Radioactive Bluefin Tuna Have Reached U.S. Waters in Wake of Fukushima Disaster

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May 29 2012 2:07 PM

Radioactive Bluefin Tuna Have Reached U.S. Waters in Wake of Fukushima Disaster

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Bluefin tuna that have radioactive contamination from the Fukushima disaster in Japan have made it to U.S. shores.

Photo by EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images

It's not quite Godzilla, but it's still a little unsettling.

Pacific bluefin tuna caught off the coast of California have shown an increase in radioactive contamination picked up from the Fukushima nuclear disaster after migrating through Japanese waters.

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A study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reported the tuna showed elevated levels of radioactive cesium. As a control, scientists examined yellowfin tuna, which reside in the eastern pacific, and found no difference in their pre- or post-Fukushima concentrations.

Cesium-134 has a two-year half-life, which means its presence can be directly attributed to Fukushima. The measured concentrations, 10 times higher than pre-accident specimens, is still reportedly safe to eat. But scientists are encouraging other migratory species be studied to learn more about the contamination's transport. 

Meanwhile, next time you sit down to sushi, try and keep that three-eyed fish from the Simpsons out of your head.

Video by Jim Festante.

Ben Johnson is the producer of Marketplace Tech from American Public Media.

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