Public lecture video by Institute of Contemporary Asian Studies (ICAS). This lecture was held on October 19, 2015. Panelists were Ken O. Buesseler and Azby Brown.
The triple disaster of the March 11, 2011 earthquake, tsunami, and subsequent radiation releases at Fukushima Dai-ichi were unprecedented events for the ocean and society. Although levels of cesium in the ocean and being released from Fukushima nuclear power plants four and one half years later are more than a thousand times lower than in 2011, other isotopes such as strontium-90 are becoming of greater concern as they are elevated relative to cesium in the groundwater and storage tanks at the reactor site. Across the Pacific, ocean currents carrying Fukushima cesium are predicted to be detectable along the west coast of North America by 2015, and though models suggest at levels below those considered of human health concern, measurements are needed. A report will be given on Our Radioactive Ocean (http://ourradioactiveocean.org), a citizen scientist effort launched to monitor the arrival of Fukushima cesium along the North American west coast. We will also introduce new efforts to engage the public in monitoring ocean radioactivity using the “RadBand”, a wearable device designed to sample for cesium isotopes while swimming. The RadBand will be worn during a cross-Pacific swim by Ben Lecomte as part of his Longest Swim effort which is starting later this year.