Inletkeeper testing shows no Fukushima radiation in Cook Inlet

  • By Rashah McChesney
  • Tuesday, November 11, 2014 10:54pm
  • News

A test on Cook Inlet waters turned up no evidence of radiation emissions from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster having made its way into the area.

A crowdsourced funding effort through Cook Inletkeeper raised enough money to fund one test — though the organization is still soliciting donations for further testing at its crowdrise.com funding page — and the organization on Monday announced the results of its test on water sampled in September, north of Yukon Island in Kachemak Bay.

Cook Inletkeeper Executive Director Bob Shavelson said during a June interview that the Fukushima nuclear disaster had stirred up fear and misinformation and the organization had received a lot of calls from Alaskans concerned about Cook Inlet fisheries.

The Japanese reactor was disabled after a major earthquake in 2011, and high radioactive releases were measured during the week following the earthquake, according to the World Nuclear Association. However, the Federal Food and Drug Administration, which is responsible for monitoring the nation’s food supply, has yet to find any evidence of radioactive contamination in U.S. food supplies, according to a March update on the organization’s website. In addition, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation and Department of Health and Social Services announced in 2014 that the two organizations’ tests of Alaska’s seafood have shown the product to be safe to consume.

The Cook Inlet water sample was analyzed at the Woods Hole Center for Marine and Environmental Radiation and, according to an Inletkeeper media release, the sample contained very little evidence of radioactive material in the water. What was detected is normal background radiation levels for the Pacific Ocean and is traceable to nuclear weapons testing in the 1960s, according to the release.

On Monday, the Center for Marine and Environmental Radiation announced that it had detected small amounts of radiation from Fukushima about 100 miles west of Eureka, California.

However, the Fukushima-derived radiation levels are below levels expected to present a risk to human or marine life, according to the organization’s announcement and the levels were more than 1,000 times lower than the acceptable limits to drinking water set by the U.S. EPA.

The institute has been conducting sampling throughout the West Coast of the United States and in the Pacific Ocean, the results of which can be found at ourradioactiveocean.org.

If additional funding comes through, Inletkeeper intends to sample again in 2015, according to its release.

Shavelson said the additional testing had more to do with timing and monitoring the water each successive year, than fears that waters situated in other portions of the Cook Inlet could be contaminated.

“I think it’s just prudent to take another look at it,” he said.

Rashah McChesney can be reached at rashah.mcchesney@peninsulaclarion.com

More in News

LaDawn Druce asks Sen. Jesse Bjorkman a question during a town hall event on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
District unions call for ‘walk-in’ school funding protest

The unions have issued invitations to city councils, the borough assembly, the Board of Education and others

tease
House District 6 race gets 3rd candidate

Alana Greear filed a letter of intent to run on April 5

Kenai City Hall is seen on Feb. 20, 2020, in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai water treatment plant project moves forward

The city will contract with Anchorage-based HDL Engineering Consultants for design and engineering of a new water treatment plant pumphouse

Students of Soldotna High School stage a walkout in protest of the veto of Senate Bill 140 in front of their school in Soldotna, Alaska, on Wednesday, April 17, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
SoHi students walk out for school funding

The protest was in response to the veto of an education bill that would have increased school funding

The Kenai Courthouse as seen on Monday, July 3, 2023, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Clam Gulch resident convicted of 60 counts for sexual abuse of a minor

The conviction came at the end of a three-week trial at the Kenai Courthouse

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly meets in Seward, Alaska, on Tuesday, April 16, 2024. (screenshot)
Borough awards contract for replacement of Seward High School track

The project is part of a bond package that funds major deferred maintenance projects at 10 borough schools

Kenai Peninsula Education Association President LaDawn Druce, left, and committee Chair Jason Tauriainen, right, participate in the first meeting of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District’s Four Day School Week Ad Hoc Committee on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2024, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
4-day school week committee talks purpose of potential change, possible calendar

The change could help curb costs on things like substitutes, according to district estimates

A studded tire is attached to a very cool car in the parking lot of the Peninsula Clarion in Kenai, Alaska, on Monday, April 15, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Studded tire removal deadline extended

A 15-day extension was issued via emergency order for communities above the 60 degrees latitude line

A sign for Peninsula Community Health Services stands outside their facility in Soldotna, Alaska, on Monday, April 15, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
PCHS to pursue Nikiski expansion, moves to meet other community needs

PCHS is a private, nonprofit organization that provides access to health care to anyone in the community

Most Read