Fukushima’s Radioactive Water to Hit United States Shores Soon, Probably Won’t Make You the Hulk
Or Spider-Man. Probably.
“Hey, there’s some radioactive water coming to fill up the ocean around your shores,” only sounds like good news if you’re looking for a really bizarre new origin story for Aquaman. Luckily, it’s not terrible news, either. At least in the case of the water from the Fukushima nuclear plant mishap, it’s not, because it looks like the water, which will reach the US soon, is within safety standards.
After the nuclear power plant in Fukushima was disrupted and its cores melted down in 2011 due to the tsunami triggered by the Tōhoku earthquake, it leaked a whole lot of radiation-contaminated water into the ocean. People, especially those who live along the coast of the Pacific ocean, have been understandably concerned for their safety, so news that the water is safe ahead of its arrival on US shores is welcome.
The water has already reached the coast of Canada, where cesium isotopes cesium-134 and cesium-137 have been detected. Cesium-134 has a relatively short half-life of only two years, so any water with cesium-134 in the Pacific ocean right now came directly from Fukushima.
Luckily, John Smith, a Canadian research scientist who is either the Doctor in disguise or just a guy with an unfortunately fake-souding name for a scientist, said today at the American Geophysical Union’s Ocean Sciences Meeting in Honolulu that the radiation levels in the water are well within Canada’s safe standards for drinking water. You know, if ocean water fit into “safe for drinking” standards.
The water has arrived pretty much right on schedule according to predictions by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution:
So, while only cesium-137 and not the telling cesium-134 have been found in waters off of the US west coast, you can rest assured that when the water arrives there, it won’t pose a biological risk to human or animal life. Unfortunately, it won’t turn you into a super hero, either, but that’s mostly unrelated to the radiation levels and more because that’s something that doesn’t happen in real life.
As far as we know.