Testing confirms northern island still free of radiation contamination

  • Mar. 16, 2015 10:00 a.m.

By Quinn BenderHaida Gwaii ObserverOngoing monitoring of radiation levels around Old Massett since the meltdown of a Japanese nuclear reactor in 2011 have once again indicated islanders have no current cause for alarm.Since the catastrophic Fukishima disaster, Old Massett’s economic development officer, John Disney, has been monitoring atmospheric radiation levels in 10-second intervals on a 24-hour basis. Last month a radiation testing program in Prince Rupert caused a mild stir in local media over renewed radiation concerns. However, in addition to atmospheric testing, Disney has also recently sampled rain and ocean water, plus razor clams, butter clams and various debris brought to him by the public, each item of which failed to produce radiation readings that don’t already occur naturally on the earth’s surface.”In fact,” he said, “The average reading from the station here in Old Massett is running at about a third the global average. By this I mean that my readings are several orders of magnitude below any kind of danger level.”Disney presented his findings to village council during the last regular meeting.”You know, you read about elevated readings of [radiation] detected in the Lower Mainland, well then immediately Facebook starts up and everyone gets worried. But they fail to tell you that the levels went from extremely low to a little bit less than extremely low. And that’s still a million miles away from any danger level.”Disney embarked on his amateur testing program as far back as the 1980s, when a similar concern arose from Russia’s Chernobyl meltdown. “The health authority said there was no reason for concern, but then I heard from a woman who had her own water tested and the numbers were over the acceptable limit-they were through the roof. I collected my own rainwater at the time, so for the safety of my family I began testing it,” he says. “That experience taught me not to always believe the authorities, because they want to tell you everything is fine. When Disney started testing for Fukushima impacts, he did so for the immediate benefit of his community. Since then, he says, his data has earned the trust of citizens and community leaders all along the west coast from Oregon through to Alaska.Disney sends his samples for testing to a private facility in Saskatchewan. In Old Massett his office is furnished with a geiger counter and monitoring station for atmospheric testing. In the three years since firing up his monitoring station, his data shows radiation levels have only come to brush against the danger level, but dropped again before it became a concern. Disney welcomes anyone to bring in a small piece of debris or samples of food products for testing if they are concerned about contamination.

Just Posted

December windstorms led to record ferry cancellations

Baileys for breakfast? It may not be what the doctor ordered, but… Continue reading

RCMP to review actions at Wet’suwet’en pipeline protest camps

Senior Mountie says he hopes protests will be peaceful following deal with hereditary chiefs

On the Wing: Christmas Bird Count #4 — Skidegate Inlet

By Margo Hearne The marine forecast read “winds northwest 15 to 25… Continue reading

Haida Gwaii mountain biking gets in gear

The frost was gone, but the iced puddles on Mac Blo Road… Continue reading

Letters: A thank-you and update from Hooterville

First and foremost, I wish to express my gratitude to the many… Continue reading

VIDEO: Car flies across median, flips over edge of B.C. overpass

Dash cam footage shows vehicle speeding across Brunette Avenue overpass in Coquitlam

Indigenous energy summit includes session on pipeline ownership options

Steven Saddleback of the Indian Resource Council says a session will feature presentations on financing models

Japanese grand champion Kisenosato retires from sumo

The 32-year-old Kisenosato was the first Japanese-born wrestler in 19 years to gain promotion to sumo’s highest rank

UPDATE: Accused B.C. high school killer found fit to stand trial

Gabriel Klein is accused in the 2016 stabbing death of Letisha Reimer at Abbotsford Senior Secondary

Right-wing, neo-Nazi, white supremacist groups an increasing concern: Goodale

Ten people died in April 2018 when Alek Minassian allegedly drove a rental van down the busy stretch in Toronto

Canadian stock exchanges to conduct lottery for ‘POT’ ticker amid high demand

The symbol became available after fertilizer Potash Corp. officially merged with Agrium Inc. in early 2018

Millennial Money: Don’t let Instagram envy get you into debt

A full 48 per cent of U.S. households have credit card debt

Jury debates fate of man accused of killing 12-year-old B.C. girl 40 years ago

Police allege Garry Handlen told a cop how he abducted, sexually assaulted and strangled Monica Jack in May 1978

Most Read