Radiation from Japan found in kelp off US West Coast

April 10, 2012
This file photo shows a girl dragging kelp along a beach in California. Radioactive iodine was found in kelp off the US West Coast following last year's earthquake-triggered Fukushima Daiichi nuclear meltdown, according to a new study.

Radioactive iodine was found in kelp off the US West Coast following last year's earthquake-triggered Fukushima Daiichi nuclear meltdown, according to a new study.

It was already known that radioactive (131-I), carried in the atmosphere, made it across the Pacific within days of the March 11, 2011 tsunami disaster, albeit in minuscule amounts.

But at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) discovered the in ocean kelp, which is "one of the strongest plant accumulators of iodine," within a month of the accident.

"We measured significant, although most likely non-harmful levels of in tissue of the Macrocystis pyrifera," said Steven L. Manley, author of the study with Christopher G. Lowe

"Although it is probably not harmful for humans because it was relatively low levels, it may have affected certain fish that graze on the tissue because fish have a thyroid system that utilizes iodine."

The study, "Canopy-Forming Kelps as California's Coastal Dosimeter: 131I from Damaged Japanese Reactor Measured in Macrocystis pyrifera," appears in the online edition of the journal Environmental Science & Technology.

The Fukushima Daiichi plant, 220 kilometers (135 miles) northeast of Tokyo was crippled by meltdowns and explosions after the quake and tsunami, which killed more than 19,000 people.

Radiation was scattered over a large area and made its way into the sea, air and food chain in the weeks and months after the disaster.

Tens of thousands of people were evacuated from their homes around the plant and swathes of this zone remain badly polluted. The clean-up is proceeding slowly, amid warnings that some towns could be uninhabitable for three decades.

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5 / 5 (2) Apr 10, 2012
When was it measured? 131-I has a halflife of a little over 8 days. Either they measured this not long after the quake/tsunami (it was not an accident), or they measured it recently. It doesn't say when, but if it was recently then there must have been a TON of it released for it to still be around today.

As for the towns being uninhabited for decades...I say clean up the plant site and surrounding areas then..make more cores! Naturally with better seismic isolators and a tsunami wall 5M over the tsunami peak, but might as well use the land still, right?
5 / 5 (1) Apr 10, 2012
The situation at Fukushima remains as dire as ever - if the crumbling pool no. 4 deteriorates much further the site could yet release 85 x more Cs-137 than Chernobyl..

"It is no exaggeration to say that the fate of Japan and the whole world depends on NO.4 reactor." - Ambassador Mitsuhei Murata

5 / 5 (1) Apr 10, 2012
.I say clean up the plant site and surrounding areas

How? If you have any miracle ways of cleaning up radioactive spills - now is the time to step forward.

Even if: Do you have any idea what kind of acerage and terrain we are talking here? Do you have any idea what the cost would be?

but might as well use the land still, right?

Who is going to work there?
5 / 5 (1) Jun 08, 2012
The fuel rods could be frozen,co2,helium,nitrogen, then moved,and the site neutralized with scalar wave hardware.

You aren't too much into physics (or reality for that matter), are you?

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