Fairbanks, Alaska council passes resolution about radiation concern

Pacific Currents flowing Fukushima Radiation to Alaska

Pacific Currents flowing Fukushima Radiation to Alaska

FAIRBANKS — The 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster is getting attention from both Fairbanks local governments on the third anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami.

By a unanimous vote Monday, the Fairbanks City Council passed a resolution urging the state and federal government, as well as the United Nations, to do more radiation testing in Alaska waters.

The resolution was introduced by Fairbanks City Mayor John Eberhart and had the support of the council and several people who came to testify. Among them was John Davies, a member of the Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly. Davies said he was concerned about radiation from Japan spreading to salmon he dip nets for at Chitina. He told the City Council that he plans to introduce a similar resolution before the borough assembly.

“I don’t personally have evidence that there’s a problem right now, but there’s enough concern out there that I would like to know the answers,” he said.

Earlier this year, Larry Hartig, the state commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation, testified for lawmakers in Juneau about Fukushima radiation. Hartig said radiation levels were at a tiny fraction of the levels required to cause health problems. People ingest more radiation from eating a banana than from eating a tuna from the North Pacific Ocean, he said.

Concern about Fukuskima radiation also was raised at the Tanana Chiefs Conference convention Tuesday in Fairbanks.

P.J. Simon, a delegate from Allakaket, said possible radiation in migrating salmon posed a risk to subsistence activities. He urged both Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Sen. Mark Begich, who spoke at the convention via video conference, to support investigation of the issue.

Both Alaska senators said there isn’t evidence that harmful levels of radiation are making it to Alaska or its food supply. But they agreed that ongoing federal monitoring efforts should continue to make sure a radiation threat doesn’t emerge.

“We need to be vigilant on this,” Murkowski said.