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Radioactive tuna travels from Japan to US faster than wind

Low levels of nuclear radiation from the Fukushima power plant have turned up in 15 bluefin tuna caught off San Diego. The fish is not harmful to humans, say researchers.

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Workers harvest bluefin tuna from Maricultura's tuna pens near Ensenada, Mexico, in 2007. New research found increased levels of radiation in Pacific bluefin tuna caught off the coast of Southern California. Scientists said the radiation found in the fish came from Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant.

(AP Photo/Chris Park, File)

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Low levels of nuclear radiation from the tsunami-damaged Fukushima power plant have turned up in bluefin tuna off the California coast, suggesting that these fish carried radioactive compounds across the Pacific Ocean faster than wind or water can.

Small amounts of cesium-137 and cesium-134 were detected in 15 tuna caught near San Diego in August 2011, about four months after these chemicals were released into the water off Japan's east coast, scientists reported on Monday.

That is months earlier than wind and water currents brought debris from the plant to waters off Alaska and the U.S. Pacific Northwest.

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The amount of radioactive cesium in the fish is not thought to be damaging to people if consumed, the researchers said in a study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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