Hokkaido fish kill unrelated to release of Fukushima Daiichi treated water.
Experts debunk false claims.
Experts say there is no basis for linking the fish kill with the release of the treated water. Fujioka Takashi of the Hakodate Fisheries Research Institute notes fish die-offs are not uncommon. He says the school of fish could have been chased ashore by predators such as dolphins and tuna, or it may have suddenly encountered frigid waters.
Fujioka emphasizes that it's unlikely seawater from Fukushima would ever reach Hakodate, which is more than 600 km away. He also points out that no abnormalities have been detected in sardines caught in the Hakodate area. Japan's fisheries agency combats misinformation Fisheries agency official Mori Ken says both the agency and the Ministry of Environment verified that the presence of tritium in the ocean off the coast of Fukushima was below detectable levels.
He says insinuations that the treated water caused the fish die-off are unfounded. Mori adds, "The spread of unsubstantiated information is a worrying situation so I'd like to disseminate accurate information, including the monitoring results." Japan's Agency for Natural Resources and Energy has released a statement saying, "It has been confirmed that the treated water was discharged safely and no abnormalities have been observed."
The Fukushima Daiichi plant suffered a triple meltdown in the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Water used to cool molten fuel there has been mixed with rain and groundwater. The accumulated water is treated to remove most radioactive substances but still contains tritium. Before releasing the treated water into the sea, the plant's operator dilutes it to reduce tritium levels to about one-seventh of the World Health Organization's guideline for drinking water.