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Nuclear Power/West Coast Radiation


Hello Dr. Welter-

I'm Jay.  I'm not sure if you are able to comment on this but i am planning to relocate to Los Angeles in December and am now a bit concerned about the effects or potential effects of the fukushima nuclear disaster.  I read this article below and now have reservations about moving there. I also heard that thyroid cancers are higher now on the west coast.  I would appreciate any insight on this,  thank you



Thanks for the question Jay! I get this a fair amount. Nothing to worry about at all. I was born on the CA coast and have a lot's of family there. The article you provide is full of false information. There is just absolutely not enough radiation in those reactors if all the cores melted and got dumped in the pacific ocean to have any health effects thousands of miles away. The ocean is just far to vast compared to the amount of radiation that would be released.

For a more reliable source of information regarding the Fukushima accident I would suggest Wikipedia. For specific information on the radiation releases here is a good link:

P.S. You would get a much higher dose of radiation flying to your new home (since there is less atmosphere at higher altitudes to protect us from cosmic radiation) than you would swimming off the coast of L.A. due to Fukushima.  

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Dr. Kent Welter


Ever wonder what the next generation of nuclear reactor might look like? Or if the radiation from Fukushima is making your sushi unsafe? I have a passion for nuclear energy and new technologies. Ask me anything! Expertise in nuclear power safety, licensing, advanced reactors, risk, and radiation. I also love science fiction and dabble in space reactors.


Reactor Systems Engineer and Branch Chief at the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Nuclear Safety Engineering Manager at NuScale Power.

Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering from Oregon State University (2002)

Awards and Honors
2011 Oregon Stater Award. 2007 Scientific Achievement Award from the Oregon Institute of Technology Alumni.

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