Panama City -- Last Friday’s earthquake in Japan severely damaged a number of nuclear reactors on power plants near the quake's epicenter. Now, the potential for a nuclear meltdown is very real. If that happens, many people may be wondering if nuclear fall-out could threaten the U.S.
Local radiation physicist, Dr. Michael Moises, says the danger does not appear to imminent, at least at this point. He says the actual radiation exposure to the area around the sites appears to be quite low.
"The levels around the plant were equivalent to having maybe a few extra- like a CT scan. The levels right now are relatively low," said Moises.
But Dr. Moises says there's no telling what the long-term effects could be on people exposed to it.
"The main concern is these very low levels which would be the equivalent to having a CT scan or several chest x-rays, where you're looking at effects decades down the line. These have to do with secondary cancers that happen 10, 20 years down the line," said Dr. Moises.
Japanese authorities have already quarantined some workers who were in the actual reactor building.
"There were a few people they think might of been exposed to the higher levels that can cause immediate problems; the higher levels can cause nausea, and those are lethal doses," said Dr. Moises.
Dr. Moises says he doesn't foresee any of the chemicals posing a danger on the United States.
"I think Japan is a little too far to see any of the effects," he says.
Japanese meteorologists say winds are headed east into the pacific -- which should help disperse any chemicals away from Japan's populace.