Today, Japanese authorities announced that they had found samples of seawater near the crippled reactor of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station with either 5 million or 7.5 million--depending on the reports--times the amount of the legal limit for radiation. In a potentially worrisome development, Tokyo Electric Power Company officials also said that the estimated eight-inch crack in reactor No. 2., assumed to be the source of the leaking radioactive water, may not be the source of the leak.
Over the weekend, TEPCO has tried to use newspaper, sawdust and absorbent powder in order to seal that crack. On Tuesday, according to The Los Angeles Times, officials "said the leak instead might be coming from a faulty joint where the pit meets a duct, allowing radioactive water to seep into a layer of gravel underneath." The plant had dumped over 10,000 tons of radioactive water into the ocean, with plans to build a silt curtain to contain the contamination.
In the wake of the developments, Japanese government officials have also announced the first radiation standards for fish, after reports had indicated high-levels of radioactive iodine in some catches. Professor of marine sciences Nicholas Fisher, cited by the New York Times, appraised the radiation levels in Japanese fish this way: "So you're not going to die from eating it right away, but we're getting to levels where I would think twice about eating it." Safety guidelines cited by the Times said that "people could eat 35 pounds of fish per year containing the level of cesium 137 detected in the Japanese fish."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.