WHOI senior scientist Ken Buesseler has collected and analyzed the seawater surrounding the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant since the 2011 disaster. As the low-level radiation travels across the Pacific, Buesseler has launched a crowd sourcing campaign and website to monitor radiation levels along the West Coast of North America. – Credit: Ken Buesseler, Woods Hole Oceanographic InstitutionV.
Since the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami crippled Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in 2011, concerns have spread among the public that water with traces of radioactive material might be traveling in a plume across the Pacific Ocean toward the west coast of North America.
Experts say the radiation levels reaching the U.S. coast and Hawaiian Islands will be too low to threaten human health or marine life, but no U.S. government or international agency is actually monitoring radiation in these places.
Now, a scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in Massachusetts is launching a new citizen science project to measure levels of radioactive cesium in water washing up along the West Coast. [Fukushima Radiation Leak: 5 Things You Should Know]