The Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster was one of the biggest screw ups in recent history, with huge amounts of contaminated water leaking out of the plant into the Pacific Ocean. Now, five years later, traces of that toxicity is beginning to show up on the western coast of the United States.
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A study conducted by chemical oceanographer Jay Cullen, who is leading the Fukushima InFORM team at the University of Victoria, has detected large volumes of the toxic substance Cesium-134 in the waters off the western United States in Tillamook Bay and Gold Beach, Oregon:
It appears that the plume has spread throughout this vast area from Alaska to California.
Cesium-124 has also been detected in Canadian salmon for the first time.
As the contamination plume progresses towards our coast we expect levels closer to shore to increase over the coming year.
At the current levels the radiation is is not really a risk to human health because of the low levels. This could change in the future though.
That’s a scary thought, but I suppose we shouldn’t really be surprised as we knew that a whole shit tonne of radioactive waste had been dumped in the Pacific Ocean, but it’s still a bit of a shock to find out that some of the fish you might be eating are literally radioactive. Hopefully it doesn’t get much worse, but I can’t really see how anything can be done to stop the radiation spreading further. Messed up.
For more on the Fukushima disaster, check out these eerie photographs of the still abandoned city. Creepy.