High levels of strontium, tritium found in well water at Fukushima plant via The Asahi Shimbun

Radioactivity levels of strontium and tritium well above their legal limits were detected in well water at the stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said June 19.

The company cited readings of about 1,000 becquerels of strontium per liter of water–30 times the safety standard–and about 500,000 becquerels of tritium–eight times the limit.

TEPCO detected the radioactive materials between late May and mid-June in water samples taken from the well on the seaside of the turbine buildings for the No. 1 and 2 reactors.

The well is 27 meters from the sea.

TEPCO said it has yet to confirm if the contaminated water reached the ocean, but it said it has found no significant changes in the concentration of radioactive materials in the seawater.

The company said it will inject a sealing agent into the ground between the well and the sea to prevent the contaminated water from leaking into the ocean.

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Toxic material has been discovered in the groundwater at the Japanese nuclear plant that famously leaked after the earthquake and tsunami that occurred in March 2011.

The contaminated Fukushima plant water contains high levels of strontium-90 and tritium, according to information now released by Tepco – the Tokyo Electric Power Company. In particular, the strontium-90 is present at no less than 30 times the legal limit, while the tritium presence exceeds the legal maximum eight times over.


Toxic Fukushima Groundwater

As per information given to journalists by Tepco representative Toshihiko Fukuda, the company thinks the raised strontium-90 and tritium levels in the toxic Fukushima groundwater are related to one of the 2011 water leaks.

“As it’s near where the leak from reactor number two happened and taking into account the situation at the time, we believe that water left over from that time is the highest possibility”, he explained.

Strontium-90 is a toxic radioactive isotope with a half-life of 28.79 years that’s produced during the nuclear fission process. Tritium has a half-life of 12.32 years and it’s used in products such as glow-in-the-dark watches.

The strontium-90 and tritium discoveries represent yet another setback for the Fukushima nuclear power plant. To stay within legal limits, a litre of groundwater cannot contain more than 30 becquerels (the unit in which radioactive materials are measured) of strontrium-90. In December 2012, Fukushima’s groundwater contained 8.6 becquerels of strontium-90 but, in May 2013, that total reached a staggering 1,000 becquerels.


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