Toxic radiation 'in groundwater' at Fukushima

Jul 07, 2013
A TEPCO picture from March 15, 2011 of the unit 3 reactor at the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant. TEPCO said last week it would ask Japan's nuclear watchdog for the green light to re-fire two of the seven units at the world's biggest Kashiwazaki Kariwa nuclear plant in Niigata prefecture, a move rebuked by local leaders.

Toxic radioactive substances have once again been detected in groundwater at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, its Japanese operator said on Sunday, the latest in a series of incidents at the tsunami-battered complex.

Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) said tests showed that tritium, a of hydrogen used in glow-in-the-dark watches, was present at levels 10 times the permitted rate.

"From test samples on July 5... we detected a record high 600,000 becquerels per litre" of tritium, 10 times higher than the government guideline of 60,000 becquerels per litre, TEPCO said in a statement.

"We continue efforts to prevent further expansion of contamination by construction works... and will strengthen monitoring of pollution comprehensively," it said.

The new readings came after TEPCO said in late June that it had detected the highly toxic strontium-90, a by-product of that can cause if ingested, at levels 30 times the permitted rate.

At the time it had detected tritium at around eight times the allowed level, or 500,000 becquerels per litre.

The substances, which were released by the meltdowns of reactors at the plant in the aftermath of the huge tsunami of March 2011, were not absorbed by soil and have made their way into underground water.

Subsoil water usually flows out to sea, meaning these two substances could normally make their way into the ocean, possibly affecting marine life and ultimately impacting humans who eat .

Graphic on the March 11, 2011 nuclear disaster at Japan's Fukushima power station. Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) said on Sunday tests showed that tritium, a radioactive isotope of hydrogen used in glow-in-the-dark watches, was present at levels 10 times the permitted rate.

However, a TEPCO official said last month that seawater data showed no abnormal rise in the levels of either substance as the company believed the groundwater was largely contained by concrete foundations and .

The revelations are the latest in a growing catalogue of mishaps at the crippled plant, more than two years after the worst the world has seen in a generation.

TEPCO said last week it would ask Japan's nuclear watchdog for the green light to re-fire two of the seven units at the world's biggest Kashiwazaki Kariwa nuclear plant in Niigata prefecture, a move rebuked by local leaders.

Tens of thousands of people were forced from their homes by the threat of radiation after the tsunami and Fukushima disaster, with some still unable to return.

Although the nuclear accident is not officially recorded as having directly killed anyone, the natural disaster claimed more than 18,000 lives and was one of Japan's worst ever peacetime tragedies.

Explore further: EU leaders seek last-minute climate deal

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Toxic radiation in groundwater at Fukushima: operator

Jun 19, 2013

Cancer-causing radioactive substances have been found in groundwater at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, its Japanese operator said on Wednesday, as it pledged to prevent it getting into the sea.

TEPCO: Record high radiation level found in fish

Jan 18, 2013

A fish contaminated with radiation levels more than 2,500 times the legal limit has been caught near Japan's crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, its operator said Friday.

Fukushima plant springs another radioactive leak

Apr 11, 2013

Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant has sprung yet another leak of radioactive water, its operator said on Thursday, the latest in an increasingly long line of mishaps to rattle public confidence.

Radioactive water 'may have leaked' from Fukushima

Apr 06, 2013

Radioactive water may have leaked into the ground from a tank at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, the operator said on Saturday, the latest in a series of troubles at the crippled facility.

Record radiation in fish off Japan nuclear plant

Aug 21, 2012

A pair of greenlings have shown the highest level of radioactive caesium detected in fish and shellfish caught in waters off Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant, its operator said Tuesday.

Recommended for you

Coal-rich Poland ready to block EU climate deal

14 hours ago

European Union leaders meeting in Brussels to set their new greenhouse gas emissions plan are facing staunch opposition from coal-reliant Poland and other East European countries who say their economies would ...

EU leaders seek last-minute climate deal

18 hours ago

European Union leaders came under pressure Thursday to strike a deal aimed at bolstering Brussels as a trailblazer in fighting global climate change as negotiations went down to the wire.

User comments : 3

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Klewch
3.7 / 5 (3) Jul 07, 2013
Fresh and salt water have different specific gravities, they don't easily mix in soils. A better test to see the reactors are leaking is to drill test wells and sample the fresh water around the plants.
ormondotvos
2.5 / 5 (2) Jul 08, 2013
Disregarding ancient tsunami marks:18000 lives lost.
Radiation: ZERO
Howhot
5 / 5 (2) Jul 08, 2013
Toxic radiation 'in groundwater' at Fukushima

WOW, like that wasn't expected for 3 simultaneous China-syndrome events.