Washington, D.C. -- As the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station in Japan continues, a new concern surfaced over the weekend regarding radioactive contamination of milk and spinach at farms near the power plant.
Georgetown University Medical Center’s (GUMC) Marko Moscovitch, Ph.D., says if the situation at the power plant does not become worse (i.e. no major meltdown and/or explosions in any of the reactors) the impact outside the close vicinity of the power plant should be minimal.
He cautions, however, that a worst-case scenario involving the release of large amounts of radioactivity from the nuclear power plant could lead to significant radioactive contamination of the food supply. Such a scenario, he says, could impact the Japanese people for many years to come.
As for the impact on the United States, Moscovitch emphasizes that reports concerning the detection of increased radioactivity at the west coast of the United States is not necessarily associated with increase risk to humans.
Moscovitch points out that the risk to the U.S. population is extremely low. He says the radioactivity levels reaching the U.S. now are 1000 times lower as compared to the radioactivity levels that reached the U.S. following the disaster at Chernobyl.
Moscovitch is a professor in the Department of Radiation Medicine at GUMC and a member of the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center. He has a PhD in physics and is the founding director of the Nuclear Nonproliferation graduate program. Moscovitch is an internationally recognized expert in the field of radiation measurements, and his research has been supported by multiple grants from the National Nuclear Security Administration, a part of the Department of Energy. Moscovitch serves as an expert consultant to industry and is a recipient of the R&D 100 Award for the invention of several commercial radiation monitoring systems. This R&D 100 Award is given to the top high technology products of the year in any field. He is the chair of an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) working group charged with developing a new standard for environmental radiation monitoring. Moscovitch has published more than 70 peer-reviewed publications, is co-author of one book, and has received ten patents in the area of radiation monitoring.
On March 17th, Georgetown scholars, including Moscovitch, discussed the political, financial and nuclear situations in Japan after the March 10 earthquake and tsunami. Read more. Watch the video.
Click here for additional Georgetown experts related to the crisis in Japan.
About Georgetown University Medical Center
Georgetown University Medical Center is an internationally recognized academic medical center with a three-part mission of research, teaching and patient care (through MedStar Health). GUMC’s mission is carried out with a strong emphasis on public service and a dedication to the Catholic, Jesuit principle of cura personalis -- or "care of the whole person." The Medical Center includes the School of Medicine and the School of Nursing and Health Studies, both nationally ranked, the world-renowned Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Biomedical Graduate Research Organization (BGRO). In fiscal year 2009-2010, GUMC accounted for 79 percent of Georgetown University's extramural research funding.