Alaska seafood declared free of Fukushima radiation

Published on
January 12, 2017

Consumers and buyers worried about traces of radiation from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan may find reassurance from recent test results showing no impact on seafood from Alaska.

Testing by the state’s government in 2016 confirmed the Fukushima disaster is not affecting Alaskan seafood, according to the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation.

“DEC, in cooperation with its partners, currently deems fish and shellfish from Alaska waters unaffected by the nuclear reactor damage in Japan,” it said.
Several previous years of testing also showed no detectable levels of Fukushima-related radionuclides in Alaska seafood, the DEC said.

“Although researchers from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution have recently detected ultra-low levels of Fukushima-related radiation in seawater samples taken from Tillamook Bay and Gold Beach in Oregon, these findings do not indicate a threat to Alaska waters or the safety of consuming marine fish,” DEC said.

The agency tested king (Chinook) salmon, chum salmon, sockeye salmon, pink salmon, halibut, pollock, sablefish, herring and Pacific cod.

Last year, Alaska became the first state to test a field-deployable gamma-ray analysis system to analyze fish for radionuclides. Through the novel pilot project, fish samples are analyzed at DEC’s laboratory, and then digital data is transmitted to the FDA’s Winchester Engineering and Analytical Center in Winchester, Massachusetts for interpretation and reporting.

“This collaborative effort provides Alaska with the capability to evaluate surveillance samples in-state for Fukushima radiation,” DEC said. “Validation of this portable system will allow rapid on-site evaluation of environmental samples for gamma radiation contamination (exposure) anywhere in the U.S. and will enhance the country’s Food Emergency Response Network.”

DEC will give a presentation the Fish Monitoring Program and radionuclide testing on 8 February at 3:30 p.m. at the 2017 Alaska Forum on the Environment in Anchorage, Alaska.

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