A team of researchers with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution says that the Cesium-134 resulted from the Fukushima disaster in 2011 has reached the United States’ West Coast. The samples were taken from Gold Beach and Tillamook Bay in Oregon and showed clear signs of the seaborne radiation.
Jay Cullen is a chemical oceanographer at the University of Victoria. According to his report, part of the Fukushima InFORM project, the radioactive element has also been detected in Canadian salmon. However, the levels of radiation in both cases are extremely low, harmless to the environment and U.S. population, as the scientific community states.
In March 2011, tremendous amounts of water contaminated with radioactive elements have been released from the damaged Nippon nuclear plant. The explosion also set the scene for a tsunami and a 9.0 magnitude earthquake shortly after. As radiation was released into the air, it later fell to the sea and has traveled the waters ever since.
Ken Buesseler is a chemical oceanographer at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. He has been following the radiation plume across the Pacific Ocean since the disaster through a crowd-funded seawater sampling project.
The Cesium-134 samples were gathered for the first time in the first two months of 2016 from Oregon’s waters. After an extensive investigation that followed, the scientists were able to measure 0.3 becquerels per cubic meter of the radioactive substance.
Jay Cullen, who leads the InFORM project in Canada has been keeping an eye on the country’s radiological risks after the Fukushima disaster. During last month, the group of researchers has reported having identified traces of Cesium-134 in a red salmon originating from Okanagan Lake in 2015. However, the levels were extremely low, roughly 1000 times lowers than the hazardous levels set by Canada’s health authority. As a result, the small amounts do not represent any health risks to the public, according to Mr. Cullen.
Furthermore, another radioactive element, more specifically Cesium-137 has been floating in the waters since the nuclear testing conducted in the ‘50s and ‘60s. Even though the levels seem to be going up, the scientists say that they are still well below the action levels. Also, according to the scientific community, another four or five years could pass before any more radiation reaches the West Coast.
Image Source: Pixabay