The government on Saturday said that levels of radioactivity in seawater near the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant had risen significantly in recent days, according to samples taken Friday.
Hidehiko Nishiyama of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said the level of radioactive iodine-131 spiked to 6,500 times the legal limit, up from 1,100 times over the limit the day before. Levels of cesium-134 and cesium-137 rose nearly fourfold.
The rise could have been caused by the installation Thursday of steel panels intended to contain the radiation, which may have stirred up stagnant waste in the area, Nishiyama said, adding the increase in iodine, which has a relatively short eight-day half-life, could signal a possible new leak.
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