Someone consuming the annual average amount of fish in Hawai‘i would receive the same dose of radioactivity as if they consumed one banana, according to Hannah Azouz, a UH student who did research in radioactivity from Fukushima.

Someone consuming the annual average amount of fish in Hawai‘i would receive the same dose of radioactivity as if they consumed one banana, according to Hannah Azouz, a UH student who did research in radioactivity from Fukushima.

Research by two University of Hawai‘i students suggests radiation from leaking nuclear reactors in Japan is neither significantly affecting rainfall in Hawai‘i nor is a health concern for local fisheries.

On March 11, 2011, following the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, several reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant suffered damage and released radioactive chemicals into the atmosphere and contaminated wastewater into the nearby Pacific Ocean.

Hannah Azouz and Trista McKenzie, two recent graduates from UH Mānoa School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology bachelor of science in geology program, assessed the extent to which the soil of Hawaiʻi and locally purchased fish have been impacted by radioactivity from this event.

“My research team has been monitoring Fukushima-derived cesium in the Pacific Ocean since 2011 and we concluded that the Hawaiian Islands were spared from a direct hit of radionuclide plume spread by ocean currents. Yet, fish migrate and so even fish caught locally may accumulate some cesium in waters north of Hawaiʻi,” said Henrietta Dulai, the students’ mentor and an associate professor of geology at UH Mānoa,

Only a week after the disaster, the state Department of Health identified Fukushima-derived radionuclides in the air, milk and precipitation over the Big Island, according to Dulai.

“We wanted to determine how much cesium was deposited from the atmosphere to the islands,” she said.

Locally Purchased Fish

Fresh ahi. Photo courtesy of UH

Fresh ahi. Photo courtesy of UH

To investigate the impact on locally purchased fish, Azouz measured Fukushima-derived cesium isotopes in 13 types of fish that are most commonly consumed in Hawaiʻi.

The FDA-accepted intervention limit for cesium isotope intake is 300 Bq/kg for fish. All fish tested were significantly below intervention limits — the highest cesium concentration in the examined species was in the Ahi tuna, carrying less than 1 Bq/kg.

“These data are informative to the community and