BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) -- Traces of radiation from Japan's damaged nuclear power plant have shown up on sensors in the United States, primarily in the west but here in Western New York as well.
And traces of radiation were also found in Cleveland's rainwater, discovered during an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) study to better understand what's falling into Lake Erie. "Radiation detectors are very sensitive instruments and are capable of finding even a very tiny number of atoms of these radioactive materials that have been discharged from the reactor," Dr. Alan Lockwood, a University at Buffalo Professor of Nuclear Medicine and Neurology, said. "So it's not surprising that the winds have carried detectable amounts to various cities in the United Sates."
Local experts say the small amounts of radiation being found here are of no health concern but officials continue to closely monitor radiation sensors.
There are 124 EPA radiation sensors nationwide. Two of those are local, one in Lockport and another near Rochester. The sensor in Lockport is currently not working, but the EPA says it will be fixed this week.
The New York State Health Department says it has 12 sites testing the quality of air and water, including ones at the Niagara River, Locksley Point, and Olcott Beach. And an additional air sampling station has been installed near Albany. There have only been trace amounts of radioactivity found. "We're exposed to radiation every day of our lives and the change in the radiation exposure that is caused by this reactor accident in Japan is so small that it does not make any significant difference in terms of the risk in developing cancer in the American population," Dr. Lockwood said.
The health department says it'll have latest results from the sensors by the middle of this week, but doesn't expect the amounts to be near a level that would pose a public health concern. Many health experts say they do not expect to see harmful levels of radiation reaching the United States from Japan.