Fukushima was hit by a massive amount of radiation after their tidal wave, but for the first time, seaborne radiation from the nuclear disaster in Japan has now been discovered on the West Coast of the United States, reports USA Today.
What Was Found
Researchers working for the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution found that cesium-134, which was the fingerprint of Fukushima, was found and measured in certain water samples removed from the Gold Beach and Tillamook Bay inside Oregon.
The non-profit organization known as Fukushima InFORM worked with the group and had been monitoring the radiation plume as it moved across the Pacific Ocean, reports Tech Times.
The group has also found levels of cesium-134 in salmon caught in Canada.
What Does This Mean for Humans and the Environment?
Finding radiation is troubling for anyone, but researchers feel that the detection of cesium-134 was too small of a level to pose any danger to humans or the environment now; however, they are going to continue monitoring it to see if levels change in the future.
The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution said the levels were extremely low and will not harm those swimming in the ocean or eating fish that come from the West Coast now.
They even said those that swam for six hours seven days per week in the water for a year would only receive the approximate amount of 1,000 times less than a single dental x-ray, says USA Today. Therefore, there is nothing to worry about at this time.
While some people choose to expose themselves to x-ray radiation, there are those that do not want to be exposed at all. Therefore, some may avoid the beaches on the West Coast knowing there are even trace amounts of radiation present in the water.
About the Fukushima Contamination
Fukushima is in Japan. In 2011, it was struck by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake that lead to a devastating tsunami in March. The massive amounts of contaminated water that flowed through the facility entered the ocean, and radiation was released into the sea and air from the crippled facility.
In Japan, the peak celsium-134 levels were 10 million times higher than what was discovered on the West Coast; therefore, what was found was extremely minor compared to what Japan was likely to experience after the event.
The disaster was one of the largest nuclear disasters to occur since 1986 when the Chernobyl disaster happened. Three reactors in Japan melted upon impact, and the contaminated water was released from the damaged nuclear plant immediately as the ocean waters began to go back out to sea.
There have been no reports of fatalities due to the radiation, but the number of eventual cancer deaths related to the accident is estimated to run between 130 and 640. They also estimate that 137 children lived next to the plant and were exposed at the time of the crash.