Local News

Progress Energy: Low levels of radiation detected in U.S.

Posted March 26, 2011 5:14 p.m. EDT
Updated March 26, 2011 5:47 p.m. EDT

— Very low levels of radioactive Iodine 131 have been detected in the air throughout the U.S. as a result of nuclear leaks at the Fukushima plant in Japan, Progress Energy officials said Saturday.

Iodine 131 is a form of radiation typically released into the air by nuclear reactors.

Progress Energy spokesman Drew Elliot said very sensitive equipment at the utility's Robinson and Crystal River nuclear plants, in South Carolina and Florida, respectively, detected iodine radiation in the atmosphere, but said it did not pose a health threat for U.S. residents.

A news release from the utility stated that similar readings were expected at the Harris plant near New Hill, N.C., and the Brunswick plant near Southport, N.C. in the coming days.

Elliot said iodine travels through the air very easily, which is why it can be detected across the world from Japan, but he reiterated that levels were too low to "affect public health or safety."

An email alert was sent to all nuclear employees, as well as to county and state leaders in the affected areas, on Friday, Elliot said.