Title: Radioactive levels staying high off Fukushima Daiichi in Japan
By: Matt Smith
Date: October 25, 2012
Radiation levels in fish caught near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant remain high long after the 2011 meltdowns there, suggesting contamination from the site might still be seeping into Pacific waters, [said Ken Buesseler, a marine radiochemist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts and author of this week's edition of the journal Science]. [...]
The sources are likely to be from radioactive particles released by the plant that settled into sediment on the sea floor or from groundwater seeping into the ocean from the plant, as operators continue to pour tons of water a day into the reactors to keep them cool. Researchers can’t say definitely which is the more likely source, “but we know both are happening,” Buesseler told CNN.
“We can’t say whether it’s today’s cooling water or from last April, but we continue to see cesium in the ocean, directly at the plant, is elevated,” he said. But he added that those levels are “not dangerously high — I don’t think we need to be alarmist about this.”
“You hear people saying ‘any caesium is bad’. Well, you can’t really say that when we’re eating fish that have natural levels of potassium-40 in them that are 10 times higher and not considered a health risk [...] he worries ['strict regulations' in Japan] had the opposite effect, making them too wary”
Published: October 26th, 2012 at 5:27 am ET