The radioactive substances in the groundwater at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has been increasing the past few days, according to plant operator Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO). They have also admitted that as of now, they have no idea where the toxic leak is coming from but they are continuing the investigation and the efforts to stop the further contamination of the soil and water inside the plant.
The samples taken on Monday showed that the cesium-134 levels are now 90 times higher than on Friday at 9,000 becquerels per liter, while levels of cesium-137 is 86 times higher at 18,000 becquerels per liter. The government prescribed acceptable levels for both is at 60 becquerels and 90 becquerels per litre respectively. The substances are suspected to cause various cancers when ingested and accumulated in the muscles and bones. Two days earlier, TEPCO announced that the levels of tritium, a radioactive isotope of hydrogen found in glow-in-the-dark watches, have spiked 10 times the allowable rate. In late June, the highly toxic strontium-90 was at levels 30 times the permitted rate. The substance can cause bone cancer once ingested and is a by-product of nuclear fission.
These substances were released during the nuclear meltdown at the plant in 2011, the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl. They were not absorbed by the soil but have contaminated the underground water. The TEPCO spokesman admitted that they have not found the reason why the levels have spiked and as yet have no idea how it will affect the health of the people in and out of the plant, as well as the environmental hazards it brings. He added that the seawater samples taken last Wednesday were the highest reading they’ve had since they started observing them last June 2011. This is a serious concern for the utility and the area surrounding the plant as TEPCO has been struggling to stop the radioactive elements from contaminating the environment.
[ via Yahoo ]