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Amy Umble is health reporter for The Free Lance-Star

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Monitors in Virginia detect no elevated levels of radiation

A map of the EPA’s RadNet Air Monitoring locations

The Virginia Department of Health reported yesterday that monitoring stations in the state have recorded no elevated levels of radioactive material from the nuclear power plant accident in Japan.

“We’ve detected nothing of a public health concern,” said Dr. Karen Remley, state health commissioner, this afternoon.

VDH monitors radiation in rainwater at several locations across the state. The federal Environmetal Protection Agency also checks radiation levels in Virginia with air monitors in Harrisonburg, Richmond and Virginia Beach.

These stations have shown normal, background levels of radiation since the March 11 Japanese  accident. Data for the air monitor in Richmond are not posted.

“To date, levels recorded at this monitor have been thousands of times below any conservative level of concern,” reports the EPA’s RadNet Air Monitoring web site for all three Virginia monitors.

In addition to the EPA and VDH, monitoring in Virginia is also being done by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Dominion Virginia Power and the U.S. military.

The states of Pennsylvania and Massachusetts have seen elevated levels of radiation in rainwater. The levels are above normal background levels but not enough to be a public health concern, the EPA said. The readings are not surprising, the agency added, since radiation is known to travel in the atmosphere.

“A number of states are starting to see incredibly small amounts in their rainwater,” Remley said. “We have been testing just like they have, and we have not seen that here.”

(The EPA has set up a web site in response to the accident in Japan. It is available here. The agency’s RadNet site with air monitoring data, including the three Virginia sites, is here.)