News / Asia

    Fukushima Radiation Traced in Pacific Seafood

    Fukushima Radiation Traced in Pacific Seafoodi
    X
    October 26, 2013 1:30 AM
    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has insisted that seafood caught near the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant is safe to eat. Scientists have voiced concerns, however, that radioactive isotopes could accumulate in fish and pose a danger to human health. Henry Ridgwell recently visited Japan and has this report for VOA.
    Fukushima Radiation Traced in Pacific Seafood
    Henry Ridgwell
    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has insisted that seafood caught near the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant is safe to eat. Scientists have voiced concerns, however, that radioactive isotopes could accumulate in fish and pose a danger to human health.

    Well before dawn on a cool October morning in Soma port, 30 kilometers north of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, fishermen prepare their nets and get ready to head out to sea.

    Fishing resumed here last month, following the lifting of a ban imposed after it emerged in July that radioactive water had leaked into the ocean.

    As the fishermen prepared to cast their nets once again, the head of the cooperative, Hiroyuki Sato, offered his encouragement.

    Sato said that due to the problem of the contaminated water, he knows that everyone has various concerns. He said in embarking on this trial fishing, they must show that the cooperative in Soma Futaba is willing to continue fishing.

    The fishermen are permitted to land 16 types of seafood. About 95 percent of the catch is discarded. Many fishermen, like Toshihiro Miharu, question the future of their livelihood.

    Miharu said the fishermen are worried about whether they can actually sell the catch.
    Opening a new session of parliament this month, Abe insisted the leaks do not pose a threat to human health.

    Abe said the local fishermen are suffering from a bad reputation founded on falsehood, and that the effects on food and water are well below the limits for radiation levels.

    Just offshore from the Fukushima plant, scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in the United States are working alongside their Japanese counterparts, monitoring radiation levels. Among them is senior marine chemist Ken Buesseler.

    “That radiation is moving across the Pacific, but it gets much, much lower even short distances offshore,” he said.

    Buesseler said a bigger concern is the accumulation of isotopes in marine life. Earlier this year, cesium isotopes from Fukushima were found in tuna caught off California.

    “The tuna that were caught off San Diego with the Fukushima cesium isotopes, they were 10 to 20 times lower than they had been off Japan. Now the new releases, the leak from the tanks - they’re changing in character. Strontium 90 has become of more concern because it’s a bone-seeking isotope. That will stay in fish much longer,” he said.

    TEPCO, the owner of the Fukushima plant, is building an underground frozen wall to prevent contaminated water leaking into the sea. It is also testing a system to decontaminate the water.

    Rianne Teule, nuclear expert at the environmental organization Greenpeace, says it is not clear whether those technologies will work.

    “They already spent a lot of money trying to implement them. What Greenpeace wants is that the government really gets in international advice, gets as much support as possible to try to find the right solution for this problem.”

    The livelihoods of the fishermen of Fukushima depend on finding that solution.

    You May Like

    Escalation of Media Crackdown in Turkey Heightens Concerns

    Critics see 'a new dark age' as arrests of journalists, closures of media outlets by Erdogan government mount

    Russia Boasts of Troop Buildup on Flank, Draws Flak

    Russian military moves counter to efforts to de-escalate tensions, State Department says

    Video Iraqis Primed to March on Mosul, Foreign Minister Says

    Iraqi FM Ibrahim al-Jaafari tells VOA the campaign will meet optimistic expectations, even though US officials remain cautious

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora