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Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution leads expedition to measure radioactive contaminants in Pacific
Date:6/2/2011

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) will lead the first international, multidisciplinary assessment of the levels and dispersion of radioactive substances in the Pacific Ocean off the Fukushima nuclear power planta research effort funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

"This project will address fundamental questions about the impact of this release of radiation to the ocean, and in the process enhance international collaboration and sharing of scientific data," said Vicki Chandler, Chief Program Officer, Science at the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. "It is our hope that through this adverse event, we can increase our current knowledge about various natural and man-made sources of radioactivity in the ocean, and how they might ultimately impact ocean life and health around the world."

The shipboard research team, which includes scientists from labs in the U.S., Japan, and Spain, will collect water and biological samples and take ocean current measurements in an area 200 km x 200 km offshore of the plant and further offshore along the Kuroshio Current. Their work will build on efforts by Japanese scientists and lay the foundation for expanded international collaboration and long-term research of questions related releases from the Fukushima plant.

In addition to those on board, collaboration will include scientists at labs at Oxford University (U.K.), the University of Tokyo and the Tokyo Institute of Technology (Japan), the IAEA Environment Laboratories (Monaco), the University of Bremen (Germany) Comenius University Bratislava (Slovakia), Savannah River National Laboratory, Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory, and the University of Hawaii (U.S.).

The 15-day expedition aboard the University of Hawaii's research vessel Kaimikai-O-Kanoloa departs June 4.

The release of radioactivity from the partial meltdowns, hydrogen explosions and fires that began March 11 at the Fukushima plant, and the ru
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Contact: Stephanie Murphy
samurphy@whoi.edu
508-289-2271
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Source:Eurekalert

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