Fukushima Fallout

The March 11, 2011 magnitude 9.0 earthquake, tsunami, and disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan, left many pondering cataclysmic radioactive calamity. Debris washed ashore along the coast of Alaska and British Columbia, raising fears grossly mutated fish couldn’t be far behind. I wrote a post in November 2013 reminding us how grave the situation remained in Japan. (Linked below)


Back in North America, a study published on December 29 2014 by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, claims the “radiation plume” took 2.1 years to cross the Pacific courtesy ocean currents. Researcher John Smith of the Bedford Institute of Oceanography in Dartmouth Nova Scotia –

“We had a situation where the radioactive tracer was deposited at a very specific location off the coast of Japan at a very specific time. It was kind of like a dye experiment. And it is unambiguous – you either see the signal or you don’t, and when you see it you know exactly what you are measuring.”

“The amount of radiation that finally made it to Canada’s west coast by June 2013 was very small – less than 1 Becquerels per cubic meter. (Becquerels are the number of decay events per second per 260 gallons of water.) That is more than 1,000 times lower than acceptable limits in drinking water, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Computer models that match fairly closely with the hard data that Smith collected suggest that the amount of radiation will peak in 2015 and 2016 in British Columbia, but it will never exceed about 5 Becquerels per cubic meter. Smith said:

Those levels of cesium 137 are still well below natural levels of radioactivity in the ocean.

Because of the structure of the currents, the radiation levels in Southern California are expected to peak a few years later, but by that time they will be even smaller than the highest levels of radiation expected in Canada.”

I suppose this is good news – Fukushima radiation remains Japan’s problem. Increases in Thyroid cancer, contaminated shellfish, radioactive rabbits, nuclear power plants in volatile seismic regions – nothing to lose sleep over in North America.


Image credit: Bedford Institute of Oceanography


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