Nearly 12 years after the 2011 meltdowns of three reactor cores at the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Plant, radioactive water continues to accumulate as the water used to keep the cores cool leaks from the damaged reactors and is stored in tanks so it won’t escape into the ocean or elsewhere. For years, a government panel has been discussing ways to handle the crisis and to reassure fishermen and residents who fear possible health effects from releasing the radioactive water as well as harm to the region’s image and fishing industry.
Fukushima fishermen and the National Federation of Fisheries Co-operative Associations have strongly opposed past suggestions by government officials that the water is released into the sea, warning of an “immeasurable impact on the future of the Japanese fishing industry,” with local fishermen still unable to resume full operations after the nuclear plant accident.
A release is expected to take years and radiation levels will be kept well below the legal limit, the proposal said. The ministry noted that tritium has been routinely released from nuclear plants around the world, including Fukushima before the accident.
On the other side of the mighty Pacific, 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-feed of information is slowly being released. 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 cesium 134 the radioactive finger-print of Fukushima. The report also showed that migrating organisms can transport the Fukushima-signature (cesium 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 cesium 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 9 years now. Another 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 cesium-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 cesium-137 higher than they were before the 2011 nuclear power plant accident in Japan. Full story