Greenpeace: Japan nuclear plant radiation accumulating in marine life
A Greenpeace crew tests waters off Japan for radiation contamination earlier this month.
May 26th, 2011
08:31 AM ET

Greenpeace: Japan nuclear plant radiation accumulating in marine life

Radiation from Japan's damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is accumulating in marine life off Japan's coast above legal limits for food contamination, Greenpeace said Thursday.

The environmental group said its findings run counter to Japanese government reports that radiation from the Fukushima plant, damaged in the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, is being diluted as time passes.

“Despite what the authorities are claiming, radioactive hazards are not decreasing through dilution or dispersion of materials, but the radioactivity is instead accumulating in marine life," Greenpeace radiation expert Jan Vande Putte said in a press release.

Greenpeace said its teams collected samples of marine life along the Fukushima coast and in international waters outside Japan's 12-mile territorial limit. The samples were tested by nuclear research laboratories in France and Belgium, and high levels of radioactive iodine and cesium were found, it said.

Fish, shellfish and seaweed all showed significant levels of radioactive contamination, according to Greenpeace. All are widely consumed in Japan.

Besides consumers, fishermen are at risk from the elevated radiation levels, Greenpeace said.

“Ongoing contamination from the Fukushima crisis means fishermen could be at additional risk from handling fishing nets that have come in contact with radioactive sediment, hemp materials such as rope, which absorb radioactive materials, and as our research shows, radioactivity in fish and seaweed collected along Fukushima’s coast,” Wakao Hanaoka, Greenpeace's Japan oceans campaigner, said in the statement.

The Japanese government has evacuated nearly 80,000 people from areas within 20 kilometers (12.5 miles) of the plant to reduce their radiation exposure. Tens of thousands more may be moved if an exclusion zone is widened to reduce long-term radiation exposure.

Officials from Tokyo Electric Power Co., which owns the Fukushima plant, said last week they expected an end to the nuclear crisis by January. But utility officials said this week that two of  the reactors at the Fukushima plant may be riddled with holes, which would hamper plans to cool the units and bring the crisis to an end.

While no deaths have been attributed to the Fukushima Daiichi accident, the earthquake and tsunami have killed nearly 15,000 and left 10,000 more missing, Japan's National Police Agency has reported.

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Filed under: 2011 tsunami • Energy • Japan • Nuclear
soundoff (99 Responses)
  1. Yevgeniy

    "Greenpeace radiation expert" synonimus to "Honest to god used car salesman".

    May 26, 2011 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
    • barabbas2010

      . . . synonymous . . . like "educated redneck" perhaps ?

      May 26, 2011 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Ryan

      "The samples were tested by nuclear research laboratories in France and Belgium" If the article had mentioned exactly WHICH labs this refers to, it would add a great deal of credibility to the claim.

      May 26, 2011 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
    • paulwisc

      Only to you, because you have a partisan bias against them.

      May 26, 2011 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Not Rocket Science

    Radiation in large amounts kill people.

    the ocean has larger amounts of radiation- in a small area- that it didn`t have before. The food chain is absorbibg this radiation which have "half-lifes" measured in DECADES.

    To minimize this radiation is foolish !

    May 26, 2011 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
    • ohhiyya

      Actually i believe the half life of this material is measured in days. That doesnt mean its safe in days, still takes months, even a few years.

      But not decades.

      May 26, 2011 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
    • John Tucker

      Mercury has no half life is measured in eternity. To fixate on this as especially significant – especially after nuclear testing is ridiculous. Just fear mongering and the reasoning behind what put us in the current coal disaster.

      May 26, 2011 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Todd

      Some radioactive particiles have half lives of seconds, others have half lives measured in years. It will take decades for radiation to decrease.

      May 26, 2011 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
  3. Not Rocket Science

    The earth will certainly cease to exist when the Sun does.

    The life on earth has developed to co_exist with solar radiation.

    There is ample, barren, un used land on earth that currently recieve ample solar radiation to power a significant portion of our energy needs.

