First traces of radioactive isotope found near Fukushima wastewater release

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According to a statement made on Friday, Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) has discovered evidence of tritium in the ocean near the Fukushima wastewater disposal site for the first time.

TEPCO revealed that tritium, a radioactive isotope of hydrogen, was identified in samples collected on August 31 at 11 locations within 3 kilometers of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. The concentration of radioactivity was found to be 10 becquerel per liter (bq/l) at 200 meters, the closest location from which treated effluent is dumped into the ocean.

According to Japanese specialists, the value was only marginally above the lower limit of detection of 8.6 bq/l and is approximately 6,000 times lower than the allowable level.

Tritium concentration levels were determined to be below the lower limit of detection of 7.6 to 7.7 bq/l in samples taken from various monitoring stations within 10km of the water discharge site.

TEPCO stated in their report that future readings may fluctuate due to changing currents. Tokyo has emphasized that tritium levels in ocean water will not surpass 1,500 bq/l throughout the Fukushima water outflow.

Similarly, Japan’s Fisheries Agency and the Fukushima Prefecture have indicated that testing has revealed no discernible difference in tritium levels in fish or water since the leak began.

The Japanese government has consistently defended the release of cleaned radioactive effluent from the wrecked Fukushima nuclear power plant, claiming that it will have no effect on people or the environment.

As part of a UN-approved plan, the operation began last week. However, a number of Japan’s neighbors, including China and South Korea, have condemned the measure as “irresponsible” and have banned Japanese seafood goods for fear of contamination.

Rosselkhoznadzor, Russia’s veterinary and phytosanitary watchdog, announced on Thursday that it had identified no abnormally high levels of radiation in fish captured in the Far Eastern seas, concluding that the Fukushima wastewater spill had not jeopardized the safety of seafood items in the region.