reactors.  Let us just hope that we don’t see any more explosions.

This is a problem that is not going away any time soon.  According to The New York Times, this is a crisis that could potentially last for months….

As the scale of Japan’s nuclear crisis begins to come to light, experts in Japan and the United States say the country is now facing a cascade of accumulating problems that suggest that radioactive releases of steam from the crippled plants could go on for weeks or even months.

So what should you do if you live along the west coast of the United States?

Well, you should keep a close eye on the news, that is for sure.  Any signs that large amounts of radiation have been released in Japan should be taken very seriously.

Hopefully the folks in Japan know what they are doing and will be able to get this crisis under control.

But there is absolutely no guarantee that is going to happen.

If the worst case scenario comes to fruition, we could end up facing the worst nuclear disaster in history.  That is not something to be taken lightly.

Let us just pray that this nightmare does not get any worse.