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Fukushima - A View From The Ocean

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Streamed live on Jun 5, 2014

Join the Vancouver Aquarium for a presentation by Woods Hole oceanographer, Dr. Ken Buesseler, on the radioactive releases from Fukushima. Some refreshments will be provided.

The triple disaster of the March 11, 2011 earthquake, tsunami, and subsequent radiation releases at Fukushima Dai-ichi were unprecedented events for the ocean and society. This presentation will provide an overview of studies of Fukushima radionuclides in the ocean. The radioactive releases from Fukushima will be compared to natural and prior human sources. The fate and transport of cesium and its uptake by fish and impacts on Japanese fisheries will be discussed. Although levels of cesium in the ocean and being released from Fukushima nuclear power plants three years later are a thousand times lower than in 2011, other isotopes such as strontium-90 are becoming of greater concern as they are elevated relative to cesium in the groundwater and storage tanks at the reactor site. Across the Pacific, ocean currents carrying Fukushima cesium will be detectable along the west coast of North America at some point in 2014, and though models predict levels below those considered of human health concern, measurements are needed. A report will be given on Our Radioactive Ocean, a citizen scientist website launched to monitor the arrival of Fukushima cesium along the west coast over the coming 2-3 years.

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