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Radiation Levels off Japan Elevated but Safe: Today's Pic

Scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution sampled waters off Japan in June, looking for evidence of higher radiation levels. Levels were elevated, but not harmful to humans. This image shows their ship's route and the location of sampling stations. The red and yellow areas mark the Kuroshio Current, which moved radiation away from the accident and prevented it from moving south. Source: Image by Steven Jayne, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution sampled waters off Japan in June, looking for evidence of higher radiation levels. Levels were elevated, but not harmful to humans. This image shows their ship's route and the location of sampling stations. The red and yellow areas mark the Kuroshio Current, which moved radiation away from the accident and prevented it from moving south. Source: Image by Steven Jayne, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

By Eric Roston

The Fukushima nuclear plant meltdown in March 2011 was the largest accidental release of radiation into the ocean in history, according to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution scientists who studied the area in June. Some water samples showed radioactive particles, or radionuclides, at levels 1,000 times higher than before the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident -- but still safely below levels dangerous to humans and much sea life.

This image shows the scientists' route and the locations of their sampling stations. The red and yellow areas mark the Kuroshio Current, a regular feature in waters east of Japan. It carried radionuclides away from the accident, and also blocked them from dispersing to the south. The researchers' study was published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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-0- Apr/04/2012 16:38 GMT

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