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Radiation detected 400 miles off Japanese coast

Ace February 22, 2012 0

On Tuesday, February 21, 12, scientists reported radioactive contamination from the Fukushima power plant as far as almost 400 miles off Japan in the Pacific Ocean. The waters were reported showing readings of up to 1,000 times more than prior levels.

Ken Buesseler of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts commented on the situation in Salt Lake City at the annual Ocean Sciences Meeting. He sais that the good news is the results are still far below those generally considered harmful to marine animals or people who eat seafood.  It was also notated that more than 4,000 researchers this week. Buesseler added that the results that were found came from the water samples taken in June, only three months after the power plant melt catastrophe.

In addition to sampling the water, researchers also sampled fresh fish and plankton. They both showed sign of levels far below the legal health limit.

However, due to the radioactive contamination of the ocean due to consistent leakage from the power plant there is still a lot of work to do when it comes to cleaning up.

Celsium-137, the only radioactive substance found in the water, is a radioactive isotope of caesium that’s harmful to the human body especially when mixed with water. The water makes it easier to enter the body and become distributed uniformly. The main concern of Cesium-137 is the long persistence it has to stay in the environment. The substance has a half-life of 30 years.

Another note of the researches was that the cesium-137 that was detected was most likely from water discharges rather than atmospheric fallout.

Researcher Hartmut Nies, of the International Atomic Energy Agency, added that the cesium-137 concentration has been so diluted that if not for the salty water you could drink it with out any problems.

Nies also added that Buesseler’s findings were not surprising, due to the size of the ocean and its ability to absorb and dilute materials.

Another positive note is that we can expect that the situation will not become worse due to the vastness of the ocean.


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