Scientists ‘mystified’ over Fukushima radioactive waste found in Pacific Northwest — Washington Official: “I have no idea how it could get there” — Professor: We need to monitor if it’s building up in food web

Tuesday, March 18, 2014
By Paul Martin
March 18th, 2014

Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Mar. 12, 2014: It came from Fukushima, but how the heck it got so far up the Fraser River Valley in British Columbia has scientists mystified. […] [Krzysztof Starosta, of Simon Fraser University] said the big mystery, since they have just that one sample taken from a beach so far upriver, is how it got there. It could have been airborne, landed on a hill or mountain and been washed down to the river. […] When asked if a bird could have pooped it out there, he audibly shrugged. The mystery “indicates the need for further study,” he said. […] Ocean currents are driving those nuclear particles […] from Japan to our coastline, and more radiation is likely to be dumped into the ocean […] there is concern that the accumulation, especially of the long-lasting cesium-137, will eventually be harmful to sea life and us.

Metro News, Mar. 13, 2014: Radioactive waste believed to have come from the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan has been found in B.C. soil, but researchers say there’s no cause for alarm. […] “It’s actually quite unexpected that we found it in soil so far inland,” [Starosta] said. “Common wisdom would be that Caesium would come through the ocean.”, Mar. 13, 2014: More testing needed to learn impact of soil radioactivity — Further investigations of soil are needed to understand any possible impacts posed by small amounts of radioactivity, following the testing of a soil sample near Kilby Park in the Fraser Valley, according to the Simon Fraser University researcher who studied it. […] Currently his group is working on improving sensitivity of the detection of 134Cs to further investigate its presence in B.C. soil.

Juan Jose Alava, Simon Fraser University: “We shouldn’t be worried now, but we need to keep monitoring in the long term to see whether these levels are building up in the food web.”

Mike Priddy, supervisor of Washington’s Environmental Sciences Section: “I have no idea how it could get there … there’s a lot of things that could happen to get it up there.”

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