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Common Dreams

Sky-High Radiation Found in Fukushima Fish

Glaring contamination from nuclear disaster persists

by
Jacob Chamberlain, staff writer

Japanese fishermen unload their catch at the Hirakata fish market in Kitaibaraki, Ibaraki prefecture, close to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on April 6, 2011. (TEPCO)

In the latest discovery revealing the ongoing and devastating effects of the Fukushima nuclear disaster of 2011, a fish contaminated with over 2,500 times the legal amount of radiation has been caught off the coast of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan, officials announced Friday.

Plant operator TEPCO stated that the radioactive element caesium was detected in a murasoi fish at levels "equivalent to 254,000 becquerels per kilogramme -- or 2,540 times more than the government seafood limit," Agence France-Press reports.

Radioactive contamination has remained consistent in the after-life of the crippled nuclear plant. In October, a group of scientists discovered that the plant was likely still leaking radiation into the sea, with up to 40% of bottom feeding fish near the site of the nuclear disaster still showing elevated levels of radiation.

"The fact that many fish are just as contaminated today with caesium 134 and caesium 137 as they were more than one year ago implies that caesium is still being released to the food chain," Ken Buesseler, senior scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution of the United States reported at that time.

"The (radioactivity) numbers aren't going down. Oceans usually cause the concentrations to decrease if the spigot is turned off," he added. "There has to be somewhere they're picking up the cesium."

This week's alarming discovery reveals that the situation for the ecosystems surrounding the plant remain dire.

TEPCO has come under fire for neglecting essential safety measures ahead of the disastrous nuclear meltdown, and the Japanese government has been cited for malfeasance regarding issues of public safety and contamination surrounding the nuclear disaster. Critics have continually highlighted 'unreliable' radiation monitoring, under-reported leakage, and other transgressions.

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