An international team of scientists, led by Ken Buesseler of the Center for Marine and Environmental Radioactivity at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, has found that there is no harmful contamination of seafood by radioactive discharge from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plants “except close to Japan.”
Extensive testing of ocean waters, beginning shortly after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami tore into the six nuclear plants at Fukushima, led to a spring, 2013 issue of Oceanus that concluded “the impacts of the Fukushima disaster to human health are largely localized to the waters near Japan, despite the spread of debris across the Pacific.”
“The situation is of concern near Japan’s coast where fisheries remain closed,” Ken Buesseler wrote in an email to me this Nov. 17. “There is a lot of radioactivity left in the tanks (they have removed much of the cesium, but strontium-90 is still very high), contaminated groundwater that flows to the ocean, and spent fuel pool. Something could get much worse, but so far all of the leaks, etc. in the news are much smaller than the big releases in 2011. Doses from eating fish are very low off the U.S. and, in fact, 500 times greater from a natural radionuclide, polonium-210, but no one worries about 210Po.”
Continuing monitoring and analysis of contamination from the Fukushima crisis will be reported on the website www.whoi.edu/CMER. “I will be starting a crowd source page by end of year where you can sponsor samples for Fukushima radionuclide analyses,” Buesseler wrote.