Radioactive Water at Fukushima Plant Could Soon Leak Into Ocean

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Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Radiation measuring 1,000 millisieverts per hour was found in water in an overflow tunnel outside Reactor No. 2 at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi plant. The tunnel leads from the reactor's turbine building to an opening 180 feet from the sea. Because of that proximity, officials warned today that radiation from the complex was spreading to both seawater and soil and could soon leak into the ocean. Tokyo Electric Power company, which operates the plant, said today that the concentration of radioactive substances in the pool at Reactor No. 2 was 100,000 times higher than usual for water in a reactor core.

Although authorities are not yet sure about the source of the radiation, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Endano says it appears to be due to a partial meltdown of the reactor core. New readings show ocean contamination is about a mile farther north of the plant than before. In the seawater closer to the plant, radioactivity tested about 1,850 times higher than normal this weekend. Fishing cannot be conducted in the twenty-kilometer evacuation area, and officials emphasized that radioactive materials would be "significantly diluted" as the contamination moved from marine species to human. The number of workers exposed to radiation greater than 100 millisieverts, the previous legal limit, is now up to nineteen.

Radiation In Seawater May Be Spreading In Japan [NPR]
Highly radioactive water leaks outside Japan's nuclear plant building [Telegraph UK]
Japan Fears Nuclear Reactor Is Leaking Contaminated Water [NYT]
Radioactive water removal underway, fresh seawater pollution found [Kyodo News]