Radioactive cesium uptake continues in fish off the coast of Fukushima
by: Rebecca Winters
Thursday, January 23, 2014
It has been almost three years, and Fukushima continues to endanger the biosphere. A study published in the October 2013 Journal of Environmental Radioactivity on the effects of the Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant disaster in marine life confirms that radioactive cesium is continuing to be concentrated in the Pacific Ocean’s aquatic food chain.
While cesium-134 has a half-life of just over two years, cesium-137’s half life is over 30 years. Although the radioactive concentrations found differ amongst various types of ocean life, in the years following the disaster, researchers have continued to frequently detect cesium-134 and cesium-137 concentrations above the set regulatory limit of 100 becquerels per kilogram. Sixty-three different species in 2011 and 41 species in 2012 were found to exceed radioactive cesium levels in this study, and the main source of cesium appears to be detritus within ocean sediment.
Detrirus, or the non-living organic material that settles on the sea floor, is a very important substance for cycling the ocean’s nutrients, and it essentially serves as the basis for the ocean’s foodweb. So what this research shows is that the literal bottom of the ocean’s food chain is being continuously contaminated by Fukushima, a deadly process that has remained constant this entire time since the earthquake and tsunami struck the power plant back in March 2011.