A file picture of a fish market at Listvyanka resort village on the Siberian lake Baikal in Irkutsk region, Russia. EFE/EPA/FILE/MAXIM SHIPENKOV

Russia suspends fish, seafood imports from Japan over Fukushima water release

Moscow, Oct 16 (EFE).- Russia on Monday suspended the import of all fish and seafood from Japan due to concerns arising from Tokyo’s controversial release of wastewater from its damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant into the sea.

The wastewater release in August sparked a controversy between Japan and several countries regarding the safety of sea and the potential radioactive contamination of the local ecosystem.

Russia’s Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Supervision (Rosselkhoznadzor) said that it was “joining China’s temporary restrictive measures on the import of fish and seafood from Japan, starting from October 16, 2023.”

It said that the precautionary measure would remain in place until there is “comprehensive information confirming the safety of aquatic products and their compliance with the requirements of the Eurasian Economic Union.”

According to the All-Russian Association of Fisheries, the restriction would not lead to a shortage of fish and seafood in Russia, as the market share of Japanese products is minimal.

In 2022, Russia imported only 192 tons of fish and seafood from Japan, representing a mere 0.04 percent of its total volume of such imports.

In the first half of 2023, this figure stood at 100 tons, according to the official TASS news agency.

On Sep. 26, Rosseljoznadzor had expressed concerns about the potential risks of radiological contamination of Japanese seawater and its sea products, following the release of treated contaminated water from the Fukushima-1 nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean.

Between Aug. 24 and Sep. 11, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) discharged nearly 7,788 cubic meters of processed water, containing approximately 1.1 trillion becquerels –a measure of radioactivity- of tritium.

TEPCO pledged to maintain tritium concentration below 1,500 becquerels per liter in the discharged water, a level not considered harmful for human health and the environment.

Over the years, millions of tons of contaminated water have accumulated at the plant’s facilities, stemming from the cooling work of damaged reactors and the fuel melted during the 2011 nuclear accident, as well as rainwater leaks.

Before the water is discharged, it undergoes a complex filtering process that removes most of the harmful radioactive elements, except tritium, which is an isotope found naturally. EFE