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Dr. Kafatos calls for vigilance in wake of Japan’s reactor crisis

March 16, 2011

One of the Japanese reactors burning in the wake of the earthquake/tsunami disaster. (Photo/Reuters)

Menas Kafatos, Ph.D., dean of the Schmid College of Science, was interviewed by the Orange County Register and KCAL9 regarding whether the United States should worry about radiation from Japan’s damaged nuclear reactors reaching the Pacific coast.

Dr. Kafatos agreed with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s statement that no present danger existed, but advised vigilance by the scientific community monitoring the crisis. Scientists with Chapman University’s Center of Excellence in Earth Observing are collecting satellite data from its own sophisticated antenna facility to forecast wind patterns across the Pacific as the crisis changes, he said.

“They’re saying every day that it gets worse,” Kafatos said. “Now they’re detecting what could be harmful levels of radiation as far away as Tokyo. I understand we always try not to cause undue concern, but look at what has happened already to Japan.”

To view the center’s forecasts, shown in plots at various atmospheric heights, visit its Japan Earthquake Hazards page.

The Orange County Register story appears in the March 16 print edition and also online.

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