"Twenty percent of U.S. EPA's radiation monitors were out of service last year when an earthquake caused a meltdown at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, according to a new report that confirms some of the claims of environmental watchdogs."
"In the recent -- and strongly worded -- report, EPA Inspector General Arthur Elkins Jr. lays out numerous problems with EPA's Radiation Network Program, or RadNet. The program monitors the level of radiation in air, precipitation, drinking water and milk through a national network of monitoring stations.
EPA has not made the program a priority, according to the report. When the agency increased radiation monitoring in the aftermath of the Fukushima meltdown, it discovered that 25 of 124 monitors had been out of service for an average of 130 days. EPA's solution for needed spare parts: "cannibalizing" new monitors under construction.
Such last-minute management of the system means that the program remains "vulnerable," according to the report."
Emily Yehle reports for Greenwire April 24, 2012.