FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Inletkeeper Testing Finds No Fukushima Radiation in Lower Cook Inlet Waters
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 10, 2014
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Bob Shavelson, Inletkeeper 907.299.3277,
Erin Koenig, WHOI/CMER 508.289.3340
HOMER, AK – Cook Inletkeeper today announced test results showing no effects in Kachemak Bay from the radiation emissions from the March 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan.
“We’ve received countless calls from Alaskans concerned about possible radiation contamination in Alaskan waters,” said Inletkeeper Executive Director Bob Shavelson. “So, we’re happy to learn we’re not seeing the effects of Fukushima in Lower Cook Inlet waters at this time.”
Inletkeeper worked with experts at Woods Hole’s Center for Marine and Environmental Radiation (CMER) to collect and analyze the sample, which was taken just north of Yukon Island in Kachemak Bay on September 12, 2014, with the assistance of NOAA staff. CMER analyzed the sample, and concluded:
“We did not detect any Cesium-134 (Cs-134) in your sample, which is the isotope tracer of the Fukushima release. This isotope has a short half-life (2 years), so any Cs-134 in the ocean today came from Fukushima. We detected 1.2 Bq per cubic meter of Cs-137, and this is typical of the background levels found in the Pacific as a result of nuclear weapons testing in the 1960s. Cs-137 has a half-life of 30 years, so that is why low levels can still be detected from that earlier source. If water influenced by Fukushima were in your sample, we would expect to detect Cs-134 and elevated levels of Cs-137, which we did not.”
Today, CMER also released a media statement, entitled “Fukushima Radioactivity Detected Off West Coast,” which announced the “presence of small amounts of radioactivity from the 2011 Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant accident 100 miles due west of Eureka, California.” CMER notes it has not found elevated radioactivity in near shore waters, and the level found in offshore waters “is far below where one might expect any measurable risk to human health or marine life, according to international health agencies. And it is more than 1000 times lower than acceptable limits in drinking water set by US EPA.” CMER has posted the results from its radiation testing around the west coast of the United State, Canada and Alaska.
In order to pay for the sampling effort, Inletkeeper established a crowdsource funding site, so Alaskans could support radiation testing in Cook Inlet. If additional donations come through, Inletkeeper will conduct a second sampling event in Summer 2015.
“As a commercial fishermen, I know my livelihood and the health of my family depends on clean, healthy salmon,” said Inletkeeper Boardmember Benjamin Jackinsky from Kasilof. “I look forward to working with Inletkeeper to secure the funds needed to conduct more testing down the road.”
Links to additional resources on Fukushima radiation are available at:
- U.S. Food & Drug Administration (fish tissue)
- Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (fish tissue)
- Wood’s Hole – Center for Marine & Environmental Radiation
- Fukushima and the Ocean Oceanus Magazine article (Spring 2013)
- FAQs: Radiation from Fukushima
- Marine radiation expert Dr. Ken Buesseler’s presentation "Fukushima: A View from the Ocean," June 18, 2014. Download slide presentation here.