Fukushima Radiation on Its Way to California
Radiation from the disaster in the Fukushima power plant in 2011 has yet to reach the Californian coast, officials said on Monday. However, low levels of radiation cesium from the power plant could reach the Pacific Coast by April, scientist reported.
Researchers have detected small traces of radioactive cesium by the waters off Vancouver, Canada. Its levels are lower than naturally occurring radiation, like polonium-210, which is already in the ocean, said John Norton Smith, a senior research scientist at Canada's Bedford Institute of Oceanography, at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union in Hawaii.
On the Internet however, there are continuous reports that the radiation has already reached the coast off California. Scientists and health officials deny this however.
The question now is, how much of cesium-134 will eventually reach our coast?
"It's really a little hard to predict at this moment which model is correct," said Smith.
Either outcome, he added, is not dangerous to humans because the levels are so low.
"It's clearly not an environmental or human health radiological threat," he said Monday.
Once it reaches the coast however, a team of volunteers called "citizen science project" will be made to collect water samples to be tested.
"It's not here yet," said Ken Buesseler, a scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts. "When we're talking about the arrival of the plume - and, you know, I'm the first person to say radioactivity can be quite dangerous, we should be concerned - but maybe not at the levels we're going to expect coming across from Japan."
According to a widely considered accurate model of the oceans' circulation patterns, traces of the plume of radioactive seawater from Fukushima should be detectable along the Pacific coast in April.