Published: July 9th, 2012 at 9:53 am ET
environmentalresearchweb (IOP Publishing)
July 9, 2012
Radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear reactors in Japan could reach the US West Coast in the next 5–6 years, doubling the radioactivity of US coastal waters, according to simulations carried out by German oceanographers.
Tentatively assuming a value of 10 petabecquerel (PBq) for the net 137Caesium (Cs) input during the first weeks after the Fukushima incident, the simulation suggests a rapid dilution of peak radioactivity values to about 10 Bq/m³ during the first 2 years, followed by a gradual decline to 1–2 Bq/m³ over the next 4–7 years. The total peak radioactivity levels would then be about twice the pre-Fukushima values.
Study co-author Claus Böning, Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Kiel
From Video: “After 4 years… the entire Northern Pacific is filled with a certain amount of tracer.”
- “We were of course not surprised that there is a mixing effect, but we were surprised at how quickly the tracer spread”
- “Within one year it will have spread over the entire western half of the North Pacific and in five years we predict it will reach the US West Coast”
- “The levels of radiation that hit the US coast will be small relative to the levels released by Fukushima”
- “We cannot estimate accurately what those levels will be because we do not know for certain what was released by Fukushima”
- “While this may sound alarming, these levels are still lower than those permitted for drinking water”