Fukushima’s Contamination Produces Some Surprises at Sea, New York Times, September 27, 2011:
- Off the coast, the early results indicate that very large amounts of radioactive materials were released, and may still be leaking.
- The scientists had expected to find ocean radiation levels falling off sharply after a few months.
- “Rather than leveling off toward zero, it remained elevated in late July,” up to about 10,000 becquerel per cubic meter, said Ken Buesseler, a scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, who in 1986 studied the effects of the Chernobyl disaster on the Black Sea. “That suggests the release problem has not been solved yet.”
- The working hypothesis is that contaminated sediments and groundwater near the coast are continuing to contaminate the seas, Buesseler said.
- The international team also collected plankton samples and small fish for study. Buesseler said there were grounds for concern about bioaccumulation of radioactive isotopes in the food chain, particularly in seaweed and some shellfish close to the plants.
Published: September 29th, 2011 at 7:55 am ET