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No toxic fish — but something stinks

Last week, the Japanese government announced plans to release treated radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant into the ocean. The Japanese government and the UN have confirmed the water has been treated to remove most radioactive isotopes but will still contain low levels of tritium, a radioactive isotope of hydrogen.

The water has been stored since the 2011 tsunami — when highly contaminated water leaked and blended with groundwater. Despite the Japanese government's assurances, China (Japan's largest seafood importer) swiftly banned all seafood imports from the Fukushima area. Interestingly, higher levels of titanium have been found in previous wastewater discharged from nuclear plants in China. In Japan, protesters gathered in Tokyo to stop the release. Journalists reported that fish markets in the Fukushima region were almost empty after an initial rush to buy fish before officials began releasing treated water into the ocean.

The Japanese government is offering additional support to fishermen impacted by the ban, but tourism in the area is set to be negatively affected. Have officials in Japan failed to learn from poor communication during the original Fukushima crisis? 

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