TEPCO finds highly toxic strontium in Fukushima plant groundwater

By Osamu Tsukimori and Yuka Obayashi

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2013.

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

Login to comment

I knew and told that they are going to revise, this time this is really as bad as it could be , 500,000 becquerels per liter in the groundwater.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Everybody knows the fukushima nuclear saga has only began. What is surprizing is that with such mess and instead of concentrating on clearing the mess and caring for the sick and displaced, Abe is shamelessly peddling japan nuke technology globally when it is at its lowest popularity. Thats real reckless monkey business....

20 ( +19 / -0 )

They only ever talk about the cessium...

8 ( +7 / -0 )

TEPCO did not believe any of the strontium-90 found in groundwater tests had leaked into the ocean, Fukuda said.

tepco shouldn't believe, they should know!

13 ( +13 / -0 )

Give the ground water to medical research, strontium-90 has a lot of uses in cancer treatment.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Total boobs, they are still using the same "cooling" equipment from the first day, but have managed to employee hundreds of staff, build a bunch of stuff... Of course who is profiting from all that temp staff and construction?

Governments needs to intervene and fix this, nothing is safe.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

So, first there is this one:

TEPCO did not believe any of the strontium-90 found in groundwater tests had leaked into the ocean

Then there is this one:

the company reversed a claim that the groundwater flowing into the damaged basements of reactor buildings was not contaminated.

We believe TEPCO because..... Oh, hang on! No, we don't believe them at all!

2 ( +2 / -0 )


3 ( +4 / -1 )

Testing of groundwater showed the reading for strontium-90 increased from 8.6 becquerels to 1,000 becquerels per liter between Dec 8, 2012 and May 24, Fukuda said. The elevated reading of strontium is more than 30 times the legal limit of 30 becquerels per liter.

Well, if the testing of groundwater shows strontium, one would presume that the ocean would show strontium as well, since it is likely that not all groundwater flows only into the basement of the plant, but okay, let's suspend judgement. Could someone, perhaps, walk over to the ocean and see what the reading is?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Water with this volatile radionuclide has been and is still being released into the ocean environment. Also --connected to the initial explosions and months of released radioactive materials-- it has been found as far afield as Yokohama, it's the constant focus on Cesium-134 that has swept this truth out of view. 90Sr is cause of leukemia, it is an appalling isotope that the body recognizes as calcium...

6 ( +6 / -0 )

And Abe's trying to flog Japanese nuclear technology to Europe?

11 ( +11 / -0 )

It's amazing that overseas countries are still so convinced in the safety and efficacy of the Japanese Nuclear Power Industry that they still want to buy their products and services.

They obviously never read the press articles, reports and other media coming out of Japan.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

I just hope something can be done! I have come to loathe all things nuclear.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

"TEPCO did not believe any of the strontium-90 found in groundwater tests had leaked into the ocean"

This sentence has already prompted a comment, which is understandable. But it is reported differently elsewhere. On the BBC, for example, "Mr Fukuda said that samples from the sea showed no rise in either substance..."

And this one, "The company has constantly revised.." Should that be "revised" or "updated"?

It's right to take a critical view of TEPCO, but more factual reporting and less loaded language would be more helpful.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

i bet they continue to dump that water in the ocean

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Can anyone tell me if this effects the drinking water? How about the drinking water in Tokyo? is there a problem to be concerned about?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

kiss: "Can anyone tell me if this effects the drinking water?"

They'll release that info in about 30 years.

To be fair, you can't ENTIRELY blame Japanese tech on this and/or Abe for pushing it abroad. After all, it's more lax rules here, a complete lack of enforcement of the rules, gross negligence by both the government and the electric companies (including using tech that should have been out of operation years ago), poor planning, and seismic activity that are to blame than the tech itself. NPPs and such tech should not be pushed AT ALL, but it's not like Japan has cornered the market on bad tech or anything -- they just should never, ever be used as a model of a successful utility company or government/company practice in general.

Back to TEPCO, no surprised here they are YET AGAIN reversing their statements and saying what everyone else already suspects or knows. The most irritating thing is that the government refuses to simply step in (not that they'd know what to do either), allow international professionals in to help, and throw a bunch of TEPCO execs new and old behind bars. Mark my words, they will dump the water with or without permission, and less than a year down the road strontium and other toxic chemicals will be found along the east coast of the nation, with TEPCO saying, "We had no know of knowing!" I'll never eat fish from that area again (that is, if I can find any labeling).

3 ( +3 / -0 )

This well they have dug is between No.2 reactor building and the sea, not a great distance.

The key will be buried in this paragraph from above: "Testing of groundwater outside the turbine building of reactor No. 2 had shown the level of strontium-90 had increased by more than 100 times between December 2012 and May this year, Fukuda said. He said it was likely that radioactive material entered the environment after water poured over the melted fuel in unit No. 2 and leaked out via the turbine building, which is located between the reactor and the ocean."

So.... the concrete turbine building is leaking water somehow. This seems clear.

My first question is whether this water is really corium cooling water that has leaked out. If so, why has strontium increased by 100 times in the last six months?

Why are they not discussing the possibility that the melted corium has finally broken through the last of the protective concrete floor, ie entered real meltdown???

