<Show: CBS THE EARLY SHOW>
<Date: March 16, 2011>
<Head: For March 17, 2011, CBS>
<Sect: News; International>
<Byline: Chris Wragge, Erica Hill, Terry McCarthy>
<Guest: Cham Dallas, Jennifer Ashton, Rebecca Jarvis>
<High: More examination of the dangers of radiation. How the Japan
situation is affecting the global economy.>
<Spec: Health and Medicine; Japan; Radiation; Economy>
CHRIS WRAGGE: Welcome back to THE EARLY SHOW here on CBS, Chris Wragge along with Erica Hill. The quake and tsunami in Japan, damage estimates now two hundred billion dollars plus, as we continue to follow this story here on CBS. Welcome back to THE EARLY SHOW. Here in the U.S., there's a little panic in the air right now, Erica. Some people worried that radiation from Japan's nuclear power plants will spread this way.ERICA HILL: Yeah.
CHRIS WRAGGE: As a matter of fact, a lot of folks on the West Coast are rushing out to buy potassium iodide pills. Now this is supposed to protect you against some of the effects of radiation. We're going to check in with our experts to see if you really need to be concerned at this point here in the United States.
ERICA HILL: Before we get to that, though, we do want to check in again with Jeff Glor who's standing by at the news desk with another look at the top headlines on this Wednesday morning. Jeff, good morning.
JEFF GLOR: Erica, good morning to you. Good morning everyone.
More trouble at that crippled nuclear power plant in Japan overnight. A spike in radiation forced workers to temporarily abandon the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, though, they did return. There was another fire at the plant this morning. High levels of radiation prevented the use of helicopters overhead, which are trying to drop water on the plant.
In Bahrain, government forces launched a new and violent assault on protesters this morning. Pearl Square in Bahrain's capital Manama has been the center of antigovernment protests for the past month. It's reported now that three policemen and three demonstrators were killed. Yesterday, Bahrain's government had declared a state of emergency there.
The man accused of killing a Yale University grad student is scheduled to plead guilty tomorrow. Raymond Clark is accused of strangling Annie Le in September 2009. Her body was found on the day she was supposed to be married. According to his lawyer, Clark will accept a deal with prosecutors that killing reportedly stemmed from a work dispute.
And American astronaut Scott Kelly is back on earth this morning. Kelly and two Russians landed at Kazakhstan after leaving the International Space Station. Kelly's twin brother Mark, by the way, husband of wounded Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, will command Endeavour's final shuttle mission in April.
It is thirty-two minutes past the hour. Time now for weather. Here's what happening outside your window.
(LOCAL WEATHER BREAK)
CHRIS WRAGGE: The radiation threat in Japan is creating a different kind of fallout on the West Coast of the United States. Concern that winds will carry radioactive particles across the Pacific. CBS News correspondent Terry McCarthy now has the story.
TERRY MCCARTHY: As fears grow of a meltdown in Japan--
NEVIN JONES (Manager, Capitol Drugs): Everything has, you know, been bought up and disappeared.
TERRY MCCARTHY: --there is panic buying of potassium iodide tablets in Los Angeles. Pharmacists can't keep it in stock.
NEVIN JONES: I would characterize it as a bit of hysteria. Demand for it is off the charts.
MIKE KYLE (Potassium Iodide Buyer): I would like to have something there, just in case, because if it's going through the air, I mean I don't know if it's getting to me or not.
TERRY MCCARTHY: Some buyers went from pharmacy to pharmacy in search of the tablets.
ELGIN HAYNE (Fears Radiation Fallout): Knowing what the atomic bomb has done in the past, knowing what nuclear can do, it-- it-- it concerns, you know.
DIANA BROWN (Looking for Potassium Iodide): You never know if you're being told the whole truth. So you want to make sure that you're prepared.
TERRY MCCARTHY: Potassium iodide helps protect people who may be exposed to high levels of radiation. It's already been given to some affected people in Japan. Doctor Glenn Braunstein sees patients with thyroid cancer that's one of the biggest risks from nuclear exposure in a nuclear meltdown. He says the five thousand five hundred miles between the U.S. and the nuclear plant in Japan is more than a safe distance.
DR. GLENN BRAUNSTEIN (Cedars-Sinai Medical Center): People have asked me if I'm-- if I have potassium iodide and I say no. And they ask me if I'm going to get some and I say no.
TERRY MCCARTHY: And you're the pro?
DR. GLENN BRAUNSTEIN: And-- and I deal with this.
TERRY MCCARTHY: The images of the stricken Japanese plant are disturbing. But in this country, the fear of nuclear fallout may be much greater than the threat.
NEVIN JONES: Everybody is out of stock.
TERRY MCCARTHY: Terry McCarthy, CBS News, Los Angeles.
CHRIS WRAGGE: And joining us now is University of Georgia Professor Cham Dallas, a nuclear energy expert, and medical correspondent Doctor Jennifer Ashton is with us once again this morning. Good morning to the both of you.
DR. JENNIFER ASHTON: Good morning, Chris.
CHAM DALLAS (CBS News Nuclear Safety Consultant): Good morning.
