University of Hawaii scientists are seeking to lessen anxieties about the potential health risks from Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster in the wake of recent international reports warning that dangerous levels of radiation could hit the west coast of the United States next year.
The distribution of the impact strength of Cesium-137 at year 1.5 (a), year 3.5 (b) and year 4 (c). (SOURCE: Han G J, et al. Sci China Earth Sci August (2013) Vol.56 No.8)
Earlier this month, a study published in Science Chinawarned that radiation leaking from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is becoming more concentrated as it crosses the Pacific Ocean, rather than dispersing, and that it is making a beeline for the west coast of the United States. The study, coupled with recent disclosures by Tokyo Electric Power Company, or Tepco, that radiation-contaminated water continues to leak into the ocean, has rekindled public concerns about health dangers.
But local scientists at the International Pacific Research Center who have been tracking the nuclear disaster caused by Japan’s devastating earthquake and tsunami in 2011 say that the findings published in the Chinese scientific journal are simply wrong and that the health risks to residents on the West Coast and Hawaii are somewhere between minuscule and non-existent.
“This is a bad disaster,” said Henrieta Dulaiova, an assistant professor in UH’s Department of Geology and Geophysics. “But I don’t like scientists causing panic in the public.”
See also: Study shows Fukushima nuclear pollution becoming more concentrated as it approaches U.S. West Coast — Plume crosses ocean in a nearly straight line toward N. America — Appears to stay together with little dispersion (MODEL)