3 ( +3 / -0 )

TEPCO will surely pay more attention if they were held responsible for their actions but since they are above the law , that is the only kind of BS We can expect from them.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Well of course the BBC aired Fukuda comments because the BBC have downplayed the severity of the Fukushima accident from the start. They have aired several programmes assuring people that the accident wasn't that bad and that nuclear power is wonderful and nothing to be concerned about because oh yes guess what the UK government wants to build several nuclear power stations all over the UK in the coming years.....,, makes me sick!!!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

So, what is going to happen to the rice crop which farmers planted 15 km from the power plant? Inside so-called "no-go zone" is it food? Or only poison? Will Government keep this rice away from our kids? How can we trust? Strontium school lunch? Strontium O-bento? This is suicide of a country, I think.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

So, what is going to happen

Since when foreigners are stating something against the radiation poisoning, the only answer we get is "if you are not happy go back home" adding to the fact that we cannot vote, this means that only Japanese can make this to change if they really want, otherwise, yes, we will find this rice at school and mostly everywhere along with all the other isotopes, because don't think only SR-90 is spreading.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I wish the current management at tepco would hoist the white flag and move on.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

This is EXACTLY the type of tech the likes of Turkey, eastern Europe, etc need! Keep pushing Japanese "safety nuclear" tech, dropkick Abe! Get that Nikkei index up!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Well, all things are possible, but let's say for a moment that the strontium groundwater ISn't getting into the ocean near Fukushima.. That means it's seeping into some kind of aquifer near the plant, and traveling somewhere. It would eventually get to the ocean somewhere, but what path could it take, and what area would be affected? Any geologists out there who know the lay of the land?

0 ( +0 / -0 )


I think this latest event puts an end to any option of TEPCO dumping low contaminated water into the ocean and will have to come up with a new idea for dealing with the ever increasing quantity of contaminated water. TEPCO needs more cleaning units, probably built off site but nearby so it at least increase the volume of water it cleaning.

Isn't there some confusion as to the ocean dumping plan? If I recall correctly, it called for ground water to be pumped directly into the sea before it had a chance to be contaminated by passing through the reacto buildings. That makes even more sense now.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Once purchased, the Fukushima rice just becomes "rice", and unless needed for an emergency, will be released into the general market in 2-3 years time.

It's like money laundering, but with edible money.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

That is why I only eat imported products.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Shouldn't it read 'Government controlled TEPCO finds highly ....' Or has the media forgotten.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Now just have to raise the levels of what amount of strontium-90 that is acceptable in your drinking water. End of problem, except for those drinking the water. Why not bottle the water and send to the former officials of TEPCO and the former government officials that okayed everything over the years and the present officials of TEPCO. I am sure that they won't mind storying it at home.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

why not they use simple language for normal citizen, they always talk about toxic strontium, Becquerel , contamination etc etc.... Just tell the normal citizen that this place is not safe any more and they need to find another safe place forever

2 ( +2 / -0 )


@Star-Viking There have been several plans being considered including one demanded by the gov't to build a freezing wall to stop the ground water leaking into the reactor buildings. Another was to dig wells before the ground water reached the reactor buildings and pump it into the ocean. But then TEPCO discovered higher levels of cesium than they first thought. Another was somehow to divert the ground water actually reached the plant. I think that finally one is still a viable option but I think all the options of releasing any water from within the plant site should be now out of the question.

I think the groundwater diversion plan was still withing the boundaries of the plant, at least that is what a graphic on NHK News portrayed at the time. It still should be pushed, as it removes one problem, groundwater infiltration of the reactor buildings, from the equation.

TEPCO needs to come up with an answer why the level of strontium is 100 higher in the turbine basement than it was at the end of last year, only six months ago. This surly must be connected with the melted fuel, probably in the No3 reactor building since its the one which suffered the most extensive damage from the explosions. At least one professor suggested more then 18 months ago, that he believed the melted fuel from the No3 reactor had escaped from the reactor containment vessel.

The Strontium-90 could also have been propelled from the reactor vessel in the hydrogen explosion, and subsequently washed out of the building by either cooling water or groundwater.

0 ( +0 / -0 )


I think TEPCO has some theories as to what could be happening in the reactor 2 building, which is a bit better than not having a clue. Of course, they can't be sure until they get in to physically check - but the amount and rate of leaking material could provide valuable points to the situation inside.

All water at the Fukushima site, whether its groundwater, cooling and even sea water inside the sea wall is contaminated with something or other. TEPCO covered the seabed inside the seawall and now needs to close off the seawall completely so none of the contaminated waters can reach the open sea, which is currently happening. TEPCO bought that enormous floating platform for some tens of millions and could be used again to pump out the seawater from inside the seawall.

Closing the seawall off could lead to changes in the water table under the plant buildings, which could have major consequences for the buildings' stability. As for the water barge, I haven't heard much about that recently. I wonder what its status is?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Good question about the water barge. Presumably it will just sit there until it rusts through.

As to Reactor No.2, I seem to remember that an actual hole was blown in the torus at the time of the hydrogen explosions.

I suspect that all this sudden talk about water is yet another year too late. Tepco really cannot handle the 'normal' amount of water being radiated, let alone all the extra water at this time of year from the rainy season or potential typhoons. Pray to the gods season?

0 ( +0 / -0 )


As to Reactor No.2, I seem to remember that an actual hole was blown in the torus at the time of the hydrogen explosions.

Ah! Thanks for that! Actually, my reference to reactor number 2 was a typo - I meant 3. Doh!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'd imagine we'd be using an updated robot for that Zichi.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I think it will take less than decades. I think the manufacturers need to move away from trying to design a robot that can go into the plant and out again many times: a disposable but robust machine is needed, possibly with smaller bots it can drop off to make temporary investigations before they get fried.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

That's true Zichi, but if the passageways are not capable of being used then why not risk blocking them to get a good idea as to the state of the reactor?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites