Pacific Radioactivity Assessment off Fukushima06/06/2011
|The first international, multidisciplinary assessment of levels and dispersal of radioactive substances in the Pacific Ocean off the Fukushima nuclear power plant is to be led by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI, US)), in a research effort funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.|
"This project will address fundamental questions about the impact of this release of radiation to the ocean, and in the process enhance international collaboration and sharing of scientific data," said Vicki Chandler, chief program officer, Science at the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.
The shipboard research team includes scientists from WHOI, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Oregon State University, University of California, Santa Cruz/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, University of Hawaii, Univ. Autonoma de Barcelona (Spain), and the University of Tokyo (Japan). They will collect water and biological samples and take ocean current measurements in an area 200km x 200km offshore of the plant and further offshore along the Kuroshio Current. Their work will build on efforts by Japanese scientists and lay the foundation for expanded international collaboration and long-term research of questions related to releases from the Fukushima plant.
In addition to those on board, collaboration will include scientists at labs at Oxford University (UK), the University of Tokyo and the Tokyo Institute of Technology (Japan), the IAEA Environment Laboratories (Monaco), the University of Bremen (Germany) Comenius University Bratislava (Slovakia), Savannah River National Laboratory, Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory, and the University of Hawaii (US).
The 15-day expedition aboard the University of Hawaii's research vessel Kaimikai-O-Kanoloa has departed 4th June.
The Japanese government and Fukushima plant owner, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), began measuring radiation in the ocean, iodine and cesium isotopes, ten days after the accident and have been monitoring the water around the reactors up to 30km from shore, where radiation levels have been highest. As the radiation moves offshore, it is diluted and mixed through the ocean depths along the way, so that levels of some contaminants just 15 miles offshore are 100 to 1,000 times lower than waters near the reactors. To put it in context, even these elevated levels are not far removed from the US Environmental Protection Agency drinking‐water standard for cesium-137 or from natural radionuclide concentrations found in the ocean.
Operating with the permission of the Japanese government, the ship will follow a track line from east to west and operate at 34 sampling stations, criss-crossing the Kuroshio Current, a strong, western boundary current akin to the Gulf Stream in the Atlantic, that could rapidly carry the radioactivity into the interior of the ocean. Deploying water sampling rosettes, the team will collect and analyse the samples for many radionuclides - among them isotopes of cesium, iodine, ruthenium promethium, strontium, plutonium, radium, and uranium - to learn how much contamination was released into the ocean, its potential impact on marine life and human health, and provide input to models for better understanding of contamination pathways and dispersion.
All of the collected samples will be analysed using the most sensitive techniques and tools in the world, which will provide a more detailed picture of where radioactivity is and where it travelled, and to detect radiation above background levels, including radionuclides in marine organisms.
Read more about:
Environment data ADCP vessel Current
Health Offshore salinity
Supplier: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI)
More news from this supplier:
James Bellingham Named as Director of WHOI Center for Marine Robotics
Robotic Deep-sea Vehicle Nereus Lost on Dive to 6 Mile Depth
Tracking Radionuclides in the Pacific Ocean
Crowd-funding Success for Radioactive Ocean Website
East China Seaís Physical Oceanography Explored
Robotic Probe Launcher Could Transform Ocean Data Collection
Upgraded Alvin Sub Heads for West Coast
Sediment Analysis Unveils Historic Life in Black Sea
Gliders Detect Endangered Whales
Gulf Stream Shift Identified
Expanded Capabilities at C&Cís Geotechnical Laboratory
HYPACK Selected for Fishery and Habitat Mapping Support
Fastwave To Offer Kongsberg Seagliders In Australian Region
Chelsea Technologies at OI China
Two International Commissions Select HYPACK
Echoview 6 Available
NOAA to Expand Hydrographic Services Advisory Panel
Underwater Technology Seminar Focussing on Ports & Harbours
Underwater Navigation Training
RiverPro ADCP and Q-View QA/QC Software Launched
comments powered by Disqus
White Shark Attack on WHOI REMUS Captured on Camera
A 3-metre-long white shark tried to have a REMUS AUV belonging to WHOI for lunch and the action was filmed by the AUV's camera. In this broadcast, WHOI researchers provide background to the attack, in which the shark's jaws exerted a pressure of 2 tons per inch to the ABC news item reporter.