[QODLink]
Asia-Pacific

Radioactive leak reaching Pacific, says Japan

Power station continuing to contaminate water and soil two years after disaster, nuclear watchdog says.

Last Modified: 11 Jul 2013 01:24
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
A radioactive substance, strontium-90, is present in the groundwater at Fukushima nuclear plant [Reuters]

Japan's nuclear regulator says it believes radioactive water from the crippled Fukushima power station is leaking into the Pacific, and urged operators to act to prevent further contamination.

Shunichi Tanaka, head of the new Nuclear Regulation Authority, said on Wednesday that he believed contamination of the sea had been continuing since the March 2011 catastrophe.

"I think contamination of the sea is continuing to a greater or lesser extent," Tanaka said.

"It was contaminated at the time of the accident, but I think it has been continuing for the last two years. Coming up with countermeasures against all possible scenarios is a top priority."

Fukushima's operator, Tepco, has acknowledged problems are mounting at the plant north of Tokyo, the site of the world's worst atomic disaster since Chernobyl in 1986. 

Tepco said it was checking Tanaka's comments and could offer no immediate comment.

On Tuesday, the company said radiation levels in groundwater had soared, suggesting highly toxic materials from the power station were getting closer to the Pacific more than two years after three meltdowns triggered by a catastrophic earthquake and tsunami.

Observation between the damaged Reactor No 2 and sea showed levels of radioactive caesium-134 and ceasium-137 had soared over the weekend, the company said.

In the days after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, a plume of radiation from explosions fell over wide areas of the land and sea.

Toxic materials, such as caesium, were later found to have leaked through channels in the ground on the side of the station by the sea.

264

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Your chance to be an investigative journalist in Al Jazeera’s new interactive game.
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Featured
Private citizens take initiative to help 'irregular' migrants, accusing governments of excessive focus on security.
Indonesia's cassava plantations are being killed by mealybugs, and thousands of wasps have been released to stop them.
Violence in Ain al-Arab has prompted many Kurdish Syrians to flee to Turkey, but others are returning to battle ISIL.
Unelected representatives quietly iron out logistics of massive TPP and TTIP deals among US, Europe, and Asia-Pacific.
Led by students concerned for their future with 'nothing to lose', it remains to be seen who will blink first.