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Fukushima tritium levels spike 15-fold in three days

Published time: September 12, 2013 00:44
Edited time: September 14, 2013 17:31
AFP Photo / TEPCO

AFP Photo / TEPCO

In just three days, readings of tritium in groundwater near the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant have soared more than 15 times, the operator of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant admitted.

Results of recently tested water taken from the well some 20 meters south from a number of storage tanks have showed that levels of tritium have now reached 64,000 becquerels per liter.

Back on September 9, the level of tritium – a potentially dangerous radioactive isotope – from the same location stood at 29,000 compared to 4,200 becquerels per liter on Sunday.

On Monday a new hotspot of radiation was detected in groundwater from an observation well next to a faulty water storage tank. Some 3,200 becquerels per liter of radioactive substances were recorded in the well.

An aerial view shows the Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s (TEPCO) tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant and its contaminated water storage tanks (top) in Fukushima (Reuters / Kyodo)

Prior to that the company announced the discovery of 650 becquerels per liter of radioactive waste in another well, located about 20 meters south of the storage tank.

TEPCO said in the recent press-release it will continue monitoring the situation and will keep investigating the “leakage range”.

Last month TEPCO reported 300 tonnes of highly contaminated groundwater seeping into the Pacific Ocean daily.  

Meanwhile, September, 11 marks two-and-a half years since triple meltdowns, caused by an earthquake and tsunami in March 2011. With a crisis over radiation-contaminated water at the plant, Tepco Electric has been criticized for its ad hoc response to the disaster.

As Tokyo beat Madrid and Istanbul to host the 2020 Olympics, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he would be personally responsible for a plan to cope with the consequences.