Highest radiation level detected in water found in drainage ditch at Fukushima nuclear plant

October 24, 2013

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

Tokyo Electric Power Co. said it has found the highest radiation levels recorded since it began checking water in drainage ditches in August at its crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.

The utility announced Oct. 24 that it had detected radioactive strontium and other beta ray emitting substances measuring 140,000 becquerels per liter in water sampled in one of the facility’s drainage ditches.

The legal standard for strontium emissions is 30 becquerels per liter.

TEPCO officials said the high radiation level was detected in water collected on Oct. 23. The levels in water taken on Oct. 22 were 59,000 becquerels per liter.

"We believe it stems from the effects of rain that has fallen until now that has flushed out radioactive materials from the surrounding areas into the drainage ditch," a TEPCO official said.

No specific leak that can be linked to the contaminated water has yet been discovered.

The ditch where the high radiation levels were detected is near the tank that was discovered in August to have leaked about 300 tons of radioactive water. The location of the recent find was just 700 meters from where the drainage ditch empties into the ocean.

TEPCO workers have placed sandbags further along the ditch in an attempt to prevent radioactive material from reaching the ocean.

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