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. John Tucker

    wow high radiation immediately off a leaking reactor. who would have thought.

    August 22, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Bart Flaster

    So basically, you catch them already cooked.

    Word.

    August 22, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  3. ~~~

    The quality of our food supply IS an issue in this country. Its making us sick. And drugs aren't the answer. (I know, they make a lot of money off of sick people, but this is wrong and needs to be corrected.)

    August 22, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
  4. USAFrank

    Godzilla needs a Radioactive recharge for his next movie!

    August 22, 2012 at 8:32 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Tekelder

    Since bananas are rated at 31,000 Becquerels per kilogram (because of naturally occuring radioactive potassium normally found in babanas) does that mean that eating these "dangerously" radioactive fish (25,800 Bq/kg) are safer than eating bananas?

    August 22, 2012 at 8:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • fingerpointing

      "Since bananas are rated at 31,000 Becquerels per kilogram..."
      I read that it is more like 130 Becquerels per kilo in bananas. You are off by a large factor.

      August 22, 2012 at 9:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • John Doe

      Using Becquerel to compare radiation dose is totally meaningless and misleading unless you are comparing similar radioisotopes. Becquerel measures disintegrations per second. Far more important are the questions what is being released after those disintegrations and at what energies? High energy alpha particles are much more harmful and lethal to your body than low energy gamma ray. The heavier isotopes found in nuclear reactors usually decay with alpha emission.

      August 23, 2012 at 12:15 am | Report abuse |
    • FugginMorons

      Are you really comparing Potassium to Cesium? Did you stumble on to a Wikipedia page or something... Good lord...And as fingerpointing pointed out, your math is way off.

      August 23, 2012 at 8:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Easy E

      Sorry, no bananas do not contain a microcurie of radiopotassium, if they did, you would die from leukemia shortly after eating any more than say 50 of them in your entire lifetime. Chemically pure potassium has 31,000 Bq/kg. If a banana has anymore than say 100 mg/kg of K I'd be surprised...which works out to 3 becquerel, not 31,000. My word the science illiteracy rate is epidemic anymore.

      August 23, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dude

      Easy E,

      I did find a reference for a banana containing 0.00037 μCi. Which, if rounded up to the nearest whole number, is 1 micro curie. If you round it up to the nearest equivalent of nuclear bombs, it is one nuclear bomb.

      Now, the rest of you can sit and be happy while grocery stores are selling city destroying fruit to anyone with a bit of loose change. But, I am going to put on a hat made of foil and sit in a basement like Tekelder.

      Yes Tekelder, a banana is just as bad as the worst nuclear disaster in human history. We are all glad you pointed this out.

      70% of people have poor math skills and that is almost half.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:44 am | Report abuse |
  6. Bob

    And the radiation is a "surprise"...????? You can still find it at Hiroshima.

    August 22, 2012 at 9:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thunder

      Yes I found some at a swap meet sale, was way over priced

      August 23, 2012 at 4:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Jenni

      I thought these Pancake faces were smart. Apparently no so smart.

      August 23, 2012 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
  7. Mordac

    Could it be a three-eyed fish named Blinky?

    August 22, 2012 at 11:30 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Easy E

    You know you're reading CNN when the ersatz "journalist" doesn't know the difference between radioactive contamination and radiation. The fish contain radiocesium, not radiation. One is a substance, the other is propagating electromagnetic energy. If you don't know anything about science, don't write a science column!

    August 23, 2012 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Stephen

    I am still waiting for someone to realize that the radioactive water "Cloud" passed right thru the prime fishing areas
    for the Snowcrab & Kingcrab that is consumed here in the states.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
  10. V in Chicago

    Duh!! Didn't see this coming, eh?

    August 24, 2012 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
  11. V in Chicago

    Where's Sheldon and the gang when you need them?

    August 24, 2012 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
  12. yep

    Remember when they said nuclear energy was safe?...and that a "China syndrome" event was nearly impossible because of all the safeguards in place? How many have happened to date?

    August 24, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pete

      @yep,two,Cernobyl and ThreeMile Island,nothing else too close,at least in my time in the nuclear industry,over 35 years.We've have pretty good safe guards here at all these plants or the NRC won't relicence them,that's it....

      August 24, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
  13. zeno2654

    Just a scare story.

    August 24, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Cindy

    I hope the poor will not tried to eat the unsafe fish!!!

    August 24, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  15. hotelsinnewyorkcity

    Food Radiation is very risky, most of the Sea food or Fresh vegetables are checked for radiation before consumption by many people around the world, even in Banks they are installing radiation meters to keep currency notes checked if they have some radiation on it.

    Buy Radiation meter from http://www.radiation-meter.net an online store which sells products wroldwide.

    November 11, 2012 at 11:04 pm | Report abuse |
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