Japan Fukushima Radiation Reaching West Coast?

JapanConcerns are being raised about the plumes of radiation released from the meltdown of Japan’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear reactor during the tsunami that rocked the area in 2011. The radiation from Fukushima is floating through the Pacific Ocean from Japan and beginning to reach the west coast of America.

Ken Buesseler, a research scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, has constructed a program of citizen-scientists to test the waters for radiation along the west coast. The program encourages citizens with or without a science background to raise funds for a sample collection unit and to collect sea water from their area to send back to Woods Hole for testing.

The collection unit is a 19-litre plastic jug and a shipping container to protect the sample. So far, 22 sites from Costa Rica to Washington have raised funds to collect samples and another 27 are in the process.

Buesseler expects the levels of radiation from Cesium-134 and Cesium-137, the main radioactive isotopes reaching the west coast from Fukushima, to be far below the acceptable levels for safe drinking water, but fears without measurement the level of radiation coming from Japan would be impossible to confirm.

One concern in the Pacific is for large mammals, like Orca whales, which eat massive amounts of fish throughout the day that may be contaminated with radiation. Buesseler maintains, however, that danger to humans from contaminated fish should not be a concern as cesium is water-soluble and will disperse from the fish as they swim through the ocean.

US Federal agencies are not taking place in the ocean testing, either because the levels are expected to be so low it is not considered a priority, or because the responsibility falls between agencies. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is responsible for monitoring oceans and atmospheric changes, but do not test for radiation. The Department of Energy monitors radiation levels but not in the oceans.

Many reports have surfaced since the nuclear radiation was released from Fukushima that high levels of radiation were affecting sea life off the shores of America, but health officials have denied that radiation from Japan has caused any serious incursion across the Pacific.

Buesseler said that people are going to be afraid of any reports of radiation because it is something they cannot see, smell or taste, but they know it can cause cancer. As of yet, no evidence has been shown to suspect dangerous levels of cesium in the waters off of the US. Levels of radiation from Fukushima are actually lower and less dangerous than that sill lurking around the ocean from nuclear testing in the fifties, according to reports.
The most dangerous aspect still surrounding the Fukushima disaster is the makeshift tanks at the nuclear facility that were used to draw highly contaminated water out of the ocean. Evidence shows that some of the more hastily crafted holding tanks, containing about 300,000 tons of contaminated water, may be leaking back out into the ocean.

Scientists will continue to monitor the levels of radiation from the Fukushima disaster floating across the Pacific Ocean from Japan reaching the west coast of Central and Northern America, but for now health officials maintain that there is no imminent threat.

By Cody Long

Sources:
Vancouver Sun
Japan Times
Oregon Live

75 Responses to Japan Fukushima Radiation Reaching West Coast?

  1. Taylor Byrd June 15, 2014 at 10:56 am

    Radiation levels far below harmful? Do they think we are stupid, blind sheep? Lets not be naive. The radiation levels are like 160× more powerful than the nuclear bomb we dropped. A world traveler went across the Pacific via boat and said it was absolutely dead. No life. He saw one dolphin that looked to have a huge growth on his head. This is absolutely the worst disaster in world history. And its going to get worse.

    Reply
  2. duartmaclean May 7, 2014 at 11:27 am

    Those brilliant physicists who play around with this stuff may be smart with the arithmetic, but they have the emotional development of a 3 year olds. They are absolutely stupid in their brilliance.

    Reply
  3. coot April 16, 2014 at 10:16 pm

    And the second angel poured out his bowl into the sea, and it became blood, like that of a dead man; and every living thing in the sea died.

    Reply
  4. Raddog April 15, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    If simply providing facts is your definition of smug, then I am proud to be guilty of being smug.

    Reply
  5. Raddog April 15, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    If simply providing facts it’s your definition of smug, then I am proud to be guilty of being smug.

    Reply
  6. Raddog April 15, 2014 at 2:11 pm

    I see little emotional content in either my original post or the responses.

    It you haven’t seen people trying to spread panic and profit of this, you simply aren’t paying attention.

    Reply

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