Radioactive Ocean Website Garners Support

Posted by Eric Haun
Monday, February 24, 2014

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) has teamed up with the public to build the most comprehensive and up-to-date dataset on marine radiation levels in the aftermath of the 2011 Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant disaster. With no U.S. government or international plan to monitor the radiation levels in the ocean since the disaster, WHOI marine chemist Ken Buesseler launched a crowdsourcing campaign and citizen science website to include and empower the public. He is posting all of the current radiation level data online.

“Whether you agree with predictions that levels of radiation along the Pacific Coast of North America will be too low to be of human health concern or to impact fisheries and marine life, we can all agree that radiation should be monitored, and we are asking for your help to make that happen,” said Ken Buesseler, WHOI senior scientist and director of the Center for Marine and Environmental Radioactivity (CMER).

Launched in January, the crowdsourcing campaign has received over 160 individual donations totaling about $24,000. The public has responded by sponsoring and raising funds to cover the cost of the on-going collection of seawater samples at 24 locations along the Pacific Coast from Alaska to Canada, down the West Coast of the U.S. and out to the Hawaiian islands. The samples are shipped to the CMER lab in Woods Hole, Mass., for analysis and the information is posted online.

Although Buesseler does not expect levels to be high enough in the ocean or in seafood to be of concern for human health as the plume spreads 5,000 miles across the Pacific, he believes the situation demands careful, consistent monitoring.

“What we really need is support to sample the same sites multiple times over the next couple of years in order to fully monitor the plume’s arrival and movement over time,” said Buesseler about building a complete dataset of information.

No traces of Fukushima’s cesium-134 have been detected in Buesseler’s analyses yet. And, the level of cesium-137 is what's expected from the 1960s sources (1.5-2 Bequerels per cubic meter).

According to scientific models, the plume of radiation from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant is forecasted to be detectable along the Pacific Coast in April 2014. Traces of Fukushima’s radiation are predicted to reach Alaska and coastal Canada first because of the trajectory of the powerful Kuroshio Current that flows from Japan across the Pacific. The plume will continue to circulate down the coast of North America and back towards Hawaii.

Science Made Public

Buesseler was motivated to launch this program to empower the public with real scientific data.

“The unknown can breed fear. But in this case, science can give us the information we all need in order to make informed decisions,” he said.

The website, ourradioactiveocean.org, contains educational information about radiation in the ocean and impacts on human health. The website has garnered more than 41,000 visits to-date.

Through the website, the public can support the monitoring of radiation in the ocean with tax-deductible donations to fund the on-going radioisotope analysis in the Pacific Ocean.

“We already have dozens of seawater samples from the coast of Japan out to the middle of the Pacific, but we need additional samples—from up and down the West Coast of North America and across the Pacific. The trouble is, these samples are expensive to collect and analyze,” Buesseler said.

To propose a new location for seawater sampling, individuals and communities will be asked to donate a minimum of $100 for seed funding. Not every proposed site can be accepted due to limits on analytical time and lab resources, but if selected, WHOI sets up a fundraising webpage to help a group reach their fundraising goal. The collection and analysis of one seawater sample costs between $550-600, depending upon location. Once the full amount is raised, the individual will receive a sampling kit to collect 20 liters (about five gallons) of seawater to be shipped back to the CMER lab for analysis.

The data is being posted on the website, ourradioactiveocean.org. Support is needed for CMER’s on-going efforts to train the next generation of radio-marine chemists and to purchase additional cesium gamma detectors, which cost about $75,000 each, and can be given by donating to the capacity building campaign.

whoi.edu

Maritime Reporter July 2014 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Environmental

Japanese Technology Helps Farmers to Changes in Climate

The Japanese technology firms are using their experience in saving energy and in cloud technology to help farmers cope with changes in climate, cheaper imports and declining labor.

MARAD: Total Fuel Cycle Study for Natural Gas

The Maritime Administration (MARAD) released a study that evaluates total fuel cycle emissions for natural gas versus conventional marine fuels. Results showed

Caribbean Storm Likely to Strengthen, Veers Away from US

A low-pressure system moved over Puerto Rico on Friday and is expected to veer northeast away from the U.S. East Coast but still has an 80 percent chance of forming

Energy

Japanese Technology Helps Farmers to Changes in Climate

The Japanese technology firms are using their experience in saving energy and in cloud technology to help farmers cope with changes in climate, cheaper imports and declining labor.

Sinopec's Profit up at 32.5 billion yuan in 1H, 2014

Asia's largest refiner - China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation announced Friday night, according to international accounting standards, the first half net profit of 32.

Kuwait to Boost Oil Exports to China

Kuwait plans to increase the volume of crude oil exports to China to 500,000 barrels a day (bpd) in three years, an executive at the state-run Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) said Saturday.

News

Japanese Technology Helps Farmers to Changes in Climate

The Japanese technology firms are using their experience in saving energy and in cloud technology to help farmers cope with changes in climate, cheaper imports and declining labor.

Sinopec's Profit up at 32.5 billion yuan in 1H, 2014

Asia's largest refiner - China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation announced Friday night, according to international accounting standards, the first half net profit of 32.

Kuwait to Boost Oil Exports to China

Kuwait plans to increase the volume of crude oil exports to China to 500,000 barrels a day (bpd) in three years, an executive at the state-run Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) said Saturday.

Marine Science

EBDG Completes Repower of COLUMBIA

Elliott Bay Design Group (EBDG), a leading naval architecture and marine engineering firm with offices in Seattle, New Orleans and Ketchikan, Alaska today announced

Atlantic Slows Warming, Temperature Rises Seen Resuming from 2030

The Atlantic Ocean has masked global warming this century by soaking up vast amounts of heat from the atmosphere in a shift likely to reverse from around 2030 and spur fast temperature rises,

Storm near Lesser Antilles Could Develop into cyclone

An elongated area of low pressure located about 350 miles east of the Lesser Antilles has a 50 percent chance of becoming a tropical cyclone in the next 48 hours, the U.

Ocean Observation

Atlantic Slows Warming, Temperature Rises Seen Resuming from 2030

The Atlantic Ocean has masked global warming this century by soaking up vast amounts of heat from the atmosphere in a shift likely to reverse from around 2030 and spur fast temperature rises,

Storm near Lesser Antilles Could Develop into cyclone

An elongated area of low pressure located about 350 miles east of the Lesser Antilles has a 50 percent chance of becoming a tropical cyclone in the next 48 hours, the U.

Two-way Route in the Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait

The IMO-adopted ship routeing measure to enhance the safety and efficiency of navigation and protect the region’s sensitive marine environment will come into

 
 
Maritime Contracts Naval Architecture Offshore Oil Pipelines Pod Propulsion Port Authority Ship Electronics Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.0998 sec (10 req/sec)