The Pacific Ocean – in fact almost one-third of the Globe – is thought to have been contaminated from the leak out from the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), seeking to promote the peaceful use of Nuclear Power, in 2011 established with the Regional Cooperative Agreement (RCA) Member States, a joint IAEA Technical Cooperation (TC) project in the region of the Pacific Ocean.
It was established after the Fukushima disaster when a tsunami caused by a major earthquake on 11 March 2011, disabled the power supply and cooling of three Fukushima Daiichi reactors, causing a nuclear accident. As a result a large quantity of radioactive material was admitted into the Pacific Ocean.
Of no surprise, this caused great concern to countries based around the Pacific Ocean due to the potential economic and environmental implications. The TC project’s aim was therefore, to monitor the presence of radioactive substances in the marine environment.
The first annual review meeting held in August 2012 demonstrated predictive hydrodynamic models and they predicted that the strong current, known as the Kuroshio Current and its extension, had the ability to transport the radioactive substances across the Pacific Ocean in an easterly direction.
However, the concentration of radioactivity was not as high as originally thought. A field study found that two filter cartridges were coated, which showed elements of cesium, a radioactive substance.
The massive expansion of ocean had diluted it substantially so radioactivity remained at low levels but there was still concern over contamination of seafood even at these low levels.
The marine monitoring project was therefore, established to ensure that the seafood of the region was safe for consumption and to maintain a comprehensive overview and full facts of the situation, considering its grave implications.