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The Impact Of Fukishima On Marine Life

First Posted: Oct 19, 2016 06:26 AM EDT
Five years after the earthquake and tsunami, a study is being made on the effects Fukishima has on marine life.
Five years after the earthquake and tsunami, a study is being made on the effects Fukishima has on marine life.
(Kento Bento/YouTube)

The earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan five years ago had great consequences on the environment. This is most true when it comes to the Fukishima Daiichi Power Plant, which had been one of the hardest hit by the disaster. Radiation continues to spread even after five years, affecting much of plant and animal life. Marine life has not been spared as well, as the Fukishima nuclear power plant is situated close to the sea.

Research on the environmental effects of the Fukishima nuclear disaster has been done by Jordi Vives i Batlle from the Belgian Nuclear Research Center. In his research he explored the effects of marine environmental effects of the accident, according to Phys Org. Also on his research he assessed current research on the impact it has on plant and animal life.

Radioactive level has been lower on marine life near Fukishima has been much lower than expected, his research has learned. This has been much different than what other studies have concluded immediately after the incident. The level of exposure has been low on all marine life, which ranges from microalgae all the way up to fishes.

One reason for this might be because iodine-131 has a quick radioactive decay, as Science Daily reports. Another factor might be that the fallout has been confined to only some species that were close to the areas around Fukishima. The study does note that population-level effects have not been observed yet. Also the levels vary on individual fishes. These factors are being taken into consideration as well.

One factor being studied is that sediments might have caused the delay of radioactive material to spread. This might explain why levels vary on individual fishes. Fishes that get food from the ocean floor, such as benthic fish, have been found to be more exposed to radiation than fishes who are not close to it.

Vives i Batlle admits that there is still much research to be made. Even though radiation levels so far have been found to be low on marine life, it is not certain if that would remain true for so long. Continued monitoring of marine and land life around Fukishima would still be done. Information on how much radiation on the sediments and such delayed material such as groundwater will have to be monitored as well.

While much study has to be made around the Fukishima environment, studies show that climate can affect our health.

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