Results* from early February and March are now available from 10/13 of the InFORM sampling locations. Recent samples from Bamfield, Vancouver, and Powell River are still being processed. To date, no InFORM coastal samples have detectable (detection limit ~0.2 Bq m-3) levels of 134Cs, the radionuclide that is the fingerprint of Fukushima derived radiation due to its short half life (~2 years). An interesting note is that the February Tofino sample was collected on the 7th, just 12 days before the ORO sample collected in Ucluelet that was the first to contain measureable 134Cs. Similarly, the InFORM sample from Port Renfrew was collected on February 13th and also did not have any measureable 134Cs. These results highlight the necessity of frequent sampling in multiple locations to effectively document the arrival of the Fukushima plume along the coast of BC. The next months of sampling should illuminate the circulation times of coastal BC waters as the plume permeates our local marine environment.
All coastal samples continue to have measureable levels of 137Cs (half life ~30 years), that is likely present because of atmospheric nuclear weapons testing that happened in the 1950s and 1960s and the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Elevated 137Cs, relative to other InFORM samples, was measured in the 19-Feb sample at Ucluelet and may be associated with the 137Cs that was released from Fukushima.
*Note: Results are preliminary and may be slightly adjusted pending results from further chemical analysis.