While our thoughts go out to the survivors of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami who are still suffering and are now faced with the fallout of the developing nuclear disaster, many here in California cannot help but also fear the potential risks to us on the west coast if large amounts of radiation were to be released into the atmosphere.

The NYT posted a piece on the projected course of the radiation plume if there were to be a large scale explosion. While parents are rushing out trying to buy potassium iodide pills (every pharmacy in SF as well as the Center for Disease Control and two of the major national distributors of the pills are all sold out, BTW), scientists are predicting that any radiation that may waft our way through the Pacific wind streams would reach California – and Southern California, at that – by late Friday and make its way through Nevada, Arizona and Utah.

However, it should be noted that, “Health and nuclear experts emphasize that radiation in the plume will be diluted as it travels and, at worst, would have extremely minor health consequences in the United States, even if hints of it are ultimately detectable.”

So does that mean that those of us in SF and Northern California are in the clear? I certainly hope so. Now let’s get back to thinking about those who actually do live in the vicinity of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant and those working inside who face the greatest risks of all.

Photo credit: New York Times