Radioactivity near Japan's Fukushima Plant Higher than ReportedWorld | March 30, 2011, Wednesday // 08:31| views
The Fukushima nuclear plant has been damaged in the March 11 devastating 9.0-magnitude earthquake, which triggered a tsunami. Photo by EPA/BGNES
The water near the reactor 1 of Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant has been found to have a much higher level of radioactive iodine than previously reported.
Japan's nuclear safety watchdog said on Tuesday that the water contained radioactive iodine at 3,355 times the legal limit, CNN reported.
However, an official said that the iodine would have deteriorated considerably by the time it reached people.
Workers at the Fukushima plant are trying to prevent radioactive water from seeping into the sea.
The highly radioactive liquid has been found inside and outside several reactor buildings.
Meanwhile, the president of the Fukushima operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, Masataka Shimizu, has been hospitalized and is treated for high blood pressure and dizziness.
He has barely been seen in public since the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan on March 11 and damaged the Fukushima plant.
Earlier reports stated that the level of radioactive iodine was 1,850 times the legal limit.
"Iodine 131 ahs a half-life of eight days, and even considering its concentration in marine life, it will have deteriorated considerably by the time it reaches people," said Hidehiko Nishiyama, Deputy Director-General of Japan's nuclear safety agency.
Iodine 131 was blamed for the high incidence of thyroid cancer among children exposed to fallout from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986, CNN reports.
The Japanese PM Naoto Kan discussed the crisis at the nuclear plant with US President Barack Obama, who also pledged to help people affected by the earthquake and tsunami.
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