Once again, I’m getting a signal from the universe to talk about a topic, in this case, Fukushima. First, Elaine Meinel Supkis is ranting about Fukushima again. Then one of my students asked if she could talk about Fukushima for her presentation this semester. Finally, I watched this video and read the accompanying articles for Overnight News Digest: Science Saturday (Science of Relationships) on Daily Kos. The third anniversary of the tsunami may be next month, but it looks like the time to write about this ongoing story is now.
KPBS: Fukushima Fallout: San Diego State Researchers Monitoring Sea Kelp For Radiation Exposure
San Diego State University researchers will be joining in a new program to monitor one of the most vulnerable areas of the marine environment — kelp beds — for radioactive isotopes.Also read the accompanying article and SDSU Professor Helps Test California Kelp For Radiation Exposure From Fukushima Disaster. The following comes from the first link.
Now San Diego State University researchers will be joining in a new program to monitor one of the most vulnerable areas of the marine environment —kelp beds — for radioactive isotopes.From the second link, Edwards thinks that the answer for the kelp beds along the U.S. Pacific coast and the people on land near them will probably be no.
"The root reason for this study is there's a nuclear disaster and the waters around Fukushima are heavily contaminated," said Matthew Edwards, professor of biology at SDSU, who is part of the research team, "...we know there's a major impact there (Japan)...the question becomes: Is it going to impact other ecosystems?"
Q. My understanding is that you doubt if radiation is detected, it will pose a public health threat. Why is that?I’d post Professor Farnsworth, but I’m not that optimistic. Just the same, this news is another good example of three things that I teach my students: Everything is connected to everything else; There is no away; and There is no free lunch.
A. It's not that I doubt it will be detected. Our levels of detection are quite good with the instruments we have. However, by the time the waters reach our coast they've traveled great distances and it's been some time. And as water travels across the ocean it dilutes greatly.
Q. There's some confusion over "detectable" amounts of radiation and "harmful" amounts. If they're not harmful, or of concern, would there still come a point where they could affect the food chain?
A. At the levels we're talking about right now, I don't believe so.