Fukushima’s Radio-Active Pacific Marine Life??
Following the 8.5 tons of radioactive water which has already leaked just recently at Japan’s Fukushima Nuclear Plant (originally estimated at just a few gallons…yes…well…TEPCO would say that…) when a pipe became detached at reactor Unit 4 and caused a temporary suspension of cooling operations at a spent-fuel pool – (a collapse of its spent fuel cooling pool could cause a worse disaster than the three reactor meltdowns), a further leak at a water reprocessing unit released enough beta rays to cause radiation sickness. TEPCO said no one was injured and after the bolts on a tank were tightened the leak stopped …
Hmm….well of course it did…nothing to worry about then…
But there have been at least 30 other locations within the N-Plant where radio-active leaks have occurred since late January!!
Naturally the official report is that no signs of radioactive water from the leaks have been detected leaking into the ocean surrounding the stricken reactor, but as a precaution problem areas have had sandbag walls built around them…
Well that’s alright then! Everything’s nicely under control…no problem at all…just be VERY careful about what you go fishing for in the Pacific Ocean!! After all…who knows what “hot stuff” you might find lurking down there in the now, decidedly radio-active depths!!
Threat to Canadian Fish Consumers from Japanese Radiation ?
In the aftermath of the Fukushima Daiichi crisis, the world’s worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl in 1986, the Canadian government wasted no time reassuring the resident population that they would be safe and sound and there was no danger to their health from Fukushima fallout.
After all there was a nice big ocean for all that escaping Japanese N-plant radiation to fall into, where it would all be safely watered down and therefore be thoroughly harmless and benign, not in the least bit dangerous.
Nothing to worry about…nothing at all…
Not too surprisingly and contrary to claims by the Canadian government anti-nuclear groups highlight the fact that the government has not exactly drawn attention to the radiation risks from Fukushima, in fact quite the opposite, and neither is it doing much to keep an eye on them either.
“We suspect we’re going to see more cancers, decreased fetal viability, decreased fertility, increased metabolic defects — and we expect them to be generational,” ~Dewar, the executive director of Physicians for Global Survival, a Canadian anti-nuclear group.
CONTAMINATION OF FISH IN THE PACIFIC OCEAN
Given that the largest source of the world’s fish is in the Pacific Ocean, and if these fish are contaminated by radiation and it’s notably serious consequences for millions of marine life consumers, it is surely a reckless disregard of public health and safety that there has been next to nothing done in the way of oceanic sea life testing in the Pacific.
“Fukushima caused history’s biggest-ever release of radiation into the ocean — 10 to 100 times more than the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe.” ~oceanographer Ken Buesseler, a senior scientist at the non-profit Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, October 2011
“It’s completely untrue to say this level of radiation is safe or harmless,” said Gordon Edwards, president of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility. “The reassurances have been completely irresponsible. To say there are no health concerns flies in the face of all scientific evidence. There is no safe level of radiation. They should be making every effort to monitor food.”
TESTING AND RESULT REPORTING
But not to worry, even if nobody else is bothering, it would appear that Japan is reassuringly busy thoroughly testing and analysing fish for radiation and is even going so far as to actually report the results in the public arena. It is just rather unfortunate that it saw fit to then go on to sell radiation contaminated food to the Japanese public, who understandably responded with a barrage of criticism.
CFIA stopped doing the tests by CIFA in Having decided, in their great wisdom, June last year, that there was absolutely no need to continue testing, CIFA have agreed to the testing, this year and next, of Pacific salmon and tuna that return to B.C. fishing grounds, but that is all, and this is largely because of the risk of their possible close proximity to Japan.
EVIDENCE THAT THE IMPACTS OF THE DISASTER ON THE PACIFIC OCEAN ARE WORSE THAN EXPECTED.
60 to 80 per cent of Japanese fishing catches each month have consistently tested positive for radioactive Caesium by the Japanese Fisheries Agency. With a half-life of 30 years the most common configuration of radioactive Caesium is a very long-lived radionuclide capable of long term environmental poisoning, topped off with the added bonus of its cancer increasing factor.
According to The Canadian Food Inspection Agency, “The majority of exported fish to Canada are caught much farther from the coast of Japan, and the Japanese testing has shown that these fish have not been contaminated with high levels of radionuclides.”
Japan has announced that in April 2012 it will reduce its current limit for radiation in food from 500 Becquerel’s per kilogram to the new limit of 100 Becquerel’s per kilogram. In contrast Canada’s limit is set at 1,000 Becquerel’s per kilogram. Presumably Canadians have a much higher tolerance to the Caesium radionuclide and don’t suffer the effects the same as everybody else…
In November 2011 of the 1,100 tested Japanese catches one in five have already managed to exceed Japan’s new up and coming reduced lower limit.
- 18 % of cod,
21 % of eel,
22 % of sole
33 % of seaweed
Fish catches also exceeded the current Japanese limit for radioactive food contamination- 500 Becquerel’s per kilogram stand at approximately 2.7%, a 1% increase from October.
April 2011 food contamination levels climbed to 373 Becquerel’s per kilogram. Although by November the contamination level had reduced it was still up from the 78 Becquerel’s per kilogram average for October.
Not the greatest of results then.
STUDY OF EFFECTS ON MARINE LIFE
There are hardly any studies into how Fukushima affected marine life.
Of the ones that do one of those studies found that fish and crustaceans caught in the vicinity of Fukushima in late March had:
- 10,000 times more than so-called safe levels of radiation
- Macroalgae had 19,000 times the safe level
The results of these studies look even worse when it is taken into account the statistics do not include the later dumping of before 11,000 tonnes into the Pacific in April by TEPCO, nor does it include further hundreds more tonnes of radioactive water released that has also leaked.
October studies indicated Caesium levels in the Pacific had:
- Shown a shock increase of 45 million times above levels began.
July studies showed:
- Caesium levels ceased to decline.
- Levels persistently at 10,000 times higher than before the Daiichi crisis.
The most likely reason for this are:
- Contaminated groundwater still leaking radiation from the Daiichi plant
- The possibility of “biomagnification.”
- where radiation concentrations are disposed to intensifying the farther up the food chain the species happen to be.
This conclusion seems to be supported by data from the Japanese fisheries. Far from declining, contamination levels in some species did not reduce at all or at best actually rose last autumn. This applied also to Japanese exports to Canada, and included species such as:
CAESIUM AND SPECIES
Some Caesium was found in 16 of 22 species in November, the last full month for which data were available. Caesium was especially prevalent in certain of the species:
- 73 % of mackerel tested
- 91 % of the halibut
- 92 % of the sardines
- 93 % of the tuna and eel
- 94 % of the cod and anchovies
- 100 % of the carp, seaweed, shark and monkfish
Some of the fish were caught in Japanese coastal waters. Other catches were made hundreds of kilometres away in the open ocean.
In mid-December, a year earlier than predicted by scientists and authorities, debris the tsunami swept into the sea has reportedly begun washing on shore along the West Coast.
Exactly what impact on the Pacific the debris will have remains to be seen. The most likely scenario is its joining with the existing garbage floating in the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” of the North Pacific Gyre.
The impact of the debris on the Pacific marine life still has a large question mark hanging over it.