1st radiation test on waters since Fukushima release shows contamination levels below WHO standards

The radiation levels in the waters near South Korea remain well below the standards for drinkable water defined by the World Health Organization (WHO), Seoul's oceans ministry said Sunday.

It was the first such test conducted on 15 locations in three areas of South Korea's territorial waters after Japan began to release radioactive water from the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant into the ocean last Thursday.

The Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries said it released the results of the radiation tests, carried out Friday, on five locations in the southeastern waters, and plans to disclose the rest of the test results on 10 other locations as soon as they are available.

In the latest result, the concentration levels of cesium-135 and cesium-137 stood at 0.067-0.094 and 0.077-0.098 becquerel per liter, respectively, compared with the WHO's 10 becquerel per liter for drinking water.

That of tritium, a hydrogen radioisotope, came to 6.6-7.1 becquerel per liter, the ministry said.

The government plans to carry out detailed radiation tests on 92 locations and take expedited tests on 108 locations.

Sunday's results are from an expedited analysis.

Concerns have been deepening over the impact of the Fukushima water release on the South Korean fishing industry as people have reduced seafood consumption out of safety concerns.

The concentration levels of cesium and tritium have been the most heavily debated issues. The plant's custom purification system, known as ALPS, is capable of removing all radioactive materials from the wastewater, except for tritium.

In response, the government has beefed up the seafood radiation management system.

Source: Yonhap News Agency