Sep 12 2013

Fukushima Fallout Not Affecting U.S.-Caught Fish

In recent weeks, there has been a significant uptick in news from Fukushima, Japan. Officials from the Japanese government and the Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, admitted that radioactive water is still leaking from the nuclear plant crippled by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

The new revelations about the amount of water leaking from the plant have caused a stir in the international community and led to additional scrutiny of Pacific Ocean seafood. Last week, South Korea announced it had banned all imports of Japanese seafood from a large area around Fukushima. And Al Jazeera reported that the cost to the region’s fishing industry over the past two years exceeds $3.5 billion.

Now, fears are mounting that the radiation could lead to dangerous contamination levels in seafood from more of the Pacific Basin. Numerous blog posts and articles expressed concern about the potential for higher concentrations of radioactive particles, particularly in highly migratory species such as tuna that may have encountered Fukushima’s isotopes—including highly dangerous and toxic materials such as cesium-137, strontium-90, and iodine-131—on their transoceanic travels.

Amid alarmist outcry and opposing assurances that the radiation levels in fish are no more harmful than what’s found in the average banana, I decided to dig a little deeper, and a few weeks ago, I posted a brief analysis on Climate Progress. After reading the comments on that piece, it became clear I needed to do a bit more homework.

Read the full article here.

A worker using a Geiger counter checks for possible radioactive contamination at Noryangjin Fisheries Wholesale Market in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, September 6, 2013.

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