Monday, June 3, 2013

Radiation Exposure from Eating Pacific Bluefin Tuna Affected by Fukushima Nuke Accident Miniscule, US Researchers Say

32 microsieverts per year or 0.032 millisievert per year, for the Japanese people in Japan, 0.9 microsievert per year or 0.0009 millisievert per year for people in the US.

Exposure from radioactive polonium in fish is much greater than radioactive cesium of Fukushima origin, says Professor Nicholas Fisher at Stony Brook University in New York. (See Table 1 at the bottom of the post.)

He also says the the amount of radioactive cesium in bluefin tuna caught off the coast of San Diego in 2012 dropped in half, compared to the bluefin tuna caught in 2011.

Unlike most of the Japanese media these days, the US media, including CNN below, still talks about radiation in terms of dental X-ray or transcontinental flight. Just give us the number, please.

From CNN (6/3/2013):

Fukushima tuna study finds miniscule health risks

Go ahead, order the sushi.

Levels of radioactivity found in Pacific bluefin tuna that spawned off Japan around the time of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident are far below anything that would pose a health risk and have dropped in fish caught the following year, U.S. researchers reported Monday.

The latest findings follow up on a 2012 study that found radioactive cesium, a nuclear reactor byproduct, in tuna caught off California in the months after the triple meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi. The attention that study received led scientists to take another look at the data, said Nicholas Fisher, a marine science professor at New York's Stony Brook University.

"People did not know how to translate that into a dose, or into what risk do I have from eating that tuna," Fisher said. "The paper that's coming out today addresses that."

They found that anyone who eats the bluefin -- highly prized for sushi and sashimi -- would get about 5% of the radiation they'd get from eating one typical banana, a fruit high in naturally radioactive potassium. The results were released Monday by the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Even subsistence fishermen, who eat far more fish than the typical American, would receive a dose of radiation from the cesium isotopes released in the meltdown equivalent to a single dental X-ray, Fisher and his colleagues reported. That translates to a "worst-case scenario" of two additional cancer deaths for every 10 million people in that category, he said.

The doses were calculated from fish caught off San Diego in August 2011. A follow-up study with fish caught in 2012 found the amount of cesium-134 and -137 dropped by about half in those tuna, Fisher said.

(Full article at the link)

Japan's Kyodo News says exposure from radioactive polonium in fish is much greater than radioactive cesium of Fukushima origin.

It also says the radiation exposure would be 0.032 millisievert in one year.

The paper abstract:

Pacific bluefin tuna transport Fukushima-derived radionuclides from Japan to California

Daniel J. Madigan, Zofia Baumann, and Nicholas S. Fisher


The Fukushima Dai-ichi release of radionuclides into ocean waters caused significant local and global concern regarding the spread of radioactive material. We report unequivocal evidence that Pacific bluefin tuna, Thunnus orientalis, transported Fukushima-derived radionuclides across the entire North Pacific Ocean. We measured γ-emitting radionuclides in California-caught tunas and found 134Cs (4.0 ± 1.4 Bq kg−1) and elevated 137Cs (6.3 ± 1.5 Bq kg−1) in 15 Pacific bluefin tuna sampled in August 2011. We found no 134Cs and background concentrations (∼1 Bq kg−1) of 137Cs in pre-Fukushima bluefin and post-Fukushima yellowfin tunas, ruling out elevated radiocesium uptake before 2011 or in California waters post-Fukushima. These findings indicate that Pacific bluefin tuna can rapidly transport radionuclides from a point source in Japan to distant ecoregions and demonstrate the importance of migratory animals as transport vectors of radionuclides. Other large, highly migratory marine animals make extensive use of waters around Japan, and these animals may also be transport vectors of Fukushima-derived radionuclides to distant regions of the North and South Pacific Oceans. These results reveal tools to trace migration origin (using the presence of 134Cs) and potentially migration timing (using 134Cs:137Cs ratios) in highly migratory marine species in the Pacific Ocean.

Full paper PDF:

Part about radiation exposure for Japan and for the US:

Table 1 showing the radiation dose:


sickputer said...

"A follow-up study with fish caught in 2012 found the amount of cesium-134 and -137 dropped by about half in those tuna, Fisher said."

SP: What 2012 study? I just have his word for that. And his charts just cover the same poor 15 tuna in 2011 that may or may not have originated from Japan. The western Pacific is huge...even his charts denoted their uncertainty:

A disclaimer in their PDF: "[these unlucky 15 tuna] potentially present in Japan, April 2011"

Get that? POTENTIALLY! They have no idea where these fish came from…they could be from far south of Australia.

A true and honest survey would entail tagging many species of fish near the east coast of Japan and tracking their movements and radiation levels. But we know the pronukes have no agenda for that kind of inconvenient truth.

Anonymous said...

sickputer, not just pronukes but anti-nukes and beyond-nukes don't have such agenda either. They want disaster all over the place, so they don't want facts. Or truth.

Anonymous said...

...Fukushima nuclear power plant caused physiological and genetic
damages to a resident butterfly species and that the cumulative
effects of the external and internal irradiation could have resulted
in detriments at the population level...

Nice to see them admitting that a proper study finds problems!

....The datasets necessary for translating dose or dose rate to specific health impairments are not as abundant for wildlife as they are for humans, and thus the former contain greater uncertainties.....

Nice to see they admit that they dont know the effects of radionuclides on BFT

... These fish acquired radioactive cesium in waters off Japan following the Fukushima accident and migrated across the Pacific Ocean to coastal waters off California (2). The findings were based on analysis of only 15 individual PBFT, although it is noteworthy that there was little variation among these individual...

were these specific fish tested and tagged in Japan before they appeared in the USA?

