Just because the Fukushima Daiichi power plant's Unit 1 in Okumamachi, Fukushima prefecture, Japan is located some 4500 miles to the west from Portland, Oregon doesn't mean that the west coast won't be in the path of Japan's radioactive fallout. Most vulnerable states appears to be Washington, Oregon and California that may be first in line to see the effects of a radioactive fallout should Japan experience a catastrophic meltdown. For the rainy west coast radioactive materials could come down mostly in the form of rain and snow. With this scenario there is a concern on how it could affect water, agriculture and even livestock such as cattle for their milk.
Using an online jet stream animation page you can see where the upper 300 mb jet stream fluctuated over the last 2 to 20 days. Just click on "20 days" worth of animation and set it at a 6 hour interval. And then click on "Build Animation" button to see the results the flow of the upper level jet stream.
The only other lesson we can learn from this is the Chernobyl nuclear reactor explosion and fallout and its global radiation pattern and what the United States could expect should a catastrophic meltdown occur over at Japan. Although Ryohei Shiomi, an official with Japan's nuclear safety commission, said that even with a meltdown, it wouldn't affect people outside a six-mile (10-kilometer) radius. Although that could change should the situation deteriorates and becomes catastrophic. Perhaps Japan is attempting to down play this seriousness?
From one commenter:
The explosion is a very very bad sign. They are claiming that they don't know if the the reactor core has been damaged. That unfortunately isn't a true statement they know perfectly well it has been breached. They have announced elevated levels of Cesium in the air. They are talking about "radiation leakage". That is misleading, Cesium 135 and 137 are isotopes that are byproducts of the fission reactor using Uranium 235 a a primary fuel. Cesium isotopes can only come from the reactor core which means it has been breached. In a best case they are deliberately venting the reactor vessel to try and keep the damping control rods from collapsing. In a worst case scenario the control rods have collapsed and they have a full scale runaway reactor that will start to produce heat again with no cooling system. If that is the case it can only end one way. A complete coreLet's hope not. And this could be another "Chernobyl disaster" in the making. And it could be even worse.
breach that will allow the core to fall down into the ground water. When that happens the molten sodium and fission mass will cause a massive explosion throwing cubic kilometers of steam containing Cesium, Uranium 235 and perhaps worst of all Plutonium 239 up into the atmosphere, all the way up into the jet stream. Lets all hope that doesn't happen.