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Radiation in seawater may be spreading in Japan

 Japanese workers shovel dirt on to coffins containing victims of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami during a mass funeral in Yamamoto, northeastern ...
 Japan Ground Self Defense Force personnel conduct search operation at the site of tsunami stricken town in Kesennuma, Miyagi Prefecture, northeastern...
 Soldiers carry a tsunami victim's body from rubble after the March 11 earthquake in Kamaishi, Iwate Prefecture, Northern Japan, Sunday, March 27, 201...
 Evacuees chat near laundry at the main floor of a gymnasium that has turned into an evacuation center in Yamagata, Yamagata Prefecture, northern Japa...
 A Japanese doll sits among the rubble in the devastated city of Kesennuma in Miyagi Prefecure Sunday, March 27, 2011, after the March 11 powerful ear...
 A protester holds a placard during an antinuclear rally in Tokyo Sunday, March 27, 2011. Leaked water in Unit 2 of the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant measu...
 A Japanese man carries his few belongings after visiting his destroyed home in the tsunami and earthquake ravaged city of Kesennuma, northeastern Jap...
 Survivors search for belongings in the devastated city where a ship was swept on the ground in Kesennuma in Miyagi Prefecture Sunday, March 27, 2011 ...
 A protester holds a placard during an antinuclear rally in Tokyo Sunday, March 27, 2011. Leaked water in Unit 2 of the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant measu...
 Electricity polls are being erected along a street in the tsunami-ravaged town of Minamisanriku in Miyagi Prefecture Sunday, March 27, 2011, followin...
 A Japanese walks through a flooded street in the tsunami and earthquake ravaged city of Kesennuma, northeastern Japan, Sunday, March 27, 2011. Japan ...
 A protester in protective mask holds a placard during an anti nuclear rally in Tokyo, Sunday, March 27, 2011. Leaked water in Unit 2 of the Fukushima...
 A person stands by missing people notes taped on windows over two weeks after a magnitude-9 quake in Natori, northeastern Japan, Sunday, March 27, 20...
 A Japanese woman rests in front of her damaged home in the tsunami and earthquake ravaged city of Kesennuma, northeastern Japan, Sunday, March 27, 20...
 CORRECTS PHOTOGRAPHER'S NAME - A boy walks among evacuees from Fukushima Prefecture as they settle in an evacuation center at Saitama Super Arena in ...
 Survivors offer sake by a statue of Ebisu, the Japanese god of fishermen and one of the Seven Gods of Fortune, in front of a destroyed house in the d...
 A member of Japan Self-Defense Force cleans mud-covered items such as photo albums and school reports one by one before returning to their owners in ...
 In this image released by Japan Ground Self-Defense Force via Kyodo News, smoke billows from Unit 3 at the stricken Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power ...
 This image released by Japan Ground Self-Defense Force via Kyodo News shows Unit 4 at the stricken Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Okumamac...
 U.S. C-17, above, and C-130 cargo planes, carrying fresh water for the March 11 earthquake and tsunami survivors, land on Sendai airport, Miyagi Pref...
 Evacuees from Fukushima, where the troubled Dai-ichi nuclear power plant is located, receive meals for dinner at an evacuation center in Saitama, Jap...
 In this image released by Japan Ground Self-Defense Force via Kyodo News, smoke billows from Unit 3 at the stricken Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power ...
 This image released by Japan Ground Self-Defense Force via Kyodo News shows Unit 4 at the stricken Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Okumamac...
 Girls jump rope in a classroom of a school which serves as a shelter for survivors of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Rikuzentakata, Iwate Pre...
 Elementary school children share a chuckle as they reunite for the first time since the March 11 earthquake at Masuda Nishi elementary school in Nato...
 Tokyo Metro Police officers in protective suites search for missing residents at the site of a giant tsunami triggered by the March 11 earthquake in ...
 Japan Ground Self Defense Force soldiers search for missing residents at the site of a giant tsunami triggered by the March 11 earthquake in Soma, Fu...
 A water pump is lifted by crane onto a U.S. military boat to ship to Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant at Onahama port, Iwaki, Fukushima Prefect...

Japan Earthquake

Japanese workers shovel dirt on to coffins containing victims of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami during a mass funeral in Yamamoto, northeastern ...

