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Canadian ocean institute tracking Fukushima radiation in Pacific

Feb. 25, 2014 at 6:21 PM   |   Comments

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia, Feb. 25 (UPI) -- The scale of the radioactive water plume from the Fukushima disaster on the west coast of North America should be known in the next two months, researchers say.

While only small traces of pollution from the Japanese power plant damaged by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami have so far been recorded in Canadian continental waters, the levels will increase as contaminants disperse eastwards on Pacific currents, researchers from Canada's Bedford Institute of Oceanography said.

Since the 2011 disaster, institute researchers have been collecting water samples along a 1,200-mile arc due west of Vancouver, British Columbia.

Expected peak measurements of radioactive caesium-137 and 134 will be well within the limits set by safety authorities, they predicted.

"These levels are still well below maximum permissible concentrations in drinking water in Canada for caesium-137 of 10,000 becquerels per cubic meter of water -- so, it's clearly not an environmental or human-health radiological threat," institute scientist John Smith told the BBC.

Smith presented the findings of the institute, the largest ocean research station in Canada, at the Ocean Sciences Meeting 2014 in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Topics: John Smith
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