It’s been over a year since the latest Japanese tsunami disaster and the resulting radioactive leaks at Fukushima nuclear power plants. Extensive and diligent testing of consumables such as fish has been in effect ever since.
However, a recent assessment of those numbers has shown that levels of radioactive cesium in fish caught off the Fukushima coast have not declined according to the NY Daily News.
Experts say that this is a clear-cut sign that leakage stemming from either the seafloor or the damaged reactors themselves is still actively contaminating the local waters. The impact of such a situation should that turn out to be the case could potentially affect the Fukushima fishing industry for a long time to come into the future – even decades.
The radioactivity levels do not, however, apply to all fish caught off the Fukushima coast. It’s roughly 40% of what’s caught that is testing over safe limits for both cesium-134 and cesium-137. The species in question include cod, halibut, and flounder according to Ken Buesseler, a Massachusetts marine chemical biologist.
“The (radioactivity) numbers aren't going down. Oceans usually cause the concentrations to decrease if the spigot is turned off,” Buesseler recently told the Associated Press during an interview.
"There has to be somewhere they're picking up the cesium. Option one is the seafloor is the source of the continued contamination. The other source could be the reactors themselves.”
The issue with the Fukushima fish is not only affecting the Japanese export industry in regards to seafood, but also the local Japanese population as a result. Most fish off of this coast have been barred from the local market as well as foreign market.
The solution to the problem will be continuing to address repairs to cracks and other damage to the reactors themselves. However, it is still thought that long-term contamination could be an issue even with all damage corrected.