Note: This post originally ran fourteen months ago, on June 22, 2001. With radioactive tuna now showing up on the West Coast, what was only speculated in the post seems to be bearing out. (Now, we’re just waiting for the first personal dosimeters at the sushi bar.)
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We had something of a double-whammy this week. First came news of a filtration failure at the water-logged and brimming Fukushima, the likely result being another large contamination deposit into the ocean following April’s 11,000 ton release. A few days later, AP offered news, via a long term investigation into NRC records, that radiation leaks, documented at three-quarters of the nuclear plants in America, have been going on for decades.
This photo, taken last April before the media largely lost interest in the Fukushima radiation crisis, shows a sushi chef at Manhattan’s Sushi Yasuda restaurant taking radiation readings. Call the photo a curiosity — the action of an establishment that is either hyper-cautious or else savvy enough to assure the most paranoid patron that sushi served in fine New York establishments (almost 7,000 miles away from the crisis, for goodness sakes) must be safe.
Still, given that the ocean off Japan will soon likely up its glow and that those domestic nuke plants we’ve been assured are bulletproof may not be, this photo by Getty photographer and Friend of The Bag, Mario Tama, takes on a slightly different sense. As we glimpse past the sushi bar and into the kitchen, we might be looking at our future.
— Michael Shaw
PHOTOGRAPH by MARIO TAMA
(caption: APRIL 08: Sushi chef Mitsuru Tamura uses a radiation detector on seafood before it is prepared in Manhattan’s Sushi Yasuda restaurant April 8, 2011 in New York City. The restaurant has begun using the detector as a precautionary measure due to consumer concerns over possible radiation contamination in seafood from the nuclear emergency in Japan. Health officials believe contamination is unlikely to threaten the food supply chain and none has been found in this restaurant.)