by David Gutierrez, Natural News:
The first radioactive material from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster has now been detected in the coastal waters of North America, according to a study conducted by researchers from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
“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,” researcher Ken Buesseler said.
In March 2011, a massive earthquake and tsunami caused three separate nuclear meltdowns at Japans’ Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The explosion ejected massive amounts of radioactive material into the air, much of which ended up in the Pacific Ocean.
Among the radioactive elements released during the Fukushima disaster were cesium-134 and cesium-137, both of which occur on earth only as a result of human activity. Because of its long half life, much of the cesium-137 detected in the environment actually originates with nuclear tests conducted decades ago. Cesium-134, in contrast, has a half-life of only two years. That means any cesium-134 in the environment (especially when detected at large distances from likely sources of nuclear contamination, such as power plants, dumps or weapons factories) stems from the Fukushima meltdowns.
The Woods Hole researchers tested water samples collected on February 19 from various locations off the coast of Ucluelet, British Columbia, a small town on Vancouver Island. They detected cesium-134 at levels of 1.4 Becquerels per cubic meter, and cesium-137 at levels of 5.8 Becquerels per cubic meter.
A Becquerel is a unit of radioactivity. Shortly after the Fukushima meltdowns, Japanese coastal waters tested at 50 million Becquerels per cubic meter.
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