Water at Japan plant 10,000 times normal radiation rate

Fukushima nuclear power plant's operator says radiation found in tunnel, groundwater; abnormal levels also discovered in beef from area.

By REUTERS
March 31, 2011 17:54
1 minute read.
aerial view of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant

Fukushima power plant Japan 311. (photo credit: REUTERS/Air Photo Service)

 
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TOKYO - Radiation in water of an underground tunnel outside a turbine building of No.2 reactor at Japan's crippled nuclear complex was more than 10,000 times above normal levels in reactors, the plant operator was quoted by Kyodo news agency as saying on Thursday.

The operator also found radiation in groundwater near a turbine building of the No.1 reactor of the Fukushima Daiichi plant, Kyodo added. And an abnormal level of radioactive caesium has been found in beef from the area, it said.

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The plant operator's comments come as pressure mounted on Japan on earlier on Thursday to expand the evacuation zone around the stricken nuclear power plants after high levels of radiation were found outside the zone and radioactivity in seawater reached more than 4,000 times its legal limit.

The UN nuclear watchdog suggested Japan consider widening its 20-km (12-mile) zone after high radiation was detected at twice that distance from the facility.

Nearly three weeks after an earthquake and tsunami sparked the world's worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl in 1986, Prime Minister Naoto Kan is facing heavy criticism for sticking with the original exclusion zone.

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