Tokyo Electric Power Co said in a statement on Saturday that toxic radioactive substances have been detected once again in the groundwater at the Fukushima nuclear plant. Tritium, which is usually found in glow-in-the-dark watches, was present in the water at ten times the permitted rate, with 600,000 becquerels per litre found.
This is just another one in the latest series of mishaps to befall the crippled nuclear plant, after the near catastrophic meltdown in 2011, the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl. Late last June, TEPCO also detected the presence of the highly toxic strontium-90 at 30 levels more than the allowable rate. The substance was a by-product of nuclear fission and could cause bone cancer if ingested. Tritium was also detected at that time at 500,000 becquerels per litre or eight times the permitted level. The toxic substances were released during the 2011 meltdown but was not absorbed by the soil and so they’ve made their way to the underground water. Normally, these substances can make their way to the ocean surrounding the plant, which will affect marine life and the people who consume it.
TEPCO officials insist that there was not an abnormal increase in the levels of the two substances in the seawater data they collected. They believe that the groundwater was contained by the concrete foundations and steel sheets of the plant. They assured the public in their statement that they are continuing efforts to prevent the expansion of contamination through construction work, and that they will “strengthen monitoring of pollution comprehensively.” Mishaps in the plant as of late include rodents gnawing into the electrical wiring causing power outages, a brief fire, plus the growing problem of containment of the water being used to cool down the nuclear reactors.
[ via Gulf Times ]