Fukushima Fish With 180 Times Legal Limit of Radioactive Cesium Fuels Water Release Fears

Black rockfish caught in May close to disaster-hit nuclear power station is one of dozens caught in the past year above the legal safety limit

July 23, 2023 | Source: The Guardian | by Gavin Blair

A fish living near drainage outlets at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in May contained levels of radioactive cesium that are 180 times Japan’s safety limit.

The black rockfish caught on 18 May was found by plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) to have 18,000 becquerels per kilogram of cesium-137, compared with the legal maximum level of 100 becquerels per kg.

Japan’s plan to release 1.3m tonnes of treated water from the Fukushima plant has sparked concern in the region, despite approval from the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Hong Kong has threatened to ban food imports from 10 Japanese prefectures if the water release goes ahead as planned.

China began blanket radioactivity testing of Japanese seafood imports this week, leading some wholesalers to cease handling such produce from Japan.

Asked about concerns around the water discharge, the Tepco official reiterated that the company was confident “the impact on the public and environment will be minuscule”.