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Press Release 11-100
After Japan Nuclear Power Plant Disaster: How Much Radioactivity in the Oceans?

National Science Foundation awards rapid-response grants to establish ocean radionuclide levels from Fukushima

Back to article | Note about images

World map showing Cesium-137 levels in the surface ocean as of 1990.

Radiation level in the oceans in 1990, mostly from nuclear weapons testing, measured in Becquerels.

Credit: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution


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Gamma-spectrum of a 20-liter seawater sample from Guam collected on April 11, 2011.

Gamma-spectrum of a 20-liter seawater sample from Guam collected on April 11, 2011.

Credit: Henrieta Dulaiova, University of Hawaii


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Photo showing plastic containers filled with seawater from the central Pacific ocean.

Hundreds of liters of seawater are sampled for radioactivity from the central Pacific Ocean.

Credit: Henrieta Dulaiova, University of Hawaii


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Satellite image from 160 kilometers north of the Fukushima power plant.

Satellite image from 160 kilometers (100 miles) north of the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan. Japan's two large ocean currents--the Kuroshio and the Oyashio--converge here.

Credit: NASA


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Graph of latitude vs. longitude contoured for speed showing the path of ocean currents off Japan.

A single frame from an animation showing the path of ocean currents off Japan.

Credit: SIROCCO coastal ocean modeling program


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Illustration showing human sources of Cesium-137 compared to natural radionuclides in the ocean.

Human sources of radiation in the atmosphere, compared with natural radionuclides in the ocean.

Credit: Jack Cook, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution


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