Routine radiation monitoring of air travelers, their luggage and cargo arriving at Sea-Tac Airport from Japan has uncovered no harmful levels of radiation, Sea-Tac officials and a Customs and Border Protection spokeswoman said late Thursday afternoon.
“No aircraft entering the United States has tested positive for radiation at harmful levels,” Customs and Border Protection said in a prepared statement in response to specific inquiries about radiation screening of incoming flights at Sea-Tac.
At the airport, spokesman Perry Cooper said Sea-Tac officials have not been notified of any unusual radiation levels on passengers or cargo arriving from Japan, where several damaged nuclear reactors are emitting radioactive plumes.
“Our fire department would have been notified if there was any unusual radiation level,” he said. “They’re the ones who would handle that.”
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Some news reports said that radiation had been detected in cargo arriving by plane in Chicago, Dallas and Seattle. Customs and Border Protection spokeswoman Stephanie Malin said the agency is trying to track down the origin of those reports. No harmful levels of radiation have been detected at those three airports or anywhere in the country, she said.
All arriving international passengers, their baggage and cargo are routinely screened for radiation at all ports of entry.
Cooper said it’s not uncommon to detect some slight level of radiation among some international travelers who may have received medical radiation treatments. Those passengers are questioned and screened further and are allowed to enter the country.
Sea-Tac hosts three daily flights to and from Japan. One Delta and one United Airlines flight connect Sea-Tac with Tokyo’s Narita airport. One Delta flight connects Sea-Tac to Osaka.
Delta announced Thursday it will discontinue flights from Detroit and Los Angeles to Tokyo’s Haneda Airport next week. A Delta spokesman said the airline has no plans to cut its flights to its Narita hub. From there, Delta flights fan out across Asia.
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