SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Radioactive contamination from theFukushima power plant disaster has been detected as far as almost 400 miles off Japan in the Pacific Ocean, with water showing readings of up to 1,000 times more than prior levels, scientists reported Tuesday.
But those results for the substance cesium-137 are far below the levels that are generally considered harmful, either to marine animals or people who eat seafood, said Ken Buesseler of theWoods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts.
He spoke Tuesday in Salt Lake City at the annual Ocean Sciences Meeting, attended by more than 4,000 researchers this week.
The results are for water samples taken in June, about three months after the power plant disaster, Buesseler said. In addition to thousands of water samples, researchers also sampled fish and plankton and found cesium-137 levels well below the legal health limit.
“We’re not over the hump” yet in terms of radioactive contamination of the ocean because of continued leakage from the plant, Buesseler said in an interview before Tuesday’s talk. He was chief scientist for the cruise that collected the data.
The ship sampled water from about 20 miles to about 400 miles off the coast east of the Fukushima plant. Concentrations of cesium-137 throughout that range were 10 to 1,000 times normal, but they were about one-tenth the levels generally considered harmful, Buesseler said.
February 21st, 2012
May 9th, 2011
Still, physicists talk convincingly about “permissible doses” of radiation. They consistently ignore internal emitters — radioactive elements from nuclear power plants or weapons tests that are ingested or inhaled into the body, giving very high doses to small volumes of cells. They focus instead on generally less harmful external radiation from sources outside the body, whether from isotopes emitted from nuclear power plants, medical X-rays, cosmic radiation or background radiation that is naturally present in our environment. However, doctors know that there is no such thing as a safe dose of radiation, and that radiation is cumulative. The mutations caused in cells by this radiation are generally deleterious. We all carry several hundred genes for disease: cystic fibrosis, diabetes, phenylketonuria, muscular dystrophy. There are now more than 2,600 genetic diseases on record, any one of which may be caused by a radiation-induced mutation, and many of which we’re bound to see more of, because we are artificially increasing background levels of radiation.
April 3rd, 2011
March 30th, 2011
March 17th, 2011
March 16th, 2011