Two IAEA experts examine recovery work on top of Unit 4 of TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station two years after the disaster as part of a mission to review Japan’s plans to decommission the facility. (Greg Webb/IAEA)

No adverse effects from 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster on B.C. coast: researchers

It’s been seven years since the Japanese nuclear disaster

Seven years after the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan released radioactive elements into the environment, researchers say those elements pose minimal risk to human or salmon health along British Columbia’s coast.

A team of researchers at Simon Fraser University’s nuclear science lab collected soil and salmon samples from the Quesnel and Harrison rivers and used a high-resolution gamma-ray spectroscopy to search for signs of radioactive isotopes.

The isotopes — Cesium 134 and 137 — are fission fragments that do not exist in nature and, therefore, can be directly attributed to nuclear reactions.

Lead chemist Krzysztof Starosta says that while they found evidence of the isotopes in both soil and salmon, the levels measured were very low. The team believes some of the lingering isotopes date back to 1960s nuclear weapons testing and the 1986 Chernobyl explosion.

“The levels found in both the salmon and soil samples remained below Canada’s safety guidelines, posing minimal risk to B.C.’s salmon and human populations,” Starosta said in a release.

He said it has been a relief to know the effects on the region have been so small, even if that was expected given Western Canada’s distance from Japan.

“Proximity to a nuclear disaster is critical, but wind and weather patterns that carry airborne radioisotopes should also be of concerns. Wherever these radioisotopes land, they will eventually decay and release some degree of radiation,” he said.

The team’s findings were published in the Canadian Journal of Chemistry.

The Fukushima disaster occurred March 11, 2011, when a tsunami knocked out power at the seaside Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, causing partial meltdowns in three reactors.

Japan marked the anniversary Sunday with an official ceremony in Tokyo. More than 18,000 people died in the tsunami and 70,000 are still displaced from their homes.

Amy Smart, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

The Latest: UK leader congratulates royals on birth of son

LONDON — The Latest on the royal baby birth: 1:50 p.m. British… Continue reading

Key events in the life of William, Kate and their family

LONDON — The Duchess of Cambridge gave birth Monday to a baby… Continue reading

Broncos families surprised obituaries are on website selling services

Some families of Humboldt Broncos bus crash victims are surprised to learn… Continue reading

‘It’s limitless:’ Paralyzed toddler moves from homemade wheelchair to treadmill

EDMONTON — Evelyn Moore sings the alphabet song as her tiny running… Continue reading

Shania Twain apologizes for saying she would have voted for Donald Trump

Shania Twain is apologizing after telling a British newspaper that she would… Continue reading

Replay Red Deer April 22, 2018

Watch weekly news highlights from Red Deer and Central Alberta

Crosby, Penguins keep 3rd straight championship in sight

PHILADELPHIA — Sidney Crosby tormented the Flyers just as he has from… Continue reading

29-year-old chef dies after collapsing at London Marathon

London Marathon organizers say a 29-year-old man died after collapsing near the… Continue reading

Greece beats budget target as it looks to post-bailout era

ATHENS, Greece — Greece has beaten its budget targets for a third… Continue reading

Etiquette and protocol highlights for royal wedding guests

NEW YORK — Grab those nude stockings, ladies. You’ll be at a… Continue reading

Federal environment minister defends BP Canada’s plans to drill in N.S.

HALIFAX — Federal Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna is defending… Continue reading

Facebook’s privacy changes look different for Europeans and Americans

All 2.2 billion people who use Facebook will soon see changes to… Continue reading

Vermont wants to turn tourists into workers

Vermont has forest trails, yoga retreats, breweries galore – and a labor… Continue reading

Trump leading on North Korea, says envoy to Canada as G7 ministers meet

TORONTO — Donald Trump’s envoy to Canada says her president is leading… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month