Researchers Concerned About Pacific Contamination

Researcher Doug Dasher of the University of Alaska at Fairbanks talked to reporters recently to express his concern about the lack of testing for Fukushima radiation off the US coast. While he said he did not think it would rise to US FDA intervention levels of 1200 bq/kg (Japan’s limit is 100 bq/kg) he also says it isn’t sure how much radiation will contaminate the Pacific.

Most of the plume models are based on limited data of radiation releases or only used the initial releases for their models. Based on the models used he expected levels to reach those in the 1960’s due to atomic bomb testing. That level is at 30bq per cu meter. These studies do not include releases over time so the actual levels could be much higher. He stressed the need to establish better total radiation release estimates in order to make more accurate Pacific radiation plume estimates. Our compilation of known Fukushima radiation release studies showed a wide range of estimates for releases.

Dasher stressed the need for widespread testing so we can know for sure how much contamination is making its way to the US coast and in what ways it is being found.

The US DOE did some limited testing in 2011 as part of routine testing at Amchitka island and found Fukushima related radiation in a number of species. They consider it to have been radiation that fell from the air as part of the initial plume that passed over North America rather than sea borne contamination. This is based on the species of sea life and fauna found with increased contamination and their habitat.

Rockfish, red or yellow lord, horse mussels, dolly varden, and rockweed all showed with increased contamination that indicated they were contaminated by Fukushima fallout.

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