Through a citizen science sampling effort, Our Radioactive Ocean, that he launched in 2014, as well as research funded by the National Science Foundation, Buesseler and his colleagues are using sophisticated sensors to look for minute levels of ocean-borne radioactivity from Fukushima.
“Levels today off Japan are thousands of times lower than during the peak releases in 2011.
That said, finding values that are still elevated off Fukushima confirms that there is continued release from the plant,” said Buesseler.
During his most recent trip this October they collected samples of ocean water, marine organisms, seafloor sediment and groundwater along the coast near the reactors.
Buesseler says the levels of radioactivity off Fukushima remain elevated – some 10 to 100 times higher than off the US West Coast today, and he is working with colleagues at WHOI to try to determine how much radioactive material is still being released to the ocean each day.
“These new data are important for two reasons,” said Buesseler.