WGBH News (PBS Boston), Jan. 16, 2014:
Emily Rooney, executive editor: How radioactive are our oceans? That question has been top of the mind for many West Coast residents since the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan nearly 3 years ago […]
Heather Goldstone, reporter: It left a growing plume of radioactive water off the Japanese coast. Now 3 years later, ocean currents have carried some of that water to the West Coast.
Dr. Ken Buesseler, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution: […] If you’re not measuring them people can still have concerns […] We’re hearing back [from agencies in Washington DC], “Yes, this type of work is in the US national interest, but the question is who’s going to be responsible for it?”
At 4:00 in
Rooney: Why is Woods Hole so involved in this? There must be other scientific labs that are looking at this on the West Coast
Goldstone: […] There’s not much expertise about radioactivity in our oceans. He is one of the only ones. […]
Rooney: Those maps that you showed, both the one that showed the radioactive plume and the waste traveling is frightening, and you’d think that if there’s that massive amount, then it would have to have some kind of impact.
Goldstone: It was a massive volume of water that went into the ocean that was radioactive […] there’s concerns about a continuing leak, there’s radioactivity still going into the ocean. But it does decay over time* but it’s a big ocean its getting diluted in**.
* The half-life of the radionuclide discussed most often during this program, cesium-137, has a half-life of 30 years. Meaning it will be at 95% of its initial strength after making the 3-year journey across the Pacific.
** The volume of the entire ocean is not relevant to dilution. Rather, the volume of water the nuclear contamination mixes with is the determining factor. If the contamination stays in relatively narrow corridor as it crosses the Pacific, as several models predict, the remainder of the ocean not in contact with the plume is irrelevant.
See also: Nuclear Expert: This is just 1st radioactive wave hitting U.S. and Canada; Fukushima pouring into ocean, unstoppable for years and years -- Marine Expert: No sign it will stop anytime soon; Plant unstable, potentially worse than Chernobyl (AUDIO)
Published: January 27th, 2014 at 1:27 am ET