UW researchers not concerned about elevated Fukushima threat

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by GARY CHITTIM / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on April 12, 2011 at 5:35 PM

Updated Tuesday, Apr 12 at 5:35 PM

SEATTLE -- The decision to elevate the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan to the Chernobyl range may have raised tensions around the world, but not at a laboratory at the University of Washington.

"Because we're finding such low levels, we're just at the stage of probably turning off our monitoring campaign today," said UW physics researcher Michael Miller.

Miller's team has been monitoring a network of filters on the UW campus since shortly after the disaster began. Even after the major explosions at the Fukushima plant, the group gathered notable but harmless levels of radiation making it across the Pacific. Based on that, Miller does not expect Monday's fire and elevated risk level to translate to anything more than a blip on the UW instruments.

International experts agree, saying they believe the Japanese were correct to raise the Fukushima threat to 7 on the international scale, but they say unlike Chernobyl, the threat is to Japan, not the rest of world.

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