Trace of radiation from Japan shows in Henderson

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RENO (AP) - Tiny amounts of radioactive material from Japan's endangered nuclear plant are showing up in Henderson, but scientists say the readings are far below levels that could pose any health risks.

Radiation levels detected at a monitoring station at the College of Southern Nevada in Henderson were similar to those earlier reported at a station at Las Vegas' Atomic Testing Museum, said Ted Hartwell, manager of the Desert Research Institute's Community Environmental Monitoring Program says. Henderson is located just south of Las Vegas.

Minuscule amounts of the radioactive isotopes iodine-131, xenon-133, cesium-137 and tellurium-132 had reached both stations last week, he said.

Hartwell said he's certain the isotopes came from Japan because they have not been detected around the Nevada National Security Site, formerly the Nevada Test Site, since atomic testing ended there in 1992.

"I would say these are still at extremely low levels at the edge of detection and represent no public threat," he said.

Hartwell said he was unsure how the latest levels compared with readings from the 1950s when testing of atomic bombs was at its height in Nevada.

He referred questions about comparison readings to National Nuclear Security Administration spokesman Darwin Morgan, who did not immediately return phone calls.

Results from testing at four or five other monitoring stations around the Nevada National Security Site, about 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas, will be released over the next two weeks. DRI operates 29 stations that monitor for radioactivity around the site.

Traces of radiation from Japan are being detected from coast to coast in the United States and in Iceland. Officials have said those levels also are not harmful.

Nevada health officials have said they do not expect any risk to the state from Japan radiation releases because of the distance the materials must travel.


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