Fukushima Nuclear Disaster’s Radiation Detected on US Shores, Is It Harmful?

If you live in areas near the U.S. West Coast, here’s a news for you. Researchers have detected seaborne radiation on the West Coast of the U.S., and this radiation originated from the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan. Found out by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, this seaborne radiation has been labeled as Fukushima’s fingerprint. It was detected and measured in seawater taken from Oregon’s Gold Beach and Tillamook Bay.

Fukushima Nuclear Disaster

fukusima-accident-compressed

After the Chernobyl disaster in 1986, the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant disaster is considered as the biggest nuclear accident. In March 2011, Japan was struck by an earthquake of 9.0 magnitude and tsunami. Following that, three nuclear reactors in the nuclear plant melted down, and contaminated water was released from the plant.

Even though no fatality related to the radiation was reported, between 130 to 640 people died of cancer eventually. Last year, 137 children were diagnosed with thyroid cancer, and all of them loved near the affected area.

Cesium-134 Detected on the U.S. Shores

Woods Hole is a part of the Fukushima InFORM, which is a collaboration of non-profit as well as scientific organizations for keeping a check on the course of the radiation across the Pacific. For the first time, the group has detected cesium-134 in a Canadian Salmon. Of course, the detection of such radiation on the U.S. shores sounds problematic, but it’s actually not an issue. Researchers have assured that the detected levels are not dangerous to humans or the environment.

Ken Buesseler, a senior scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, said that the levels in which the radiation has been detected are very low. These levels don’t pose any threat to people who consume fish caught from the West Coast or people who swim in the ocean. Buesseler explained,”To put it in context, if you were to swim every day for six hours a day in those waters for a year, that additional radiation from the addressed cesium from Japan … is 1,000 times smaller than one dental X-ray.”

Radiation Detected in a Canadian Salmon

Samples of the seawater taken from Oregon in January and February this year had 0.3 becquerels per cubic meter of cesium-134, each. Also, researchers associated with the InFORM project reported last month that they had detected cesium-134 in one sockeye salmon that was taken from Canada’s Okanagan Lake. Jay Cullen, a chemical oceanographer at the University of Victoria leading the InFORM efforts, said that the found level was over a thousand times lower as compared with the action level set by Health Canada. In short, this level poses no risk to the people who eat the fishes.

So, there’s really no reason to worry as scientists have already given their assurance. We’ll definitely keep you updated if any such news comes up again. So stay tuned.