Does radiation travel across the sea ?



Tracking Japan’s Tsunami Debris

Using historical weather patterns, NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory developed this model of how debris will circulate across the Pacific Ocean.

Although a year has passed since Japan’s tsunami sucked tons of wood, nets and other debris into the Pacific Ocean, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration continues to track the rubble and urges others to do so to help focus cleanup efforts.

The total amount of debris is unknown — the Japanese government is fine-tuning its estimate of the amount that was generated and sank initially, said Ruth Yender, NOAA’s Japan tsunami marine debris coordinator. And immediately after the event, satellite imagery showed large swaths of floating junk, which dispersed a few months later.

So NOAA is using other means, including higher resolution satellite imagery and the public’s participation, to collect information for planning and cleanup purposes.

NOAA developed a model (above) and a map (below) to track where debris likely will circulate in the Pacific Ocean. It launched a marine debris tracker app, which people can use to log rubble they find along coastlines and in waterways. They also can email the agency with their finds.

Does radiation travels across the sea ?


Click on map for a larger version. Courtesy of J. Churnside/NOAA’s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research.

It doesn’t matter if the trash is from the tsunami or other sources. “Debris is not a new thing. It washes ashore everyday, and it can be a hazard to marine life,” Yender said. Whales, sea lions and other creatures can ingest it or become entangled, and it also can do damage to coral reefs and boat propellers, she said.

So by gauging any changes in volume and composition, NOAA and other state, local and federal agencies can know where to ramp up their cleanup efforts.

Since nuclear reactors, including those at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, were damaged in the earthquake, there was a concern of radioactive contamination. But agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency and Federal Emergency Management Agency have examined tests of nearby damaged vessels and other tsunami remnants, and determined it was “very highly unlikely” the spreading debris would be radioactive, Yender said.


[Note] Tsunami hit before nuclear accidents, so Tsunami debris is actually unlikely to be contaminated. However, the map suggests how contaminated water travels around in Pacific ocean.










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9 Responses to “Does radiation travel across the sea ?”

  1. [...] background-color:#222222; background-repeat : no-repeat; } – Today, 12:52 [...]

  2. Myla Reson says:

    Yes. Radiation does travel across the sea. Specifically it finds its way from the ongoing Fukushima Nuclear Catastrophe across the Pacific Ocean to the shores of North America and beyond. The portion of Fukushima tsunami debris that was already contaminated with radioactivity prior to March 11, 2011 will most likely account for a very small percentage of the radionuclides that cross the Pacific Ocean.

    Of much greater concern is the Fukushima Dai-ichi radioactivity continually released into the ocean and the atmosphere for more than a year.

    Myla Reson
    Venice, California

  3. Pahl Dixon says:

    Sad but true, especially for waterpeople and sea animals. :( The Pacific is becoming more poisonous each day. Check out for proactive supplementation to withstand fallout/driftout that helped people near Chernobyl.

  4. Adam says:


    You need to improve your game/angle – the headline talks about the question radiation crossing the ocean? Yet the article and issue is about debris

    I’ve got no doubt some debris will be radioactive (and potentially highly) – but the better point and answer would be it already has through both the water and air.

    I’ve seen a rapid decline – in the quality of articles – I know data is hard – but the 4-5 (and two – to three heresay articles – e.g. 1X school kids had heart infarction (or similar) – ain’t really helping push the truth.

    I do strongly believe that 1) man made radiation is highly dangerous – for life, health and existence 2) nuclear rights and responsibilities should be global – given their potential impact 3) Some nuclear techs (and possibly nuclear tech in general) – will be important for human civilization (e.g. propulsion to another planet 4) Nuclear can be safer – e.g. Thorium Reactors … I think there is a 000′ more to follow

    I also respect and thank you for your hard efforts

    But I hope you look to expand the content to raise/cover some possible lessons or suggestions.

    I know its hard with a lack of good solid data and shared government reporting – but I think therein lies your bigger questions! – and hopefully some possible answers.

    Goodluck dude!

  5. Adam says:

    A small addition / correction – I did not highlight that you mentioned “However, the map suggests how contaminated water travels around in Pacific ocean.” – but if this is the key answer there is alot more to explain / outline.

    e.g. how different radio nuclides travel – e.g. abosportion and are deposited e.g. different weight of isotopes and expected / suggested behavior

    Probably the biggest question hasn’t been asked

    Why are we allowing large scale uncontrolled experimentation for the profit of a few and risk of a species.

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