    The most efficient and safe form of energy is solar. Every other type of enegry: nuclear, coal, oil,gas is the DIRECT result of some type of conversian of solar/ thermal energy from the sun.

    Cut out the middleman and save!

    May 26, 2011 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
    • BOB

      Your science is lacking. Nuclear power is derived from Uranium which has stellar (or shall we say super-nova) origins. However, it is our ONLY energy source that is not originally from the sun.

      May 26, 2011 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Anonymous

      What about Wind and water energy?

      May 26, 2011 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
    • therm

      Very nice Bob; finally, someone with a right answer.

      May 26, 2011 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
  4. sheila jorstad

    If Man could get over his thirst for power having created this nuclear nightmare,and get over his own political ill
    gotten gain,through money,s underhandedly given in support to create a world environment bent on technology destruction,that laces the pockets of men belonging to these monster corporations..We are not listening to the geologists/oceanology/archeologists etc. these important people of science.

    May 26, 2011 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
    • TforTexas

      You obviously didn't listen to your English teacher either.

      May 26, 2011 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Ex Navy Nuke

      What is Texas teaching their children? I guess their curriculum is paid for by Exxon-Moblie?

      May 26, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
  5. deadline99

    As regards the CO2 issue. It is my understanding that all the 'human' caused release of CO2 is miniscule when compared to one good volcanic eruption.
    Perhaps, this is all related to mankind's intrinsic need to elevate ourselves to the level where we actually have a controlling effect on the natural world and want to believe we can control the climate, weather, and make a significant impact on anything we desire.
    Point of fact, one good tsunami, earthquake, volcano are other 'natural' event pretty much discounts that perception unless you are a true narcissist.
    Ever notice how the so called 'civilized' cultures pretty much decimate the indigenous cultures which previously existed in a more symbiotic relationship with their natural environments. In the end, the predominant drivers of 'civilization' are ego and greed. Frequently, the trump card that destroys these 'civilized' societies has been natural disaster or man-caused catastrophe.
    So just about the time you think you've got it all figured out, you might want to look over your shoulder, because you are about to get a smackdown from something over which you will have absolutely no control.
    Somewhere in the universe, a truly 'advanced' culture is watching the 'comedy' show called Earth and making book on the odds of whether or not we will ever attain enlightenment. Hopefully, we'll survive at least in the 'syndicated' reruns.

    May 26, 2011 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Dennis1988

      You understanding is flawed...

      250 million years ago, an annual increase of 50% above the normal volcanic background level of carbon dioxide emissions caused the Permian Extinction. This was the largest mass extinction event in the Earth's history. In a very short period, 90% of all species disappeared from the face of the earth. It only took an increase of about 450 Million metric tons per year of additional volcanic carbon dioxide emissions over the normal volcanic emission rate of 900 Million metric tons a year to cause the Permian Extinction.

      We (humans) are now emitting 33 BILLION metric tons of carbon dioxide per year!

      This is thirty-six times the normal volcanic background level of carbon emissions per year. How long can we keep going at the current level of carbon emissions before we cause another mass extinction that will rival or exceed the Permian Extinction?

      By the way...If I posted video of the results of the Permian Extinction, it would consist of barren land and empty oceans. Those videos could not invoke the same emotional response that videos of victims of radiation exposure would invoke. Look at it this way though…at least there is someone there to take the videos of those radiation victims. There may not be anyone around to take videos after the next major extinction event. There will just be barren land and empty ocean.

      At the rate that worldwide energy demand is increasing (2.4% annually), those CO2 emissions will increase to 66 BILLION metric tons annually by the year 2040.

      At the beginning of the Industrial revolution (about 1800) humans were emitting about 1 Million metric tons of CO2 per year. The CO2 levels in the atmosphere were 280 ppm then. In 1960, humans were emitting about 11 BILLION metric tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. That year, the atmospheric CO2 levels were about 315 ppm. In 160 years, human releases of CO2 have increased the levels of atmospheric CO2 by 12.5%.

