At this point, there is no threat to sea life in the Pacific, says Sergei Dobrolyubov, head of the oceanography department at Moscow State University's Geography Faculty. Water absorbs radiation quite well, so sea animals and plants should not be seriously affected.
"Water moves around like crazy in the Pacific, so any particles that get into the water will be spread around quickly," says Antonina Polyakova, an assistant professor of the Geography Faculty. Moreover, the radioactive decay half-life of nuclides like iodine-131 is only eight days.
Fish are generally more resistant to radiation than mammals.
"A lethal dose of radiation for a human is around 500 rem; it is twice as high for fish," Polyakova said. "This means that the fish life in the region will survive."
But Polyakova warns against eating fish and mollusks caught in the contaminated area. Mollusks accumulate heavy metals, such as mercury and cadmium, and can also absorb radioactive particles.
However, this is the first time in human history that several reactors have been damaged simultaneously, Yablokov said. As such, no one can say for sure what will happen to people in the contaminated zone in five or ten years, or what diseases they may get.
He believes aircraft should be used to release reagents over the radioactive clouds, causing radionuclides to fall into the ocean in rain.
The deadly clouds released by the explosion at Chernobyl could have reached Moscow and other large industrial centers otherwise, but reagents were used to stimulate rain near Tula, Ryazan, Bryansk and Kaluga.
The current situation is simpler in one way: The ocean is much better at neutralizing radioactive particles than the soil.
Corexit sky edition?