Researchers are working to see how quickly radioactive material from Fukushima will hit North America's west coast.
Wood Hole Oceanographic Institution released the "How Radioactive Is Our Ocean," website and has already received 70 donations that will go towards further research on the approaching radioactive water, a news release reported. The site gives information on the pressing issue and allows the general public to make tax-deductible donations.
There is currently no U.S. or international plan to manage or monitor the advancing radioactive water.
"We've received a lot of interest from the public so far, which has been great. Right now we're gathering important baseline data, but we need continual support in order to monitor the plume over the long-term," WHOI marine chemist Ken Buesseler, said in the news release.
Buesseler said he does not expect the levels to be dangerously high in the water or even seafood as the contamination spreads, but he stressed monitoring was crucial in case these predications turn out to be false.
"We need to know the actual levels of radiation coming at us," community activist Bing Gong, said in the news release. "There's so much disinformation out there. We really need actual data."
Gong has raised enough money in Point Reyes, Calif. to sample the local water four times over the course of the year.
"My motivation was concern over fear-mongering on the Internet about allegedly high levels of Fukushima radiation in the coastal waters of California. I am a radiation oncologist, more familiar than most with radioactivity, and it seemed highly likely that the vast dilution of radioisotopes from Fukushima by the Pacific Ocean would result in a barely (if at all) measurable rise in counts," Doctor Roger Gilbert, a radiation oncologist in Mendocino, Calif. who also raised money for the cause, said in the news release.
The samples Buesseler has taken so far have been determined to be negative for new cesium-134 (an isotope released by the disaster) contamination.
"The reason why we see such low levels of radiation in these samples is because the plume is not here yet. But it's coming. And we'll actually be able to see its arrival," Buesseler said. "That baseline data is critical."