      The current CO2 levels in the atmosphere are 390 ppm. That is a 24.1% increase in the 50 years since 1960. If we continue to spew CO2 into the atmosphere at the rate we are now going, we will be driving the biosphere into an overload condition that could easily spark an extinction event that rivals or exceeds the Permian Extinction.

      Those of you who remain focused on nuclear power are missing the CO2 threat to our environment. That threat is orders of magnitude larger than any threat the nuclear industry poses.

      May 26, 2011 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
    • datura

      i think you guys need to check out rossi's device, 'cold fusion' nickle to copper. many test, it has been replicated several times now. no msm...yet. 400 watts in 4.7kw out. going larger scale. due out i think in nov. 2011.

      May 26, 2011 at 8:04 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Elephant In The Room

    I think you miss the point-

    brevity DOES NOT eual "slogans" ; F= ma is not a "slogan".

    The key to having an impact on a socio-po
    itical situation such as this isn`t just the intellectual integrity of the arguement but also the receptivity of the masses to the argument.

    May 26, 2011 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Dennis1988

      I haven't missed the point.

      The first thing that you have to do is present the facts...

      After the facts are presented, then you can make your arguments. If you make your arguments in a vacuum, the only people who will listen to your arguments are those who exist with their own vacuum.

      Granted, there are quite a few people who come to these forums with their minds already made up. They have a closed mind, and there is very little chance that someone with a closed mind will listen to facts anyway. But, there are also many people who do not have closed minds. Those people are like the robot in the movie 'Short Circuit'. They want INPUT.

      The information that I post is INPUT. It is up to those people to look at the information, then to evaluate it. If they have an open mind, that information will be meaningful. If they have a closed mind, they probably will not even read it.

      May 26, 2011 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Dennis1988


      As far as your statement:

      The key to having an impact on a socio-poitical situation such as this isn`t just the intellectual integrity of the arguement but also the receptivity of the masses to the argument."

      Yes...and Greenpeace has proven that strategy for decades. That doesn't mean that they are right....they are just very good at playing to psychology.

      May 26, 2011 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  7. Fisherman

    Soon you will be eating super jumbo size shrimp for no extra charge.

    May 26, 2011 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
    • oneSTARman

      OR they will be eating US – either way.

      May 26, 2011 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  8. CSnSC

    @dennis1988, thats what I was going to say

    May 26, 2011 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
  9. klonoa

    Godzilla's coming!

    May 26, 2011 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
  10. joe


    May 26, 2011 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
  11. Kris

    Greenpeace saying anything against nuclear power is like TEPSCO stating that there is nothing wrong with nuclear power. Hey Greenpeace. When your co-founder makes a profound speech in support of nuclear power, you aren't listened to on that front.

    May 26, 2011 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
  12. Todd

    I'm a Mothra fan, myself.

    Seriously though, the moral of today's story is, don't build a nulclear reactor on a fault line.

    May 26, 2011 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
  13. Lars Babaganoosh

    Report: Obvious fact is obvious.

    May 26, 2011 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  14. bo

    thats so cute

    May 26, 2011 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  15. vloplame

    The problem with this nuclear disaster is too much government regulation. In a free market economy, when an event like this happens, the market reacts forcing the energy company to invest millions in newer and more effective marketing campaigns which solves the problem once and for all.

    May 26, 2011 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Lars Babaganoosh

      Pretty sure the problem with this nuclear disaster is the radiation. I'm also pretty sure that regulation of a market has almost nothing to do with the problem. How a government taxes spent dollars doesn't really cause a tsunami or subsequent power failures at a nuclear power plant.

      I've heard some stretch arguements but yours takes the taco pal.

      May 26, 2011 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
    • vloplame

      Now read more slowly and carefully, Lars.

      May 26, 2011 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lars Babaganoosh

      Right, got it. You are trying to blame a past even on a regulatory system of commerce. You start off by talking about a past (or present) problem and suggest that by changing a way of taxation it will solve similar problems in the future.


      Oh. OH!!!! I see what you did there. Excuse me while I go wipe the egg off of da' face!!!

      May 26, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
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