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article imageHigh levels of radioactive water at Fukushima leaking into ocean

By Lynn Herrmann     Dec 5, 2011 in Environment
Tokyo - The operator at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan announced on Sunday as much as 45 tons of highly radioactive water has leaked through the cracked wall of a treatment facility, possibly entering the Pacific Ocean.
Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) announced tons of radioactive water leaked through a concrete wall and although latest efforts to stop the contamination include the use of sandbags, fears exist the radioactive water has reached the Pacific Ocean via a gutter.
The latest incident reveals continued struggles associated with the plant after a triple meltdown at the facility last March, resulting from the devastating tsunami triggered by an earthquake.
The Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center in Tokyo reports exceedingly high levels of radioactive water around the purification device, according to the Associated Press.
Measurements taken Sunday show 16,000 bequerels per liter of cesium-134, 270 times higher than safety limits allowed by the government. Measurements also found cesium-137 at 29,000 bequerels per liter, 322 times higher than those government limits.
Meanwhile, the Guardian reports new details are emerging on the Fukushima disaster, with site workers struggling in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami. One worker, part of the Fukushima 50 - so named for the 50 or so workers’ efforts in remaining at their operating posts to prevent greater disaster - said, “We put on full protective gear, but we couldn’t possibly let younger workers do that job as we were entering an area with high levels of radiation.”
The worker continued describing the chaos moments after the tsunami hit. “When I got there, I heard a strange, loud popping sound from below, and when I tried to start work, my black rubber boots melted [due to the heat]”.
France’s Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety announced in October the Dai-Ichi plant was responsible for the largest-ever leak of radioactive material into the ocean.
On Monday, TEPCO said it had cancelled efforts to to conduct planned offshore surveys due to bad weather.
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