Radioactivity believed to be from the Japan nuclear plant disaster has drifted into South Carolina, but atomic materials experts say the levels are not high enough to threaten public health.
Iodine 131 was detected in York and Darlington counties by sensitive equipment at nuclear power plants operated by the Duke and Progress energy companies, utility officials said.
Drew Elliot, a spokesman for Progress Energy, said the nuclear radiation most likely came from Japan because other atomic energy plants around the country are detecting iodine 131. The material has also shown up in Florida and parts of the West.
In the case of Progress, iodine 131 could not have come from the companys plant near Hartsville because it would have been accompanied by other radioactive materials, he said. In this case, only radioactive iodine has shown up.
If there were leaks at our existing plants, we would be seeing other radioactive elements as well, Elliot said.