“Mass death” of species found around Fukushima nuclear plant — Gov’t: They “seem to have disappeared… Little or no reproductive success… It is evident biota around the power plant has been affected since the nuclear accident”

Published: February 10th, 2016 at 11:24 am ET
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Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb 7, 2016 (emphasis added): The National Institute for Environmental Studies (NIES) revealed that the total number of sessile species, such as barnacles and snails, has been decreasing significantly along the coast within 10 kilometers south of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant… [T]here is the possibility that the mass death of sessile species was influenced by radioactive materials released into the sea…

National Institute for Environmental Studies, Feb 2016 (underlining by NIES): NIES has conducted field surveys in the intertidal zones of eastern Japan to investigate the ecological effects of the serious accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant… The number of intertidal species decreased significantly with decreasing distance from the power plantno rock shell (Thais clavigera) specimens were collected near the plant, from Hirono to Futaba Beach (a distance of approximately 30 km) in 2012. The collection of rock shell specimens at many other sites hit by the tsunami suggests that the absence of rock shells around the plant in 2012 might have been caused by the nuclear accident in 2011.  Quantitative surveys in 2013 showed that the number of species and population densities in the intertidal zones were much lower at sites near, or within several kilometers south of, the plant than at other sites… especially in the case of Arthropoda (e.g., barnacles). There is no clear explanation for these findings, but it is evident that the intertidal biota around the power plant has been affected since the nuclear accident

Study funded by the Government of Japan, Feb 2016: Surveys in 2012… The number of intertidal species decreased significantly with decreasing distance from the power plant… The three animal species… 1 km south of FDNPP, were a barnacle… and two herbivorous snails… The sizes… were very small [and] densities were very low… No rock shell (Thais clavigera) specimens were found at 8 of the 10 sites in Fukushima Prefecture within a radius of 20 km of FDNPP… the area without rock shells extended… approximately 30 km… Surveys in 2013… Population densities of sessile organisms at Tomioka fishing port and Okuma were less than one-tenth to about one-fourth those at other sites… The total wet-weights in each intertidal zone at Okuma were much lower than those at other sites… it is unlikely that the absence of rock shells around FDNPP was caused only by the tsunami. The absence of rock shells at sites close to FDNPP… suggests that reproduction and recruitment did not occur there, or were less successful… [I]t is still unknown why adult rock shells living there disappeared or why rock shells had little or no reproductive success there… [I]t is also notable that barnacles seem to have disappeared from Kuboyaji, north of FDNPP…

See also: UPI: 'Shellfish gone near damaged nuke plant' -- Researcher: Likely extinct because of Fukushima nuclear crisis

Published: February 10th, 2016 at 11:24 am ET
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