CHRIS WRAGGE: Mister Dallas, let me ask you, I know you have a colleague at the Tokyo Electric Company, which is the company that runs the Fukushima plant that you've been in contact with. What exactly are they saying over there right now because we're getting so many different reports?
CHAM DALLAS: Well, these fifty people that are still at the reactor complex in the control room--
CHRIS WRAGGE: Yeah.
CHAM DALLAS: --although they were evacuated last night briefly, and now they're back in apparently. Yeah, one of them had a pretty compelling quote. He said that, I have been radiated, I'm not afraid to die, and this is my job. And that's a direct quote. You-- you just got to admire those kind of people. Right now, they are the ones that are preventing this crisis from deteriorating even further.
CHRIS WRAGGE: And they really are the last line of defense there. And these people like you said they seem to be committed to giving their lives in order to protect whatever people they-- they possibly can right now.
CHAM DALLAS: They are. They are the last line of defense. If they're out of there, I-- I can't imagine, and I've been in contact with a lot of people, a lot of experts, I don't know how they would keep those reactor cores covered if those people get out of there again.
CHRIS WRAGGE: And let's talk about the situation now. We just saw in Terry McCarthy's report a second ago talking about potential radiation making its way to the West Coast. Is that something that the people of the United States on the West Coast need to be worried about in your estimation?
CHAM DALLAS: Well, the good news is right now is that is not a hazard at the-- at the present time. The people in California can rest easy. The amount of radiation that you're getting now or liable to get in the near future from Japan would be less than you would get in a TSA screen. Okay. It's-- it's just not a hazard right now. And I-- I-- I can't see how that's going to change in the immediate future.
CHRIS WRAGGE: The examples that we keep hearing about Chernobyl, and with the disaster there, and with the outreach that it had, can we compare that to what we're seeing now in Japan? I-- I know they've got that-- that-- kind of that security cone around the area.
CHAM DALLAS: That's more good news. I-- as you know, I was involved at Chernobyl for ten years, going in and out of the mostly high contaminated areas in the world, and what we learned from that is, and you can see on the map there, that the health effects, and the high-dose radioactivity, that's about as far as it got.
CHRIS WRAGGE: Yeah.
CHAM DALLAS: As a matter of fact, most of it was about half of that. And so that's with a hundred times as much radioactivity as the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombs combined released at Chernobyl. At the Japap-- you know, the Japanese situation right now it's much, much less than that.
CHRIS WRAGGE: Yeah.
CHAM DALLAS: So if at Chernobyl we didn't get effects, you know, twelve hundred miles away and certainly not in the United States--
CHRIS WRAGGE: Yeah.
CHAM DALLAS: --then we can be fairly certain that is not going to happen here, even if you get a worst-case scenario there.
CHRIS WRAGGE: All right. Doctor Ashton, let me talk to you about this. Basically, we've-- we've got reports from-- from some store owners calling in, almost a panic there with people--
DR. JENNIFER ASHTON: Right.
CHRIS WRAGGE: --rushing out to buy these potassium iodide pills right now. I mean is that something that we're hearing from the professor here, that they really don't have much to worry about that out there? But what is the deal with these pills?
DR. JENNIFER ASHTON: And right, Chris. And we've seen this before. We've seen it with-- with many other d'isasters in this country. We saw it with Anthrax and people trying to stockpile Cipro with H1N1 and stockpiling Tamiflu. For this particular type of disaster, as all of the experts, including Doctor Dallas have said, there really does not seem to be a need for people in this country to worry about getting KI or potassium iodide pills for this disaster. There has been in the past some debate about people who live within close proximity, ten to twenty miles of a nuclear plant, having it on hand for an emergency but for this particular disaster, absolutely not necessary.
CHRIS WRAGGE: Could this have been more of a result of the surgeon general who was in San Francisco yesterday, Regina Benjamin, who basically said this could potentially be a necessary precaution because it seems to be flying off of store shelves.
DR. JENNIFER ASHTON: Right and, in fact, you know we-- we had to call over twenty pharmacies in-- in New York City to get this example of potassium iodide pills. So people are panicking and right now, all experts are saying that is really premature. We have to remember this only protects the thyroid. It doesn't protect the entire body and only if you will have direct exposure to a source of radiation within twenty-hour hours. So right now that's really premature.
CHRIS WRAGGE: So professor, our take away here is the people on the West Coast have nothing to be worried about.
CHAM DALLAS: Yeah, right now and in the immediate future I cannot possibly see any scenario that would result in any hazardous levels of radioactivity getting to California, unless this thing really deteriorates a lot more than-- than is even conceivable right now.
CHRIS WRAGGE: Okay. Professor Cham Dallas, thank you very much. Doctor Jennifer Ashton, good to see you once again.
DR. JENNIFER ASHTON: You bet.
CHRIS WRAGGE: Coming up next here on THE EARLY SHOW, the disaster in Japan shakes up Wall Street. We're going to tell you what's happening in the markets and what could happen in the days to come. This is THE EARLY SHOW on CBS.
