Ethan A. Huff
January 31, 2013
The two-year anniversary of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster is rapidly approaching, and the waters around the crippled plant are still highly contaminated with radiation, according to new reports. A fish caught as part of an ongoing Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) seafood monitoring program recently tested at levels of 254,000 becquerels per kilogram (Bq/kg) of radioactive cesium, or roughly 2,540 times higher than the maximum legal limit of 100 Bq/kg established by the government for seafood.
The contaminated fish, which has been dubbed “Mike the Murasai,” was caught in ocean waters fairly close to the shuttered plant nearly 24 months after the catastrophe, raising fresh concerns about the safety of seafood off the coast of Japan. Though the fish itself did not show visible signs of deformation or other radiation-induced damage, according to reports, the level of radiation detected in its tissue is high enough to suggest that the Fukushima plant is more than likely still releasing extremely high levels of nuclear radiation directly into the ocean.
In response, TEPCO says it is planning to install an extensive series of nets beneath the surface of the waters surrounding the still-damaged plant, which will cover a radius of about 20 kilometers, or roughly 12.5 miles. This netting is intended to trap other contaminated fish and prevent them from migrating too far from the plant. Many experts worry that deposits of radioactive cesium and other nuclear chemicals are continuing to build up on the ocean floor, and that Murasai, which are feeder fish for other sea species, will inadvertently contaminate other fish species, and potentially even fisheries.