No current radiation risk: B.C. public safety minister

B.C.'s Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Rich Coleman issued a statement on Mar. 13 advising troubles with earthquake-damaged nuclear reactors in Japan pose no current health risk in B.C.

B.C.’s Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Rich Coleman issued a statement on Mar. 13 advising troubles with earthquake-damaged nuclear reactors in Japan pose no current health risk in B.C.

“Health Canada has advised us that at the present time the current radiological activity at a facility in Japan is expected to pose no health risk to British Columbians,” Coleman said in a statement issued in the early afternoon of Sunday, Mar. 13. “The Government of Canada, through the Government Operations Centre, is monitoring and assessing the situation at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan following reports of an explosion, in order to assess any potential risks to Canadians.”

Coleman said Emergency officials in British Columbia remain in constant contact with the federal government’s operation centre. “[This] includes officials with Health Canada, the lead department responsible for coordinating Canada’s nuclear emergency response.”

Commentators have noted that the polar jet stream passes near Japan then streams towards British Columbia, raising speculative concern about contamination in B.C. from radioactive materials released into the atmosphere in Japan. Jet streams are fast flowing air currents typically located between seven and 12 kilometres above sea level. During La Niña events, such as now, increased precipitation is diverted northward into the Pacific because of more northerly storm tracks and jet stream.

The Sunday statement from the public safety ministry is indication B.C. authorities are monitoring the unfolding situation.

For more information on Health Canada’s Federal Nuclear Emergency Plan visit: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hc-ps/ed-ud/fedplan/intro-eng.php