Environmental Protection

After taking seawater samples from the shoreline of Ucluelet, British Columbia, scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) discovered small amounts of radioactivity from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear power plant accident.

Traces of Radiation from Fukushima Found on British Columbia Shores

After taking seawater samples from the shoreline of Ucluelet, British Columbia, scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) discovered small amounts of radioactivity from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear power plant accident.

After taking seawater samples from the shoreline of Ucluelet, British Columbia, scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) discovered that small amounts of radioactivity from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear power plant accident were present in the water. However, the levels detected are below the levels of concern to humans and marine life.

Last November, the researchers also found radioactivity levels off the coast of Northern California, but no radiation was detected on the beaches or shorelines.

"Radioactivity can be dangerous, and we should be carefully monitoring the oceans after what is certainly the largest accidental release of radioactive contaminants to the oceans in history," said Ken Buesseler, a marine chemist at WHOI who has been measuring levels of radioactivity in seawater samples from across the Pacific since 2011. "However, the levels we detected in Ucluelet are extremely low."

The radiation levels found on the Ucluelet shoreline are comparable to those found in Northern California, so there is no real threat to human or marine life.

"We expect more of the sites will show detectable levels of cesium-134 in coming months, but ocean currents and exchange between offshore and coastal waters is quite complex," said Buesseler, "Predicting the spread of radiation becomes more complex the closer it gets to the coast and we need the public's help to continue this sampling network."
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