Restoring Nuclear Radiation in Japan
Earthfort was asked if our bioremediation technology could help mitigate the radiation in Fukushima’s contaminated soil.
The nuclear meltdown and release of radioactive materials following an earthquake and tsunami in Japan on March 11, 2011, was the worst nuclear disaster in history since Chernobyl. When the radioactive dust began to settle, agriculture producers were left with soil tainted with cesium fallout. Some 7000 hectares of rice and other crops around Fukushima are affected, and harvests from 2011 were deemed unfit for consumption.
Earthfort was asked if our bioremediation technology could help mitigate the radiation in these contaminated soils so that tested harvests could be free from radiation. We engaged Oregon State University’s nuclear physics department, where Dr. Kathy Higley’s Nuclear Engineering and Radiation Health Physics students agreed to conduct experiments to determine the effect of our products on the mobility and plant uptake of radiocesium in soil. Radishes were grown in radioactive soil that mimicked Japanese soil, and treated with and without Earthfort’s biological inoculants technology.
Results showed a 55% reduction in ground water radioactivity with our product, and 42% reduction in radiation uptake of radish when treated with Earthfort products. Field tests in Japan also show reduction in measured radiation. These findings have opened new avenues for soil bioremediation of nuclear fallout-contaminated soils. In fact, an OSU Masters student is following up with her own research based on this work. Yes, we can help!