A report circulating online states that thousands of whales died due to radiation leaking from the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan.
This claim is false.
The story originated from a website called National Report, which – despite its official-sounding name – is not a true news site. A cursory glance at the nature of the stories published on that website reveal other satirical posts, such as Kim Kardashian’s “hideous” baby or “Menthol Cigarettes Linked to Ethnic Violence.”
Many readers have shared the story despite the fact that it is completely false and contains no corroborating or legitimate news sources.
A photo being circulated with this false story actually shows beached pilot whales off the coast of New Zealand back in 2010 – months before the Fukushima incident.
The false claim of radiated whales comes shortly after a map circulated online which allegedly showed the path of radiated water emanating from the disaster site. That map, however, was also false and merely showed wave height in the Pacific following the tsunami which preceded Fukushima. That hoax followed real news reports of radiated water leaking into the ocean from the disaster site (see link below).
This website used to published a disclaimer at the bottom of their pages stating that the site is satire, but they have recently removed it.
Fisheries around Japan have closed in the wake of the incident, and South Korea has recently banned fish caught along the northeastern coast of Japan. An Associated Press report this week noted, “Scientists have also noted a rise in strontium-90 and tritium levels in the past few months,” but there have been no reports of whales dying en masse due to radiation.
There are no credible reports of whales dying as a result of radiation following the Fukushima nuclear incident.
- Dozens of whales die after 58 are stranded on New Zealand beach (CNN: August 20, 2010)
- How Is Fukushima’s Fallout Affecting Marine Life? (David Paccholi, Oceanus Magazine: May 2, 2013)
- Japan’s Fukushima Fish Banned in South Korea (Weather.com: September 6, 2013)