Pentagon launches website to track radiation exposure after Japan quake
In this photo from April 2011, U.S. Marine Corps chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear specialists remove radioactive contamination on an Army generator from Camp Zama, Japan, After a 9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami struck northeastern Japan on March 11, 2011, a major nuclear power facility was badly damaged spreading radioactivity over a large area in and around Japan. (DoD Photo)
September 5th, 2012
06:19 PM ET

Pentagon launches website to track radiation exposure after Japan quake

By Larry Shaughnessy

The Pentagon launched a website Wednesday for American troops and family members who were near the Japanese nuclear reactors that were damaged by the earthquake and tsunami in March of 2011.

The website will allow Americans to enter a location where they were in Japan and get an estimation of how much radiation they were exposed to while there.

The Defense Department says about 70,000 American troops, family members and civilian employees were on or near the Japanese mainland from March 12 to May 11 of 2011 after the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, as the disaster is called.

But the Pentagon claims that none of those 70,000 people are known to have been exposed to radiation at levels associated with adverse medical conditions.

In the week after the tsunami, at least 17 U.S. Navy helicopter crew members had to be stripped of clothing that had been exposed to radiation. They were then washed down with soap and water and tested again.

Navy spokesman Cmdr. Jeff Davis said at the time their initial tests showed elevated but low levels of radiation exposure.

Because of the radiation, the Navy also ordered three ships to change their courses when steaming toward Japan to assist in the disaster response, Davis said.

The data gathered in this website is designed to help individuals involved understand more about how much radiation they were exposed to in Japan. It will also be archived in a secure database so these people will have access to the information in the future, should they, for example, develop cancer.

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Filed under: Japan • Military • Pacific Command • Pentagon
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