DHS: No harmful radiation expected to reach Wisconsin

Contact: Seth Boffeli


MADISON — State health officials today sought to reassure Wisconsin citizens that harmful levels of nuclear radiation released in Japan are unlikely to reach the Badger state. News accounts of unnecessary concern in west coast states have led some in Wisconsin to wonder if they should be worried about harmful radiation.

“We are closely monitoring the Japanese nuclear reactor accidents and receiving information from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) on the situation. At this time, we do not believe that protective measures including potassium iodide (KI) are necessary in Wisconsin,” said Dr. Henry Anderson, State Health Officer. “The NRC does not expect any U.S. states or territories to experience harmful levels of radioactivity from the Japanese reactor accidents, so there is no need to seek out medications such as potassium iodide or the location of fallout shelters.”

DHS maintains an active environmental radiation monitoring program around the nuclear plants in or near Wisconsin. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also operates a nationwide radiation monitoring system, called RadNet, to monitor the nation’s air and regularly monitors drinking water, milk and precipitation for environmental radiation. The EPA has said it plans to deploy additional monitoring capabilities to parts of the western U.S. and U.S. territories.

Wisconsin has a well-developed radiological response capability designed around nuclear plants in and around the Badger state, which includes detailed incident response plans, equipment, and trained staff. This response capability is available to assist counties with a radiological incident of any type. State and federal preparedness officials conduct 1-2 full nuclear plant emergency preparedness exercises each year.