Guy Kovner, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
No radiation from the crippled Fukushima nuclear reactors was detected in a high-tech analysis of kelp samples collected along the West Coast this spring, including two sites in Mendocino and Marin counties.
But scientists participating in the Kelp Watch 2014 program said the absence of the telltale isotope — Cesium-134 — was not surprising, and results reported this week will establish a “baseline” for radiation already present in coastal waters.
A radioactive plume stretching 5,000 miles across the Pacific Ocean from Japan is expected to reach North America sometime this year and follow-up collections of kelp samples in July and October are intended to measure it.
“It’s out there, but it’s very diluted and it hasn’t rubbed up against our shoreline yet,” said Steven Manley, a marine biologist at Cal State Long Beach and co-leader of Kelp Watch 2014.