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Japan's Environment and Nuclear Minister Goshi Hosono, second from left, inspects a pool containing spent fuel rods inside the No. 4 reactor building at Tokyo Electric Power Co. 's tsunami-crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan, Saturday, May 26, 2012. (AP Photo/Toshiaki Shimizu, Japan Pool) JAPAN OUT
Researchers are gathering kelp from along the West Coast to analyze it for traces of radioactive material that leaked into the Pacific Ocean from Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant.
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U-T San Diego reports the Kelp Project is a research program launched by Steve Manley, a Cal State Long Beach biologist who has been studying the environmental impact of the magnitude 9.0 earthquake that damaged the plant in March 2011.
Scientists say that the radioisotopes cesium-134 and cesium-137 may have gotten picked up by ocean currents that could deliver trace amounts of the material to the California coast sometime this year.
San Diego State biologist Matt Edwards says radiation levels may not reach harmful levels but scientists need to be vigilant about tracing the progress of the radioactive material.