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Expert: Japan Nuclear Exposure Unlikely In United States

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A "HELP" sign is written on the ground of Ohara Primary School near a sea coast covered with the rubble in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, northern Japan, Monday, March 14, 2011, three days after a massive earthquake and the ensuing tsunami hit Japan's east coast. (AP Photo/Kyodo News)

A “HELP” sign is written on the ground of Ohara Primary School near a sea coast covered with the rubble in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, northern Japan, Monday, March 14, 2011, three days after a massive earthquake and the ensuing tsunami hit Japan’s east coast. (AP Photo/Kyodo News)

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CHICAGO (WBBM) – A nuclear engineer at Argonne National Laboratory says even though there is a potential for more radioactive release in Japan – the United States is not at risk.

Depending on the winds, could a radioactive cloud drift from the damaged nuclear plants in Japan over Hawaii or Alaska or the Lower 48?

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“There’s a potential for a release, but that type of a release would never make it that far,” said Mitchell Farmer, a nuclear engineer at Argonne National Lab.

He says the quantity that he believes could be released at this point would not be a threat to any part of the United States.

As for nuclear plants in Illinois, Farmer says he’s confident they would take a lesson from this.

“What’s happened in Japan I can assure you will be closely scrutinized and if there is anything that can be done to improve the safety of operating plants in Illinois and across the country, that will be incorporated into it.”

Farmer says Illinois plants have a number of backups. But then – so did nuclear plants in Japan, which were damaged from the massive tsunami created by one the the biggest earthquakes in history.

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