Yukon to test for radiation in caribou herd
Researchers plan to test for radiation in Yukon's local food supply some six months after a Japanese nuclear disaster.
The Northern Contaminants Program will test caribou for radiation as part of its ongoing effort to monitor the Porcupine Caribou Herd.
The move comes after a nuclear power plant in Japan was severely damaged in March following an earthquake and tsunami, which spewed radiation into the air and water for weeks after the accident.
The decision to test for radiation is being done in part to alleviate worries of residents in the area, said Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon's Chief Medical Officer of Health.
"There have apparently been some of those questions from citizens," said Hanley. "This is in part an answer, or an attempt to answer some of those questions."
But Hanley said he's confident the test results will prove the food supply is radiation free.
"There is really no indication from any of the monitoring that has been going on since the incident in Japan back in March that there's been any significant fallout," he said.
"This is just one extra way of making sure that it hasn't worked its way into the food chain to any significant degree."
Hanley said a similar study conducted after the Chernobyl Nuclear accident 25 years ago found that radioactivity in caribou did not reach unsafe levels.
Test results on the Porcupine Caribou herd will be available next year.