High-Level Radiation Found on Seabed Near Japan's Crippled Nuclear Plant

  • VOA News

    May 04, 2011 12:50

    Japanese officials say radiation readings are 100 to 1,000 times the normal level on the Pacific seabed near the Fukushima nuclear power plant that was damaged in a natural disaster in March.

    Local news media Tuesday quoted the plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, as saying that high levels of radioactive materials were found in samples taken from the seabed at points 20 to 30 meters deep.

    The utility company also said workers began installing air filters inside the crippled plant on Monday, to reduce contamination and enable workers to get in to repair the cooling system.

    Japan's government has been struggling to contain radioactive leakage from the plant after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami knocked out the cooling systems at the plant.

    The Tokyo Electric Power Company Tuesday began releasing findings on radiation leakage from the Fukushima nuclear accident. The information had been withheld for fear of causing mass panic. Some of the data was posted Tuesday on the company's websites.

    The head of a task force dealing with the crisis at the Fukushima plant, Goshi Hosono, said Monday the government has made about 5,000 measurements through a computer system designed to project radiation patterns in the event of various scenarios. He said the government now believes that, even if the information is shocking, panic can be avoided with proper explanations.

    Japanese police say more than 14,700 people are now confirmed dead from the disaster, and another 10,800 people remain unaccounted for. About 126,000 still are living in temporary shelters.

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