Tag Archives: Salmon

Should we be worried about Fukushima radiation?

ap-japan-nuclear
This Jan. 12, 2016 photo, shows No. 3 nuclear reactor, bottom, at Takahama nuclear power station in Takahama town in Fukui prefecture, northwestern Japan. Japan has restarted a nuclear reactor that burns plutonium-based fuel for power generation, first under the post-Fukushima safety rules. The No. 3 reactor at Takahama nuclear plant in western Japan, operated by Kansai Electric Power Co., becomes the first one using plutonium-uranium hybrid fuel known as MOX to go back online since the 2011 meltdowns at Fukushima. (Photo: AP)

by Mary Bowerman and Tracy Loew
USA Today
Published 9 Dec 2016

For the first time, seaborne radiation from Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster has been detected on the West Coast of the United States.

The levels are very low and shouldn’t harm people eating fish from the West Coast or swimming in the ocean, according to Ken Buesseler, a senior scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. 

Continue reading Should we be worried about Fukushima radiation?

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

No radiation from Japan’s Fukushima disaster found in BC fish

No radiation from Japan's Fukushima disaster found in B.C. fish
John Nightingale, president of the Vancouver Aquarium, said at a 2014 news conference by the Arctic char tank at Vancouver Aquarium that radiation levels are barely above background levels since the 2011 meltdown of nuclear reactors at Fukushima caused by the earthquake and tsunami.

By Bethany Lindsay
Vancouver Sun
Published 23 Feb 2016

Nearly five years after a massive earthquake resulted in the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, researchers in B.C. have found no detectable levels of contamination in fish along the West Coast.

Continue reading No radiation from Japan’s Fukushima disaster found in BC fish

Radiation from Fukushima nuclear disaster not found in B.C. salmon

‘The amount of radioactivity from these isotopes from Fukushima in our water or in our fish [is] a fraction of the count you’d get using a Geiger counter,’ University of Victoria’s Dr. Jay Cullen said. (John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail)
‘The amount of radioactivity from these isotopes from Fukushima in our water or in our fish [is] a fraction of the count you’d get using a Geiger counter,’ University of Victoria’s Dr. Jay Cullen said. (John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail)
By Mark Hume
The Globe and Mail
Published 23 Feb 2016

Five years after the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan, radioactive contaminants continue to circulate across the Pacific to Canada’s West Coast, but not at dangerous levels.

Continue reading Radiation from Fukushima nuclear disaster not found in B.C. salmon

Update: InFORM Monitoring Results For Pacific Salmon Collected Summer 2015

InFORM salmon 2015 river-01
Activities of artificial radiocesium in seawater (2014-2015) and fish (2015) from the northeast Pacific Ocean measured by the InFORM project.  No increase in artificial radionuclides was detected in fish compared to those harvested in 2014.  Approximate range of relevant fish species relative to the contaminated plume of seawater are shown in hashed and dotted lines.  Figure by Dr. Jonathan Kellogg.

Measurements undertaken as part of the InFORM project to look for Fukushima derived radionuclides in fish during our second of three years of monitoring are now complete on an additional 156 fish. Sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) and Steelhead Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) (as well as some Chinook (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) and Pink (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha) Salmon) were caught off the west coast of Canada in Summer 2015 as they were returning to their home streams and rivers up and down the coast of British Columbia. Samples of fish were obtained with the cooperation and collaboration of the Champagne and Aishihik, ‘Namgis, Nisga’a, Selkirk, Syilix, Tahltan, Taku River Tlingit, Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in, Wet’suwet’en and Wuikinuxv First Nations. These results add to the first ~100 fish collected and analyzed in 2014.

What we have found so far:

  1. With the exception of 7 fish discussed in point 3 below individual fish were not found to have detectable levels of either 134Cs or 137Cs so average levels were calculated for all fish harvested in a given location.
  2. Similar to 2014, none of the fish from 2015 analyzed thus far were found to contain detectable levels of 134Cs a man-made radionuclide that serves as a fingerprint of the Fukushima disaster.
  3. The average level of 137Cs seen in InFORM 2015 fish samples (0.19 Bq kg-1) is similar to the level observed in the 2014 campaign (0.21 Bq kg-1).  As with 134Cs, the Fukushima disaster resulted in the release of a large quantity of 137Cs. However, 137Cs, which has a longer half-life, was already present in the Pacific Ocean prior to the Fukushima accident because of the nuclear weapons testing fallout.
    • The 137Cs levels observed in the 2015 InFORM samples represent a fraction of the Health Canada guidelines (1000 Bq kg-1) and a fraction of the radiation exposure owing to naturally occurring radionuclides Polonium-210 (210Po) and Potassium-40 (40K) which dominate the ionizing radiation dose to fish consumers.
    • While the average 137Cs concentration remained nearly identical from 2014 to 2015, 7 individual fish (out of 156) have shown a detectable level of 137Cs (ranging from 0.27 to 0.60 Bq kg-1) while individual fish from 2014 were below detection limit. Because no 134Cs was detected in these fish it is not possible to say whether detectable 137Cs can be attributed to Fukushima contamination or simply normal variability in contamination owing to nuclear weapons testing fallout.
  4. What this means is that radioactivity from the Fukushima meltdowns has not been detected in the InFORM fish samples caught in BC waters as of summer 2015.
  5. Neither the 137Cs present in the fish nor the naturally occurring radioisotopes in fish represent a measurable health risk to consumers in Canada.

Measurements of radioactive elements in these fish and from previous years are available for download at the Government of Canada Open Data website. Continue reading Update: InFORM Monitoring Results For Pacific Salmon Collected Summer 2015