okyo Electric Power Co.’s revelation that massive amounts of radioactive water are flowing into the Pacific further raised fears about the harm to marine life.
Tepco estimated that between May 2011 and this month, a staggering 40 trillion becquerels of radioactive tritium, 20 trillion becquerels of cesium and 10 trillion becquerels of strontium may have flowed into the sea in groundwater from under the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear complex.
The Nuclear Regulation Authority will set up an expert panel Sept. 6 to study the effect on marine life, focusing on tritium, which cannot be removed even with the advanced liquid processing system that Tepco plans to restart to clean contaminated water used to cool the crippled reactors as early as next month. ALPS extracts most radioactive materials from tainted water — but not tritium.
Just as with humans, tritium is discharged from fish through urine, he said.
What is more alarming, Kanda said, is contamination from strontium-90, which tends to accumulate in bones and can cause bone cancer or leukemia, and from cesium-137 and -134, which appear to remain in the ecosystem.