US Pacific Kelp; Fukushima Radiation Testing Results

Kelp Watch has released their first batch of testing results. The program is a mash up of university, national lab and citizen efforts to test Pacific sea kelp for radiation. The main focus is on cesium contamination but also has been screening for natural sources of radiation.

This first batch of test results are considers a “control” set. This establishes the radiation readings considered to be before any Fukushima related radiation would make it to the western Pacific coasts. They will be used to compare future samples to see if any change happens over time.

The first set of readings did not find any cesium 134, considered an indicator of Fukushima contamination. Cesium 134 has a short half life of about 2 years. So at low levels as this isotope decays away it may not be detectable. The cesium 137, with a 30 year half life should be detectable for changes over time.

The cesium 137 levels on this batch of testing were all under 1 bq/kg dry weight. The cesium 137 being detected currently is considered to be left overs from the decades of atomic bomb testing in the Pacific. Actual results can be found here: http://kelpwatch.berkeley.edu/results

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