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Radioactive trench water not confirmed to have overflowed: Japan's nuke regulatory body

March 29, 2011 - Tokyo

Radioactive water that has been filling up underground trenches connected to the crippled reactors at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has not been confirmed to have overflowed, the country's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) has said.

The nuclear regulatory body said that the levels of water in the trenches, some 55 to 70 meters away from the shore, have been stable and the plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) has taken measures to stop the water from flowing out.

The agency also said that it has ordered TEPCO to strengthen monitoring of the trench water.

Meanwhile, the operator said that water in the trenches is believed to have come both from the reactor's buildings and tsunami waves that followed the 9.0-magnitude earthquake on March 11, Kyodo news agency reports.

High levels of radiation exceeding 1,000 millisieverts per hour were detected in water in a trench outside the No. 2 reactor's building, with TEPCO suspecting the contaminated water originated from the reactor's core, where fuel rods have partially melted.

At a radiation level of 1,000 millisieverts per hour, people could suffer a drop in the count of lymphocytes - a type of white blood cell - in just 30 minutes, and half could die within 30 days by remaining in such a condition for four hours.


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