The upward trend in 137Cs concentrations in coastal waters continues according to five months of additional citizen science monitoring data which have just been added to our database. These results show the average 137Cs concentration along the coast of British Columbia to be 2.5 Bq m-3 with the highest concentration of 4.2 Bq m-3 sampled from Winter Harbour in July 2017.
While the trend is very clearly still upward, recall that the maximum concentration observed offshore the prior summer was 6.3 Bq m-3. This should be considered a conservative upper limit for what levels may be reached along the coast since peak concentrations observed along Line P are decreasing, indicating the highest concentrations have passed. Concentrations of this level are well below the 10,000 Bq m-3 action level as set by Health Canada and the International Commission on Radiological Protection.
Read the full February update ->
Extended testing of select 2016 salmon samples has identified the Fukushima-fingerprint isotope in one sample re-measured earlier this year. The maximum level of contamination observed in a sample (134Cs: 0.07 Bq kg-1, 137Cs: 0.51 Bq kg-1) is over 1,700 times lower than the Health Canada Action Level (1,000 Bq kg-1) and is not known to be a health risk for either humans or the environment. These results are an update to the 2016 results for salmon and shellfish.
Last fall, 90 salmon were sampled from hatcheries and donated from our First Nations partners around BC and Yukon. These samples are currently undergoing testing and we anticipate results to be available later this winter or early spring. Shellfish sampling also continued from ten aquaculture and traditional harvest locations in 2017. These samples will be processed when the analyses on the salmon are complete.
Data from August 2016 research cruises show that the highest concentrations of the Fukushima contamination plume remain offshore. Peak concentrations of 6.3 Bq m-3 were measured along Line P nearly 1000 km due west of Vancouver. These concentrations are double what was concurrently measured in coastal waters. Further out, towards Station Papa at 50 N 145 W, concentrations are lower which indicates the the center of the Alaska Gyre and outside of the main flow from the North Pacific Current. Based on a comparison of the peak concentrations sampled along Line P between August 2015 (9.3 Bq m-3), February 2016 (7.2 Bq m-3), and now August 2016 (6.3 Bq m-3) we see a decreasing trend. This trend indicates that peak signal from the Fukushima plume as has passed through Line P and further observations are resolving the back side of the plume and/or possibly recirculation from the Alaska Gyre. Read more ->
Interested in older samples? Check out our archive!