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OLYMPIA - The Washington State Department of Health says the Japanese nuclear emergency should not create a health concern in our state.

It's a terrible disaster they're experiencing, and we're watching it very carefully, said John Erickson, Washington State Director of Public Health Preparedness.

The agency's radiation protection staff expects no health risk in Washington.

Dan Jaffe, a professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington, agrees.

He says the ocean provides a great buffer for the radiation.

There is so much dilution, washout, and removal of those radio nucleates as they are transported, he said. There is rain over the ocean, and clouds, clouds are going to remove particulates.

If the nuclear incidents turn into a major meltdown and release of radiation, and depending on wind patterns, it could be transported in about seven days, Jaffe said. But even in that case, I would expect enough dilution that there would be no health risk here in the Pacific Northwest.

The Department of Health says it is conducting ongoing air monitoring as a precaution. They have not seen any elevated readings.

Information about radiation from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

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