Japan Earthquake

Japan Ground Self Defense Force personnel conduct search operation at the site of tsunami stricken town in Kesennuma, Miyagi Prefecture, northeastern...

Japan Earthquake

Soldiers carry a tsunami victim's body from rubble after the March 11 earthquake in Kamaishi, Iwate Prefecture, Northern Japan, Sunday, March 27, 201...

Japan Earthquake

Evacuees chat near laundry at the main floor of a gymnasium that has turned into an evacuation center in Yamagata, Yamagata Prefecture, northern Japa...

Japan Earthquake

A Japanese doll sits among the rubble in the devastated city of Kesennuma in Miyagi Prefecure Sunday, March 27, 2011, after the March 11 powerful ear...

Japan Earthquake

A protester holds a placard during an antinuclear rally in Tokyo Sunday, March 27, 2011. Leaked water in Unit 2 of the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant measu...

Japan Earthquake

A Japanese man carries his few belongings after visiting his destroyed home in the tsunami and earthquake ravaged city of Kesennuma, northeastern Jap...

Japan Earthquake

Survivors search for belongings in the devastated city where a ship was swept on the ground in Kesennuma in Miyagi Prefecture Sunday, March 27, 2011 ...

APTOPIX Japan Earthquake

A protester holds a placard during an antinuclear rally in Tokyo Sunday, March 27, 2011. Leaked water in Unit 2 of the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant measu...

Japan Earthquake

Electricity polls are being erected along a street in the tsunami-ravaged town of Minamisanriku in Miyagi Prefecture Sunday, March 27, 2011, followin...

Japan Earthquake Dying Coast

A Japanese walks through a flooded street in the tsunami and earthquake ravaged city of Kesennuma, northeastern Japan, Sunday, March 27, 2011. Japan ...

APTOPIX Japan Earthquake

A protester in protective mask holds a placard during an anti nuclear rally in Tokyo, Sunday, March 27, 2011. Leaked water in Unit 2 of the Fukushima...

Japan Earthquake

A person stands by missing people notes taped on windows over two weeks after a magnitude-9 quake in Natori, northeastern Japan, Sunday, March 27, 20...

Japan Earthquake Dying Coast

A Japanese woman rests in front of her damaged home in the tsunami and earthquake ravaged city of Kesennuma, northeastern Japan, Sunday, March 27, 20...

CORRECTION Japan Earthquake

CORRECTS PHOTOGRAPHER'S NAME - A boy walks among evacuees from Fukushima Prefecture as they settle in an evacuation center at Saitama Super Arena in ...

Japan Earthquake Dying Coast

Survivors offer sake by a statue of Ebisu, the Japanese god of fishermen and one of the Seven Gods of Fortune, in front of a destroyed house in the d...

Japan Earthquake

A member of Japan Self-Defense Force cleans mud-covered items such as photo albums and school reports one by one before returning to their owners in ...

Japan Earthquake

In this image released by Japan Ground Self-Defense Force via Kyodo News, smoke billows from Unit 3 at the stricken Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power ...

Japan Earthquake

This image released by Japan Ground Self-Defense Force via Kyodo News shows Unit 4 at the stricken Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Okumamac...

Japan Earthquake

U.S. C-17, above, and C-130 cargo planes, carrying fresh water for the March 11 earthquake and tsunami survivors, land on Sendai airport, Miyagi Pref...

Japan Earthquake

Evacuees from Fukushima, where the troubled Dai-ichi nuclear power plant is located, receive meals for dinner at an evacuation center in Saitama, Jap...

Japan Earthquake

In this image released by Japan Ground Self-Defense Force via Kyodo News, smoke billows from Unit 3 at the stricken Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power ...

Japan Earthquake

This image released by Japan Ground Self-Defense Force via Kyodo News shows Unit 4 at the stricken Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Okumamac...

Japan Earthquake

Girls jump rope in a classroom of a school which serves as a shelter for survivors of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Rikuzentakata, Iwate Pre...

Japan Earthquake

Elementary school children share a chuckle as they reunite for the first time since the March 11 earthquake at Masuda Nishi elementary school in Nato...

