Tag Archives: N Pacific

Canadian researcher targeted by hate campaign over Fukushima findings

Originally posted in The Globe and Mail
by Mark Hume
November 1, 2015

Big black plastic bags containing irradiated soil, leaves and debris from a decontamination operation are dumped at a seaside devastated by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Tomioka town, Fukushima prefecture, near Tokyo Electric Power Co’s (TEPCO) tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, on Feb. 22, 2015. After the Japanese nuclear reactor melted down in 2011, following an earthquake and tsunami, fears arose that radiation would pollute the Pacific and spread to Canada’s West Coast. (Toru Hanai/REUTERS)


Jay Cullen never expected the world of hate he encountered when he began to post scientific information about the impact of the Fukushima accident on the Pacific Ocean.

Criticism was anticipated – but then he started getting death threats.

Continue reading Canadian researcher targeted by hate campaign over Fukushima findings


Fukushima and Our Radioactive Ocean: Science on a Sphere Video

This post simply presents a video made by Our Radioactive Ocean (ORO) for the United States of America National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Science on a Sphere program. ORO is a sister program of the InFORM network in Canada. ORO runs a large crowd funded citizen science sampling network distributed across the North Pacific dedicated to monitoring for Fukushima radionuclides in seawater. The movie has some production value and provides useful background on radioactive elements in the ocean and is designed to be shown in aquaria and other public spaces. Thanks to ORO for their continued efforts to track the arrival of the ocean borne contamination from Fukushima along the west coast of North America and in the Hawaiian Islands.

Canadian scientists track Pacific Ocean currents… using Fukushima radiation

Scott Sutherland
Meteorologist, theweathernetwork.com

Originally published by The Weather Network

Wednesday, January 7, 2015, 8:09 PM – Radioactive isotopes originating from the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan have been slowly drifting across the Pacific Ocean since March 2011, and Canadian scientists have been using this to test some of their most basic ideas of how ocean currents work. Continue reading Canadian scientists track Pacific Ocean currents… using Fukushima radiation

What Controls Levels of Fukushima Radioisotopes in Marine Organisms?

By Jay T. Cullen

This post is part of an ongoing effort to communicate the risks to people living on the west coast of North America resulting from the ongoing release of radionuclides from the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant after the Tohoku earthquake and subsequent triple reactor meltdowns in March 2011. The purpose of this post is to explain how the concentration of radionuclides in seawater impacts the amount of radioactive elements taken up by the marine biota.

The goal is to answer questions like:

How high can we expect radioactive element concentrations to get in marine organisms?

What might be the exposure of marine organisms and human consumers of these organisms to Fukushima sourced radionuclides?

Continue reading What Controls Levels of Fukushima Radioisotopes in Marine Organisms?

Authors Lower Fukushima Cesium in North Pacific By Order of Magnitude

By Jay T. Cullen


One of the goals of the InFORM project is to make measurements of radionuclides in the North Pacific Ocean to determine maximum activities that will determine impacts on the marine ecosystem and residents of the west coast. The purpose of this post is to bring to the attention of readers a recently published correction to a prominent model that predicts the activity of Fukushima derived Cesium-137 (137-Cs, half life ~30 years) in seawater of the North Pacific. The diary is part of an ongoing series aimed at discussing research addressing the impact of the Fukushima nuclear disaster on the health of the North Pacific Ocean and inhabitants of North America’s west coast. Predictions of a model by Rossi and colleagues published in Deep-Sea Research in 2013 of the evolution of the plume of seawater contaminated by the Fukushima triple meltdowns are an order of magnitude too high. Rather than a range of ~1-30 Bq/m^3 reported previously maximum activities off the west coast of North America are likely to be ~3 Bq/m^3 or about more than 25 times lower than maximum activities measured in the Pacific in the mid-20th century resulting from atmospheric weapons tests. These activities are not likely to represent significant radiological health risks to the North Pacific ecosystem or residents of the North American west coast.

A paper by Rossi et al. (2013) used a Lagrangian model to predict the temporal and spatial evolution of the seawater plume contaminated by the Fukushima nuclear disaster beginning in March 2011. The model predicted a range of 10-30 Bq/m^3 137-Cs in waters off the coast of North America at 49 degrees North latitude as demonstrated in the figure shown below:

Activities of 137-Cs predicted by the Rossi et al. (2013) model on the continental shelves of North America at two latitudes and off Hawaii over time.

This model predicted higher maximum 137-Cs activities in seawater in the North Pacific compared with a similar model published by Behrens et al. (2012) that had maximum activities off of North America reaching only ~1-2 Bq/m^3.

Recently, after comments from Professor Michio Aoyama of Japan, Rossi and colleagues recognized an error in their model and have published a correction to their 2013 study here. The error resulted in a factor of 10 overestimation of maximum activities of 137-Cs in the Pacific such that maximum 137-Cs off N. America will likely be between 1 and 3 Bq/m^3. The corrections to the model do not affect the conclusions of the study and results from the 2013 study are easy scaled to the more accurate values given the Langrangian approach used by the authors in the original work.

The figure below shows the time evolution of the plume at various latitudes along the international date line and compares the model output with measurements made by Aoyama et al. (2013) along the international dateline at about 40 degrees N in 2012.

Activities of 137-Cs predicted by the Rossi et al. model along the international dateline in the N. Pacific over time at various latitudes.

The factor of 10 lower activity correction better agrees with the Behrens et al. (2012) modeling study and measurements of 137-Cs in seawater made by Japanese and North American scientists.

Maximum activities of ~1-3 Bq/m^3 as the heart of the contaminated plume reaches the North American coast in the coming 2 year period are roughly 25-fold lower than 137-Cs activities in the North Pacific circa 1960 resulting from atmospheric weapons testing. Therefore, it is unlikely that 137-Cs activities of 3 Bq/m^3 or associated radionuclides released at lower total activities from Fukushima will represent significant health risks to the North Pacific ecosystem.

Ongoing monitoring of radionuclide activities in the North Pacific is required to ground-truth models of Pacific Ocean circulation and plume evolution and to provide the best information to determine likely impact to residents of North America.