Remember the earthquake off the coast of Fukushima two years ago? It led to a tsunami and a meltdown at the nuclear power plant in Fukushima. We already knew that the resulting flood from the tsunami washed large amounts of radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean. However, right after the disaster the company that owns the power plant, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), claimed that none of the radiation was leaking into the ocean. Well, in July, TEPCO admitted that radiation may be leaking into the Pacific Ocean. We now know that, yes, radiation is leaking into the ocean. 300 tons of radioactive water a day in fact.
It's an ongoing problem that TEPCO is still struggling to deal with. In the meantime, here are the issues surrounding the shocking news.
1. Contaminating your food
Did you wonder why the tuna at Metro was all of a sudden on sale? It’s probably because pacific tuna has been found to be contaminated by the radioactive water it inhabits. Halibut, Mackerel, and sardines have all been found to be similarly effected. Make sure you watch what you buy from the seas, especially if its glowing green.
2. Clean up will take forever
It is estimated that it will take up to 40 years to clean up the radioactive mess in the wake of Fukushima. While we wait for the cleanup crew to finish their job, the debris from the incident is headed for the western coast of North America.
3. TEPCO has no idea how to handle it
Today, the chairman of the Japanese Nuclear Regulation Authority told the president of Toyko Electric Power Company he needs to get it together and figure out what to do with this situation because they don’t seem to have any plan in mind. Example: the protective barriers created around 11 storage units at the nuclear site failed to contain contaminated water after heavy rainfall last week during a typhoon. That's not good.
4. Increase your risk of cancer
TEPCO reported in July that there were spikes in the amount of cesium and strontium in the groundwater at the plant, both of which are known to increase the risk of cancer in humans. By eating fish exposed to both substances, you're increasing your risk of developing cancer. These elements can also stunt the mental and physical growth of youth if they eat contaminated fish.
5. Good news
There are two sides of the story though. There are some people who think the effects have been blown a bit out of proportion. David Suzuki maintains that he will continue to eat West Coast fish. According to him, research has shown that fish caught off the west coast of Canada is safe to eat. The radiation from Japan will take three years to reach the Canadian coast. While the contaminated area spreads, currents off the coast of Japan dilute the radioactive material to below WHO safety levels. So while it seems true that 42 species in the immediate area in the Pacific Ocean are considered unsafe for consumption, and fisheries in that area have remained closed, fish caught closer to the Canadian coast are safe to eat.
What do you think, Montreal? Are you going to stop buying Pacific fish? Or is the risk nonexistent for fish caught off the western coast of Canada? Let us know in the comments.
Source - Ukiah Blog