Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the embattled operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, just released a new video showing highly radioactive water inside the damaged number 3 nuclear reactor building. There were four reactor buildings crippled after the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. The discovery of highly radioactive water on the floor of the building could mean that the water leaked from inside the reactor itself and that it was in contact with the melted-down fuel core, although Tepco says that it is unlikely that the water has leaked outside of the building.

Image © Jorge Rodriguez

TEPCO said in a statement that the leaked water’s radiation levels were measured at 24 million becquerels per liter. The temperature of the water was recorded at 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius) compared to the outside air temps of 47 degrees Fahrenheit (7 degrees Celsius).

In addition to the radioactive water leak in building number 3, a record high level of radiation was recently detected underneath reactor number 2’s well facing the ocean. Tepco measured the amount of beta rays released from radioactive strontium-90 and found that the radioactivity was more than 2.7 million becquerels per liter seeping into the earth and contaminating the groundwater. The World Health Organization recommends no more than 10 becquerels per liter for safe drinking water. According to Wikipedia, strontium-90 “is a radioactive isotope of strontium produced by nuclear fission with a half-life of 28.8 years.”

A government report released last December concluded that it may take more than five years to stop all radioactive leaks at the site of the worst atomic accident since Chernobyl in 1986. The entire cleanup of the site is expected to take more than 40 years.

Via New York Times

Lead image via Steve Herman