Radiation levels in Billings in normal range

2011-03-31T19:00:00Z 2011-03-31T23:50:10Z Radiation levels in Billings in normal range

By CLAIR JOHNSON

Of The Gazette Staff‌

The Billings Gazette

Radiation levels in the Billings area are well below levels of concern, the Environmental Protection Agency said Thursday.

EPA’s RadNet monitor in Billings has been sending near-real-time information to the EPA’s lab, said Richard Mylott, a public affairs specialist with the agency’s regional office in Denver.

“Like all real-time air monitors across the nation, the data from this monitor is showing radiation levels within the range of normal background fluctuations,” Mylott said. “Levels of radiation reported are thousands of times below levels of concern.”

Earlier this week, the EPA identified trace amounts of radioactive isotopes consistent with the tsunami-damaged nuclear power plants in Japan. The information came from filter analysis from 12 RadNet air monitors across the nation.

Some filter results show levels slightly higher than those found by the EPA monitors last week and a Department of Energy monitor the previous week.

The 12 samples came from monitors in Alaska, Alabama, California, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands and Washington state.

The EPA’s monitor in Billings is Montana’s only RadNet monitor. Mylott said the EPA is not disclosing monitor locations. Information from the Billings monitor was not available on the EPA’s website on Thursday because of technical problems. RadNet is a monitoring system that tracks both ambient radiation levels and radiation levels from nuclear accidents.

On Wednesday, the EPA announced that it had stepped up nationwide monitoring of milk, precipitation, drinking water and other potential radiation exposure routes in response to the nuclear plant disaster in Japan.

Contact Clair Johnson at cjohnson@billingsgazette.com or 657-1282.

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