The extravagant iodine-131 content around the area of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant is a result of leaching of emergency cooling waters used by firefighters and emergency workers. At Fukushima and at French nuclear facilities, there is no collection device for these cooling waters whereas all warehouses storing chemical products are legally bound to be equipped with a collection basin of polluted water used to extinguish fires. The iodine-131 content is also a result of the consequent radioactive dust deposits of the explosions in the heights of the nuclear islets, namely the buildings, the reactors, and the pools. The iodine-131 is one of the indicators of pollution. Other measures will later show similar deviations from standards for cesium-137 and plutonium.
The operators should, if possible, channel the discharge through the basins and the port of the power plant in the hope of confining and preventing a rapid dispersion of them in the open marine environment. We do not know if they have the technical means; when you look at the photos of installations before the accident, you note that the discharge of conventional cooling water moves flush against the coastal strip, outside of the basins and the port of the nuclear complex.
The threat is thereafter contaminating beyond admissible threshold for crustaceans, mollusks, algae, and fish. It’s an additional drama for the Japanese. Just as atmospheric currents know no boundaries and mock the administrative limits, the marine currents will transport the radioactive pollutants to offshore seas or to other bordering states waters exploited by fishing fleets of Russia, Taiwan, South Korea, and China. The event is going to have consequences on the world fishing economy. As a precaution, the industrial fishing ships are going to be redeployed in the Eastern Pacific, the South Pacific, the Indian Ocean, and the Atlantic where fishery resources are already overexploited.