New Japanese seafood alert after radiation spill Published: 26 August, 2013
NEW concerns have arisen over the safety of Japanese seafood following a fresh radiation leakage from the Fukushima nuclear power plant.
More than 300 tons of radioactive water have leaked from a storage tank at the site, which was badly damaged in an earthquake two and a half years ago. The tsunami, which killed thousands of people, knocked out cooling systems to the reactors, three of which melted down and led to a ban on fishing in that area of Japan. The Tokyo Electric Power Company says the leak was discovered by an employee over a week ago.
The Fukushima plant is already at the centre of an environmental disaster, but it is the effect on the country’s fishing and seafood industry – the Japanese are probably the world’s biggest consumers of seafood – that will be worrying fishermen. It could not have come at a worse time because the radiation levels had fallen significantly and confidence was starting to return to the industry. During the initial crisis in 2011 fish had to be shipped in from other parts of the world including Norway as confidence in the Japanese fishing industry plummeted. Radiation contaminated fish was even found thousands of miles away near the California coast. The big fear now is that this latest radiation scare will spread out into the open sea and further contaminated fish will be found around the Japanese coastline. Scientists and marine biologists are keeping a close watch on the developing situation. Fishing is still prohibited in the area of the atomic plant.
Last month some scientists called on the US Government to carry out further tests on Pacific coast fish in the wake of the ongoing radiation leak. However, other scientists believe the risk of contamination travelling so far is quite small.