It sounds like the plot of a 50s B-movie but it’s all too real. Radioactive bluefin tuna have started showing up off the coast of California. They traveled across 6,000 miles of ocean to get there, having been irradiated a year ago near Japan.
Yep, they’re one of the many side-effects of the Fukushima Dai-ichi reactor meltdown. The fish carried radioactive contamination with them all the way to the United States. According to the AP this is “the first time a huge migrating fish has been shown to carry radioactivity such a distance.” It’s an achievement so specific, it’s kind of a no duh isn’t it?
Scary as this might sound it’s actually not such a big deal. These fish are ten times more radioactive than normal fish (yep, everything is a little bit radioactive) but they’re still well within the safe to eat range. Eat all the tuna salad you want, it remains unlikely to cause unwanted tentacle growth.
No doubt this will be used as another rallying cry for that guy you see all the time in the Whole Foods parking lot with the “say no to nuclear power” bumper sticker on his Prius, but if anything it should really have the opposite effect. Think about this a minute. An entire nuclear reactor melted down, irradiated a bunch of fish… and the damage still wasn’t bad enough even to effect the tuna supply at your local deli.
Things aren’t exactly fantastic in Japan as they continue to struggle with reactor problems, but so far no one has actually died as a result of radiation. After decades and decades of nuclear powered reactors in use all over the world… if this is the worst case scenario then maybe nuclear power isn’t exactly the devil it’s been portrayed as by that guy in the Prius.