The Korea Herald


Detection of radiation in Japanese fish on rise

By Korea Herald

Published : March 8, 2012 - 13:23

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Korea is more frequently finding radioactive materials in fishery products from Japan but has no immediate plans to ban imports as their levels are far below the maximum intake limits, the quarantine office said Thursday.

In the first two months of the year, the country has detected traces of radioactive materials, such as cesium, in 32 separate shipments of fisheries products from Japan, according to the Animal, Plant and Fisheries Quarantine and Inspection Agency.

The figure represents an over 50 percent increase from 21 cases detected in the nine months of last year since the meltdown of a reactor and resulting radiation leak at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant in March. The worst nuclear accident in Japan’s history was caused by a powerful earthquake and tsunami.

Seoul has since checked all fisheries imports from Japan for radiation but has never blocked shipments. The quarantine office said it has no immediate plans to do so.

The highest level of radiation detected in Japanese products this year is 6.24 becquerel, about 1.7 percent of the maximum intake limit of 370 Bq, according to the agency.

Becquerel measures the level of radioactivity in terms of the number of atomic disintegrations per second. The highest level of radiation ever detected in Japanese products since the nuclear accident was 97.90 Bq.

“The frequency of radiation detection appears to be rising as two reactors at the Fukushima plant are currently leaking radiation,” said an agency official, asking not to be identified.

“But there has not yet been any case where Japanese fisheries products have been banned as the level of cesium found in the products is still far below the international standard.” 

(Yonhap News)