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IAEA finds Japanese labs reliable in analysing fish from sea near Fukushima

2016/5
Monaco

Three Japanese laboratories that took part in an IAEA study produced reliable data on the level of radioactive caesium in fish caught near the Fukushima Daiichi accident site, the IAEA’s Environment Laboratories announced today.

The laboratories – the Marine Ecology Research Institute and the Japan Chemical Analysis Center in Chiba Prefecture, and the Japan Frozen Foods Inspection Corporation in Yokohama - are among those providing regular data on radioactivity levels in fish to Japanese authorities, which release the data publicly. The comparison study found no statistical differences between the results reported by the three laboratories and the IAEA’s laboratory, located in Monaco, indicating that they have the capacity to analyse fish accurately.

The study included analysis of the levels of radioactive caesium in cod, flounder and mackerel caught near Fukushima in November 2015. The participating laboratories all found very small amounts of caesium in the fish. The levels measured were below 5 Bequerel per kilogram, which is far below the Japanese regulatory limit for human consumption of general foods, which is 100 Becquerel per kilogram.

The study was conducted as part of the IAEA’s work to assist the Government of Japan in ensuring that its sea area monitoring around Fukushima Daiichi is comprehensive, credible and transparent. IAEA-run comparison studies in 2014 and 2015, using seawater and sediment samples collected near Fukushima Daiichi, also indicated that the participating Japanese laboratories’ results were reliable. The full report of the studies will be published in April.

Interlaboratory comparisons are held to support high-quality gathering and analysis of marine samples and radioactivity data. The IAEA runs similar exercises for analytical laboratories worldwide to help improve analytical capabilities.

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