Southern California environment news and trends

Radioactive tuna from Japan reach California

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Bluefin tuna.

With plastic and debris from last year’s tsunami in Japan already causing trouble on American shores, there’s a new cause of domestic concern from that devastating event. Researchers have found “low levels” of radiation in bluefin tuna along the California coast, raising fears that the fish brought the radiation — the result of the tsunami-damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant — across the Pacific Ocean quicker than water or even wind.

As reported by Reuters, small amounts of cesium-137 and cesium-134 were found in 15 tuna caught in the vicinity of San Diego last August, four months after the disaster in Japan and far outpacing ocean and air debris.

Researchers conducting the study claim that while the tuna were measured to contain five times the amount of cesium-137 than normal, the radiation is not enough to harm people if eaten, and are “far less” than general Japanese safety levels.


Song of the Week: "You can't see it, and you can't smell it," for nuclear generating stations


Anti-nuclear power protests in Kouenji, Tokyo, Japan, April 2011.

If there's one rule about the Song of the Week, it's that it can't be a protest song. Protest music, generally, is where melody, good lyrics, and humor go to die. But rules are made to be broken.

It's a year after the 9.0 Tohoku earthquake and resulting tsunami that damaged the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Power plant in Japan. I don't know that anyone is yet reporting on what that accident reveals about our sense of risk from that sort of harm. It does seem like we're still piecing together what happened; we're not yet thinking about what we might pay in the future if we're still trying to count the cost--and it seems we are. I recommend you find, read, and listen to everything at FUEL an energy journal, and the formidable Alex Chadwick's reporting on energy issues, including nuclear power, and including Fukushima.