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A Marine Food Web Bioaccumulation model for Cesium 137 in the Pacific Northwest

Authors:

Abstract

The Fukushima nuclear accident on 11 March 2011 emerged as a global threat to the conservation of the Pacific Ocean, human health, and marine biodiversity. On April 11 (2011), the Fukushima nuclear plant reached the severity level 7, equivalent to that of the 1986-Chernobyl nuclear disaster. This accident was defined by the International Atomic Energy Agency as “a major release of radioactive material with widespread health and environmental effects requiring implementation of planned and extended countermeasures”. Despite the looming threat of radiation, there has been scant attention and inadequate radiation monitoring. This is unfortunate, as the potential radioactive contamination of seafoods through bioaccumulation of radioisotopes (i.e. 137Cs) in marine and coastal food webs are issues of major concern for the public health of coastal communities. While releases of 137Cs into the Pacific after the Fukushima nuclear accident are subject to high degree of dilution in the ocean, 137Cs activities are also prone to concentrate in marine food-webs. With the aim to track the long term fate and bioaccumulation of 137Cs in marine organisms of the Northwest Pacific, we assessed the bioaccumulation potential of 137Cs in a North West Pacific foodweb by developing, applying and testing a simulation time dependent bioaccumulation model in a marine mammalian food web that includes fish-eating resident killer whales (Orcinus orca) as the apex predator. The model outcomes showed that 137Cs can be expected to bioaccumulate gradually over time in the food web as demonstrated through the use of the slope of the trophic magnification factor (TMF) for 137Cs, which was significantly higher than one (TMF > 1.0; p < 0.0001), ranging from 5.0 at 365 days of simulation to 30 at 10,950 days. From 1 year to 30 years of simulation, the 137Cs activities predicted in the male killer whale were 6.0 to 182 times 137Cs activities in its major prey (Chinook salmon, Oncorhynchus tshawytscha). Bioaccumulation of 137Cs was characterized by slow uptake and elimination rates in upper trophic level organisms and dominance of dietary consumption in the uptake of 137CS. This modeling work showed that in addition to the ocean dilution of 137Cs, a magnification of this radionuclide takes place in the marine food web over time.
SETAC North America 35th Annual Meeting Alava, J. "A Marine Food Web Bioaccumulation model for Cesium 137 in th..."
[23228]
Control ID: 23228
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Submitted On: May 28th 2014 10:47:22 AM
SESSION TRACK: Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management
REQUESTED SESSION: The Fukushima Legacy [Nikolaus Gantner]
REVIEWER COMMENTS:
Nikolaus Gantner: Excellent abstract and an important contribution to the session in terms of modeling
efforts and bioaccumulation. Provides long-term perspective on the issue.
Juan Jose Alava: [No Comments]
REVIEWER RECOMMENDATIONS:
Nikolaus Gantner: Accept as Platform
Juan Jose Alava: [No Recommendation]
REQUESTED PRESENTATION TYPE: Platform
Student Presentation Award:
TITLE: A Marine Food Web Bioaccumulation model for Cesium 137 in the Pacific Northwest
AUTHORS/INSTITUTIONS: Juan Jose Alava, Simon Fraser University / School of Resource and
Environmental Management; Frank Gobas, Simon Fraser University / School of Resource and Environmental
Management Faculty of Environment
PRESENTER (E-MAIL ONLY): jalavasa@sfu.ca
AGREE TO BE RECORDED: TRUE
ABSTRACT BODY: The Fukushima nuclear accident on 11 March 2011 emerged as a global threat to the
conservation of the Pacific Ocean, human health, and marine biodiversity. On April 11 (2011), the Fukushima
nuclear plant reached the severity level 7, equivalent to that of the 1986-Chernobyl nuclear disaster. This
accident was defined by the International Atomic Energy Agency as “a major release of radioactive material
with widespread health and environmental effects requiring implementation of planned and extended
countermeasures”. Despite the looming threat of radiation, there has been scant attention and inadequate
radiation monitoring. This is unfortunate, as the potential radioactive contamination of seafoods through
bioaccumulation of radioisotopes (i.e. 137Cs) in marine and coastal food webs are issues of major concern for
the public health of coastal communities. While releases of 137Cs into the Pacific after the Fukushima nuclear
accident are subject to high degree of dilution in the ocean, 137Cs activities are also prone to concentrate in
marine food-webs. With the aim to track the long term fate and bioaccumulation of 137Cs in marine organisms
of the Northwest Pacific, we assessed the bioaccumulation potential of 137Cs in a North West Pacific food-
web by developing, applying and testing a simulation time dependent bioaccumulation model in a marine
mammalian food web that includes fish-eating resident killer whales (Orcinus orca) as the apex predator. The
model outcomes showed that 137Cs can be expected to bioaccumulate gradually over time in the food web as
demonstrated through the use of the slope of the trophic magnification factor (TMF) for 137Cs, which was
significantly higher than one (TMF > 1.0; p < 0.0001), ranging from 5.0 at 365 days of simulation to 30 at
10,950 days. From 1 year to 30 years of simulation, the 137Cs activities predicted in the male killer whale were
6.0 to 182 times 137Cs activities in its major prey (Chinook salmon, Oncorhynchus tshawytscha).
Bioaccumulation of 137Cs was characterized by slow uptake and elimination rates in upper trophic level
organisms and dominance of dietary consumption in the uptake of 137CS. This modeling work showed that in
addition to the ocean dilution of 137Cs, a magnification of this radionuclide takes place in the marine food web
over time.
KEYWORDS: Bioaccumulation, Ecological risk assessment, Ecotoxicology, Monitoring
Auto-generated by SETAC Meeting Management System for Juan Jose Alava July 2nd 2014 1:56:58 PM
Chapter
Full-text available
The World Health Organization’s ‘energy ladder’ illustrates the forms of energy found across the globe today, ranging from scavenged animal dung to electricity as fueled primarily by coal, hydropower, and nuclear energy. In this chapter, we argue that this ladder positions catastrophic risks at every rung, including ecological destruction and human warfare. Ulrich Beck theorized how catastrophic risks are engineered into modern western infrastructures, and then denied or falsely made manageable, as we witnessed with the 2010 Gulf of Mexico British Petroleum oil spill and the 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis. Such catastrophic crises symbolically eclipse the equally significant—yet less spectacular—injustices and environmental degradation wrought routinely across carbon and nuclear supply chains. The concept of [liberal] ‘dispossession’ is adopted from critical social theory to name the conditions of sustained energy injustice found in western civilizations as its powerful energy complexes knowingly deny the scope and severity of externalized costs, thereby discouraging public awareness of needed change for a sustainable future.
Chapter
This chapter first briefly discusses definitions of political economy, political ecology, and social justice. It then presents five different theoretical concepts or lenses that offer a novel way of evaluating and assessing energy systems. Political ecology research attempts to understand conflict over energy resources. Tyranny, dispossession, and peripheralization research seeks to investigate the sacrifice of one group over another more powerful group in energy decision-making. Global production networks research examines the activities and structures that transform labor, nature, and capital into commodities and services. Enclosure and exclusion research explores the power regimes, processes, or ideologies that enclosure upon resources or exclude agents from access. Energy justice research examines dimensions of fairness and equity in energy decisions and practices. In tandem, these five novel concepts suggest that, firstly, we need to think about energy technology and systems as more than simply hardware, and that secondly, conflict and struggle are part and parcel of the process of the diffusion of new energy technologies and the formulation of energy policies. No matter how noble the intentions of engineers and planners, they have their own inescapable underlying political ecology and ramifications for justice.
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