In 2014, a plume of ocean-borne radiation, originating from the Fukushima meltdown, will hit the west coast of the U.S. Initial sources warned that this could be an extremely dangerous concentration of radionuclides, but recent research and new sources have since said there is nothing to fear.
One of the researchers trying to set the record straight is Henrieta Dulaiova, an assistant professor at the University of Hawaii’s department of geology and geophysics. Dulaiova holds a Ph.D. in Chemical Oceanography and a Master of Sciences in Nuclear Chemistry and has been studying the ocean-borne radiation from Fukushima since the disaster began in 2011.
We spoke with Dulaiova over the phone about her research, being accused of working for the government, how much Americans should worry, and background radiation levels.
We asked a person on the bus what he would want to know about a plume of ocean-borne radiation hitting the West Coast. He said, “How long do I have to live?” Can you answer that question?
Honestly [laughs], there aren’t negative health effects that he can expect. The radiation will not get on the land. The questions I get most often in Hawaii are whether swimming or surfing in the ocean will be safe, which they are. He should be fine, which is why we wanted to dispute the initial claims that said otherwise.
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