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Radioactive water may leak into Pacific: Tepco

(Xinhua)

09:47, December 06, 2011

TOKYO, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- The operator of Japan's quake damaged Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant on Monday confirmed that radioactive water from the plant may have leaked into the ocean, sparking fresh concerns about the nation's ongoing nuclear crisis.

Asia's largest utility firm Tokyo Electric Power Company, also known as Tepco, said that around 45 tons of water contaminated with radioactive substances caesium and iodine had likely run into the ocean from a gutter system into which water had leaked from a condensation unit.

Junichi Matsumoto, a general manager at Tepco, said the leaked water contained 16,000 becquerels per liter of radioactive cesium 134 and 29,000 becquerels of cesium 137, surpassing government safety limits by 267 and 322 times respectively.

Local media reports have also said that the contaminated water may also contain other radioactive substances such as strontium, known to cause bone cancer in humans.

Tepco officials told the press on Monday that contaminated water leaked from a desalination unit through a crack in a concrete wall into a gutter. The gutter connects with a drain that flows freely into the Pacific Ocean, the utility said.

The remaining contaminated water that leaked from the desalination unit was being pumped from the building, Tepco added.

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