When Japan was hit by an earthquake and subsequent tsunami in 2011 the fall out from the Fukushima nuclear power plant was immediately realized as workers struggled to contain several breaches, now researchers working off the cost of California have found that the nuclear fallout from that disaster has reached the oceans of the United States.
Measuring radioactive iodine found in giant kelp beds off Laguna Beach in Santa Cruz researchers discovered that within a month radioactive levels were produced at higher levels than previously measured.
In the groups study published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology they warn that the higher measurement “represents a significant input into the kept forest ecosystem.”
While slightly elevated levels of radiation found in kelp do not post an immediate risk to humans it still shows the effects a nuclear leak in another part of the world can have on ecosystems thousands of miles away, especially when that nuclear facility is located right next to the ocean.
According to the researcher, radioactive isotope iodine 131 was released into the atmosphere following last years disaster an was then carried across the Pacific where it was deposited into the sea by rain.
At this time researchers are still attempting to collect more data about the iodine 131 deposit so they can determine what effects it might have on the native kelp population. Researchers point out that various organisms dine on kelp including sea urchins and crustaceans. In some cases fish that already have iodine in their systems could be greatly affected.