Record radiation found in fish near Fukushima plant
Workers stand near the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on February 28.
August 21st, 2012
07:32 PM ET

Record radiation found in fish near Fukushima plant

Radioactive cesium measuring 258 times the amount that Japan's government deems safe for consumption has been found in fish near the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, Japan's Kyodo news agency reported Tuesday.

The Tokyo Electric Power Co. found 25,800 becquerels per kilogram of radioactive cesium in two greenlings in the sea within 20 kilometers of the plant on August 1 - a record for the thousands of Fukushima-area fish caught and tested since the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that led to a nuclear disaster at the plant, Kyodo reported.

Japan's government considers fish with more than 100 becquerels per kilogram unsafe for consumption. A becquerel is a measurement of radioactive intensity.

TEPCO said it also found limit-exceeding radioactive cesium levels in several other kinds of fish and shellfish during the testing, which happened in the Fukushima area from mid-July to early August, according to Japanese broadcaster NHK.

The finding comes 17 months after the disaster at the plant, which spewed radiation and displaced tens of thousands of residents from the surrounding area. It was the worst nuclear accident since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine.

News of the finding also comes after scientists reported finding mutant butterflies - with abnormalities in their legs, antennae and abdomens, and dents in their eyes - in and around Fukushima prefecture in the months after the nuclear disaster.

The previous post-disaster radiation record in fish - 18,700 becquerels per kilogram, or 187 times the government's limit - was found in landlocked salmon in Iidate village, Fukushima prefecture, on March 18, according to Japan's fisheries agency, which has conducted its own tests in conjunction with local governments.

Japan's government has restricted fishing in the Fukushima area since the disaster. However, fishing for two kinds of octopus and one kind of shellfish has happened on a trial basis more than 50 kilometers outside the plant since June, NHK reported.

The vast majority of the thousands of fish tested since the disaster are within the government's radioactive cesium limit, according to the fisheries agency.

TEPCO plans to do more testing - of rock trout, their prey and mud from the seabed - in August and September, NHK reported.

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Filed under: 2011 tsunami • Japan
soundoff (156 Responses)
  1. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    On a more personal note? Well ah. I got to get back to work. I do know better than that. I can't recall ever having done anything, in a back seat anywhere, at anytime, ever. Really. Later! 😉

    August 21, 2012 at 8:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      That was not me.
      I don't speculate on anyone' in that way...
      You know me well enough for that, I hope...
      And why am I #2?

      August 21, 2012 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse |
  2. us_1776

    Nuclear power was not the problem.

    Not understand the level of risk from tsunami was the problem.

    These plants need moved further inland and lakes built to provide cooling water.


    August 21, 2012 at 9:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • n8r0n

      Yeah, actually nuclear power was the problem. Fish aren't growing second heads because of the tsunami. In the real world, we have natural disasters. Tsunamis, hurricanes, earthquakes, etc. For nuclear power to be safe, you need to account for ALL of those (and then, terrorism, human error, etc, etc).

      Picking a power source that's so fragile as to not even be safe in perhaps the country in the world most well known for high-quality manufacturing, and also not even be particularly cheap, and also not be renewable, and also have a more limited (finite) fuel supply than either oil, gas, or coal (if used at the same rate), is just stupid.

      Your argument is nonsense. It's like the old "guns don't kill people" argument. In a world where people get urges to do violent stuff to one another, then, yeah, guns do kill people. You're just trying to assign the blame somewhere else ...

      August 21, 2012 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Addison

      I have worked previously in nuclear power for 30 years. Nuclear physicist and served on Nuclear Subs. The first poster is more correct than you are. I also want to point out that these plants were designed before computers, using slide rules, and before we had anywhere near the seismic knowledge we do now. Also these plants were designed for a much smaller anticipated event yet survived without damage except for the tsunami. In spite of the loss of all electric power and thus cooling, no uncontrolled meltdown happened as some insist is possible, proving them wrong. Your most correct comment is terrorism, and my fear is as the west declines, our ability to protect nuclear assets might decline making them vulnerable. I hope we do not decline, but right now that is obviously the path we are on. With a modern generation of nuclear plants, the risk would be incredibly small. There are designs that can withstand loss of cooling and many other lessons learned that can be implemented.

      August 21, 2012 at 10:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rascal Rabble

      @addison the only revelent point made is that you work for the nuclear industry...everything else just bias rhetoric...

      August 21, 2012 at 11:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • asche

      um. so you're saying nuclear power facilities are only threatened by tsunamis? i can name 22 nuclear accidents that had nothing to do with a tsunami at all. how many can you name that were the result of a tsunami?

      August 22, 2012 at 12:07 am | Report abuse |
  3. Joel456

    I will never understand how any government can talk about a "safe level of radiation". That's like the utilities saying there is an acceptable level of fecal matter in your drinking water. In the real human world of consumers THERE IS NO ACCEPTABLE LEVEL OF FECAL MATTER OR RADIATION IN THE WATER OR FOOD!

    August 21, 2012 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • hez316

      Aren't there "natural" amounts of radiation in most drinking water?

      August 21, 2012 at 9:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Addison

      Joel, you receive radiation every day from many sources. Biologically we are designed to take an incredible amount of radiation and survive due to billions of years of evolution in a radioactive environment. Like anything some people smoke and get cancer at 30 and others smoke and never get cancer. Some are more intolerant than others of radiation. But you cannot take a shovel virtually anywhere in the world and dig a small hole and not have uranium in that shovel full. If you fear radiation, I am afraid you have no choice but to endure it... every day, every year, your whole life.

