The Japanese government has claimed that radioactive material from its stricken power plants has not traveled more than 20 miles from the plants, but the US aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan has had to clean radioactive material off its decks while 60 miles out to sea. Sailors on deck have received a month’s worth of radiation in a day, as they passed through a radioactive cloud as they arrived in Japan. American helicopters flying missions near the damaged reactors became coated with radioactive particles that had to be washed off.

Civilians here in the US–especially those on the West Coast–want to know if winds from Japan will blow any radiation our way, but officials claim that any radiation that reaches the US would be too weak to do any harm (should we believe them?) The prevailing winds over Japan are now blowing eastward across the Pacific. If this continues, international stations for radioactive tracking located at Wake or Midway Islands might detect radiation later this week. In the March 13th edition of the New York Times, William J. Broad quotes Annika Thunborg, who monitors spikes in radioactivity for the UN, as saying, "At this point, we have not picked up anything. We’re talking a couple of days–nothing before Tuesday–in terms of picking something up."

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