U.S. deploys more radiation detectors on U.S. islands

WASHINGTON Wed Mar 16, 2011 4:07pm EDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States is deploying additional radiation monitors on Hawaii and other U.S. islands even though it does not expect harmful levels of radiation from damaged Japanese nuclear power plants to reach U.S. soil, environmental regulators said.

The Environmental Protection Agency without fanfare posted a notice on its website on Tuesday of plans to "work with its federal partners to deploy additional monitoring capabilities to parts of the western U.S. and U.S. territories."

A Democratic Congressional aide on Wednesday told Reuters that additional monitors will be dispatched to the Aleutian Islands, Guam, a U.S. territory, and the state of Hawaii.

These monitors will augment the more than 100 monitors already in place in all 50 U.S. states, according to the aide, who asked not to be identified.

EPA officials were not immediately available for comment.

"RadNet," EPA wrote in its notice, continuously monitors the U.S. air and also regularly monitors drinking water, milk and precipitation for environmental radiation.

Since Friday, Japan has been struggling to deal with damage to several nuclear power facilities stemming from a massive earthquake and tsunami that has left thousands dead.

With radiation levels inside some of those facilities reaching unsafe levels, U.S. officials have urged American citizens to evacuate the area near the Fukushima nuclear complex.

But no U.S. officials have said they expect harmful radiation from Japan to reach the United States.

EPA said it would continue to keep data from radiation monitoring available on its Internet database.

(Reporting by Richard Cowan; editing by Todd Eastham)