Fukushima reactor radiation detected off coast of B.C.

VICTORIA — Radiation from the leaking Fukushima nuclear reactor in Japan has been detected on the shores of Vancouver Island.

Scientists say it’s the first time since a tsunami in Japan four years ago that radiation has been found on the shorelines of North America.

Low levels of the radioactive isotope Cesium−134 were collected last February in waters off a dock at Ucluelet, B.C., about 315 kilometres west of Victoria.

University of Victoria chemical oceanographer Jay Cullen says that amount of radiation is minuscule and does not pose risks to human health or the ocean ecosystem.

He says the radiation measurements found off Ucluelet are more than 1,000 times lower than Canadian drinking water standards for radiation levels.

Scientists and citizen volunteers have been collecting water samples at more than 60 sites along the Canadian and U.S. west coasts and in Hawaii over the past 15 months looking for traces of radioactive isotopes from Japan.

 

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