Radiation is contaminating seawater near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex, but workers are reported to be making headway sealing the leak. Officials say radioactive substances will dissipate in the Pacific.
Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force/Reuters
Seawater near the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex is highly contaminated with radioactive iodine, plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) reported Tuesday. But TEPCO also said workers are making headway in an attempt to seal a concrete pit they believe is leaking radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean.
Ocean contamination has become a more critical issue in Japan in recent days as the extent of Fukushima’s leakage has become clearer. The presence in seawater samples of highly radioactive substances such as iodine-131 and cesium-137 indicates that the radioactivity is flowing out of reactor units themselves, according to Japanese officials.
This situation led Japan on Tuesday to set first-ever radiation safety limits for fish. That level is equal to the maximum allowable radiation limit for vegetables, said Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano at a press conference.
“We will conduct strict monitoring and move forward after we understand the complete situation,” said Mr. Edano.