A view of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant
Source: Press TV
The levels of highly radioactive water keep rising on the Pacific seabed in close proximity to Japan's crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
The plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), said on Tuesday that the seabed samples collected three kilometers from Minamisoma and another three kilometers from Naraha, both in Fukushima Prefecture, contained 98 to 190 becquerels of radioactive iodine per kilogram and 1,200 to 1,400 becquerels of radioactive cesium, Kyodo news agency reported.
The high levels of radioactive materials were detected from samples collected last Friday from the seabed at points 20-30 meters deep.
TEPCO said that the radioactive substances may have gone down into the sea after being released into the air from the plant, or may have been carried by contaminated water that seeped from the plant.
The Fukushima plant has leaked radiation into air, soil and the Pacific Ocean ever since it was hit by a 9-magnitude earthquake and a devastating tsunami on March 11.
The tremor triggered a nuclear crisis by knocking out power to cooling systems at the nuclear power plant on Japan's northeast coast.
TEPCO has announced that it will manage to reduce radiation leaks from its Fukushima plant within three months and will also cool reactors and control the radiation within six to nine months.
In early April, Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency raised the severity level of the situation at Fukushima from 5 to 7 -- the worst on an international scale.
According to the agency, the amount of radiation emissions at the Fukushima plant was equivalent to 10 percent of that in the Chernobyl disaster in 1986.
An explosion and ensuing fire in Chernobyl nuclear power plant resulted in the release of radioactivity into the environment, claiming the lives of at least 4,000 people.
The number of the dead and missing from Japan's March 11 quake and tsunami now stands at over 28,000, according to the Japanese National Police Agency.