Radiation from Japan nuclear plant arrives on Alaska coast
Scientists concerned about lack of monitoring plan
Scientists at the University of Alaska are concerned about radiation leaking from Japan's damaged Fukushima nuclear plant, and the lack of a monitoring plan.
Some radiation has arrived in northern Alaska and along the west coast. That's raised concern over contamination of fish and wildlife. More may be heading toward coastal communities like Haines and Skagway.
Douglas Dasher, a researcher at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, says radiation levels in Alaskan waters could reach Cold War levels.
"The levels they are projecting in some of the models are in the ballpark of what they saw in the North Pacific in the 1960s," he said.
John Kelley, a professor emeritus at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, says he's not sure contamination will reach dangerous levels for humans but says without better data, who will know?
"The data they will need is not only past data but current data, and if no one is sampling anything then we won't really know it, will we?
"The general concern was, is the food supply safe? And I don't think anyone can really answer that definitively."
He says much of the monitoring is being done pro bono by universities, NGOs and state organizations.