(3-12-11) Why would the west coast USA be in danger from Meltdown of Nuclear Power Plants in Japan? The prevailing jet stream winds are blowing from Japan directly across the Pacific ocean to the west coast of the United States (and then would move east on the Jet Stream).
Any airborne radiation would make its way across with the jet stream, reaching the U.S. in approximately 36 hours, depending on the actual speed of the jet.
It is possible that early radioactive releases are already airborne and heading toward the United States. Japan has 55 Nuclear Power Plants with 11 More planned for operation in the near future. A fast-breeder reactor is to be re-opened in the near future (this plant was closed in 1990, due to serious problems).
U.S. EPA Glossary of Radiation Terms & Other Information - March 12, 2011 http://www.epa.gov/radiation/glossary/index.html
U.S. EPA Radiation Protection Website - March 12, 2011 http://www.epa.gov/radiation/sitemap.