Scientist Fears Radiation Is Still Leaking at Fukushima Nuclear Plant

Created: 2012-11-19 18:40 EST


The fish that Kozo Endo and his crew manage to catch on Monday are headed not for market -- but to a nearby laboratory.

They're fishing in waters off the coast of Japan's Fukushima Nuclear Plant, crippled by last year's tsunami when its failing reactors spewed radiation into the sea.

While many fish in the area are below the country's permitted radiation levels, bottom-feeders that live near the sea-floor are still topping the bar.

Marine chemist Ken Buesseler says fish should now be free from radiation a year and a half after the meltdown.

[Ken Buesseler, Senior Scientist, Wood’s Hole Oceanographic Institute]:
"It's a salt, caesium -- like potassium. So very quickly if you shut off the source, they should be going down a few percent a day. In two or three months it would be practically all gone, and we don't see that in the fish they're sampling throughout 2012."

A respected geochemist known for his studies of radioactive fallout in the Black Sea after Chernobyl, Buesseler hit the headlines last month when he suggested that radiation could still be leaking.

[Ken Buesseler, Senior Scientist, Wood’s Hole Oceanographic Institute]:
"There has to be a source. And they're cooling those reactors quite extensively, some of that water's getting back into the ocean, either actively being pumped out after some decontamination or through leaks in the buildings, they're not able to contain all of the water that they use to cool."

But plant operator Tepco denies the claim and the Japanese ministry responsible for radiation sampling across Japan said they are excluding that possibility from their inquiries at the moment.