By: Steve Watson
March 28, 2011
Deadly radioactive water leaking into soil and ocean
Japanese news is reporting that most highly radioactive isotope known to man, plutonium, has been discovered in the soil in multiple different locations at the ailing Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Even so, the Japanese government and the plant operators maintain there is no risk to human health.
Authorities have confirmed that three different kinds of plutonium have been discovered.
From Kyodo news:
Plutonium has been detected in soil at five locations at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Monday.
The operator of the nuclear complex said that the plutonium is believed to have been discharged from nuclear fuel at the plant, which was damaged by the devastating March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
While noting that the concentration level does not pose a risk to human health, the utility firm said it will strengthen monitoring on the environment in and around the nuclear plant.
Further details suggest that this information has been known for some time and has been kept quiet until today.
TEPCO vice-president Sakae Muto told journalists at the company’s latest briefing that test results showing the plutonium came from samples taken a week ago.
Indeed, as we reported last week, experts believe that the presence of plutonium means that Reactor 3, which runs on MOX or Mixed Oxide fuel, a mixture of plutonium and uranium, is compromised.
There are suggestions that the Japanese authorities knew this was the case a full two weeks ago on March 14, when the reactor was hit with a massive explosion that sent debris hurtling hundreds of feet into the air in an orange fireball.
This report from the American Nuclear Society explains further the consequences of a plutonium leak from reactor 3.
Meanwhile, yesterday, officials retracted an announcement that radiation levels in the containment building of reactor number 2 had soared to 10 million times above normal.
The retraction came hours after the initial announcement, however, and was corrected to 100,000 times over normal.
It was not made clear what the error was, with TEPCO reporting on its website there was a “mistake in the assessment of the measurement of iodine-134.”
In addition, new pools of radioactive water have been found in an underground tunnel linked to the number two reactor, sending radiation levels much higher than has previously been recorded.
Hundreds of cubic meters of water is thought to have leaked from the reactor’s core, with radiation levels exceeding 1,000 millisieverts per hour.
At a radiation level of 1,000 millisieverts per hour, people could suffer a decrease in the number of lymphocytes — a type of white blood cell — in just 30 minutes, and half could die within 30 days by remaining in such conditions for four hours, reports Kyodo.
The tunnel is said to be between 55 to 70 meters away from the sea shore.
The Japanese government has consistently said it does not believe that radioactive water is leaking into the soil or the sea. However, elevated radiation levels thousands of times above safety levels have been reported several hundred meters offshore.
Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said Sunday that a new measurement of seawater taken about 1,000 feet from the facility showed an iodine level 1,850.5 times the legal limit, higher than a reading taken the previous day.
New readings from the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, have also shown ocean contamination has spread about a mile (1.6 kilometers) farther north of the nuclear site, AP reports.
In addition, water purifications plants across Japan have been told to stop taking in rainwater as radiation levels in the atmosphere continue to rise.
The continually increasing evidence of a cover up makes you wonder just what kind of leaks the plant operators are spending more time trying to prevent.