Fukushima wash-up to hit US coast this year

Tokyo: Seaborne radiation from Japan’s wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant will wash up on the West Coast of the US this year.

That’s raising concerns among some Americans including the residents of the San Francisco Bay Area city of Fairfax, California, which passed a resolution on December 6 calling for more testing of coastal seafood.

At the same time, oceanographers and radiological scientists say such concerns are unwarranted given existing levels of radiation in the ocean.

The runoff from the Japanese plant will mingle with radiation released by other atomic stations, such as Diablo Canyon in California. Under normal operations, Diablo Canyon discharges more radiation into the sea, albeit of a less dangerous isotope, than the Fukushima station, which suffered the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl.

At Tokyo Electric Power’s Fukushima Dai-Ichi station, where three reactors melted down after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, about 300 metric tons of contaminated groundwater seep into the ocean each day, according to Japan’s government.

Between May 2011 and August 2013, as many as 20 trillion becquerels of cesium-137, 10 trillion becquerels of strontium-90 and 40 trillion becquerels of tritium entered the ocean via groundwater, according to Tokyo Electric.

Full article: Fukushima wash-up to hit US coast this year (Sidney Morning Herald)

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