TOKYO – Japanese utility and government authorities suffered fresh setbacks Tuesday with the detection of radiation in a fish and news that water gushing from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant into the Pacific had radiation levels more than millions of times above the regulatory limit, CNN reports.
Readings from samples taken Saturday in the concrete pit outside the turbine building of the plant’s No. 2 reactor – one of six at the crisis-plagued plant – had radiation 7.5 million times the legal limits, said an official with the Tokyo Electric Power Company, which runs the plant. Newer findings, from Tuesday afternoon, showed a slight drop to 5 million times the norm. The utility company also noted Tuesday that the radiation levels diminished sharply a few dozen meters from the leak, consistent with their assessment that the spill might have a minimal effect on sealife. But even in these spots, radiation levels remained several hundred-thousand times the legal limit. The entire issue underlined that getting a grip on how to minimize the amount of radiation in the Pacific Ocean is the new, primary battlefront in the weeks-long crisis at the nuclear plant.
About the same time as the Tokyo Electric news, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said the presence of radioactive iodine “in one sample of fresh fish” prompted authorities to regulate the radiation in seafood for the first time.
While fishing has been forbidden within 20 kilometers (12 miles) of Fukushima Daiichi, there had been no restrictions on seafood, as there were for some vegetables and milk from certain locales.
Germany abandons nuclear power
Germany will shut down all its nuclear power stations by 2020, according to the government’s Secretary of State for the Environment and Nuclear Safety, Jürgen Becker. Herr Becker said: “A decision has been taken to shut down eight plants before the end of this year and they definitely won’t be reactivated. And the remaining nine will be shut down by the end of the decade.”