Japan announced earlier this month it planned to release treated radioactive water from the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean in two years.

The decision, long speculated at but delayed for years because of safety worries and protests, came during a meeting of Cabinet ministers who endorsed the ocean release as the best option.

The question is whether the treated radioactive water will have any impact on Humboldt Bay. The answer, experts and government agencies say, is not much.

“If this water is released, it will increase the radioactive load in the immediate environment (around the nuclear site), and although the amounts may be relatively low, it will prolong the recovery of this area,” said Steven L. Manley, a professor emeritus at Long Beach State University. 

“If released, it would take over a year to find its way to the waters off Humboldt and significant dilution will occur. The scientist from (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution) measured very small amounts (but measurable) of Fukushima radionuclides reaching (Humboldt County’s) coastline from the initial disastrous release. Kelp Watch found no detectable increase in kelp tissue from our shores (Alaska to Mexico) of the radionuclides that traveled the currents from Fukushima.”

Jennifer Kalt, the executive director of Humboldt Baykeeper, said she is more concerned about the people of Japan and their safety than of treated radioactive water making its way to Humboldt Bay.

But she added she’s happy there is no longer a nuclear plant locally.

“The stakes are way too high,” she said. ”I’m glad people watchdogged the power plant here and got rid of it many years ago.”

Read More