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Video Sparks Japan Radiation Fears At Bay Area Beach

by Bill Disbrow
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The Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant in northeast Japan on Tuesday, March 15, 2011. (Credit: DigitalGlobe)

The Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant in northeast Japan on Tuesday, March 15, 2011. (Credit: DigitalGlobe)

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PACIFICA (CBS SF) – Health officials are investigating radiation levels along the San Mateo County coast after a video surfaced online showing Geiger counter readings five times higher than normal at a Pacifica Beach.

Fears of radiation reaching the West Coast began just days after the March 2011 disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant - triggered by the massive Japan earthquake and tsunami - with amateur scientists snapping up the existing supply of Geiger counters within days of the explosions.

The unidentified author of the new video titled “Fukushima radiation hits San Francisco!” said in a blog posting that he has been monitoring levels in the area for two years before noticing a sudden spike in radiation at the end of December.

Readings fluctuate during the seven minute video taken in an area south of Pacifica State Beach. At several points the device reads more than 150 counts per minute, causing an alarm to sound. The video, which was posted on Christmas Eve, had been viewed nearly a half a million times by Monday afternoon.

County health officials began investigating the incident on December 28th. They also found higher than typical readings while doing an independent survey, but stressed that they conditions were safe for humans, according to the Half Moon Bay Review.

“It’s not something that we feel is an immediate public health concern…We’re not even close to the point of saying that any of this is from Fukushima,” Dean Peterson, county environmental health director, told the Review.

Peterson reportedly forwarded the matter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and state Department of Public Health. It was not immediately clear if they would investigate further.

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