Highly Radioactive Elements in Groundwater at Fukushima Plant

Created: 2013-06-19 17:57 EST

Category: World > Asia Pacific

High levels of toxic strontium-90 and tritium were found in groundwater at the devastated Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan, according to the facility operator on Wednesday.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says strontium-90 is a by-product of the fission of uranium and plutonium in nuclear reactors as well as nuclear weapons.

The elevated readings of strontium are more than 30 times the legal limit and 8 times in the case of tritium.

Fukuda says testing of groundwater outside the reactor number-two turbine building shows the strontium level increasing by more than 100 times between December 2012 and May this year.

There has not been any increase of radiation in the surrounding seawater 88 feet (27 meters) from the well, where the readings were taken.

Tepco has struggled with the clean-up of Fukushima, the site of the world's worst nuclear disaster in 25 years, since a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.