High Levels Of Radioactive Substance Found In Fish Caught Off Japanese Coast

Japanese researchers have found high levels of radioactive cesium in fish caught off Hitachi in Ibaraki prefecture, northeast of Tokyo, early this month.

Prefectural officials said 1,037 becquerels of cesium were discovered per kilogram in Japanese sea-bass, which is more than ten times of the safety limit set by the government, Japanese news reports said on Friday.

It was the third highest level of cesium found in marine products in the region since April 2011 -- one month after the Fukushima nuclear accident.
The officials were in the dark why such a high dose was detected more than two years after the accident, reports the NHK public broadcaster.

Meanwhile, Japan's Nuclear Regulations Authority has constituted an expert team to check the seepage of radiation contaminated water into the sea from the tsunami-wrecked Fukushima nuclear power plant. The team was formed after the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the plant's operator, reported high concentration of cesium in well waters in the plant's premises.

Four of the six reactors at the plant suffered meltdown as they were slammed by the powerful quake-triggered tsunami on March 11, 2011 sending out radiation that contaminated water and food in the Fukushima prefecture.

More than 160,000 residents were evacuated from a 30-kilometer radius of the stricken plant, and most of them were still living in makeshift shelters elsewhere as rehabilitation was yet to pick up even after two years of the accident. TEPCO is now pressing the government for additional funds to provide compensation to the victims which it says will be more than $50 billion.

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