Scientist detected for the first time radioactive material from the Fukushima nuclear disaster of 2011, off the coast of Canada on Monday.
The sample analyzed were collected in February this year off the coast of Ucluelet, a small town on Vancouver Island.
The results were revealed by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution that has been leading efforts to determine the radioactivity in world oceans since the Fukushima disaster.
However the levels the group detected are extremely low. For example, swimming in the Vancouver Island water every day for a year would provide a dose of radiation less than a thousand times smaller than a single dental X-ray, the institution explained.
Although the levels of radioactivity were very low to pose a threat to human or maritime life, the new discovery has raised ongoing concerns of radioactive material in the world’s oceans.
Last February a new leak in the Fukushima plant was reported, and ended in the Pacific Ocean.
As Ken Buesseler, senior scientist in marine chemistry and geochemistry at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, explained in an interview with the L.A. Times in 2013, the debris carried through the ocean by the Fukushima disaster does have an impact on maritime life, despite not being a radioactive hazard.
That year every bluefin tuna tested in Californian waters was contaminated with radiation originating in Fukushima
The debris washed out by the sea “carries invasive species, which will be of serious concern to coastal ecosystems on the West Coast,” he explained.
Woods Hole has began a fundraising campaign to determine – through water samples and other elements – how radioactive are our oceans and the possible impact this could have in the future.