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Radiation Protection

Does EPA monitor the ocean for radiation from Fukushima?

The EPA does not monitor or sample ocean waters. However, state and international organizations have provided ocean monitoring in the wake of the Fukushima incident.

In late 2015, ocean monitoring by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), a marine research organization, detected very small amounts of radioactivity from the 2011 Fukushima incident 1,600 miles west of San Francisco. Radiation levels in the seawater were minute and pose no health risk. The WHOI is no longer monitoring ocean water for radioactivity after the Fukushima incident. To read the 2015 press release, visit Higher Levels of Fukushima Cesium Detected OffshoreExit 

At the state level, the Oregon Public Health Division is monitoring the air, sand and water on the northern, central and southern coasts of Oregon for higher than normal levels of radiation due to the Japan tsunami. For more information, visit Japan Tsunami Marine Debris Information.

Operating outside of the U.S., the Integrated Fukushima Ocean Radionuclide Monitoring (InFORM) network compiles data to assess radiological risks to Canada’s oceans associated with the Fukushima nuclear disaster. InFORM includes members from Canadian governmental and academic sectors, along with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in the United States, to assess environmental and human health risk from Fukushima radiation on the west coast of Canada and North America. Monitoring data compiled is part of the InFORM network and reported for the Pacific Ocean. For more information about the InFORM network and to view the data, visit Fukushima InFORM.Exit 

Return to Frequent Questions about Radiation Protection.