Japan Earthquake: Radiation Leak Halts Work at Damaged Reactors


If a nuclear meltdown were to occur, releasing significant amounts of radiation, it would take at least six to 10 days to reach the West Coast.

By the time the radiation reached Hawaii or the West Coast, much of the radiation capable of causing harm to people would have left the atmosphere or turned into precipitation and have been "rained out," according to a blog written by Jeff Masters, the director of meteorology for WeatherUnderground.com.

Westerly winds around the plant continue blow east towards the Pacific Ocean.

Following the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, a cloud of radiation traveled over Europe. The radiation diffused as it traveled by wind and did not cause harm. Those closest to the Chernobyl plant were the ones who suffered the effects of the radiation.

"Even after the Chernobyl accident, iodine did get into the milk in New York City, but it was very microscopic levels. We have not that much to fear in the United States," Kaku said.

To learn more about nuclear radiation, click here.

ABC News' Jim Hill, Juju Chang, Martha Raddatz, Luis Martinez, Lauren Pearle, Sunlen Miller and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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