Washington's governor and Health Secretary said today that Japan's damaged nuclear power plant does not pose a radiation threat to the state and urged residents not to take potassium iodide in response.
There’s a very small chance that enough radioactive material could travel the 5,000 miles between Japan, where a massive earthquake and tsunami damaged cooling pools for some nuclear fuel rods, and Washington, according to information from the state Health Department, and taking potassium iodide or iodine pills unnecessarily could have negative side-effects for some people.
“We have seen absolutely no heightened radiation in our monitoring at all,” Gov. Chris Gregoire told reporters. “I want to urge the residents of our state to listen to the health experts.”
Gregoire said she had also talked to Energy Northwest, the owners of the Columbia Generating Station, a nuclear power plant near Richland.
The plant underwent testing in 2009, she said, to make sure it could withstand earthquakes and other natural disasters.
More information on the radiation risks from Japan is available here.