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VIDEO: Don’t panic! Obama pleads for calm after UN warns radiation ‘plume’ from Japan quake could hit U.S. Today

Posted on: March 18, 2011

  • UN predicts nuclear plume could hit U.S. by FRIDAY
  • Obama finally falls in line with the rest of the world and starts evacuating American citizens from Japan
  • French minister: ‘Let’s not beat about the bush, they’ve essentially lost control’
  • Cooling pool for spent fuel rods has ‘boiled dry at reactor number four’
  • Japanese have 48 hours to avoid ‘another Chernobyl’
  • Terrified Americans panic-buy gas masks, anti-radiation pills and even pet shelters
  • Experts warn that crisis is ‘approaching point of no return’ as officials run out of options

Barack Obama has appealed for calm today after a UN agency predicted that a nuclear plume from Japan is set to hit the West Coast by tomorrow.

The U.S. President said no dangerous levels of radiation are expected to reach the U.S. as Japan runs out of time to prevent what officials are calling ‘another Chernobyl’.

He spoke as officials in Dallas denied reports that radiation had been detected on passengers landing there from Japan, and Chicago refused to confirm claims passengers tested positive for radiation at O’Hare airport.

A Chicago Aviation Department spokesman refused to confirm that radiation has been found at the airport, saying only that Customs and Border Protection are doing additional screenings.

But a spokesman at the Dallas Fort Worth airport said no passengers had tested positive for any radiation. Customs had discovered minute levels of radiation on a flight yesterday during a routine screening – but it was related to medical equipment, not nuclear energy, the spokesman said.

With terrified passengers packing Tokyo airport after scores governments, including the U.S., advised their citizens to flee, the fear of radiation arriving on flights from Japan is set to increase.

Meanwhile in America, worried citizens are trying to protect themselves against the nuclear fallout with gas masks and anti-radiation tablets after U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin warned them to ‘be prepared’ for harmful radiation. Some are even buying pet shelters with gas filters.

But today Mr Obama said he does not expect any harmful levels of radiation to reach the U.S.

U.S. Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano told the AP today that no harmful levels of radiation have reached the U.S.

Air passengers arriving in Los Angeles are being screened for ‘even a blip’ of radiation after the reports from Chicago and Dallas sparked contamination fears there.

The news came as the State Department said the first evacuation flight of U.S. citizens has left Japan in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that sparked a crisis at a nuclear power plant.

Undersecretary of State Patrick Kennedy told a news conference today that the flight has left Tokyo for Taipei, Taiwan.

He said fewer than 100 people were onboard, mostly dependents of U.S. officials, and also some other private citizens.

It also emerged today that the Environmental Protection Agency has upped its number of radiation monitors in locations on the West Coast. The UN has predicted that a nuclear plume from Japan could reach islands off the Alaskan coast today, and southern California by tomorrow. The agency has not yet responded to queries on whether it has detected any increased levels of radiation in the U.S. today.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman Cherise Miles told CBS the agency is ‘specifically assessing the potential for radiological contamination associated with the ongoing impact of the earthquake and tsunami to Japan’s nuclear facilities.’

Last night it emerged that the United Nations has predicted that a nuclear plume from a crisis-hit reactor in Japan could drift across the Pacific and over the U.S. by Friday.

The chilling forecast came as the United States began evacuating Americans out of Japan amid escalating fears that the quake-ravaged country is facing disaster.

Japanese military helicopters today dropped sea water on the over-heating reactors in a last-ditch attempt to avoid a catastrophic meltdown. Some experts say the county has 48 hours to avoid ‘another Chernoblyl’.

Radiation from the toxic plume spewing from the reactor is set to hit California and the West Coast on Friday, according to the UN’s Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organisation. It predicts the plume will head into Southern California and further into Nevada, Utah and Arizona.

While the organisation did not give any further details on the level of radiation to hit the U.S., health officials emphasised that – as with the Chernobyl disaster 26 years ago – most radiation in the atmosphere is set to dissipate throughout its journey over the Pacific.

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3 Responses to "VIDEO: Don’t panic! Obama pleads for calm after UN warns radiation ‘plume’ from Japan quake could hit U.S. Today"

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