apan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant has been depositing radiation off the United States western shores since the summer of 2015. Four years after it’s disastrous meltdown, the power plant continues to leak radioactive isotopes.
An earthquake in March of 2011 triggered a powerful tsunami that washed over the power plant. This lead to a nuclear meltdown and a panicked evacuation of residents to neighboring cities. Not since Chernobyl in 1986 has there been a meltdown of such magnitude.
Cesium-134 has previously been detected offshore from Vancover Island in Canada. It was reported to be trace amounts and at the time no alarm was raised about the presence of the radioisotopes.
Now, more radiation from the Fukushima disaster is being deposited in increasing amounts off of our shores.
Cesium-134 was also detected within several-hundred miles off the coasts of Washington, Oregon and California.
Ken Buesseler, a marine radiochemist with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, said that the current levels of contamination are below the government established safety limits but he underscored the need for vigilance by saying “…the changing values underscore the need to more closely monitor contamination levels across the Pacific.”
Last year, Woods Hole reported detectable radiation from about 100 miles (160 km) off the coast of northern California, and in April radiation was found off Canada’s shores.
The latest readings measured the highest radiation levels outside Japanese waters to date some 1,600 miles (2,574 km) west of San Francisco.
The figures also confirm that the spread of radiation to North American waters is not isolated to a handful of locations, but can be detected along a stretch of more than 1,000 miles (1,600 km) offshore.