Radiation that has leaked from Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant has already spilled to waters near Canada. Speaking at the annual American Geophysical Union’s Ocean Sciences Meeting, researchers say they have identified two radioactive cesium isotopes in waters near the area.
While the cesium-134 and cesium-137 isotopes have been detected in waters off Vancouver, a research scientist from the Bedford Institute of Oceanography in Canada, John Smith, said that the level of concentration is lower than the safety limit set up by Canadian authorities. He noted that since “the only cesium-134 in the North Pacific is there from Fukushima,” it could be concluded that the isotopes detected were from there. They have been monitoring the levels of cesium-134 in different ocean monitoring stations near Vancouver since it began increasing in 2011. Last June, it reached 0.9 becquerels per cubic meter and found in the upper 325 feet (100 m) of the ocean water.
On the other hand, cesium-137 sampled from beaches in the United States increased from 1.3 to 1.7 becquerels per cubic meter. As the result is comparable to background levels from nuclear weapon testing in the ocean, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute senior scientist Ken Buesseler said that perhaps the Fukushima plume has not reached U.S. waters yet. As news of the radioactive isotopes became public, concern among U.S. and Canadian citizens is imminent. However, radiation experts and oceanographers dismissed it, saying that the concentration is below the level that is harmful to health. Smith noted, ‘These levels are clearly not a human or biological threat in Canada.” Buesseler, however, maintained that monitoring should continue despite the low levels of contamination.
Comments Off on JDP Startup Corner: Pros & Cons of Working with a Partner in Japan