Alaska Marine Expert: We really need to look at what’s happening to ecosystem from Fukushima radiation — Models don’t address ongoing releases at plant — “A lot of unknowns, a lot of uncertainties” — Ships are sampling for everything but radionuclides — Could be affecting animals (AUDIO)

Published: January 23rd, 2014 at 2:36 pm ET
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Doug Dasher, University of Alaska Fairbanks researcher, Nov. 6, 2013:

At 7:00 in

The concern has been we have these models indicating the potential for levels to increase, potentially up to what they saw in the levels in the North Pacific during the 1960s nuclear testing. That still would not indicate an immediate health problem or exceeding the FDA guidelines. But there’s a lot of unknowns, a lot of uncertainties. There are others that also have the same message that they want to get out, we really need to sample to understand this and we really need to look at what’s happening out there in the ecosystem at the same time. There’s an opportunity to do this. It’s a huge amount of initial release, and the models do not address the continuing release. Fukushima has continued to leak […] Run-off problems from the water they’re trying to pump out and contain on the site. The tanks are leaking, several typhoons have been through there this year. […] So there’s a lot of things taking place, it’s not a stable site. There’s that issue too, which we need to know what’s going on there now, so in case something else happens, we can be better prepared for it. And account for the accumulating long term leakage for at least the next couple of years as it continues to occur.

At 23:00 in

You do have ships and programs going on that may be sampling marine waters for everything else but radionuclides, so you’re not necessarily directing that a ship has to go out solely at cost to sample for radionuclides. You’re looking at adding this on to another program.

At 43:00 in

The projections… say nothing about any ecological risk […] no concrete information to even delve into making a real judgment on any type of risk to the ecosystem. That’s one of the things with stellar sea lions, if you have an impacted stellar sea lion population like there was in the Aleutians, but it’s different things, climate change, whatever contaminants, then suddenly you throw radionuclides back into the mix where they disappeared, they can have an effect, may not affect a healthy animal, but an animal that’s already impaired that’s like an extra burden, Who knows. But the information’s not out there.

Full press conference available here

Published: January 23rd, 2014 at 2:36 pm ET
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