Cesium levels in Fukushima water 8 times higher than after disaster

August 16, 2013

By SHUNSUKE KIMURA/ Staff Writer

Tokyo Electric Power Co. has reported finding radioactive cesium levels in underground water at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant that is eight times greater than what it recorded right after the accident.

TEPCO, which operates the facility, said Aug. 15 that it detected 11,600 becquerels of radioactive cesium per liter of contaminated water in a tunnel near the No. 1 reactor building on the side facing the ocean.

That compares with 1,490 becquerels per liter it recorded at the site shortly after the accident in March 2011.

TEPCO said it believes the readings have soared due to rainwater containing cesium flowing into the tunnel. But the amount detected is roughly one-100,000th of that found in radioactive water in a tunnel near the No. 2 reactor building.

The utility said cesium levels are lower in the tunnel near the No. 1 reactor building because sea water from tsunami had already flooded it. In contrast, water in the underground tunnels near the No. 2 and No. 3 reactor buildings was exceedingly more radioactive as highly contaminated water from their turbine buildings filled the tunnels.

In the meantime, TEPCO said it began vacuum pumping contaminated water from the damaged facility on Aug. 15 by inserting steel pipes underground in the revetment near the No. 1 and No. 2 rector buildings.

The company plans to install 28 of the pipes in total in a bid to pump up to 70 tons of contaminated water a day. The aim is to reduce the flow of contaminated underground water into the ocean, which the government estimated at 300 tons per day.

By SHUNSUKE KIMURA/ Staff Writer
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The No. 1 reactor building, left, and the No. 2 reactor building are seen in this photo of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant taken on June 11. (Pool)

The No. 1 reactor building, left, and the No. 2 reactor building are seen in this photo of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant taken on June 11. (Pool)

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  • The No. 1 reactor building, left, and the No. 2 reactor building are seen in this photo of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant taken on June 11. (Pool)

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