1 of 2 | Fish samples from the ocean around Japan’s Fukushima nuclear complex are registering normal and do not contain radioactive contaminants after the discharge of treated wastewater from the plant, officials said Saturday. File Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI | License Photo
Aug. 26 (UPI) -- Fish samples from the ocean around Japan's Fukushima nuclear complex are registering normal and do not contain radioactive contaminants after the discharge of treated wastewater from the plant, officials said Saturday.
The Japanese government did not detect any amount of tritium in the first fish samples taken in the water around the damaged plant.
Japan's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries tested fish caught within five miles of the discharged water, the Kyodo News Agency reported.
The declaration comes after Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings said Friday none of the radioactive element was detectable in seawater samples.
The company expects to gradually release up to 22 trillion becquerels of tritium per year from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station over the next 20 or 30 years.
Officials on Thursday began releasing treated water from the damaged nuclear plant into the ocean, amid strong environmental pushback from the fishing industry and neighboring countries.
China on Thursday suspended all seafood imports from Japan ahead of the water discharge, citing the possibility of tritium contamination.
The radioactive isotope of hydrogen is considered unstable and radioactive. Tritium occurs naturally but can also be produced as a byproduct of nuclear reactors.
The United Nations nuclear watchdog has said the procedure aligned with global safety standards.
Groundwater around the stricken nuclear facility has been contaminated since a catastrophic explosion crippled the site in March 2011.
Testing is taking place within a 25-mile radius of the water discharge site.
More than 1 million tons of water have already been stored for treatment and eventual discharge.
Last year, Tokyo Electric said it would raise seafood at the Fukushima site in order to dispel rumors about contamination.
Officials will continue measuring tritium levels in both water and fish each time treated wastewater from the Fukushima plant is released into the ocean.