Barkley Sound seaweed being tested for radiation from Japan

SFU researchers are testing seaweed from Barkley Sound for traces of radiation from Japan's damaged nuclear reactors.

Seaweed from Barkley Sound is being tested for radiation resulting from Japan’s damaged Fukushima nuclear reactors, a Simon Fraser University news release said.

But there is no immediate danger to the public, researchers cautioned.

Scientists from SFU are conducting the tests.

Specifically, researchers are looking for increased levels of the radioisotope iodine-131

Water and seaweed samples collected from the Lower Mainland on March 9-25 have tested positive for increased levels of iodine-131.

The levels are low and not a danger to the public.

Japan’s crisis involving its six nuclear reactors are likely responsible for the radiation detection.

The reactors were damaged in the earthquake and tsunami that struck the east coast of Japan two weeks ago.

“The only possible source of iodine-131 in the atmosphere is a release from a nuclear fission,” SFU nucleaer scientist Kris Starosta said.

“Iodine-131 has a half life of eight days, thus we conclude the only possible release which could happen is from the Fukushima incident.”

The jet stream is carrying the radiation from Japan to North America.

reporter@albernivalleynews.com

Read the update to this story here.