Abnormal levels of radioactive materials have been detected in seawater were detected in seawater near Japan’s disaster-hit nuclear power plant, its operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) said Tuesday amid continuing concern over radiation leak into the surrounding areas.
Sampling conducted in seawaters about 100 meters south of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on Monday afternoon showed that the level of iodine-131 was 126.7 times higher, caesium-134 was 24.8 times and cesium-137 was 16.5 times higher than government-set limits, according to TEPCO. Cobalt-58 was below the legal limit.
The company stressed that there was no immediate threat to human health, adding that it will conduct more tests at wider areas.
The Japanese government also said on Monday to stop shipments of spinach and raw milk from the areas near the plant after tests found radiation levels in the products exceeded safety limits.
TEPCO said Monday that the plant was hit by a 14-meter-high tsunami, more than double its maximum expectation of 5.7 meters. The utility also said the plant was designed to be resistant to maximum magnitude 8 quake.
Meanwhile, work to restore electric power to the control room and cooling equipment — a crucial step to avert a catastrophic radiation leak — is expected to resume later in the day, the government’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency told a press conference.
Work was suspended on Monday afternoon after smoke billowed up from the No. 2 and No. 3 reactor buildings and radiation levels at the compound rose.
The agency said radiation levels within the compound fell at night and conditions appear to be stabilizing. In addition, firefighters and troops also plan to restart their missions to cool down overheating spent fuel pools in the afternoon.