Radiation still leaks into Japan sea

Tokyo, March 31: Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency has confirmed the possibility that radiation is still leaking into the sea from the quake-hit Fukushima power plant.

On Thursday Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said radioactive iodine-131 at a concentration of 4,385 times the maximum legal level has been detected in seawater near the plant.

The level of iodine-131 concentration has increased compared to Tuesday’s sample taken from the same area, which was 3,355 times the maximum legal limit, indicating that radiation is still leaking from the reactor.

The agency’s spokesman Hidehiko Nishiyama confirmed the possibility that radiation is continuing to leak into the sea and said “we must check that (possibility) well.”

Nishiyama added that the agency has decided to add another three areas located 15 kilometers offshore for monitoring.

Data collected by the plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) indicate that radiation leaked from one of the reactors has “somehow” flowed into the sea.

On Monday, TEPCO said highly radioactive water, with the radiation level of more than 1,000 millisieverts per hour, was found in a tunnel near the turbine building of the Number 2 reactor and around 55m from the sea.

A destructive March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan’s northern coast set off nuclear problems by knocking out power to cooling systems at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, causing radiation leaks.

The government has ordered the evacuation of about 200,000 people living in a 20-kilometer (12.4-mile) radius around the plant, and told people residing between 20 kilometers and 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) from the plant to remain indoors.

On Wednesday, TEPCO announced that Fukushima’s four damaged nuclear reactors would be decommissioned.