PORTLAND -- Portland has its own nuclear reactor at Reed College and the director of the program there told KGW Monday that the chances of a massive escape of radiation from a meltdown of nuclear reactors in Japan were slim to none.
Stephen Frantz said that all signs lead to a meltdown of some level at the reactors in Japan. He predicted that the probable effect on health should that happen will be "zero."
That applies to both people in Japan, and Oregon
Frantz is director of the Reed College Research Reactor, nuclear physicist and certified health physicist.
Frantz said the meltdown in Japan would be confined to the stainless steel vessel that house the rods, which would slump down to the bottom and remain there.
There was no escape at Three Mile Island, he said, and it likely won't happen in Japan.
Frantz said without a doubt, prior leaks of radioactive gases in Japan had affected people living near those plants. About 180,000 people have been evacuated from around those plants and 160 have been exposed to radiation.
Those gases have no chance of affecting people in Oregon, he said.
Frantz praised efforts by Oregon health officials to monitor radiation levels related to the problems in Japan.
The nuclear power plants in Japan are 40-years-old, with a proven track record of safety, he said, while acknowledging that the chain of events that happened last Friday in Japan were beyond the safety design parameters of those facilities.
He said a new generation of nuclear reactors do not rely on electricity being provided to them after a shutdown.
If the quake had affected one of those new reactors "this wouldn't have even made the news."
The U.S. Geological Survey also updated the size of the Japan earthquake to a magnitude 9.0 Monday after experts studied the seismology results.