Radioactive Tuna from Fukushima Found Off California Coast

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Jessica Menton
May 30, 2012
00:00

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Radioactive Tuna from Fukushima Found Off California Coast
by grtv

On Tuesday the Japanese government said it expected it would have to look at the international monitoring of radioactive fish products following the discovery of a tainted tuna caught off the coast of southern California, but first needed more information.

Low levels of nuclear radiation from the tsunami-damaged Fukushima power plant have turned up in bluefin tuna off the California coast, suggesting that these fish carried radioactive compounds across the Pacific Ocean faster than wind or water can. Scientists reported on Monday small amounts of cesium-137 and cesium-134 were detected in 15 tuna caught near San Diego in August 2011, about four months after these chemicals were released into the water off Japan's east coast.

Japan's chief cabinet secretary said the government still needs more information on this issue. Japan said it will continue to research and monitor the effects of the radioactive material released into the ocean around Fukushima since the March 11, 2011 tsunami crippled and caused a meltdown at the reactors owned by Tokyo Electric Company.

Researchers said in a study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that the amount of radioactive cesium found in the fish off California isn’t thought to be damaging to people if consumed, the but the findings are expected to cause a stir amongst sushi aficionados around the world. Judging by the size of the bluefin tuna the U.S. scientists sampled - they averaged about 15 pounds (6 kg) - the researchers knew these were young fish that had left Japanese water about a month after the accident.

Most of the radiation was released over a few days in April 2011, and unlike some other compounds, radioactive cesium does not quickly sink to the sea bottom but remains dispersed in the water column, from the surface to the ocean floor.

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