Potential environmental impact of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant accident
4 years later
Keywords:Fukushima Daiichi, Cesium 134, Cesium 137, Gamma, Radiation, Vancouver beaches
Background and Purpose: The 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor incident in Japan resulted in the release of large quantities of radioactive material into the Pacific Ocean through deposition from the atmosphere and liquid discharges from the nuclear facility. Public misconceptions and the scarcity of radiation monitoring along the west coast of Canada have create doubt within the population regarding the safety of the ocean. A radiation survey along some of Vancouver’s beaches was completed to determine whether radioactivity from Fukushima has reached our local shores. Methods: Radiation surveys were conducted at three different locations; Sunset, Spanish Banks and Jericho Beach in Vancouver, British Columbia. Gamma radiation levels were measured using both the Radeye, GR 135 Plus EXPLORANIUM survey meters. At each beach, 30 samples of water, sand and various different artifacts including algae, stones and logs were each surveying. If the radiation detected exceed 0.05μSv/Hr the identification function of the GR 135 Plus EXPLORANIUM would be used to determine if it was from natural or artificial sources. The radiation levels were compared to the expected normal background levels (between 0.05μSv/Hr- 1.0 μSv/Hr) as well as to observed if there was any sufficient differences between the mediums under investigation. Results: The radiation levels along all three beaches did not exceed normal background levels (between 0.05μSv/Hr- 1.0 μSv/Hr). Furthermore, characteristic radionuclides released from this incident, specifically Cesium 134 and Cesium 134, were not detected. There was no sufficient difference between the radiation levels observed from the sand, water and different artifacts (logs, stones, and algae) Conclusion: It was concluded that the radiation levels along the beaches, Jericho, Spanish Banks and Sunset Beach do not present an additional risk to the public visiting this area as a result of this incident.
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