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California Researchers To Monitor State's Kelp Forests For Fukushima Radioactive Contamination

LOS ANGELES ( — Researchers from California State University Long Beach are set to monitor the state's kelp forests for radioactive contamination resulting from the meltdown of Fukushima's nuclear power plant in Japan.

Radioactive iodine traces from the March 11, 2011 earthquake, tsunami and meltdown had been detected a month later in kelp forests along the Orange County shoreline.

The ongoing study, which has been dubbed Kelp Watch 2014, aims to examine samples of Giant Kelp and Bull Kelp all along the California coast.

"The California kelp forest is a highly productive and complex ecosystem and a valuable state resource," CSULB biology professor Steven L. Manley said.

Manley is partnering with scientists from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory for the study.

"It is imperative that we monitor this coastal forest for any radioactive contaminants that will be arriving this year in the ocean currents from the Fukushima disaster," Manley said.

19 academic and government institutions are participating in the project, along with three other organizations and businesses.

Sampling is set to being in mid-February and will end in late winter.

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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