Experts to discuss concerns about radioactive dispersion; viewers can ask questions via Twitter during May 9 session
FRISCO — More than two years have passed since a 9.0 earthquake and a 50-foot tsunami catastrophically damaged the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant on Japan’s northeast coast, but questions still linger about the long-term impacts of radioactive pollution in the ocean.
The quake and tsunami killed about 20,000 people, and some coastal Japanese fisheries are still closed due to concern about the radiation. Next week, an international panel of scientists will discuss the accident and potential impacts to the environment and human health in a web-streamed session at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
The panel will be held on May 9, 2013, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. EDT and simulcast on the Web (http://www.whoi.edu/fukushima). Online viewers are encouraged to participate and send questions for the panel discussion via Twitter. The event hashtag is #WHOIfukushima. Questions during the discussion can also be sent via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The panel will look at natural and human sources of radiation in the ocean, what was released from Fukushima, impacts on marine ecosystems and human health, public policy implications, and how information is communicated to the public.
“The goal is not to alarm or assign blame, but to talk about lessons learned from this tragic event,” said WHOI senior scientist and marine chemist Ken Buesseler, who led the first international, multidisciplinary assessment of the levels and dispersion of radioactive substances in the Pacific Ocean off the Fukushima nuclear power plant in June 2011.
Following the short keynote presentations, Heather Goldstone, host of Living Lab on WCAI, the Cape and Islands NPR station, will moderate a panel discussion from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. EDT.
The program will include presentations by:
- Mitsuo Uematsu, University of Tokyo
“The Fukushima Disaster: An Overview”
- Ken Buesseler, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
“Radioisotopes in the Ocean”
- Jota Kanda, Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology
“Radioisotopes in Marine Life”
- Hiroyuki Matsuda, Yokohama National University
“Seafood Safety and Public Policy”
- James Seward, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
“Impacts of Radioactivity on Human Health”
- Dennis Normile, Science Magazine
“The Role of the Media in Disasters”
- Jian Lin, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
“Tsunamis and nuclear power in the U.S.”
The program is part of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s Morss Colloquia series, established thanks to a generous gift by Elisabeth W. and Henry A. Morss, Jr.