International scientists gathered fish samples on Thursday from a port town close to Japan’s wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant in an effort to evaluate the effects of treated radioactive water that the reactor recently released into the sea.
The U.N. nuclear watchdog’s research is the first since the water discharge started in August, which sparked concerns about food safety among local fishermen and led China to outlaw all imports of marine items from Japan.
Scientists from China, South Korea and Canada observed the collection of fish samples delivered fresh off the boat at Hisanohama port, about 50 kilometres south of the plant which was destroyed in the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
The samples will be sent to laboratories in each country for independent testing, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said.
“The Japanese government has requested that we do this and one of the reasons they want us to do this is to try and strengthen confidence in the data that Japan is producing,” said Paul McGinnity, a research scientist with the IAEA overseeing the survey.