Scientist wants samples from islanders for testing for radioactivity

  • Jan. 7, 2014 8:00 a.m.

A scientist at the University of Victoria is trying to find islanders and other west coast residents who’d like to submit samples to be tested for radiation associated with the Fukushima nuclear disaster of almost two years ago. Professor Jay Cullen said a plume of radioactive material from Japan was tracked across the Pacific and arrived off the west coast of North America last June. “As of 2013, (it was) detected inshore along Vancouver Island,” Dr. Cullen said, adding that there is no data for the west coast of Haida Gwaii. “More than likely, the concentrations off Vancouver Island are comparable to what you are seeing off Haida Gwaii,” he said. Dr. Cullen, who is a chemical oceanographer, said several radioactive materials have been found, with Cesium 137 the most potentially problematic. He said off Vancouver Island, a measurement of .009 Becquerels per litre was found, far below the 10 Becquerels/litre that Health Canada considers safe. “The perception that the public is getting is that there are high levels doing damage along the coast. Based on the concentrations that are being measured, that is very unlikely,” Dr. Cullen said. The plume also contains other radioactive material, including Strontium 90 at a far, far lower level than was released into the atmosphere during the nuclear bomb testing up until the 1960s. As well, radioactive isotopes of iodine, low levels of plutonium and tritium (hydrogen 3) might be in the plume. While release rates of radioactive material peaked shortly after the Fukushima disaster, and they have been dropping off since, there is no sign the release is going to stop, Dr. Cullen said. He said he thinks there needs to be more monitoring, especially since the radioactive discharge will continue. Dr. Cullen is in the process of trying to build a network along the coast to measure the incoming radiation. He’d like to see if any Haida Gwaii residents are interested. Contact him at jcullen@uvic.ca if you are.

Just Posted

New hospital recruits more junior volunteers

Ten students from GidGalang Kuuyas Naay are volunteering at the Haida Gwaii Hospital/Ngaaysdll Naay.

Site C dam goes ahead, cost estimate now up to $10.7 billion

Premier John Horgan says Christy Clark left him no other choice

Girls volleyball team scores a first for Masset

Play five times a week, mixing in three kick-butt coaches, one lucky… Continue reading

Cullen holds off on Skeena-Bulkley Valley name change

MP Nathan Cullen says Skeena-Bulkey Valley will keep its name, for now.… Continue reading

Tlellagraph: In the wake of the Supermoon, Tlellian fortunes are told

By Janet Rigg A super moon and king tides will send the… Continue reading

VIDEO: Average Canadian food bill to rise by $348 in 2018

Atlantic Canada and B.C. will see the most increases for consumers

More than 20,000 pounds of garbage removed from riverside homeless camps

Two camps taken down last week on the banks of the Fraser and Chilliwack rivers

Suspect in Revelstoke standoff killed himself: RCMP

Mohammadali Darabi, suspect in the Calgary homicide of his roommate, was stopped in Revelstoke

Clinton visits Vancouver, applauds Trudeau, celebrates Democrats’ win in Alabama

Clinton told crowd she cheered when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed the country’s first gender-balanced cabinet.

VIDEO: Salt Spring Islanders ferry piano to their floating home

Everyone enjoys a little music on the water, but not everyone has a piano on their boat

Bomb detonated in Kamloops neighbourhood

Kamloops RCMP are investigating after an improvised explosive device was detonated Wednesday morning

No More Shootouts: Strong defence will be Canada’s backbone at world juniors

Head coach doesn’t want a situation where a hot goalie or a lucky bounce can determine a team’s fate

Proposed snowmobiles along Sicamous roads concern RCMP

RCMP, ICBC and province not yet on-board with proposed off-road bylaw in the B.C. Interior

‘Assemble your own meal’ kits grow into $120M industry in Canada

Kits offer a middle ground between eating out and grocery shopping

Most Read