Experts: Ocean life can handle radioactive leaks

Apr 04, 2011 By MALCOLM RITTER , AP Science Writer
In this Thursday, March 24, 2011, photo available Friday, April 1, 2011, inside of the Unit 4 at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant is seen in Okumamachi, northeastern Japan. Steam comes out of debris by a crane device, in green, at the unit, Kyodo reports. The March 11 earthquake off Japan's northeast coast triggered a tsunami that barreled onshore and disabled the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant. (AP Photo/Tokyo Electric Co. via Kyodo News) JAPAN OUT, MANDATORY CREDIT, NO LICENSING IN CHINA, HONG KONG, JAPAN, SOUTH KOREA AND FRANCE

(AP) -- Releases of radioactive water into the ocean near Japan's stricken nuclear complex shouldn't pose a widespread danger to sea animals or people who might eat them, experts say.

That's basically because of dilution.

"It's a very large ocean," noted William Burnett of Florida State University.

Very close to the nuclear plant - less than half a mile or so - might be in danger of problems like if the dumping goes on a long time, he said. But there shouldn't be any serious hazard farther away "unless this escalates into something much, much larger than it has so far," he said.

Ken Buesseler of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Woods Hole, Mass., said readings for radioactive iodine and show a thousand-fold drop from the shore to monitors about 19 miles offshore.

He said radioactive doses in seafood may turn out to be detectable but probably won't be a significant health hazard. They'd probably be less of a concern than what people could get from land-based sources like drinking water or eating produce, he said.

No fishing is allowed in the vicinity of the complex.

has been seeping into the Pacific Ocean from the , and on Monday plant operators began releasing more than 3 million gallons of tainted water to make room at a storage site for water that's even more radioactive.

Igor Linkov, an adjunct professor of engineering and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University, also said he did not expect any major impact on wildlife or people who eat seafood.

He agreed that animals near the plant may be affected. It's not clear in what way, because the level of radiation isn't well known, he said. In any case, fish would probably escape such an effect because unlike immobile species such as oysters, they move around and so would not get a continuous exposure, he said.

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jjoensuu
not rated yet Apr 04, 2011
Next up...
Experts: Humans can handle radioactive leaks.

"Experts: There is nothing to worry about." Famous last headlines.
Doug_Huffman
not rated yet Apr 04, 2011
The solution to pollution is dilution. The solution to radioactive pollution is dilution in time and space.
Bigblumpkin36
1 / 5 (1) Apr 04, 2011
What a joke, they must work for Dick Cheney
newscience
1 / 5 (1) Apr 04, 2011
Unbelievable! In the future one might read headlines like this on a weakly basis, and plutonium dust in the air will be written off as being OK. Solar and wind can fill the global nuclear gap now. There will be more meltdowns. The nukes should be phased out now, but the investments that have been made in the uranium mines and nuclear power plants are holding that back. If the owners of the nukes were liable for damages they would have never invested. Insurance companies will not insure nuclear accidents, the government(you the taxpayer) are liable and must pay. The power plant southwest of Tokyo can meltdown in the next quake. It is built on sand and will not survive. The wind always blows toward Tokyo area where 40 million live. Wake up people!