October 23, 2021

Study Finds Trace Levels of Fukushima Radiation in Tuna

A study conducted at Oregon State University has found that tuna caught off the Oregon shore after the Fukushima nuclear power station was destroyed in the 2011 earthquake and tsunami had only trace levels of radiation. There are many conspiracy theories going around about how all the seafood in the Pacific is now contaminated because of the nuclear meltdown.

raw tuna on plateThe study is published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology. A year of eating albacore tuna with this level of cesium is “about the same dose of radiation as you get from spending 23 seconds in a stuffy basement from radon gas,” according to Delvan Neville, a graduate student at the Department of Nuclear Engineering and Radiation Health Physics at the university and lead author on the study. “It’s just not much at all.”

Scientists looked at 26 Pacific albacore caught off the coast between 208 and 2012 for a comparison between pre-Fukushima and post-Fukushima radiation levels. They found that levels of some radioactive isotopes increased, but at the most extreme level, they tripled to only 0.1% of the level set by the FDA for concern and intervention.

This is the first study to look at different parts of the fish. The researchers found that bioaccumulation in the loin, which is the part people eat, was about the same as in the entire carcass. The study did find that 4-year old albacore had slightly higher levels of radioactive isotopes than 3-year old fish, which suggests the older fish may have migrated through the Fukushima plume twice. Most of the 3-year old fish had no traces of the radioactive isotopes at all.

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