Researchers in Japan have found that fish close to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant had absorbed a large dose of radioactive materials, like cesium, immediately after the March 2011 nuclear disaster, rather than gradually accumulating it as experts had previously predicted.
Researchers at the National Research Institute of Fisheries Science focused on a special organ called the “ear stone”, which scientists say grows in layers like a tree’s growth rings. By studying the ear stone, scientists were able to pinpoint when the fish absorbed the radioactive materials.
The results of the tests found that most of the radioactivity had been absorbed between the spring and summer of 2011, which lead researchers to believe that the fish had absorbed a large quantity of radioactive cesium shortly after the onset nuclear disaster.
These findings are especially relevant when compared to a new study conducted by researchers from the Institute for Environmental Science and Technology, which studied the spread of radioactive strontium in the coastal waters surrounding eastern Japan during the first three months after the onset of the nuclear disaster. Strontium is much more mobile and soluble in water than Cesium. Strontium, like Calcium, is known as a bone-seeker, as it enters the human body via plant and animal products and is mainly deposited in teeth and bones. New blood is formed in the bone marrow. Strontium is considered a catalyst of leukemia.
Their studies have indicated an enormous amount of radioactive strontium, up to 900 terabecquerels (a terabecquerel is equal to 1 trillion becquerels) was released from the crippled nuclear power plant during the first 90 days, raising concentration levels of strontium 89 and strontium 90 up by up to two orders of magnitude (a hundredfold). Since June of 2011, when the researchers stopped sampling there have been further large discharges of strontium from Fukushima Daiichi that have not been measured with precision.
Source: Science Daily