With the level of radiation rising in seawater near the Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant, the Japanese government is setting safety standards for the consumption of fish. That after finding fish carrying sky high loads of radiation. Tests were conducted on some species recovered about 50 miles from Fukushima, in water that is, if the readings are accurate, several million times over Japan’s legal limit.
Plant operator, Tokyo Electric issued a statement that says the radiation will quickly break up in water, and it poses “no immediate impact,” to the environment.
But, Ichiro Yamagata, a fisherman, told the Associated Press, “Even if the government says the fish is safe people won’t want to buy seafood from Fukushima.”
Yamagata suspects fishing will be off limits in coastal waters, near the plant, for years to come.
However, concern is growing that Fukushima will simply destroy Japan’s entire fishing industry, which is worth 2 billion plus dollars a year.
Experts agree with the power company that radioactive iodine rapidly decays in the ocean, but that is not true of cesium-137, another toxic byproduct, which can build up in fish over long periods, and marine experts say it will need further study to assess the impact.
At Fukushima, crews are still trying to find, and plug a massive radiation leak. Pumping in water to keep fuel rods cool only exacerbates the problem, because they also need to keep pumping out contaminated water. They have run out of storage tanks, and the government is permitting Tokyo Electric to dump another 3 million gallons of radioactive water into the Pacific ocean.
The tsunami and earthquake that struck Japan on March 11 left, perhaps, as many as 25,000 dead and ripped apart some 250 miles of coastline.
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