ERICA HILL: Those devastating pictures tell one part of the story, of course, in Japan. But there's also a lot of uncertainty when people look at the economy and the impact it could have. Now this was a little bit better day for stocks in Japan today. They closed up a little bit. The Nikkei did. But there is still continued concern about what will happen in both the short and the long-term when it comes to the economy. So joining us with a closer look at that situation is Rebecca Jarvis, CBS News business and economics correspondent. So we did see I guess a little bit of good news. We need to be tempered in how we-- how we--
REBECCA JARVIS (CBS News Business and Economics Correspondent): Yes.
ERICA HILL: --say that. But there's been so much movement in the Nikkei, the-- the index that everybody looks to in Japan for their stock market over the last few days. What's the situation right now?
REBECCA JARVIS: Well, of course, it is difficult to talk about economics when the human toll is so grave here. But the volatility that you're seeing on the ground in Japan right now is really being reflected in its stock market. Stocks started out the week down very significantly, eleven percent--the biggest drop that we have seen since the crash of 1987.
ERICA HILL: Hmm.
REBECCA JARVIS: But there is a bit of a rebound today. Still, there are serious fears and concerns about Japan and its economy going forward because just like the United States, Japan was in a state of recovery-- economic recovery when the quake and the tsunami hit. And this is certainly going to be a big weight on its shoulders going forward.
ERICA HILL: And it's been a lot of concern that these three disasters, because there really are three here--the quake, the tsunami, and now the nuclear issues--could plunge them into yet another recession. Depending on the news too that they're getting every day, literally which way the wind blows because it brings-- could potentially be bringing radiation with it that's affecting the economy.
REBECCA JARVIS: Yeah. And this is something I'm hearing from traders who are on the ground in Japan. A lot of offices, from Bank of America to Deutsche Bank to even Goldman Sachs are contemplating moving their locations. Some of them are having people stay home from work as a result of the radiation in the air. And they say that as long as the nuclear question remains open, things will continue to be volatile in the market, as well as the economy there.
ERICA HILL: And, of course, we see this played out here for a number of reasons because there's that global-- the global impact just on the psyche. And also when it comes to all of these important companies in Japan, where a number of things are made that people use around the globe.
REBECCA JARVIS: Yes. Well, there are a number of companies, like you say from Toyota to Toshiba to Panasonic, Canon, these are all companies that have seen their operations in Japan on some level change. So they have had a number of their plants shutdown. In the case of Toyota, for example, Toyota manufactures its Prius in one place, it's Japan.
ERICA HILL: Hmm.
REBECCA JARVIS: So, while things have been shut-down in Japan in many of these companies, we may see some changes in our products here. However, like you say, we're in a globalized world now. And so some places can shift their production back to the United States.
ERICA HILL: Right.
REBECCA JARVIS: But things like computer chips, for example, which go in Smartphones and iPads, those could be in short supply and that could impact what we see on the ground here as well.
ERICA HILL: Those are all the things we'll be watching. And we'll be watching the Dow as well which, of course, fell nearly three hundred points at one day-- at point yesterday, finished down at one thirty-seven. We'll see the impact again today. Rebecca, thanks.
REBECCA JARVIS: Thanks.
ERICA HILL: We'll be right back with more. You're watching THE EARLY SHOW on CBS.
CHRIS WRAGGE: Welcome back. Hate to even read this next story--
ERICA HILL: Mm-Hm.
CHRIS WRAGGE: --but yesterday and we told you about Taylor Anderson, a Virginia native teaching in northern Japan, who hadn't been heard from since the earthquake and tsunami hit. Her parents back home were desperately trying to reach her.
ERICA HILL: Well just before we were about to speak with Taylor's parents here on THE EARLY SHOW, they got a message that she was safe that she had been located. Late last night, however, the Andersons were told by the organization that Taylor works for that, in fact, a mistake had been made and Taylor is still missing this morning. The family hoping and praying, of course, she is in an area that has may not yet have been reached by rescuers.
CHRIS WRAGGE: Now we've reached out to that organization that Taylor is working for and they had no comment at this time. But like we mentioned yesterday, that section of Ishinomaki right there where-- it's-- it's a section that's basically cut off--
ERICA HILL: Mm-Hm.
CHRIS WRAGGE: --from all of civilization at this point. So there-- there was the-- was a-- there was a, I guess, a remote possibility that she may still be there. So they're holding out hope and at this point, we just don't know.
ERICA HILL: And what a horrific emotional roller coaster for--
CHRIS WRAGGE: Yeah.
ERICA HILL: --for the family. And so our heart goes out to them; and, of course, we hope and pray that there is some good news--
CHRIS WRAGGE: Yes.
ERICA HILL: --for them very soon.
CHRIS WRAGGE: Yes.
ERICA HILL: We'll be right back. You're watching THE EARLY SHOW on CBS.
CHRIS WRAGGE: And when we come back, interesting story, two young men from Utah, both struck by lightning, both technically dead for about a half hour each. That's the bad news.
ERICA HILL: And the good news is they're here with us in the studio this morning. They have made an incredible recovery and they're going to tell us how they're doing. That's ahead on THE EARLY SHOW. Local news is next.
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