Tritium soaring in water at No. 1 plant


Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Sunday that 600,000 becquerels per liter of tritium has been detected in groundwater at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.

It’s the first time such a high level of tritium, an isotope of hydrogen, has been measured in the plant’s groundwater, Tepco said.

The water, sampled Friday, came from an observation well about 6 meters west of the plant’s port. The well is the closest to the sea of the five wells used for radiation monitoring.

On July 1, the tritium level in the same well was 510,000 becquerels per liter, Tepco said.

The utility also said it had measured, on Wednesday, a seawater tritium level of 2,300 becquerels per liter — the highest so far — near the water intakes of reactors 1 to 4.

Tritium concentrations in groundwater have become denser on the north side of the intakes, but Tepco also said it has yet to determine whether the tainted water has been leaking into the sea.

A Nuclear Regulation Authority official recently said contaminated groundwater from the plant, which is being fed cooling water from outside, may be seeping into the ocean and that the matter must be addressed carefully because data is limited.

  • Max Erimo

    A very sombre article. Maybe the foreign media tend to sensationalize things, but as tritium is well known to cause bone cancer and the levels are so high, one would expect a lttle more serious article from the Japanese media. They should be pushing and questioning TEPCO, also the government.
    Mr. Abe should be focussed on the real problems that face Japan and not revising the constitution. The opposition parties should be pointing out these things and then the public may pay them some heed.
    In a country where the number of children is already dwindling and weighed down under the an aging population, exposing the public to cancer causing substances is unbelievable.
    I would ask the media to stop colluding with the large companies and hold them up to scrutiny and tyhe government to work for the people.
    Alot to ask but someone must look to the future.

    • spike91nz

      The media are owned by the “large companies”. Their independence was compromised a good while back. Corporate control is not only bad for society it is, in the final analysis, bad for corporations.

  • Mark Garrett

    Considering Canada has lowered their safe level standard from 7,000 becquerels per liter down to 20bpl, one might be inclined to be concerned about 600,000bpl in and around Fukushima. However, I’m sure the pro-nuclear minions who frequent this site will be along shortly to put their shiny spin on the situation.

  • Polemarchus

    I am a lot more concerned with the transuranic and Group 1 and Group 2 elements released into the environment than with the tritium. This is an accident scenario, and should not be compared with releases from an operating plant.

    I would advise against drinking either the groundwater or seawater near Fulashima. However, there a many more effective ways to induce bone cancer than tritium and if you are exposed to fission and decay products in an accident environment, there are more likely suspects.

    This article does point out the need to first contain, then to decontaminate this site as quickly as practical.

    While I am pro-nuclear (disclaimer: I used to work in the industry in PWR plants), I am not a minion. Those of us trained in RADCON and Health Physics understand the very real risks and no one who has ever worked on preparing PRA studies will “put a shiny spin” on anything. This site is seriously contaminated and will remain so long after all of us are dead and buried.

    The teachable moment from this highly avoidable disaster is: high level waste should be removed from the site as soon as practicable and sent to a long-term storage facility for vitrification and entombment. Keeping 30 years of used fuel in a “swimming pool” on-site is an inherently bad idea and the environmentalists who believe otherwise are dangerously deluded. The belief that blocking the construction of long-term storage will result in the decision to stop creating waste only facilitates catastrophes on this order of magnitude.