Working Group 30: Assessment of Marine Environmental Quality of Radiation around the North Pacific
  • Acronym: WG 30
  • Parent Committee: MEQ
  • Term:
    Aug. 2013 - Dec. 2016
    Extended: Dec. 2016 - 2017 (GC Decisions 2016/S/11)
  • Co-Chairs:
    Kathryn A. Higley (
    Yusheng Zhang (
Mission Statement

Marine ecosystems are impacted by multiple stressors (temperature, ocean acidification, hypoxia/eutrophication, etc.) which can affect ecosystem function, structure and dynamics in complex ways. An emerging question is: do changing patterns of radioactivity constitute an additional stressor to the ecosystem in the North Pacific? This question can be addressed by conceptual frameworks and low-order, process-based models that simulate the cycling of radionuclides through North Pacific environmental compartments. These results can be used by health physicists to predict radiological doses and by ecosystem scientists to explore hypotheses linking ecosystem dynamics to variability in the natural and anthropogenic radiation environments.

Terms of Reference
  1. Determine and compare radiological doses to North Pacific marine organisms, where data are available, from natural and anthropogenic radionuclides using existing data bases, newly acquired post-Fukushima monitoring results, and state-of-the-art dosimetric approaches.
  2. Examine the utility of applying natural and artificial (Fukushima and other sources) radionuclides as tracers of circulation, ecological transfers, biogeochemical cycling and consequences of climate change in the North Pacific, including the downstream interconnectivity.
  3. Determine the state of the science relative to assessment and mitigation of radiological impacts to marine organisms from natural and anthropogenic releases of radionuclides into the North Pacific marine environment, including a summary of peer reviewed literature and an overview of major sources and types of radiological releases into the marine environment.
  4. Foster collaboration with other expert groups, especially physical oceanographers and climate modellers, to achieve goals in items 1-3.
  5. Identify priority research requirements for knowledge gaps in items 1-3, the impacts on the marine environment from the planned expansion of nuclear facilities, other emerging nuclear issues and other sources of radionuclides in the PICES region.
  6. Promote collaboration in oceanographic studies using radio-tracer distributions and exchanging available information on environmental radioactivity, and encourage joint surveys/research among PICES member countries and international organizations.
  7. Contribute to FUTURE by producing a report on whether radioactive pollution is an additional stressor to the marine ecosystem in the North Pacific Ocean.
Annual Meetings


2016, 2014, 2013

Session and Workshop Summaries

W10, Distribution and risk analysis of radionuclides in the North Pacific

W5, Monitoring and assessment of environmental radioactivity in the North Pacific

S3, Tipping points: defining reference points for ecological indicators of multiple stressors in coastal and marine ecosystem:
Presentation by Yusheng Zhang

MEQ Paper Session
Presentations by John N. Smith, Galina S. Borisenko

MEQ Paper Session

Primary Journals

Joint SCOR WG 146/PICES WG 30 review paper, Fukushima Daiichi–Derived radionuclides in the ocean: Transport, fate, and impacts. 2017. Annual Review of Marine Science 9: 173–203.

Related Materials and Links

Report of Study Group on Radionuclide Science in the North Pacific Ocean

Study Group report

Members as of Oct. 2017