Category Archives: Coastal

Fukushima InFORM Monitoring Data Now Available from the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control

By Jay T. Cullen


In an effort to communicate the results of our investigation into the impact of the Fukushima disaster on Canadian ocean ecosystems and the public our data is now being shared through the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control.  The BCCDC is an agency under the Provincial Health Services Authority and their website is a fantastic resource for those concerned about a multitude of health issues.  In particular they have a very information rich section devoted to radiation in the environment and health of BC residents. This Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page regarding the Fukushima Dai-ichi disaster is particularly useful and well presented.  InFORM and partner organization Our Radioactive Ocean’s citizen science seawater monitoring data can be found on the BCCDC website here. Thanks to our colleagues at BCCDC for their continued work guarding the health of BC residents.

May 2015 InFORMal Monitoring Update

May2015 w Labels-01
InFORMal monitoring results from samples collected in March 2015

Results* from March are now available from 10/12 of the current InFORM sampling locations. Recent samples from Sandspit and Bella Bella are still being processed and data shown are from February. After the positive measurement of Fukushima-derived 134Cs radiation in February at Ucluelet, we expected this signal to spread in samples collected in March. Instead, there is no detectable 134Cs (detection limit ~0.2 Bq m-3) in any of the March samples. Continue reading May 2015 InFORMal Monitoring Update

April 2015 InFORMal Monitoring Update

April2015 w Labels
InFORMal monitoring results from samples collected in February and March 2015

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. Continue reading April 2015 InFORMal Monitoring Update

Fukushima Contamination Detected at Shoreline in British Columbia

Satellite measurements of ocean temperature (illustrated by color) and the direction of currents (white arrows) help show where radionuclides from Fukushima are transported. Large scale currents transport water westward across the Pacific. Circles indicate the locations where water samples were collected. White circles indicate that no cesium-134 was detected. Blue circles indicate locations were low levels of cesium-134 were detected. Small amounts of cesium-134 have been detected in a water sample taken Feb. 19, 2015, from a dock in Ucluelet, British Columbia. (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

The purpose of this post is to report that for the first time ocean borne contamination from Fukushima has been detected at the shoreline in British Columbia representing the first landfall in North America. Citizen scientists collected the sample on February 19, 2015 in the town of Ucluelet on the west coast of Vancouver Island Canada as part of our partner program Our Radioactive Ocean out of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in the USA. The isotope Cesium-134 (134Cs half life ~2 years) is an unequivocal fingerprint of Fukushima derived contamination because all other sources of this man made isotope (principally the Chernobyl disaster in 1986) are far enough in the past that 134Cs has long since decayed to levels too low to detect today. The Ucluelet sample contained 134Cs at 1.4 Becquerel per cubic meter (Bq m-3) of seawater and 5.8 Bq m-3 of the longer lived 137Cs (half life ~30 years). These levels were expected given measurements made by monitoring programs offshore and modeling studies which predict the arrival time and activity of Fukushima radionuclides. These levels of 137Cs and 134Cs, are well below internationally established levels that might represent a danger to human or environmental health. The next number of months will be very important to track the ocean transport of the contamination as citizen scientists with Our Radioactive Ocean and the InFORM project continue to collect samples up and down the coast of North America. Continue reading Fukushima Contamination Detected at Shoreline in British Columbia