Study: Hawaii has lower Fukushima radiation risks

Study: Hawaii has lower Fukushima radiation risks
Published: Feb. 25, 2014 at 2:02 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Scientists revealed the results of a comprehensive study relating to the levels of radiation in the Pacific Ocean as a result of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

As it relates to Hawaii, the findings were positive.

"So far, we're not seeing the isotopes of cesium on the beaches here at all," said Ken Buesseler of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute.

Not only have there been no measurable amounts of cesium 134 in Hawaii, but when it finally does arrive, Buesseler says it will be later than when it hits the US west coast, and in much smaller amounts.

"A thousand miles north of here is the core of the plume.  So it's not going to make it back to Hawaii until it reaches the US west coast and returns as a return flow, where it slowly kind of spreads out as part of a dispersion process" he explained.

He said that radiation isn't expected in Hawaii for two to three years.

When it comes to sea life, it's harder to predict the amount of radiation present.  Cesium 134 has a half life of approximately 50 days, so depending on when and where a fish may swim, its radioactivity will change.

Certain blue fin tuna harvested from the waters off San Diego measured for radiation, but Buesseler said the levels were safe for human consumption.

"They were certainly considered far below, 10-times below the Japanese limits for seafood, and about 100-times below the US limits".

Buesseler also addressed tsunami debris.  He said it was an inaccurate tool for gauging the arrival of radiation because debris moves faster than radiation.

"That debris is blown by the wind as well as mixed by the currents" he said.  He also noted that ocean debris is not radioactive.

The study was completed through a public crowdsourcing campaign.  For more information as well as how to make a donation, go to

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