By Jamie Morton
1:42 PM Thursday Mar 27, 2014
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Editors' Picks Japan Science
Scientists are to check whether New Zealand muttonbirds that spend the winter off the coast of Japan have been exposed to radiation from the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant.
In a new pilot study, University of Auckland scientists will investigate whether radioactive cesium has entered the New Zealand ecosystem or food chain via the birds.
The wrecked plant and its trapped contents have loomed over Japan since floodwaters from the March 2011 tsunami knocked out the plant's back-up generators that were supposed to keep cooling its nuclear fuel.
The over-heating sparked meltdowns in three reactors and forced 150,000 to flee, and tens of thousands have been unable to return home to areas contaminated by radiation.
In the study, researchers will test the birds' feathers for gamma rays that indicate the presence of the radioactive isotope cesium-134.
Feathers will be collected from prime muttonbird sites in the South Island, particularly Stewart Island.
New Zealand sooty shearwaters or titi migrate annually, spending the summer mating and raising their chicks in New Zealand before over-wintering off the coast of Japan.
[link to www.nzherald.co.nz]
Welcome to the Southern Hemisphere :(
here's the kicker....
"disclaimer in article"... "we found no cesium being passed from parent to chicks"... so yup... welcome to the Southern Hemisphere....