Fukushima Radiation Levels Low Along West Coast

Fukushima Radiation Levels Low Along West Coast

Fukushima radiation levels low along West Coast according to researchers at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia and the Oregon Health Authority. Three years after being struck by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake and ferocious tsunami that killed over 15,000 people, Japan’s Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant continues to leak radioactivity and irradiated materials. As well, it is feared that radioactive debris from the plant may have been swept into the ocean when the wave retreated, potentially increasing the amount of radioactive materials in the Pacific Ocean. Numerous reports of contaminated cooling water pouring out of damaged storage tanks and into the ocean have surfaced, further stoking fires of doomsday prophecies and intense fears. But how extreme is the radiation along the West Coast?

The most common nucleotides are Caesium 134 and 137. Both isotopes are created after Caesium is used to create fission in nuclear power plants, and Caesium 137 is responsible for much of the concern regarding how to deal with unwanted nuclear waste. It has a half-life of 30 years, meaning that in that time the intensity of its radioactivity is reduced by half. The half-life of Caesium 134 is just over 2 years, and so it does not cause as much concern in small amounts. Both isotopes emit gamma radiation as they decay, and both readily mix with water and air before being deposited on surface soil where they remain before being removed by particle transport.

After the Fukushima leak was announced, thousands of gallons of cooling water laden with Caesium 134 and 137 isotopes were accidentally lost into the Pacific, causing many to worry that the radiation would travel along ocean currents and affect animals and people living half the world away along the North American West Coast. But now, after dozens of researchers have shown that Fukushima radiation levels are low along West Coast beaches, public alarm and outrage is gradually decreasing.

The governments of Canada and the U.S. have been slow to gather data and release information regarding the levels of Fukushima radiation in the waters, a move that many have said is a breach of public trust a missed opportunity to be seen a reliable source of information during a crisis. This seems to have come about more due to a poorly timed “divesting of interest” in environmental monitoring and research to non-profits, academics, and private citizens. The  it is not so much a lack of information gathered that has led to the near silence but rather a lack of interest in gathering data in the first place. This is more of an excuse than a good reason, and the governments of both countries should ideally have a much higher interest in bringing concise, factual information to the public given the chance of the effects of radiation lasting for years even after the Fukushima plant is cleaned up and sealed.

Despite this, soil, water, and biological samples collected by private citizens have been gathered and analyzed by several institutions since the alarm was raised. And despite the amount of irradiated material floating around, they say that Fukushima radiation levels remain low along West Coast North America. In fact, results from most samples are showing more radiation from weapons tests conducted in the Pacific from the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s than from Fukushima. With debris levels dropping every year, many West Coast cities are lowering their guard when it comes to reporting and cataloging potentially dangerous materials because the evidence points to the danger being much lower than was reported initially.

By Daniel O’Brien

Sources

The Vancouver Sun
USA Today
Global News

3 Responses to "Fukushima Radiation Levels Low Along West Coast"

  1. Steve Schmidt   March 14, 2014 at 10:34 pm

    To Garry – the latest confirmed test results I am aware of indicated 1-2 rads per cubic metre of sea water. For comparison, your body puts out about 4000 rads. In other words, there’s nothing to worry about.

    To Barry – take a Valium and go back to school.

    Reply
  2. Barry   March 13, 2014 at 6:57 pm

    Coastal cities that lower their guard are making a HUGE mistake! Especially when the idiots at TEPCO continue to dump millions of gallons of toxic radioactive waste into the Pacific Ocean non stop each and every day! Things are getting worse not better! Don’t believe the lies! Soon more and more people will get sick from eating fish and sea food that have high doses of radiation in them! Anyone that has been eating fish and seafood from the Pacific Ocean may want to consider doing a detox with the mineral Zeolite that has been proven to remove both radiation and heavy metals from the human body! For more information on how Zeolite safely removes heavy metals do a simple search for the single word Zeolite!

    Reply
  3. Gary Sachs   March 13, 2014 at 4:26 pm

    This article does not state any data? Oh, because you are a TV personality saying oh nothing to see here folks, move along…, you are believable?
    I do not claim to know much but radiation (any) increases chances of cancers in
    solid organs, cough cough, genetic damage, grandkids, foodstuffs, and as a nurse
    cancer can be a tough way to go. Ask a nurse or a family member.
    When I was a kid, the chances of getting cancer were 1 out of 4 people,
    I recently read that the number is up to 2 out of 5.
    I support Chairman Jaczko’s message. He is currently in Japan, doing the right thing. Speaking truthfully – telling the residents of Japan, that the only way to insure no more fukushimas, is to stop using nuclear energy.

    Reply

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