Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Radioactive fish in Japan

The radioactive seafood nightmare is beginning. Radioactive fish were found today in Japan.

Harmful levels of radioactive iodine were found in sand lance, small fish that feed on plankton. Later, larger predatory fish will acquire radioactivity from eating smaller fish.

Radioactive iodine has a half-life of 8 days, meaning it loses radioactivity quickly. More worrisome are the longer-lasting radioactive elements likely to show up later if releases of radioactive water continue. Stay tuned.

From SeafoodSource.com:
About 20,000 metric tons of low-level contaminated waste water is being released from holding ponds at each of two reactors owned by Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) to make room for more highly contaminated water, as the company struggles to cool overheating fuel rods.

Plankton and small fishes that are low on the foodchain, like the sand lance, are expected to be affected first. As larger fish consume these smaller fish, the substances may become concentrated; however, unlike the case of mercury, the radiation will dissipate over time. Radioactive iodine has a half-life of eight days, and if the problems at the reactor can be solved it should not pose a long-term hazard to human health.

1 comment:

scalene said...

according to this article,

radioactive cesium was also found in the fish. it'll take much longer for that stuff to decay.