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TDEC Detects Low Levels of Radiation in Tennessee; Levels Do Not Indicate a Health Threat

Wednesday, April 06, 2011 | 08:47am
NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation reports that results from air monitoring for radioactive isotopes confirm that no threat to public health exists related to the incident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan.
Routine and ongoing air monitoring performed by the state indicates the presence of very low levels of Iodine-131, an isotope linked to the Japanese power plant. Tennessee’s results are consistent with sampling results reported by federal agencies, licensees and neighboring states.
“The Department of Environment and Conservation monitors for radiation in the environment as a regular course of business,” said Environment and Conservation Commissioner Bob Martineau. “We can detect these isotopes at extremely low levels. These levels do not indicate a health concern of any kind, and we will continue to monitor.” 
Environment and Conservation’s air samples being reported today were collected on March 29 from fixed monitors near the Sequoyah and Watts Bar power plants, as well as a monitor in Dayton, Tenn. The results range from 0.044 to 0.089 picoCuries per cubic meter of air. These levels are within the range expected and are far below levels of public health concern. 
In addition to its own monitoring, the department collects air and rainwater samples in Knoxville, Nashville and Oak Ridge for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s RadNet program. The Tennessee Department of Agriculture collects milk samples for RadNet as well. All of those samples are sent to an EPA laboratory for analysis, and the results are available on EPA’s website at

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