US aircraft carrier sails into radioactive cloud-sailors exposed

Washing down a aircraft carrier deck in radiation contamination testThe US Pentagon was expected to announce that US sailors on the USS Ronald Reagan, an aircraft carrier were exposed to radiation when the carrier sailed into a radioactive cloud off the coast of Japan, according to a New York Times report.

US government officials told the NY Times that sailors and other military personnel onboard were exposed to a month’s worth of radiation in an hour’s time. They added that US helicopters flying humanitarian missions some 60 miles north of damaged Japanese reactors were coated with particulate radiation. The aircraft were washed off.

Despite the scare, officials said there was no indication that any of the military personnel experienced ill effects from the exposure, comparing it to “natural background radiation” that all people are exposed to daily.

A second hydrogen explosion rocked a stricken nuclear power plant in Japan where authorities have been scrambling to avert a meltdown after last week’s devastating earthquake and tsunami.

The big fear remains the continuing major radiation leak from the complex in Fukushima, 240 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo, where engineers have been battling since the weekend to prevent a full meltdown in at least three reactors.

Radiation countermeasures on an aircraft carrierUPDATE: The US aircraft carrier is quickly repositioning due to the winds around Japan, however is continuing to provide assistance in relief efforts.