Water radiation levels at Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant more than doubled in the span of one night to levels 14,000 times the maximum level for safe drinking water, owner TEPCO admitted Thursday, setting new records for drainage ditch contamination as toxic spills and heavy rains continue to ravage the crippled facility.
Water samples taken on Wednesday from a drainage ditch near tanks storing contaminated water found beta radiation levels of 140,000 becquerels per liter. This is more than double the 59,000 becquerels measurement taken Tuesday at the exact same location, TEPCO announced in an email statement reported by Bloomberg.
The spike in radiation appears to be widespread. Water samples from another ditch measured at 15,000 becquerels, as compared to 2,200 becquerels in an Oct. 1 sample from the same location.
While these levels are lower than the 80 million becquerels found in water spilled from a storage tank in August, the new findings mark the highest level yet for water found in drainage ditches.
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Bloomberg reports, "Beta radiation includes strontium-90 linked to causing cancers such as leukemia."
A TEPCO official stated, "We believe it stems from the effects of rain that has fallen until now that has flushed out radioactive materials from the surrounding areas into the drainage ditch," The Asahi Shimbun reports.
Japan is also bracing for possible impacts from Typhoons Francisco and Lekima this weekend.