Testing Expanded for Gamma Radiation
in Alaska Seafood

Alaska’s Department of Environmental Conservation has expanded testing for gamma radiation in Alaska seafood as a precautionary measure as the Japanese government plans to release treated radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear plant in two years.

According to Dr. Bob Gerlach, the state veterinarian, testing to date has not detected any radiation in Alaska seafood since the initial Fukushima incident.

The Fukushima nuclear disaster, a nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in northern Japan, was caused by the 2011 magnitude of 9.0 Tohoku earthquake, and tsunami. It is considered the second worst nuclear power accident in history, after the 1986 Chernobyl incident. The tsunami itself resulted in a human death toll of some 19,500 people. According to the World Nuclear Association’s updated report of April 2021, there have been no deaths or cases of radiation sickness from the nuclear accident, but over 100,000 people were evacuated from their homes as a preventive measure and government nervousness has delayed the return of May.

Scientists have continued to study the effects of radiation from the disaster. Alaska’s DEC has been monitoring for radiation in Alaska seafood since 2014.

DEC’s Environmental Health Laboratory has the only portable gamma-ray analysis system deployed to a state lab in the country. Using FDA standard analytical methods, no detectable levels of gamma radiation have been found in Alaska seafood since testing began. DEC officials say they have proactively monitored for contaminants in seafood harvested in Alaska since 2001, including gamma radiation testing, and have confirmed the healthiness of Alaska seafood.