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Record levels of radioactivity detected at Fukushima nuclear plant

Thursday, March 06, 2014 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: radioactivity, Fukushima nuclear plant, record levels

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(NaturalNews) Just days after officials from the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) came clean about using radiation reading "errors" to cover up record levels of radioactive strontium-90 present in collection pools at the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power facility back in July, the embattled power utility made headlines again for radioactive cesium-134 and radioactive cesium-137, both of which were also detected at dangerously high levels in groundwater near the plant.

Reports indicate that groundwater samples collected from a fresh well near the plant's second energy block recently tested for record levels of the two isotopes, which seemingly indicates a pattern of continued degradation at the plant rather than improvement. TEPCO has repeatedly tried to write off the situation as under control and constantly improving, but the latest radiation readings prove otherwise.

"[C]esium-137 levels in the well water were at 54,000 becquerels per liter [Bq/L], while cesium-134 measured 22,000 becquerels, 220 times the permitted norm," explains Voice of Russia, which recently covered the issue. "According to TEPCO, the recent levels have soared to a record high... [and the] [s]ituation at the devastated nuclear power plant continues to deteriorate."

Radioactive cesium has more than doubled since last summer

Right around the time that TEPCO's testing equipment "failed," which resulted in the worst ever recorded levels of strontium-90 at Fukushima being underreported by a factor of five, the company pulled up readings of cesium-134 and cesium-137 at 11,000 Bq/L and 22,000 Bq/L, respectively. But readings taken just before Valentine's Day show a major spike in both of these isotopes.

After dropping to 310 Bq/L of cesium-134 and 650 Bq/L of cesium-137 in August, levels of the two isotopes in groundwater jumped to 22,000 Bq/L and 54,000 Bq/L, respectively, about six months later. Since the previous readings taken in July had set a record at that time, the latest readings, which are more than double that, show that the situation at Fukushima is only continuing to worsen rather than improve.

"Those wells are way worse, of that I am positive," wrote one ENENews.com commenter concerning the recent readings. "They threw the cat off the 100th floor 3 years ago," he added, using a metaphor to illustrate his point.

"Did it land? Was it hurt? First [we] were told the cat was found alive. Then [we] were told it may have been hurt. Then [we] were told it may have broken legs. Then [we] were told it may have internal injuries. When in actuality the poor cat went right through the sidewalk, and it died instantly."

Experts call for intervention to stop TEPCO from destroying the planet

Meanwhile, a growing number of experts is calling on TEPCO to be removed from the helm of Fukushima cleanup efforts, as the company has proven itself to be dishonest and incapable of getting the job done. If remediation efforts continue as they have been, a much worse accident will occur at some point down the road, they say, in which potentially extinction-level amounts of radiation are released globally.

"Some critics say that TEPCO can't be trusted and that the world's largest nuclear accident is still waiting to happen at Fukushima, such as an accidental nuclear reaction that releases large amounts of harmful radiation into the air," writes Anthony Kuhn for WBUR.org and National Public Radio. "One thing that seems certain is that the work of cleaning up and shutting down the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant will go on for a long time. TEPCO predicts it could last 30 or 40 years. Others say that estimate is blindly optimistic."

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