...We used radioactivity concentration data measured in marine organisms and in surrounding waters (1, 2) to reconstruct the
absorbed dose and absorbed dose rate received by marine organisms after the Fukushima accident....


the PO210 findings were interesting.. they say it is normal radiation but Radon and its daughters are found from man made nuclear processes too!
i notice they dont give the measurements in bequerels nor do they give the Pb201 levels either?
noe any other isotopes such as strontium90 nor do they give us an update of the Ag110m findins in the earlier reports.
there is no linkage to the extensive chinese studies around japan (2 voyages with a fleet of 7 scientific ships)
why are we only relying on the VERY limited japanese testing!
are the chinese political officials eating pacific tuna?
is overfishing of atlantic tuna anything to do with this report? are they trying to take the pressure of the atlantic tuna stocks?

need to think about this "report"

Anonymous said...

Research Foundation of State University of New York
Migratory dynamics of Pacific bluefin tuna mapped using cesium released from the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant $514,268 Jun. 2012

From one of the funders of the report
More of their funding criteria targets here..

National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
National Fisheries Innovation Fund $1,305,993 Mar. 2013

David Suzuki Foundation
Technical analysis and strategic communications for marine spatial planning and implementation $501,102 Feb. 2013

Green Fire Productions
Distribution of the film "Ocean Frontiers" $481,512 Mar. 2013

Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership
Sportfishing conservation and stewardship $309,880 Mar. 2013

Conservation International
Metrics for Conservation and Human Well-Being $2,000,000 Feb. 2013
metrics read statistics

anonymouse again

Anonymous said...

2011 funding shows that no money was given for studies concerning fukushima..

they do seem to like funding the suzuki foundation and sustainable fishing..

maybe the recent pressure on atlantic stocks of tuna have forced this corporate hand to act.. profits are being lost by this nw American continent based funder..

a bit suspicious imo

anonymouse again..

Anonymous said...

And other funders of this report include

European Commission Contract Fission-2010-3.5.1-
269672 to Strategy for Allied Radioecology (

Anonymous said...

As always, if you read the actual report, rather than the article about the report, then you get some interesting information.

First - there is no primary research in this report: it is merely a set of calculations based on the finding of Cesium from Fukushima in Tuna off the coast of California.

The guy that wrote the report - Nicholas S. Fisher - does seem to be expert enough to weigh in on the topic at hand, based on his history and background. It is noted from his biography that he did work for the IAEA at one point in his career many years ago.

However the text and analysis sure seems to be reminiscent of "junk science".

First off is this opening paragraph, which seems to indicate the purpose of the paper is to confirm the author's foregone conclusion that the concentrations of radiation were below the threshold of safety:

"Recent reports describing the presence of radionuclides re- leased from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Pacific biota (1, 2) have aroused worldwide attention and concern. For example, the discovery of 134Cs and 137Cs in Pacific bluefin tuna (Thunnus orientalis; PBFT) that migrated from Japan to California waters (2) was covered by >1,100 newspapers worldwide and numerous internet, television, and radio outlets. Such widespread coverage reflects the public’s concern and general fear of radiation. Concerns are particularly acute if the artificial radionuclides are in human food items such as seafood. Although statements were released by government authorities, and indeed by the authors of these papers, indicating that ra- dionuclide concentrations were well below all national safety food limits, the media and public failed to respond in measure. The mismatch between actual risk and the public’s perception of risk may be in part because these studies reported radionuclide activity concentrations in tissues of marine biota but did not report dose estimates and predicted health risks for the biota or for human consumers of contaminated seafood."

Secondly is the old standby: comparision of dose rates to bananas and airline flights in the conclusion - which really has no place in a scientific paper and is likely inserted to encourage reporters to quote those lines.

Thirdly is the curious insertion of a large chunk of calculation of the fish dosage rate over it's migration across the ocean - which has no bearing on the conclusion or the intent of the study. This seems to be a rehash of other research the author is conducting.

Regarding the calculations - it's hard to say if they are accurate or not. The author makes multiple references to having used other estimation methods, that are not detailed in the study and impossible to verify.

My conclusion: Inconclusive - This author seems to have the credentials to produce a scientifically accurate report, however the lack of primary research, the referral to other documents for key estimates, rather than detailing them and the use of typical nuclear industry propaganda methods would indicate this is a "junk science" piece with a predetermined outcome...

I suspect the Moore foundation either didn't get their money's worth if they intended an unbiased view, or got exactly the kind of science they intended to pay for...

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Here is a link to a compilation of information regarding the effects of radiation on wildlife prepared about 20 years ago:


Author: Ronald Eisler

Not sure if he covers Tuna specifically. If not it may be in one of his sources which he lists.

Anonymous said...

Why didn't they use the data available on fish contamination in Japan (where in Japan?) instead of estimating the numbers based on what they got in the US? Both the government, Greenpeace and others have been measuring regularly.

Anonymous said...

The paper is for the US audience, who may have worried about radiation exposure by eating sushi tuna. There was some sensational (and wrong) reporting in 2012 in the US, as well as "experts" declaring the fishing industry on the west coast of the US would be dead.

Anonymous said...

If CNN has a piece starting off with "Go ahead, eat the sushi", then that means don't!
Believe nothing from your TV, it's only designed to manage your perceptions.

Anonymous said...

Right. If CNN says so, don't believe it. If Gundersen or Caldicott says fish is so contaminated they won't touch it, believe it.

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