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NC Sees Slight Radiation Increases

By Michelle Bliss

03-29-11 – Utilities in North and South Carolina are adding to the list of states in the U.S. reporting trace amounts of radiation from a nuclear reactor in Japan that was damaged by an earthquake and tsunami.

Progress Energy and Duke Energy in North Carolina and South Carolina Electric and Gas Company all operate nuclear plants and say they've detected trace amounts of radiation.

Lee Cox is chief of the North Carolina Radiation Protection Section for the department of natural resources. He says that the amount of radiation that's been reported is miniscule and not a threat to public health.

"Just to kind of correlate that to some common radiation exposures, it would take 2,000 years of breathing the air containing the levels reported by Duke to equal what you would receive from one x-ray."

Cox says that since the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, his team has been monitoring air, soil, surface water, and milk across the state, mostly on a daily basis since experts have been expecting slight increases in radiation to occur.

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