Trace of Fukushima found


While the Integrated Fukushima Ocean Radionuclide Monitoring network reported the Cesium-134 containing sockeye was found in Okanagan Lake, the government data the report references shows that the sockeye samples were actually taken from the Okanagan River, in the South Okanagan. 

Castanet has reached out to Jay Cullen, a researcher with the network, for clarification, and he is looking into the exact location the sample was taken from. 

A sockeye salmon containing trace amounts of a radioactive isotope from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear plant disaster in Japan was found in Okanagan Lake.

The discovery was made in the summer of 2015 by the Integrated Fukushima Ocean Radionuclide Monitoring network, an organization of academic, government and non-government organizations that are acquiring data and assessing the risks to Canada's oceans posed by the nuclear plant's meltdown and release of radioactive material.

The data was published in a recent report

Jay Cullen, an earth and ocean science professor at the University of Victoria, says the organization has examined about 400 fish since beginning in 2014, and has built on Health Canada measurements that go back to 2011.

The organization has found eight fish with detectable levels of “artificial isotopes from human activities,” which can be attributed to nuclear weapons testing, the Chernobyl disaster of 1986, or the Fukushima meltdown.

In one of those eight fish, the one found in Okanagan Lake, researchers were able to detect the element Cesium-134, the “fingerprint isotope of Fukushima,” according to Cullen.

He says the levels of the element detected were incredibly low, “10,000 times lower than the maximum allowable level in food set by Health Canada.”

Cullen said their research has shown that there has been no increase to the risk of eating Pacific salmon since the Fukushima incident.


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