Will Low Radiation Levels Detected in B.C. Waters Impact Us and Our Fish?

The damage to Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Facility incurred by the March 11th earthquake and tsunami resulted in radiation being released into the atmosphere. While the situation in Japan is considered still to be “very serious.” Across the Pacific Ocean, only minor levels of radiation have been detected. “The radiation found in B.C. was carried by the jet stream, and is now falling over the West Coast with rain, which is mixing with sea water and accumulating in seaweed, the SFU statement said.”

The tests conducted by nuclear scientists at Simon Fraser University suggest the levels of radiation detected in our rainwater and in North Shore seaweed indicate there is “no immediate danger to the public.”  About the condition of B.C. coastal salmon, they speculate:

Radioactive water leaking from a reactor at Japan’s damaged nuclear plants isn’t likely to harm B.C. salmon because they don’t travel as far as the coast of Japan, said Nancy Davis, deputy director of the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission.

“Given the limited information available, I cannot even speculate about the effects of radiation leaking into the ocean. It is far too early to say anything with any confidence,” said Peterman, Canada Research Chair in fisheries risk assessment and management.

Kris Starosta, SFU nuclear scientist, predicts the radiation iodine levels will be detected in our waters for up to 3 or 4 weeks after the Japanese nuclear reactor stops releasing radioactivity. Iodine 131 levels will continue to be monitored.
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