Radiation from Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster is approaching the West Coast, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is reporting.
A sample taken Aug. 2 about 1,200 kilometers west of Vancouver, B.C. tested positive for Cesium 134, the Fukushima “fingerprint” of Fukushima.
It also showed higher-than-background levels of Cesium 137, another Fukushima isotope that already is present in the world’s oceans from nuclear testing in the 1950s and 1960s.
The sample is the first of about 40 offshore test results that will be made public next month, said Ken Buesseler, a chemical oceanographer at Woods Hole.
Further results, which Buesseler will release at a conference Nov. 13, will show offshore Fukushima radiation down the coast into California, he said, including some samples that are closer to shore.
Buesseler emphasized that the radiation is at very low levels that aren’t expected to harm human health or the environment.