Earth Watch Report - Environmental Pollution - Radiation
|19.06.2013||Environment Pollution||Japan||Prefecture of Fukushima, [Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant]|
|High levels of a toxic radioactive isotope have been found in groundwater at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant, its operator says. Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) said tests showed strontium-90 was present at 30 times the legal rate. The radioactive isotope tritium has also been detected at elevated levels. The plant, crippled by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, has recently seen a series of water leaks and power failures. The tsunami knocked out cooling systems to the reactors, which melted down. Water is now being pumped in to the reactors to cool them but this has left Tepco with the problem of how to safely store the contaminated water. There have been several reports of leaks from storage tanks or pipes. Strontium-90 is formed as a by-product of nuclear fission. Tests showed that levels of strontium in groundwater at the Fukushima plant had increased 100-fold since the end of last year, Toshihiko Fukuda, a Tepco official, told media.
Mr Fukuda said Tepco believed the elevated levels originated from a leak of contaminated water in April 2011 from one of the reactors. “As it’s near where the leak from reactor number two happened and taking into account the situation at the time, we believe that water left over from that time is the highest possibility,” he said. Tritium, used in glow-in-the-dark watches, was found at eight times the allowable level. Mr Fukuda said that samples from the sea showed no rise in either substance and the company believed the groundwater was being contained by concrete foundations. “When we look at the impact that is having on the ocean, the levels seem to be within past trends and so we don’t believe it’s having an effect.” But the discovery is another set-back for Tepco’s plan to pump groundwater from the plant into the sea, correspondents say. Nuclear chemist Michiaki Furukawa told Reuters news agency that Tepco should not release contaminated water into the ocean. “They have to keep it somewhere so that it can’t escape outside the plant,” he said. “Tepco needs to carry out more regular testing in specific areas and disclose everything they find.” The Fukushima power plant has faced a series of problems this year. Early this month, radioactive water was found leaking from a storage tank. The plant also suffered three power failures in five weeks earlier this year. A leak of radioactive water from one of the plant’s underground storage pools was also detected in April.
Cancer-causing isotope found in Fukushima groundwater – plant operator
Published time: June 19, 2013 12:45
Elevated levels of cancer-causing radioactive isotopes have been discovered in the groundwater of the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan, the plant’s operator has revealed. Highly toxic strontium-90 was present at 30 times the allowable rate, tests showed.
Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO), the owner of the wrecked plant, said that tests showed levels of strontium in groundwater had increased by 100 times since the end of last year, TEPCO official Toshihiko Fukuda told reporters. Strontium-90 is a byproduct of nuclear fission, and if ingested can cause bone cancer.
Tests also detected tritium at around eight times the permitted level, TEPCO added. The substance is usually used in glow-in-the-dark watches. “From groundwater samples we collected, we detected 500,000 becquerels per liter of tritium, that is very high,” Fukuda told a press conference.
The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power plant suffered a reactor meltdown and released radiation following the 9.0-magnitude Tokohu earthquake – the most powerful earthquake ever to hit Japan – which struck off the coast of the country on March 11, 2011.
The earthquake unleashed a tsunami with waves of up to 14 meters high (Fukushima was designed to withstand up to 5.7-meter waves) that knocked out the emergency generators required to cool the reactors.
With another radioactive substance found in the groundwater of Fukushima nuclear power plant, releasing water into the ocean has become even more unlikely for the Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO). Strontium, described by Britannica as “the principal health hazard in radioactive fallout,” was found to be abundant in the groundwater of the Fukushima nuclear facility, said its utility on Wednesday.
The increase of Strontium-90 level from December last year until last month was discovered after a test of groundwater outside power plant No. 2 was done. The test revealed the increase to be 100 times within the five-month period. Toshihiko Fukuda, a general manager at TEPCO, believed that Strontium-90 got mixed with the groundwater and through the turbine building, the substance has leaked out.
- Strontium in groundwater at No. 1 soars (japantimes.co.jp)
- Japan finds highly toxic strontium-90 in Fukushima groundwater (rawstory.com)
- Japan Finds Highly Toxic Strontium in Fukushima Groundwater (thejakartaglobe.com)
- TEPCO confirms Fukushima Daiichi groundwater contaminated with strontium and tritium (enformable.com)
- High Levels of Radioactive Strontium-90 Detected in Fukushima Groundwater [VIDEO] (natureworldnews.com)
- National › TEPCO finds highly toxic strontium in Fukushima plant groundwater (japantoday.com)
- High levels of toxic strontium found in Fukushima groundwater (japandailypress.com)
- Toxic Radiation Soars in Fukushima Groundwater (commondreams.org)
- High levels of radiation found in groundwater at Fukushima (syndicatednewsservices.com)
- More radioactive leaks at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant (enformable.com)