Japan's "triple disaster," as it has become known, began on March 11, 2011, with a magnitude 9.0 earthquakethe fourth largest ever recorded. Following the quake, a 40 to 50-foot tsunami inundated the northeast Japanese coast and resulted in an estimated 20,000 missing or dead. The massive wave also caused catastrophic damage to the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant.
The release of radioactivity from Fukushimaboth as atmospheric fallout and direct discharges to the oceanrepresent the largest accidental release of radiation to the ocean in history. More than two years after the disaster, some Japanese coastal fisheries remain closed. Questions and concerns over continued radioactive water leaks from the plant remain as well.
The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) will convene international experts at a public colloquium to explore the impact of Fukushima on the ocean and human health. The panel will be held on May 9, 2013, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. EDT and simulcast on the Web (http://www.whoi.edu/fukushima). Online viewers are encouraged to participate and send questions for the panel discussion via Twitter. The event hashtag is #WHOIfukushima. Questions during the discussion can also be sent via email to email@example.com.
Presentations and a panel discussion will examine natural and human sources of radiation in the ocean, what was released from Fukushima, impacts on marine ecosystems and human health, public policy implications, and how information is communicated to the public.
"The goal is not to alarm or assign blame, but to talk about lessons learned from this tragic event," said WHOI senior scientist and marine chemist Ken Buesseler, who led the first international, multidisciplinary assessment of the levels and dispersion of radioactive substances in the Pacific Ocean off the Fukushima nuclear power plant in June 2011.
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Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution