An environmental cleanup company with engineering headquarters in Richland, Washington, has just flown its second water treatment system to Japan with a massive plane.

It’s intended to treat thousands of gallons of radioactive water leaking from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant.


An oceanography institute announced Monday that trace amounts of radioactivity from Fukushima have been detected off the West Coast. This stems from the 2011 nuclear plant accident in Japan. Radiation experts say the very low levels of radioactivity measured do not pose a health threat here.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

It's been more than three years since the Fukushima nuclear plant accident resulted in a spill of millions of gallons of radioactive cooling water into the Pacific. Oceanographers projected that it could take until this year for highly diluted traces of that spill in Japan to reach our coast (i.e., the West Coast of North America). Radiation experts don't believe there is cause for alarm on our shores. But some coastal residents are stepping forward to pay for seawater testing just to be sure. Correspondent Tom Banse reports.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

Japan’s crippled nuclear plant is bleeding hazardous radioactive water at a mind-staggering rate. Officials at Fukushima Daiich are filling 27-feet-tall tanks nearly every other day. Now, in southeast Washington, a company called Kurion is developing and building a mobile filter system to help deal with that troublesome radioactive wastewater.

The filtering system looks like five large shipping containers. Except, they’re awfully shiny and have a lot of high-tech whiz-bang pipes, electronics and tanks inside. Workers here are still welding, and testing the systems.

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was destroyed by the earthquake that hit Japan in 2011. Radiation has made its way into the Pacific Ocean, raising concerns about exposure to Cesium-134 and 137. 

The people overseeing the cleanup of the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster are learning some valuable lessons from the long-running cleanup at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. A Japanese government delegation recently toured some of the southeast Washington site.

In Japan, workers in gloves and masks are grinding down sidewalks and roads, wiping down rooftops and bagging contaminated soil. Now, the problem is where to put all that radioactive waste from Fukushima.

OSU Radiation Health Physics program

Researchers with Oregon State University and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say they’ve detected minute amounts of radioactivity from the Fukushima reactor meltdown in albacore tuna caught along the West Coast. It's not considered a health threat at all.

Photo by Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

You might find it unsettling to move to a place where some residents routinely scan their groceries with a Geiger counter. Also in this place, automated radiation monitors stand guard outside parks and schools. The place we're talking about is Minamisoma, Japan... just down the road from the nuclear reactors that melted down last year. But a 23-year-old art instructor from Pendleton says volunteering in this shaken city is like living a dream. She's helping out in her hometown's sister city. Correspondent Tom Banse visited Japan's Fukushima Prefecture and has this report.