Fukushima radiation tested for along Oregon coast

Conservation groups testing water from Oregon coast for possible radiation from Fukushima nuclear power plant.
By Danielle Haynes  |  Updated June 29, 2014 at 1:36 PM
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BANDON, Ore., June 28 (UPI) -- Three years after a 9.0-magnitude earthquake shook Japan and caused radiation-contaminated water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant to enter the Pacific Ocean, conservationists along the U.S. Pacific coast are worried.

Trace amounts of radiation were expected to hit the United States' west coast by this time.

The Oregon Health Authority said it's quarterly radiation testing of air, drinking water and precipitation showed no radiation levels above what is considered normal.

But some are worried the tainted ocean water may not be so harmless, so they're taking testing of the water into their own hands to make sure.

The Tillamook Estuaries Partnership, which is dedicated to conservation of estuaries and watersheds in western Oregon, is collecting samples from the Pacific to test for radiation.

"The predicted modeling shows that we should start to see it coming along our coastline at very low levels," said Lisa Phipps, executive director of theTillamook Estuaries Partnership said of the radiation. "When we took this on, it wasn't to incite any kind of fear in people. It is a data collection effort."

Another group, a crowd-sourced, citizen-science project, is also testing waters along the Oregon coast.

"We've been worried about it and worried about it," said Zac Adams, who owns a construction company in Bandon, Ore. "We're really concerned about it affecting the fisheries, the wildlife, the tourism and most importantly our health."

Phipps said results from the tests should come back in about two months.

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