Plutonium leaking from Fukushima reactor: officials

Plutonium has been found in soil at various points in and around Japan’s stricken Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear complex, officials of the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) admitted March 28. TEPCO vice president Sakae Muto told journalists at the company’s latest briefing that test results showing the plutonium came from samples taken last week—while of course insisting that the contamination poses no threat to the public. The plutonium presumably comes from partially-melted MOX fuel from reactor Number 3. (Reuters, DC Bureau, March 28)

Chief cabinet secretary Yukio Edano also said he suspected a partial meltdown of one of the reactors is leading to pools of highly radioactive water that TEPCO technicians have found outside the plant’s buildings. Edano said the government’s top priority is to prevent the contaminated water from seeping into the groundwater system. He again urged residents to stay outside the 20-kilometer evacuation zone. (VOA, March 28)

Low levels of radioactive iodine believed to be from Fukushima have been detected in the atmosphere in California, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, South and North Carolina, and Florida. The radioactivity has been detected by monitors at nuclear plants in these states, but is thought to have been carried by prevailing west winds from Japan. Officials at the power companies that detected the radioactivity again said there is no threat to the public. (Reuters, March 28)

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