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Sunday, 3 August 2014

Ocean Radioactivity

A very important comment/correction from Ken Buesseler, adressed to the New York Times, which to my opinion talks plenty. 

"To the Editor:

Your article about lessons learned from the Fukushima Daiichi disaster (“Nuclear Plants Should Focus on Risks Posed by External Events,” news article, July 25) was based on a new report by the National Academy of Sciences. What is missing from the article and the report is a discussion of ocean contamination.

Fukushima constituted the largest unintentional release of radioactivity into the ocean in history. Public concerns in the United States over the safety of seafood and the marine environment have grown, given that ocean currents are predicted to be bringing low-level contamination to our shores this year.

The general lack of a United States government effort to monitor radiation along the West Coast has only increased public anxieties. As a marine radiochemist, I have relied on private foundations and even crowdsourcing ( to track Fukushima radiation arriving on our shores.

With more than 20 nuclear reactors near American coasts and many more around the world’s oceans, surely one of the key lessons is the need to expand our understanding of what constitutes an appropriate level of both preparedness and response, including studies of ocean radioactivity."

Woods Hole, Mass., July 28, 2014
The writer is director of the Center for Marine and Environmental Radioactivity at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
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