INITIAL AND PRESENT SITUATION OF FOOD CONTAMINATION IN JAPAN AFTER THE ACCIDENT AT THE FUKUSHIMA DAI-ICHI NUCLEAR POWER PLANT

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Abstract

The accident at the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) in March 2011 affected not only the terrestrial environment of Fukushima prefecture and the surrounding area, but also the marine area facing the NPP. Our present study is focused on the concentrations of radionuclides in agricultural products of Fukushima and sea-foods collected off Fukushima after the accident. The regulation value for radiocesium in vegetables, meat and fish was revised from 500 Bq/kg-wet to 100 Bq/kg-wet on 1 April 2012. The overall activity of radiocesium in these products was found to be within the limit of tolerance in respect to Japanese and also international regulations, but there is still radiocesium found at activities greater than this level in edible wild plants, wild mushrooms and game such as boar meat. Although the activities of radionuclides exceeding the regulatory limits were not detected in marine products collected off Fukushima after April 2015, the commercial marine fishery has not received approval in the affected areas except for certain species. We learned from the Fukushima accident that long-term kinetic studies of radionuclides in terrestrial and marine environments is extremely important for prevention of internal contamination, since contamination with radionuclides occurs via the food chain in the environment.

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