Fukushima radioactive cesium reaches Canada

5 years ago by in World

Scientists say that very little traces of toxic cesium-134 and cesium-137 from Fukushima nuclear power plant have been detected in Canada, Vancouver.

“The detected concentrations are much lower than the Canadian safety limit for cesium levels in drinking water,” John Smith, a research scientist at Canada’s Bedford Institute of Oceanography in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, said.

Cesium-137 has a half-life of 30 years, but cesium-134 has a half-life of just two years, indicating that the material detected in Vancouver is of recent vintage, and not a product of older nuclear waste, according to the international press.

Traces of contamination from Fukushima might float across the Pacific Ocean and reach the West Coast sometime this year, Ken Buesseler, a senior scientist with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and director of the Center for Marine and Environmental Radioactivity (CMER) said.

“But the complex behavior of coastal currents will likely result in varying intensities and changes that cannot be predicted from models alone,” he added.

However, the “levels of any Fukushima contaminants in the ocean will be many thousands of times lower after they mix across the Pacific and arrive on the West Coast of North America,” according to WHOI. Therefore, there may not have significant impact on marine life at such low levels, says Buesseler.

“Whether you agree with predictions that levels of radiation along the Pacific Coast of North America will be too low to be of human health concern or to impact fisheries and marine life, we can all agree that radiation should be monitored, and we are asking for your help to make that happen,” he added.