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J Environ Radioact. 2013 Oct;124:205-13. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvrad.2013.05.013. Epub 2013 Jul 1.

Monitoring rainwater and seaweed reveals the presence of (131)I in southwest and central British Columbia, Canada following the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan.

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  • 1Simon Fraser University, Department of Chemistry, 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, BC, Canada V5A 1S6.


Detailed analysis of (131)I levels in rainwater and in three species of seaweed (Fucus distichus Linnaeus, Macrocystis pyrifera, and Pyropia fallax) collected in southwest British Columbia and Bella Bella, B.C., Canada was performed using gamma-ray spectroscopy following the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident on March 11, 2011. Maximum (131)I activity was found to be 5.8(7) Bq/L in rainwater collected at the campus of Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, B.C. nine days after the accident. Concomitantly, maximum observed activity in the brown seaweed F. distichus Linnaeus was observed to be 130(7) Bq/kg dry weight in samples collected in North Vancouver 11 days following the accident and 67(6) Bq/kg dry weight in samples collected from the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre on Vancouver Island 17 days following the accident. The (131)I activity in seaweed samples collected in southwest B.C. following the Fukushima accident was an order of magnitude less than what was observed following Chernobyl. Iodine-131 activity in F. distichus Linnaeus remained detectable for 60 days following the accident and was detectable in each seaweed species collected. The Germanium Detector for Elemental Analysis and Radioactivity Studies (GEARS) was modeled using the Geant4 software package and developed as an analytical tool by the Nuclear Science group in the Simon Fraser University Department of Chemistry for the purpose of these measurements.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Detector development; Fukushima; Radiation monitoring; Seaweed

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