High Radiation Levels Found in Fukushima Groundwater

According to Yahoo news, high levels of radiation have been found in groundwater taken from a well at the Fukushima nuclear plant. The sample contained various radioactive substances including strontium, a known carcinogen.

Tepco believes water from the leaking storage tanks are to blame. The leaking water apparently has reached the groundwater which eventually will flow into the sea.

The levels of radiation found in the groundwater were 3200 becquerels per liter. The government has set a legal limit of 100 becquerels per 1kg of food and 10 becquerels for 1 liter of water. In other words, the sampled ground water is 320 times that of the legal limit.

This comes just days after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared the situation “under control”. On Tuesday following a meeting of cabinet ministers, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters, “We will consider ways to utilise the knowledge of people in and out of Japan… and to enhance our international communication on the waste water issue,”

The UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency plans to send a special mission to Japan, saying the contaminated water problem was “a matter of high priority that needs to be addressed urgently.”

While the high radiation levels in the groundwater are troubling, i am glad to see UN involvement and the statement of the Japanese government to allow more international involvement. Past mishandling of the crisis cannot be changed. What matters most is limiting any future contamination by bringing in experts and coming to real permanent solutions. Let’s hope that is done speedily.

About unredundant

I am an American expat living in Tokyo, Japan. I love interacting with people so feel free to comment or ask questions. Thank you so much for dropping by!

Posted on September 12, 2013, in Japan, Nuclear Energy and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Wow..this is both disturbing and encouraging. High radiation in the groundwater was one of my fears…it has long term implications. On the other hand, I am very encouraged that the Japanese government is finally expressing some openess to working with international experts. Maybe they are finally realizing that this is not just a Japanese problem, but they have to be accountable to the world for how this is handled.

  2. I agree with you completely, Pam. I am not one of those people who is acting like this is the end of the world. My main concerns about the whole situation are mainly 3. 1) The water management. They will eventually run out of room to store all that water and tritium cannot be filtered. Any release of water into the ocean *will* release tritium. 2) The lack of a sense of urgency on the part of the Japanese government. 3) The lack of international cooperation. Especially with the removal of the fuel assemblies from the spent fuel pools. That will be a very difficult procedure as well as the eventual removal of the melted fuel inside the reactors. I would like to have many expert eyes on the problems, so procedures with an optimal chance of success can be developed.
    My hope is the UN mission will be the start of coming up with better water management and the bringing in of more international help. I am glad the UN agency considers the matter urgent, so hopefully some solution can come into play quickly.

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