Japan Earthquake

Tokyo Metro Police officers in protective suites search for missing residents at the site of a giant tsunami triggered by the March 11 earthquake in ...

Japan Earthquake

Japan Ground Self Defense Force soldiers search for missing residents at the site of a giant tsunami triggered by the March 11 earthquake in Soma, Fu...

Japan Earthquake

A water pump is lifted by crane onto a U.S. military boat to ship to Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant at Onahama port, Iwaki, Fukushima Prefect...

Highly radioactive iodine seeping from Japan's damaged nuclear complex may be making its way into seawater farther north of the plant than previously thought, officials said Monday, adding to radiation concerns as the crisis stretches into a third week.
Mounting problems, including badly miscalculated radiation figures and no place to store dangerously contaminated water, have stymied emergency workers struggling to cool down the overheating plant and avert a disaster with global implications.
The coastal Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant, located 140 miles (220 kilometers) northeast of Tokyo, has been leaking radiation since a magnitude-9.0 quake on March 11 triggered a tsunami that engulfed the complex. The wave knocked out power to the system that cools the dangerously hot nuclear fuel rods.
On Monday, workers resumed the laborious yet urgent task of pumping out the hundreds of tons of radioactive water inside several buildings at the six-unit plant. The water must be removed and safely stored before work can continue to power up the plant's cooling system, nuclear safety officials said.
The contaminated water, discovered last Thursday, has been emitting radiation that measured more than 1,000 millisieverts per hour in a recent reading at Unit 2 _ some 100,000 times normal amounts, plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. said.
As officials scrambled to determine the source of the radioactive water, chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano repeated Monday that the contaminated water in Unit 2 appeared to be due to a temporary partial meltdown of the reactor core.
He called it "very unfortunate" but said the spike in radiation appeared limited to the unit.
However, new readings show contamination in the ocean has spread about a mile (1.6 kilometers) farther north of the nuclear site than before. Radioactive iodine-131 was discovered just offshore from Unit 5 and Unit 6 at a level 1,150 times higher than normal, Hidehiko Nishiyama, a spokesman for the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, told reporters Monday.
He had said earlier there was no link between the radioactive water leaking inside the plant and the radiation in the sea. On Monday, though, he reversed that position, saying he does suspect that radioactive water from the plant may indeed be leaking into the ocean.
Closer to the plant, radioactivity in seawater tested about 1,250 times higher than normal last week and climbed to 1,850 times normal over the weekend. Nishiyama said the increase was a concern, but also said the area is not a source of seafood and that the contamination posed no immediate threat to human health.
Up to 600 people are working inside the plant in shifts. Nuclear safety officials say workers' time inside the crippled units is closely monitored to minimize their exposure to radioactivity, but two workers were hospitalized Thursday when they suffered burns after stepping into contaminated water. They were to be released from the hospital Monday.
Meanwhile, a strong earthquake shook the region and prompted a brief tsunami alert early Monday, adding to the sense of unease across Japan. The quake off the battered Miyagi prefecture coast in the northeast measured magnitude-6.5, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.
No damage or injuries were reported, and TEPCO said the quake would not affect work to stabilize the plant. Scores of strong earthquakes have rattled Japan over the past two weeks.
Confusion at the plant has intensified fears that the nuclear crisis will last weeks, months or years amid alarms over radiation making its way into produce, raw milk and even tap water as far as Tokyo.
On Sunday, TEPCO officials said radiation in leaking water in the Unit 2 reactor was 10 million times above normal _ an apparent spike that sent employees fleeing the unit. The day ended with officials saying the huge figure had been miscalculated and offering apologies.
"The number is not credible," TEPCO spokesman Takashi Kurita said late Sunday. "We are very sorry."
A few hours later, TEPCO Vice President Sakae Muto said a new test had found radiation levels 100,000 times above normal _ far better than the first results, though still very high.
But he ruled out having an independent monitor oversee the various checks despite the errors.
Muto acknowledged it could take a long time to clean up the Fukushima complex.
"We cannot say at this time how many months or years it will take," he said.
___
Associated Press writers Tomoko A. Hosaka, Mayumi Saito, Yuri Kageyama and Mari Yamaguchi contributed to this report.


Updated : 2021-10-17 05:09 GMT+08:00