Radiation in Fukushima fish unsafe

Radioactivity in Fukushima fish 180 times safe limit

China has been been one of the most out-spoken critics of the release of radioactive wastewater from Japan’s damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant.

Some parts of the Western media are just this week reporting that fish with cesium radioactive isotope levels up to 180 times the safe limit have been found in the Fukushima plant port. (see links below to Canadian and UK media reports dated dated 24-25 July 2023). This information was reported in the Chinese state media a full month ago, on 6 June 2023. Below we reproduce the Chinese report by CGTN.

The fish were caught and tested by the operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO). The company has been testing fish off the plant’s port since the meltdown in March 2011, when a massive earthquake and tsunami destroyed the plant’s cooling system, causing three of its reactors to fail.

Environment: Content of radioactive element in fish at Fukushima’s Nuclear Power Plant 180 times of safe limit

The radioactive elements in the marine fish caught in the harbor of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan far exceed safety levels for human consumption, according to a report issued by the plant’s operator Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) on Monday. In particular, the data released show that the content of Cs-137, a radioactive element that is a common byproduct in nuclear reactors, is 180 times that of the standard maximum stipulated in Japan’s food safety law.

CGTN downloaded the English version of the report available on TEPCO’s official website. According to the data, the sampled black rockfish contains the radioactive element Cs-137 with a content of 18,000 becquerels per kilogram. Data available on the website of Fukushima Revitalization Station run by Japan’s Fukushima prefectural government shows that Japan’s current limit of radioactive cesium in general food which contains fish is set at 100 becquerels per kilogram.  

Screenshot of Standard limits of radioactive substances for food in Japan, obtained from the website of Fukushima Revitalization Station run by Japan's Fukushima prefectural government. /CGTN

Screenshot of Standard limits of radioactive substances for food in Japan, obtained from the website of Fukushima Revitalization Station run by Japan’s Fukushima prefectural government. /CGTN

According to the report, the location where the sampled fish was caught is at the port area of Units 1 to 4 of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, where a breakwater is built and nuclear wastewater with a high concentration of radioactive substances flows in. TEPCO said it will set up multiple protective nets to prevent fish from swimming out of the harbor.

A Chinese news website sina.com.cn quoted experts noting that the radioactive elements in the nuclear wastewater could penetrate into fish, shrimp and other seafood, and later accumulate in the human body after consumption. 

A magnitude 9.0 quake on March 11, 2011, triggered a massive tsunami that destroyed the plant’s power supply and cooling systems, causing reactors No. 1, 2 and 3 to melt and spew large amounts of radiation. Water used to cool the reactors’ cores leaked into the basements of the reactor buildings and mixed with rainwater and groundwater.

Now, 12 years after the triple reactor meltdowns, Japan is preparing to release the massive amount of treated radioactive wastewater into the sea later this summer.

TEPCO on Monday started sending seawater into an underwater tunnel to be diluted before releasing the nuclear wastewater into the ocean. The company said that all facilities for the water release system are expected to be completed by the end of this month.

Local fishing communities say their businesses and livelihoods will suffer still more damage. Neighboring countries such as China and South Korea and Pacific Island nations have raised safety concerns. Environmental groups including Friends of the Earth oppose the release.

Source: CGTN, 6 June 2023. https://news.cgtn.com/news/2023-06-06/Radioactive-element-in-fish-at-Fukushima-plant-180-times-safe-limit-1kpOlJEH9xm/index.html

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