And the most deadly and frightening threat yet, which has hardly been broached at all by the MSM, is the release of plutonium fuel into the atmosphere:The wind direction may impact where the radiation goes both at a local level and even across the globe. The wind direction at both of these locations are similar since the Onagawa power plant is located just to the northeast of Fukushima power plant.
"The exact direction of the winds would have to be known at the time of the release of a large amount of radiation to understand exactly where the radiation would go," according to Expert Senior Global Meteorologist Jim Andrews. It is unknown when a large release of radiation would occur, if at all, at this point.
"You can calculate how long the release of a radiation would take to cross the Pacific from Japan to the U.S. by choosing different speeds that the radioactive particles might be moving and using the direct distance between given locations—say Sendai, Japan, and Seattle, Wash.," Andrews added.
However, even that calculation may not reflect how long the particle would take to cross the Pacific, since it would not likely cross the ocean in a direct path. This is the case because the wind flow is often a complicated pattern. A typical wind trajectory across the Pacific is westerly, since there is often a large dome of high pressure over the central Pacific and an area of low pressure in the Gulf of Alaska. Any storm systems moving across the Pacific would add kinks in the westerly flow that would make the path of a particle crossing the Pacific longer. "In other words, it would be a very intricate and difficult calculation," said Andrews.
Observers said the biggest threat is plutonium fuel. Only one Fukushima reactor uses plutonium-enriched uranium fuel known as MOX, or "mixed oxide" fuel. A hydrogen explosion at the No. 3 reactor on Sunday (March 13) injured 11 workers. So far, Japanese officials said the containment vessel in the No. 3 reactor appears to be holding. But it could take weeks or even months before the MOX fuel cools to levels that no longer threaten public safety.
"If there is a large-scale release of plutonium into the air this could become the worst nuclear disaster in history," predicted Ira Helfand, a member of the board of Physicians for Social Responsibility. "So far, the venting of radioactive steam has been blown out to sea, but tomorrow [March 15] the wind is forecast to shift to northeast which means any radiation released tomorrow will be blown straight toward Tokyo, which is less than 150 miles away."
A release of deadly plutonium would require heightened precautions to protect Japanese citizens, particularly if winds shift. Helfand said these would include staying indoors and testing water and foods supplies. "Most of the exposure to people at Chernobyl, for instance, was from children drinking contaminated milk that had not been tested," Helfand said, resulting in high rates of thyroid cancer in children.