No traces of radiation from Japan found at Grand Gulf

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, March 30, 2011

NATCHEZ — Although miniscule amounts of radiation — presumably caused from the Japanese nuclear power stations — have been found recently around the country, including as close at Alabama, monitors at Grand Gulf Nuclear Station in Port Gibson report no signs of the extra radiation.

“As of (Monday), no trace amounts of radioactivity have been measured at Grand Gulf,” said Lara Uselding, Region 4 Public Affairs Officer for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Uselding said the NRC is monitoring levels at sites all across the country, but doesn’t anticipate any reason for concern.

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“We’ve said all along that we don’t expect harmful levels of radiation to reach the U.S.,” she said. “The sensors are very sensitive and pick-up even the smallest traces of material.”

A variety of news reports have indicated the presence of “background” radiation at states including Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Hawaii, South Carolina, North Carolina and Florida, among others.

The trace levels of radiation found are believed to have been leaked by the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power reactors that were damaged on March 11 following a devastating earthquake and tsunami.

Adams County Emergency Management Director Stan Owens said he is in frequent contact with Grand Gulf officials as a part of routine training and drill preparations.

Because of Adams County’s proximity to the Port Gibson plant, county officials are prepared for a nuclear emergency in our own backyard, Owens said, even though Entergy officials say all precautions are in place to ensure no such disaster occurs.

“We are in an agreement with Claiborne County to assist them if they were to have a site emergency or call for an evacuation of any type,” he said.

Mississippi Emergency Management Agency plans call for Adams County to serve as a decontamination test center and evacuation zone for a section of Claiborne County that includes approximately 3,400 people, Owens said. Alcorn State University is a part of that section.

Warren, Hinds and Copiah counties would also serve similar roles.

Adams County emergency management officials participate in drills every two years that simulate a nuclear crisis.

Drills are set for late July and September.