Bill Laughing-Bear testing a dead whale for a radiation reading in Alaska.
Radioactive cesium five times above permitted levels in Japan has been detected in black rockfish caught in northeastern Fukushima Prefecture, according to a Feb. 22 announcement by a local fishing association. Some 500 becquerels per kilogram of cesium was found in black rockfish caught at a depth of 24 meters about 8.8 kilometres off the town of Shinchi, exceeding the national standard level of 100 becquerels per kilogram. The Fukushima Prefectural Federation of Fisheries Co-operative Associations has since halted the distribution of the fish until it can confirm their safety.
The voluntary suspension of seafood shipments by the fishing body marks the first time since October 2019, when 53 becquerels per kilogram of radioactive cesium was detected in a white sea perch, exceeding the standard level set by the group at 50 becquerels per kilogram. The fishing association has been conducting test fishing since June 2012 on a limited scale. After shipping restrictions on common skate were lifted in February 2020, the shipment of all fish was permitted. The fishing body aims to resume full fishing operations in April. (Japanese original by Hideyuki Kakinuma, Fukushima Bureau).
Japan and the Olympics
In 2021 the Olympic Games will finally come to Tokyo, the Japanese government will focus on the games to show the world that the stricken site of Fukushima is safe and is on course to be totally clean in forty years. However, Ernie Gunderson of the Fairwinds website claimed in 2019, the site will never be safe due to radioactive isotopes spreading across the site and surrounding landscape for the coming 300 to 250,000 years. Fukushima’s reactor cores have been in direct contact with groundwater since 2011 when the accident occurred leaving toxic radioactive waters leaking at an alarming rate into the Pacific.
One million ton headache!
Meanwhile, a report by Karyn Nishimura for AFP News in October 2019 claimed, on the grounds of the ravaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant sits a million-tonne headache for the plant's operators and Japan's government: tank after tank of water contaminated with radioactive elements. What to do with the enormous amount of water, which grows by around 150 tonnes a day. The water comes from several different sources: some is used for cooling at the plant, groundwater that seeps into the plant daily, along with rainwater, add to the problem. Each can hold 1,200 tonnes but most of them are already full. At the end of 2020, all the tanks will be full and the toxic water will have to be dumped into the Pacific Ocean.
Dump it in the Pacific
Last year, nearly a decade after the Fukushima nuclear disaster, Japan’s government decided to release contaminated water from the destroyed plant into the sea, according to a report by CNN. More than a million tons of radioactive water has built up at the Fukushima Nuclear Plant which was crippled during the 2011 earthquake and tsunami as operator Tokyo Electric (Tepco) tries to cool the melted fuel cores by pouring water over them. Tepco has said it will run out of tank space by mid-2022. The decision rankled neighbouring countries like South Korea, which has already stepped up radiation tests of food from Japan and further devastate the fishing industry in Fukushima that has battled against such a move for years. It has long been known marine life in the area has been contaminated by leaking water seeping radiation into the sea.
American and Canadian fish contaminated.
In 2017, A study by the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa revealed almost 50% of fish consumed on the islands of Hawai’i were contaminated with caesium 134 the radioactive finger-print of Fukushima. The report also showed that migrating organisms can transport the Fukushima-signature (caesium 134) over significant distances as they showed detectable 134Cs (6.3±1.5 Bq/kg) in Pacific bluefin tuna caught off the California coast only a year after the incident. Another study found caesium 134 in longfin tuna (Albacore) along the western coast of the US just one year after the Fukushima disaster.
The recent findings as you might expect are being played down and the usual sound-bites are telling us "it's nothing to worry about," something the powers that be have been saying for more than 10 years now, with and still they are no nearer to fixing the problem. The latest study by Alaska Sea Grant agent, Gay Sheffield claimed, a slightly elevated level of radioactive contamination connected to the Fukushima nuclear disaster has been detected in the northern Bering Sea. The level of caesium-137, a radioactive isotope, is extremely low and not considered a health concern, according to state epidemiologists. The sampling, conducted by residents of Saint Lawrence Island, documents the Fukushima plume’s northern edge arriving in the Bering Sea for the first time and shows levels of caesium-137 higher than they were before the 2011 nuclear power plant accident in Japan.
The latest study shows an increase in levels of Fukushima-related contamination off the shores of Alaska, regular readers of The Big Wobble will know Bill Laughing-Bear has been keeping an eye on fish in Alaskan waters and has warned us all of rising radioactive contamination for years now. Recently other warnings have been published as the slow drip-drip-drop of information is slowly increasing.
The Asahi newspaper reported that any such release is expected to take around two years to prepare, as the site’s irradiated water first needs to pass through a filtration process before it can be further diluted with seawater and finally released into the ocean. In 2018, Tokyo Electric apologised after admitting its filtration systems had not removed all dangerous material from the water, collected from the cooling pipes used to keep fuel cores from melting when the plant was crippled. It has said it plans to remove all radioactive particles from the water except tritium, an isotope of hydrogen that is hard to separate and is considered to be relatively harmless.
South Korea has retained a ban on imports of seafood from the Fukushima region that was imposed after the nuclear disaster and summoned a senior Japanese embassy official last year to explain how Tokyo planned to deal with the Fukushima water problem.