U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) analysts who are reviewing radiation data from the earthquake-damaged Japanese nuclear reactors say the steps being taken by Japanese authorities parallel those the United States would suggest in a similar situation.
Japanese authorities Monday recommended evacuating people within a 12 and ½ mile range of the affected reactor, and advised residents within a near the affected reactor people from around the affected reactor to 20 kilometers around the affected reactors and said that persons within an 18 and ½ mile range should shelter in place.
According to a statement issued by the NRC, those recommendations parallel the protective actions the United States would suggest should dose limits reach 1 rem to the entire body and 5 rem for the thyroid, an organ particularly susceptible to radiation uptake. The currently reported Japanese radiation measurements are well below these guidelines.
A rem is a measure of radiation dose. The average American is exposed to approximately 620 millirems, or 0.62 rem, of radiation each year from natural and manmade sources.
Nine additional NRC experts sent to Tokyo at the Japanese government’s request are expected to arrive there this afternoon. They join the two NRC representatives already in Japan, and include reactor experts, international affairs professional staffers and a senior manager from each one of the NRC’s four operating regions.