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Fukushima groundwater contamination

Digging for Radioactivity

Former WHOI post-doctoral scientist Virginie Sanial sampled groundwater beneath beaches in Japan to look for radioactive cesium-137 from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear plant accident. To her surprise, she and colleagues found that radioactive cesium has accumulated in sands and brackish groundwater beneath beaches up to 60 miles from the plant. What's more, waves and tides can subsequently carry it back into the ocean. The scientists say this previously unknown, ongoing, and persistent source of radioactive contamination to oceans should be taken into account when monitoring nuclear power plants and future accidents. (Photo by Matt Charette, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


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