Fukushima radiation arrives in Bering Sea



Low levels of cesium-137 from the Fukushima nuclear power plant have been detected near Saint Lawrence Island in the Bering Sea.

Sampling conducted by residents of the island show the reach of the northern edge of Fukushima’s plume. Cesium-137 levels higher than before the 2011 nuclear power plant accident in Japan, Alaska Sea Grant agent Gay Sheffield said.

Cesium-137 is a byproduct of nuclear fission and is traceable in the environment. Measurable amounts of radioactive substances are found in the ocean from both naturally occurring and man-made sources, such as nuclear weapons tests and accidental releases from nuclear reactors. Fukushima failed after the Tōhoku earthquake Japan on March 11, 2011, mostly a result of the tsunami that followed.

The amount of the contamination is extremely low, according to the Alaska Sea Grant report. It’s west of the mainland in the Bering Sea and is actually closer to Russia than to the North American continent.

In March 2011, a tsunami damaged Japan’s Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, sending unprecedented levels of radioactive materials into the Pacific Ocean. Saint Lawrence Island residents anticipated that Fukushima-related contamination would eventually reach the Bering Sea based on their knowledge of ocean currents.

“I knew that those Japanese currents would come to our waters and so that’s why I volunteered to do the testing,” said Eddie Ungott, a resident of Gambell.

Ungott has been collecting seawater samples for several years off the coast of Gambell. He sends them to Sheffield in Nome who then ships them to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts for analysis. During 2014, 2015 and 2017, the lab found very low levels of cesium-137, similar to those prior to the Fukushima nuclear accident. No testing was done in 2016 due to lack of funding.

Saint Lawrence Island has about 1,300 residents and is

[Read the rest of the story at Alaska Sea Grant]


  1. This is an inevitable outcome to this disaster. Hopefully it won’t happen again?
    BTW this story was on Drudge three days ago….how did AK media miss it?

  2. Why no media coverage?

    Can you imagine the newASMI slogan?

    We precook your fish sandwich so you don’t have to.

    I am sure Fish Radio is prepping a big weekend release to splash in the ADN and AK Journal of Commerce.

  3. I am glad to see MRAK covering stories like this that will effect our environment and potentially the health of fish and sea life (as well as Alaskans) in the years to come.
    It is my understanding that the melted rods are still in the ground at Fukushima and continue to add radiation to the ocean day after day.
    How will this effect the fisheries around Bristol Bay and the Bering Sea?
    Alaska should appoint a panel of scientists to closely monitor this situation.
    “More than seven years after the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis, radioactive water is continuing to flow into the Pacific Ocean from the crippled No. 1 plant at a rate of around 2 billion becquerels a day, a study has found.
    The radioactive water is generated in a process to cool melted nuclear fuel at three damaged reactors at the complex.
    “It can be assumed that there is a path from the complex to the ocean” through which contaminated water flows, Aoyama said.”


    • Steve, maybe you need to learn the difference between radiation and contamination. Your complete post is nothing more than political hogwash. Try learning about something before trying to post about it.

  4. The levels reported are not harmful to fish, or humans. If you were to eat a fish or go swimming near Fukushima you would have problems. To be worried at the miniscule levels detected and the miniscule increase is time wasted, don’t go outside, don’t watxh tv, don’t use your computer…the list goes on and on on things that havehigher levels of radiation. We live in a world bombarded by radiation day and night.


  5. This is not the first time this appeared on our shores and waters. Won’t be the lasttime!!Do what you have too and be prepared for years ahead!!

  6. Wow..it must suck to be a Snow Flake millennial who hasn’t ever had an original thought or a true challenge.

  7. TEPCO who operated the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant is a subsidiary of GE…
    This may explain the lack of concern in U.S. Media sources for the severity of this situation.
    With Cancer already at the top of the list for mortality in Alaska, I know that I will not be eating any fish out of the Pacific Ocean.
    The site at Fukushima is still leaking radiation at a level of 300 tons of radioactive waste a day.
    Reports vary from fish found off the coast of Canada with bloody mouths, to star fish die off in Oregon to high levels of radiation on California beaches and in Blue Fin Tuna.
    I am certain if Alaska had more scientists dedicated to researching radiation levels in the waters off of AK’s coastline that they would uncover more radiation as well, but there is no sense in alarming the “Consumers”.


    • Boy Steve, you’ve outdone yourself here IMO.
      To stop eating fish from the Pacific is drastic, to say the least, but what are you going to replace it with?
      Get your farmed fish and shrimp right here! Heheh!

  8. I am sure the Left is thrilled at this report — anything, ANYTHING to create fear in the population. And, it is all so very dangerous but WE have several ideas to prevent this from happening again. These things will be good for you, we guarantee it. Please do not ask about the costs.

  9. There are millions of gallons of radioactive waste in containers that are leaking, buried in washington state from uranium production in usa. See any problems there? Fukushima is a drop in the bucket compared to how massively we have destroyed the earth and space.

  10. Let’s put this into perspective. The Chernobyl disaster was ONE nuclear reactor meltdown (that has now been contained).

    Fukushima was THREE total reactor MELTDOWNS, that have NOT been contained. The fuel rods are working their way to China, and thousands of gallons per day of nuclear waste water have been pouring into the Pacific everyday since 2011, and will still be pouring into the Pacific long after most of us are dead and gone.

    That is the cold, hard reality.

    Is it one of the causes of our salmon stocks crashing? We may never know.

    However, it would be nice if Japan stopped using the Pacific as a Fukushima nuclear waste dumping ground.

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