Scientists to Monitor California Kelp Forests For Fukushima Radiation
While publicly downplaying the threat posed by Fukushima radiation to the west coast, government scientists are preparing to monitor kelp forests across the entire state of California for contamination from the crippled nuclear power plant.
19 academic and government institutions will take part in the project, dubbed Kelp Watch 2014, which will collect samples of Giant Kelp and Bull Kelp from across the entire Californian coastline.
Sampling will begin next month and end in late winter, with scientists from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory involved in the study.
“It is imperative that we monitor this coastal forest for any radioactive contaminants that will be arriving this year in the ocean currents from the Fukushima disaster,” CSULB biology professor Steven L. Manley Manley told CBS News.
Experts at the Institute for Cross-Disciplinary Physics and Complex Systems in Spain have concluded that the plume of radioactive cesium-137 released by the Fukushima disaster in 2011 will begin reaching U.S. coastal waters in early 2014.
While publicly scoffing at independent researchers concerned about Fukushima radiation, public health authorities have been making preparations which many see as being connected to the ongoing crisis at the Daiichi nuclear plant.
The Department of Health and Human Services recently ordered 14 million doses of potassium iodide, the compound that protects the body from radioactive poisoning in the aftermath of severe nuclear accidents, but a DHHS official denied that the purchase was connected to the Fukushima crisis.
High levels of radioactivity have already been detected on beaches in San Francisco, although officials were quick to assert that the findings had no connection to Fukushima.