Category Archives: Biota

Pushing the Limit: Fukushima Fingerprint Isotope Found in Salmon from 2015

Results of the 2015 InFORM biotic monitoring program with updated results (larger, bold italics) where individual fish samples were reanalyzed to determine the presence of the Fukushima fingerprint isotope, 134-Cs.

For the first time, the Fukushima fingerprint isotope, cesium-134 (134Cs; half-life ~ 2 years), has been detected at an extremely low level in a Canadian salmon by the InFORM project. The single sockeye salmon that tested positive was sampled from Osoyoos Lake in the summer of 2015, according to scientists from the Radiation Protection Bureau at Health Canada, in cooperation with Fisheries and Oceans Canada and local First Nations.  The sample was one of a few (8 out of 156 total) individual fish that had trace levels of the longer lived  cesium-137 (137Cs) (30 yr half-life) that we reported on last winter. To determine if this trace 137Cs was from Fukushima or remnant from atmospheric weapons testing, InFORM reexamined these individual fish samples to see if extremely low levels of 134Cs may be present. The results of this extended analysis show that trace (0.07 Bq kg-1) levels of 134Cs were detected in one sample from Okanagan/Columbia River population. No 134Cs was detectable in the other samples. The observed levels remain well below the action level (1000 Bq kg-1) set by Health Canada guidelinesContinue reading Pushing the Limit: Fukushima Fingerprint Isotope Found in Salmon from 2015

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An InFORMal Gathering – Part 2

After my tour at the University of Ottawa, the day continued with a tour of the Radiation Protection Bureau facilities over at Health Canada on the south side of the city. After clearing through security, Drs. Jean-Francois Mercier and Michael Cooke, showed Cole and I around the lab spaces that are used by the Canadian Radiological Monitoring Network and where InFORM samples are run. Continue reading An InFORMal Gathering – Part 2

September 2016 InFORMal Update

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Oceanic Monitoring: 

The suite of summer 2015 oceanic data are now ready and they show quite a change from 2014. Comparing these data side by side, it is plain to see that the concentrations of 137Cs have increased considerably in the central NE Pacific. It appears that the plume has spread throughout this vast area from Alaska to California. While natural processes of radioactive decay are slowly decreasing concentrations of 134Cs (with a 2 year half-life roughly 25% of the original concentration was present in April 2015), the signal for 137Cs is getting smeared by the currents of the NE Pacific and as they paint the path of the highest flows. For the sampling details and to see the values for 134Cs, see the interactive map. Continue reading September 2016 InFORMal Update

August 2016 InFORMal Update

Coastal monitoring:

We have now processed and released results from over 250 samples collected through the InFORM network! New data, from April and May samples, did not reveal any waters with the Fukushima fingerprint isotope, 134Cs (2 year half-life). Low levels of 137Cs (~30 year half-life) were present in all of the samples. These new data continue to lie along the increasing trend which indicates that the leading edge of the Fukushima plume is in BC’s coastal waters. Continue reading August 2016 InFORMal Update