Radioactivity in sea up 7.5 million times - Marine life contamination well beyond Japan feared - RiseEarth

Radioactivity in sea up 7.5 million times - Marine life contamination well beyond Japan feared

Radioactive water continues to spill from the damaged Fukushima reactors, and the fishing industry is now on full alert. On Tuesday, Japanese officials adopted their first-ever rules regarding safe radiation levels in fish -- but the Wall Street Journal reports levels are already higher than that -- much higher.
“The government says it’s not dangerous to human health. However, at the same time, they found fish 50 miles away from the nuclear plant with an unusual amount of radioactivity and that’s scaring some people... especially the fishing industry that’s all worried now that people are not going to buy, want to buy the fish even if the fish is caught miles -- hundreds of miles away from the reactors.”

The LA Times reports water radiation levels are 7.5 million times the legal limit and the radiation in fish is at least twice the newly set legal limit. Fox News says the real risk is with the big fish.

“The government is saying, well it looks like small fish will actually be absorbing this, but the problem is when the bigger fish come along and start eating them, and those are the kind of fish that end up further, much further down along the coast line towards Tokyo, that ends up getting into the food chain. People could become sick as a result of that, but they’re saying that could be some weeks perhaps months down the line. But it is very much a real risk.”

NPR spoke to Dr. Masashi Kusakabe, an expert on ocean radiation. He says big fish will never stick around the Fukushima area long enough to be contaminated -- the biggest threat to fishing markets is actually fear.

Dr. Kusakabe: “Most people now think, Oh its very dangerous to eat fish in Japan or fish around its coast. But I think it’s very safe. So now is your chance to eat fish because its cheap.”
Reporter: “Are you still eating fish?”
Dr. Kusakabe: “Oh of course, why not?”

Meanwhile, Tepco -- the power company that owns the reactors -- is offering about $240,000 to each of the ten surrounding towns voluntarily. Officials from the city of Namie tell the LA Times they are refusing because they have other pressing matters.

"The coastal areas of Namie were hit hard by the earthquake and the tsunami but because of the radiation and the evacuation order we haven't had a chance to conduct a search for the 200 people who are missing... Why would we use our resources to hand out less than 1,000 yen ($12) to every resident?"

Many countries are weary of food from Japan and have restricted or stopped Japanese imports. The EU has recommended radiation testing of all Japanese food imports.

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