      August 21, 2012 at 10:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • RobfromMo

      We are all exposed to "natural radiation" but that doesn't mean that exposure is innocuous. After all, cancer is very common. The more radiation we are exposed to the more the potential harm. The fact that we cannot avoid exposure to natural radiation makes it that much more important that we minimize exposure to man-generated radiation.

      August 21, 2012 at 11:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • SciGuy73

      If there was no radiation, none of us would be here. It drives evolution.

      August 23, 2012 at 7:44 am | Report abuse |
  4. banasy©

    Not by this human!

    August 21, 2012 at 9:52 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Keksi

    It will be sale at Walmart next week.

    August 21, 2012 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Good thing I don't shop at Wal-Mart.

      August 21, 2012 at 10:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rascal Rabble

      i hope you kno that includes target aka tarjay's

      August 21, 2012 at 10:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Yeah, I don't visit tarjay's much, either anymore...

      August 21, 2012 at 10:11 pm | Report abuse |
  6. malasangre

    Lake Michigan fish cannot be regularly eaten especially children and preggo ladies. nothing to do with radiation

    August 21, 2012 at 10:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rascal Rabble

      lead fortified fish...

      August 21, 2012 at 10:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      I grew up by LM, and I would never eat anything caught out of it; I've seen what they've been dumping in it from the mills all of my life...ew!

      August 21, 2012 at 10:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rascal Rabble

      that is what scavengers suppose to do eat lake trash...

      August 21, 2012 at 10:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Never having eaten a thing out of Lake Michigan, I wouldn't know what a scavenger does.

      August 22, 2012 at 12:17 am | Report abuse |
  7. ngc1300

    I was going to comment about nuclear power, but apparently this forum is about back seat preferences,

    August 21, 2012 at 10:16 pm | Report abuse |
  8. blue

    like on the simpsons movie? All the animals looked crazy

    August 21, 2012 at 10:16 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Alex

    Argh! GODZILLA!!!! 🙂

    August 21, 2012 at 10:34 pm | Report abuse |
  10. khrog

    only a matter of time until either humans begin using and disseminating new energy production and cleaning up the mess of fossil fuels and nuclear or we're just going to die off.

    August 21, 2012 at 10:35 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Darlene Buckingham

    "The doses are of no danger to the public and we are going to continue to build nuclear reactors because all the lights would go out if we did not have nuclear energy. Don't worry your little brains about these little problems." – the Nuclear Safety Commission

    August 21, 2012 at 11:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tesla

      Yep, because nothing says safe and clean like the massive pollution output of coal, oil, and natural gas. Meanwhile, in France, the air quality hasn't changed in 20 years, owing to their embracing of nuclear power. We haven't "kept on building reactors." We haven't built a reactor in over 30 years. Meanwhile, Centralia's on fire still, tap water is becoming flammable, earthquakes are happening with regularity where they rarely did before, the Gulf of Mexico has a massive amount of oil on the bottom, American soldiers are dying to protect foreign interests in foreign lands, and even with all of this going on and people saying oil is getting cheaper, I'm still paying 4 bucks a gallon at the pump!

      August 22, 2012 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
  12. Rascal Rabble

    nuclear energy is NOT eco-friendly and there's no off'ill burn it self out after thousands of years...

    August 21, 2012 at 11:29 pm | Report abuse |
  13. asche

    no but if this radiation leak continues for long enough salmon might be coming to eat YOU

    August 22, 2012 at 12:04 am | Report abuse |
  14. Yakov

    In Soviet Russia, salmon eat you!

    August 22, 2012 at 12:13 am | Report abuse |
    • timmaahhyy

      on your mark. get set..... terrible.

      August 22, 2012 at 9:15 am | Report abuse |
  15. BOMBO ©

    If I eat some of those radioactive fish, maybe I will become a superhero.

    August 22, 2012 at 12:14 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Or you'll sprout a third head.

      August 22, 2012 at 12:25 am | Report abuse |
    • BOMBO ©

      Are you implying I have two already?

      Never mind that, rhetorical question. I have to tell everyone about the weird dream I had last night.

      I was watching TV. It was Bonanza. Weird already, because it was before my time, and I never really liked the reruns. Anyway, the Cartwrights (SP?) were going around the Ponderosa doing their work, and Hoss noticed a deep trench. He began to climb down into it, and Ben called to him, "look out Hoss, that's a wormhole to a parallel universe."

      "Don't worry Pa, I'll be careful", he said and kept going in. His Pa and brothers ran up to him, but by the time they got there, he was gone from sight. They called and called, but no answer. A bunch of other stuff happened that I can't remember, but eventually Hoss was spotted in the town eating beef jerky. "I don't know nuttin about no parallel unyverse." he said. Everyone was angry at him. But this time, I was no longer a viewer, I was sucked into the show. Ben Cartwright asked me to investigate the wormhole, and I agreed, on condition that I had a rope tied around my waist and would be pulled out in an emergency. So we went over to the trench, and I tied the rope and climbed in, and for some reason, they had HOSS holding the other end of the rope. Stupidly, I kept climbing down. I tripped on a root or rock or something and fell, and Hoss of course let go of the rope. I was yelling and cursing, and woke up...

      August 22, 2012 at 12:40 am | Report abuse |
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