03/26/2011, 00.00
JAPAN
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Sea near Fukushima contaminated. Radiation 1,250 times over safety limit

Radioactive iodine leaked from the plant could also damage ground water beneath the reactors. The Japanese Agency for nuclear safety reduces alert level and hopes for a quick re-absorption of radiation by tides. According to Prime Minister Khan, the situation remains unpredictable.
Tokyo (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Radiation levels in the sea off Fukushima has climbed. Radioiodine levels present in coastal waters close to the nuclear plant are over 1250 times safety limits and and could contaminate groundwater under the reactors.

Today, Hidehiko Nishiyama, a spokesman for the Japanese Agency for Nuclear Safety, partially reduced concerns over large scale contamination and explained that the radioactive iodine decays after about eight days. According to Nishiyama contaminated particles will be dragged off by the tides and this will allow the algae to absorb them.

But a high risk of danger remains around the power plant, where yesterday two workers affected by exposure to radiation were transported to hospital.Nishiyama also confirmed the news of damage to No. 3 reactor, first reported yesterday by the officials of the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO).

The situation worries Prime Minister Naoto Khan, who described the situation at Fukushima as unpredictable.

Yesterday, cabinet secretary Yukio Edanoha announced an investigation to determine why the radioactive water leaked into the sea. To date, reactor coolant has reached levels of radiation 10 thousand times higher than normal.

In Fukushima Prefecture, the government has banned the public consumption of 11 types of green leafy vegetables to prevent contamination. Importers of Japanese products abroad have registered in recent days radiation in some food, but the amount does not pose a danger to health. China, Singapore, Hong Kong and other Asian importers have already put a ban on imports of certain vegetables, seafood and dairy products. Australia, the European Union, the United States and Russia have followed suit.

Meanwhile, the death toll from the earthquake and tsunami continues to climb, which so far amounts to 10 thousand confirmed dead and more than 17,440 missing feared dead.

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