West Coast kelp to be tested for Fukushima radiation

West Coast kelp to be tested for Fukushima radiation
Fishermen, Choji Suzuki, top, and his son, Fumio, work together after sorting out fish they caught aboard their boat Ebisu Maru in the waters off Iwaki, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) south of the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, Monday, Aug. 26, 2013. Suzuki's boat is one of 14 fishing boats at his port recruited by Fukushima Prefecture to conduct once-a-week fishing expeditions in rotation to measure radiation levels of fish they catch in the waters off Fukushima. Fishermen in the Iwaki fishing ports had hoped to resume test catches in September following favourable sampling results after two years of the disaster. But those plans have now been scrapped after the recent news of radiation contaminated water leak from storage tanks at the nuclear power plant. (AP Photo/Koji Ueda)

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Researchers are gathering kelp from along the West Coast to analyze it for traces of radioactive material that leaked into the Pacific Ocean from Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant.

U-T San Diego reports the Kelp Project is a research program launched by Steve Manley, a Cal State Long Beach biologist who has been studying the environmental impact of the magnitude 9.0 earthquake that damaged the plant in March 2011.

Scientists say that the radioisotopes cesium-134 and cesium-137 may have gotten picked up by ocean currents that could deliver trace amounts of the material to the California coast sometime this year.

San Diego State biologist Matt Edwards says radiation levels may not reach harmful levels but scientists need to be vigilant about tracing the progress of the radioactive material.


Information from: U-T San Diego

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.