February 22nd, 2012
12:22 AM ET

Radiation levels higher but safe off Fukushima Daiichi, scientists say

Fish and plankton collected from the Pacific Ocean near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant contain elevated levels of radioactive materials, but below levels that pose a threat to public health, researchers reported Tuesday.

Levels of the long-lived nuclear waste cesium-137 were 1,000 times higher in seawater samples taken three months after the accident than they were before the meltdowns at Fukushima Daiichi, said Nicholas Fisher, a marine science professor at New York's Stony Brook University. Zooplankton, which get carried by currents, collected in those waters had levels of cesium-137 and the shorter-lived cesium-134 that were on average 40 times higher than the surrounding water, he said. They also had much higher levels of a radioactive form of silver produced by nuclear reactions.

But the readings amounted to a fraction of the amount of radioactivity sea life is exposed to from naturally occurring potassium in seawater, Fisher said.

"The total radiation in the marine organisms that we collected from Fukushima is still less than the natural radiation background that the animals already had, and quite a bit less," he said. "It's about 20%."

The findings were among several reports on the Fukushima Daiichi accident that were presented at an ocean science conference in Salt Lake City held this week.

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Filed under: Japan • World
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. raven

    So ' they' are saying it's not THAT bad? Put a portion of it on THEIR plate...bet you'd see a lotta food getting shuffled around and not much actually leaving the plate.

    February 22, 2012 at 12:38 am | Report abuse |
  2. drap

    Conference..In Salt Lake City... .!! When was the last time Orrin Hatch ate sushi... .?

    February 22, 2012 at 1:34 am | Report abuse |
  3. dazzle ©

    I'm not buying this. Sushi and nori are off the menu.

    February 22, 2012 at 1:37 am | Report abuse |

    Glowing fecal matter awesome but nothing to worry about

    February 22, 2012 at 1:38 am | Report abuse |
  5. John


    February 22, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • high hopes

      Fight with EVERYTHING you've got... legally ofcourse.

      February 22, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  6. high hopes

    Makes you want to go out and build another nuclear power plant. Are our memories that short? The waste seeps into our water supply. Remember the Columbia river incident? Can't recall the name of the plant, but it was shut down, fast!

    February 22, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  7. ;-) Lame Brain

    Boy Howdy !! Takin my Next Vacation there ... Yup Yup Yup!!!

    February 22, 2012 at 8:15 pm | Report abuse |