Fukushima 4 Years Later
A Look Back
Four years ago, the world saw the worst nuclear disaster in Fukushima since the Chernobyl disaster in 1988. Following an earthquake, a tsunami hit the plant causing a meltdown of three of the plants reactors. Radioactive material was released into both the air and into the Pacific ocean. Unfortunately, even today, radiation is still being released into the ocean (and TEPCO has admited they were covering it up).
While some progress has been made in decommissioning the site, it will take 40 years to complete.
The initial tsunami claimed 18,000 lives. Recent reports state that thousands more have died as a result of the Fukushima accident, including some with from accidents at the cleanup site.
A recent article in Wired states that Food from Fukushima is safe, but at the same there are still areas where people are not able to return home, let alone farm (Most of the 100,000+ refugees are ones who don’t want to return to the area).
Safety of Pacific Fish
The Wired article references a published paper that states an insignificant increase in radiation was found in Pacific fish that wouldn’t represent danger to human health. A more recent paper (which also tested for strontium 90) found that there was a 14% increase in radiation from Fukushima. But they felt that as long as an individual consumes less than 110 lbs of fish per year, they should be fine (the average yearly consumption of fish in the US is 14.5 lbs per person vs Japan at 77 lbs per person). Neither of these studies tracked the isotope plutonium 239 which was also released from Fukushima.
Recommendations: proceed with caution
I can’t agree with the Wired article and just say that Pacific fish is safe and don’t worry about it. I also can’t side with the alarmists, because fish has so many health benefits. I think that limiting your Pacific fish consumption to less than 35 lbs per year would be an acceptable risk at this point. More research needs to be made on concentrations of other isotopes of Pacific fish. Additionally, you should pay attention to any follow up research on increases in radiation in fish from continued water leakage and possible deliberate release of contaminated water.
Safety of Pacific Fish: Fukushima 4 years later