2011 Japan nuclear disaster spreads radiation to US shores

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In March 2011, a massive earthquake triggered a tsunami that struck the Fukushima nuclear plant, 130 miles (209 km) northeast of Tokyo, causing triple nuclear meltdowns and forcing more than 160,000 residents to flee from nearby towns. It was the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986.Radiation from Japan’s 2011 nuclear disaster has spread off North American shores and contamination is increasing at previously identified sites, although levels are still too low to threaten human or ocean life, scientists said on Thursday.

Tests of hundreds of samples of Pacific Ocean water confirmed that Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant continues to leak radioactive isotopes more than four years after its meltdown, said Ken Buesseler, marine radiochemist with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.Trace amounts of cesium-134 have been detected within several hundred miles (km) of the Oregon, Washington and California coasts in recent months, as well as offshore from Canada’s Vancouver Island.

 

 

 

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