Have you been downing iodine like mad to protect your body against all that nuclear radiation emitted from the Fukushima meltdown? If so, it looks like your precautions might have been a bit premature, as recent research shows it took more than two years for the cesium 134 and 137 particles to journey from Japan across the Pacific to the West Coast of North America. And even since then, radiation levels in the waters remain at levels considered safe.
The Los Angeles Times reports that researchers from the Bedford Institute of Oceanography in Nova Scotia, Canada, have been testing samples of ocean water from the Pacific to determine how much of the two radioactive elements it contained, and saw no significant changes in the water’s radioactivity until June of 2013 – more than two years after the meltdown in 2011. And even then, the scientists found very little change in the radiation levels. The Los Angeles Times reports that:
“The amount of radiation that finally made it to Canada’s west coast by June 2013 was very small — less than 1 Becquerels per cubic meter. (Becquerels are the number of decay events per second per 260 gallons of water.) That is more than 1,000 times lower than acceptable limits in drinking water, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.”
Despite that, radiation levels in North American waters from Fukushima are still building and haven’t yet reached their peak. Computer models show radiation levels will peak in 2015 and 2016 in British Columbia, Canada, but will still be below 5 Becquerels per cubic meter. John Smith of the Bedford Institute told the Los Angeles Times that those levels are still quite safe. “Those levels of cesium 147 are still well below natural levels of radioactivity in the ocean,” he said.