MOSCOW, July 25 (RIA Novosti) – Researchers have found radioactive cesium in the muscles of monkeys living in Fukushima prefecture, NBC News reported Friday, citing a study published in Scientific Reports journal.
"The fact that they are seeing a signal in monkeys living in Fukushima city means that there's some potential direct relevance to the human population. These monkeys are living at levels of contamination that are very similar to what many of the people are also living in," Tim Mousseau, a biologist at University of South Carolina, was cited as saying by NBC News.
The researchers studied blood changes and signs of radiation exposure in 61 monkeys living 43 miles from the Fukushima-1 nuclear power plant and then compared the results with those of monkeys living in northern Japan.
The results also showed that Fukushima monkeys had lower than normal blood cell counts, which could potentially make them vulnerable to infectious diseases, NBC News reported.
On March 11, 2011, the Fukushima nuclear power plant was hit by a powerful earthquake and tsunami that caused a partial meltdown of three of the plant’s nuclear reactors as radiation leaked into the atmosphere, soil and sea.
The incident was the world’s worst nuclear disaster since the 1986 Chernobyl catastrophe.
The Japanese government published a plan to stop contaminated water stored in the plant’s reservoirs from flowing into the sea; however, it is not working as well as expected, with about 300 tons of radioactive water leaking out per day.
Earlier the researchers found out that radioactive cesium fallout was contaminating local plants.