Posts Tagged ‘seafood’

Safe food is getting scarcer in Japan, even out of the no man’s land, in what I call the monitored land. Surviving in Japan supposes boycotting any food from areas northeastern of Nagoya included and of course any sea product from the North Pacific Ocean. This strict rule makes shopping complicated but nowhere as eating out. The end of the year brings a new threat in traditional food gifts that Japanese offer, i.e. “oseibo” (in Japanese 「お歳暮」. It is hard to be always on one’s guard and make rational choices as to what to eat and it is socially a burden when one constantly has to ask for the source of ingredients of any food in shops and restaurants. Furthermore, when the temptation is from one’s relatives and friends, it is almost impossible for anyone to resist and discard the gift, like Snow White could not decline the shiny red apple for the gentle old, poor woman who actually was intent on killing her.

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Sushi restaurants have popped up in recent years everywhere in the world, with many Chinese restaurants rebranding themselves to ride the trend. Tokyo Tsukiji fish market is the biggest in the world and exports worldwide, with a reported 60,000 employees. Not only this culinary trend threatens complete extinction of dwindling tuna population, but contrarily to popular belief of a Japanese healthy diet, it was a hazardous treat from the start given the level of mercury in big fish like tuna. Most Japanese restaurants worldwide are fake who serve “sushi” with non-Japanese rice to indiscriminate patrons, whereas Japanese rice is so different that it is not a question of detail. Yet, this year and forever on, if you eat genuine sushi, you’ll be ingesting radiation-tainted rice and fish on top of the usual mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls. In Japan, expecting mothers are told by doctors that eating raw fish poses no special threat (even before 3-11), contrarily to many other countries. This sushi (and sashimi) death threat applies to anyone, anywhere, from New York city to London.

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Level of radiation dump by TEPCO in the Pacific Ocean is so mind-boggling that a new unit may be needed for nuclear disasters (15 peta-Becquerels just for March 2011). Fish and seafood is contaminated and even the Ocean cannot dilute such a radioactivity source.

An article published 2 weeks ago in Japan Times states that cesium would be back in Japan after 20 to 30 years, promoting a false immediate sense of security. Yet sea radiation maps show the area of dispersion: radiation is here to stay, all along the coast and far reaching – the issue is not the round trip, even if it happens. After more than 90 years, there would still be about 10% of cesium – not to mention all the other radionucleides.

Here is a screenshot of a 3D map of the extent of the radiation in the Pacific Ocean from 2011 July 15. Two months and a half later, it is easy to extrapolate the reach to all of Japan eastern coast save Okinawa and hence absolutely no fish nor seafood from Japan should be eaten at all.

A private consulting firm called ASR also allows viewing it with Google Earth on their site. (more…)

Mainstream news reported yesterday radioactivity figures which imply that all seafood and fish from western Pacific Ocean are most probably deadly. Figures reflect only the first month of leakage since the disaster began six months ago with continuous air and sea spreading. TEPCO subcontractors and shadow workers taken from the homeless or discriminated population have failed to prevent leaks, sometimes battling with “holes in hoses” as if they were amateur firefighters dealing with a barbecue party gone wrong (Cf. Japan’s Nuclear Power Plant Workers, Exposed to Radiation, Hidden from Sight on SurvivalJapan). The extrapolated figures for the past six months could be three times higher. As discussed in “food”-tagged articles in SurvivalJapan, seafood and fish must not be eaten in Japan (Cf. Safer food quest).

The Asahi Shimbun article is reproduced hereafter :

Radioactive sea pollution from Fukushima may dwarf previous estimates

BY TAKASHI SUGIMOTO STAFF WRITER

2011/09/10

photo

Radioactive water leaks into the sea April 2 from a crack in a pit wall near the water intake of the No. 2 reactor at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. (Tokyo Electric Power Co.)

More than 15 quadrillion becquerels of radioactivity may have been released from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant into the sea between March 21 and April 30, according to a preliminary analysis by the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) and other institutions.

That is more than three times the initial estimate of marine contamination by the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), which said only 4.72 quadrillion becquerels had been leaked. A quadrillion is 1,000 trillion.

The new total is believed to have been inflated by the inclusion of fallout from the atmosphere in addition to the direct runoff from the plant that TEPCO looked at. However, the JAEA is also warning that its models may be overestimating the total radioactivity released.

Takuya Kobayashi, assistant principal researcher of coastal engineering at the JAEA, said his team had used the actual measurements of seaborne radioactivity near the nuclear plant’s water outlets to estimate the amount of direct discharge of radioactivity. They also conducted simulations to quantify the amount of radioactive fallout from the air and added the two results together.

They concluded that 11.4 quadrillion becquerels of iodine-131 and 3.6 quadrillion becquerels of cesium-137 had been leaked into the sea. The latter figure is about 40 times the total amount of cesium-137 released on land and sea by the Hiroshima atomic bomb. Cesium-137 has a half-life of about 30 years.

With the inclusion of cesium-134, which was not estimated, the researchers said the total amount of radioactivity was likely to exceed 15 quadrillion becquerels.

Kobayashi said his team’s estimate of direct runoff from the plant may have been larger than TEPCO’s figures because of the inclusion of leaks that TEPCO had failed to report. But he also said it was possible that his team’s preliminary calculations had overestimated the amount of radioactive materials released.

Neighboring nations, including Russia and South Korea, are extremely concerned about the release of radioactivity from the Fukushima plant into the ocean. An intentional discharge of low-level radioactive water by TEPCO in April drew strong international criticism.

The preliminary analysis will be presented at a meeting of the Atomic Energy Society of Japan in Kita-Kyushu from Sept. 19.