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Birds Could Be Flying Japan Radiation Around Pacific Rim April 4, 2014
Pacific map with migratory paths of shearwater birds.
Route of migrating shearwaters across the Pacific shows just how far any nuclear contamination could be carried by them around the Pacific Rim.
Migratory seabirds that spend part of the year around New Zealand after flying in from Japan’s coastal waters are being checked for contamination from the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

A study by the University of Auckland is investigating whether radioactive cesium has entered the New Zealand ecosystem or food chain via the shearwaters, known in New Zealand as muttonbirds.

Physicist David Krofcheck told NZ Newswire that the “detection of gamma rays would tell us whether the birds spend sufficient time near Fukushima to accumulate cesium-134 from nuclear fission.”

Vast amounts of contaminated water from the meltdown-plagued Fukushima Daiichi plant have poured into the Pacific since the disaster began in March 2011.

Fish have since been measured with unsafe levels of nuclear contamination.

Because the shearwaters feed on seafood, it is feared the long-haul birds could be carrying radioactive debris for many thousands of miles around the Pacific Rim.

Photo: National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NZ)