… South Korea announced on Friday that it was banning all fish imports from along Japan’s northeastern coast because of what officials called growing public worry over radioactive water leaking into the Pacific Ocean near the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant.
Fisheries in Fukushima prefecture are nearly all closed, and fish caught in nearby prefectures are sold on the Japanese market only after tests have shown them to be safe for consumption.
However, South Korea’s ban applies to a total of eight prefectures with a combined coastline of more than 700 kilometres (430 miles), regardless of whether the fish pass safety standards or not.
The South Korean government made the move because of insufficient information from Tokyo about what steps will be taken to address the leakage of contaminated water from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, according to a statement by the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries.
The half-life of Tritium (H-3) is over 12 years and it bioaccumulates in fish so I’ve mostly stopped eating seafood. It takes about 7 half lives for the amount to be gone, so Tritium will stick around for about 84 years. Fukushima is still releasing contaminated water with over 900 Bq/L of H-3 as of September 2018. Because tritium bioaccumulates, anything in the food chain would be exposed to progressively higher levels of it.
Experts fear people who eat fish from waters contaminated by a radioactive pollutant discharged by nuclear plants and factories are at a greater risk of developing cancer than was previously thought.
The health risk from exposure to tritium remains low since doses are still within international safety limits.
But scientists are concerned that people who eat fish from waters contaminated by tritium may have received much higher levels of radiation than had been estimated before, according to a report in New Scientist magazine.
The report indicates that tritium is twice as likely to cause cancer as was previously thought.
Tritium is an isotope of hydrogen. Vast amounts of the material were released into the atmosphere by nuclear weapons tests in the 1960s, and large quantities are still discharged by nuclear plants such as Sellafield in Cumbria.
It was discharges from a factory in Wales making isotopes for the drugs industry that alerted scientists to the potential hazards of tritium, New Scientist reported.
Levels of the material in fish near the Nycomed Amersham plant in Cardiff were hundreds of times higher than expected.
The discovery in 1998 prompted the National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB) to take a new look at the amount of radiation people are exposed to when they eat fish from the Severn Estuary.
The NRPB has now concluded that they receive twice the dose that was assumed in the past, said the magazine.
Evidence from animals studies suggested that tritium-carbon compounds may persist in the body for longer than was previously thought, and the biological effect of tritium in water may be more damaging.
Learn what you can and do what you can. In my view this disaster should be a world-wide clean up effort since the contamination will effect the entire planet.