Japan finds radiation traces in whales

Jun 15, 2011
Photo illustration of a Minke whale. Japanese whale hunters have found traces of radioactive caesium in two of the ocean giants recently harpooned off its shores in the Pacific Ocean, a fisheries agency official said Wednesday.

Japanese whale hunters have found traces of radioactive caesium in two of the ocean giants recently harpooned off its shores in the Pacific Ocean, a fisheries agency official said Wednesday.

Two culled off the northern island of Hokkaido showed readings of 31 becquerels and 24.3 becquerels of per kilogram, he said, adding that the cause may be the accident at the Fukushima nuclear plant.

The level is far below the country's recently-set maximum safe limit for seafood of 500 becquerels per kilogram, he said.

"There is no data available to compare whether the readings for radioactive materials are higher than normal," he said.

"We will continue to monitor the development, as we do for all seafood and marine life" that is caught off the Pacific coast, he said.

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has leaked into the Pacific since it was battered by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, which disabled cooling systems, triggering reactor meltdowns and explosions.

The Japanese public and some marine life experts have voiced fears that radioactive material in the sea can concentrate among large at the top of the food chain that live for a long time.

The government has banned fishing in areas near the crippled nuclear plant, and local governments and fishing cooperatives are conducting regular radiation screenings of seafood along the Pacific coast.

Japan hunts whales under a loophole to an international moratorium that allows killing the sea mammals for "scientific research".

Japan also argues that whaling is an integral part of the island-nation's culture, and is sold openly in shops and restaurants.

Explore further: Shell files new plan to drill in Arctic

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Greenpeace warns of radioactive sea life off Japan

May 26, 2011

Environmental group Greenpeace warned Thursday that marine life it tested more than 20 kilometres (12 miles) off Japan's stricken Fukushima nuclear plant showed radiation far above legal limits.

Areva to set up treatment system at Japan plant

Apr 19, 2011

French nuclear group Areva said Tuesday it will set up a system to treat radioactive water from a quake-hit Japanese power plant to allow power supplies and cooling systems to be repaired.

High radioactivity found in Japan nuclear workers

May 30, 2011

Two workers from Japan's stricken Fukushima nuclear plant have been contaminated by high levels of radioactive iodine, the operator said Monday, prompting fears over their long-term health.

Experts: Ocean life can handle radioactive leaks

Apr 04, 2011

(AP) -- Releases of radioactive water into the ocean near Japan's stricken nuclear complex shouldn't pose a widespread danger to sea animals or people who might eat them, experts say.

Recommended for you

Shell files new plan to drill in Arctic

14 hours ago

Royal Dutch Shell has submitted a new plan for drilling in the Arctic offshore Alaska, more than one year after halting its program following several embarrassing mishaps.

Reducing water scarcity possible by 2050

15 hours ago

Water scarcity is not a problem just for the developing world. In California, legislators are currently proposing a $7.5 billion emergency water plan to their voters; and U.S. federal officials last year ...

User comments : 0