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Radiation Levels in Seawater Near Fukushima Spike to Two-Year High

TEPCO admits cesium levels measured Wednesday were 13 times higher than day before

- Andrea Germanos, staff writer

In another sign of the ongoing crisis at Fukushima, radiation levels in seawater next to the plant spiked to a two-year high, TEPCO admitted on Thursday.

TEPCO officials at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. (Photo: TEPCO)The plant operator said that levels of radioactive Cesium-134 and Cesium-137 measured in water samples on Wednesday were 13 times higher than levels measured the day before.

The latest water samples also have "high density of tritium and strontium," a TEPCO spokesman told Spain's Efe news. Nuclear expert Dr. Arjun Makhijani previously warned that the strontium being released from the disaster-stricken plant warranted particular concern because it "much more dangerous" than the cesium being released.

Agence France-Presse reports that

The readings were taken in the harbor right next to the Fukushima plant, hundreds of meters from the port entrance that connects to the Pacific Ocean.

This summer, officials with Japan's Nuclear Regulation Authority revealed that they "strongly suspected" contamination of the sea had been going on for two years.

TEPCO blamed Wednesday's surge in radioactivity on construction work near the plant's No. 2 building.

Also on Wednesday, workers at the plant were doused with radioactive water when they mistakenly detached a pipe connected to a desalination system, the second mishap in a week when a worker at Fukushima accidentally turned off power to pumps for a water cooling system.

As mishap after mishap continues, anti-nuclear activist Harvey Wasserman has written that we "know all too well at Fukushima is that the world's worst atomic catastrophe is very far from over.  The only thing predictable is that worse news will come."

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