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New nuclear leak detected at Japan Fukushima plant

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The operator of the Japanese tsunami-hit Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant says sensors have detected a new leak of highly radioactive water into the sea.

Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) said on Sunday that the sensors had detected contamination levels of 50 to 70 times more than the already high radioactive rate at the plant, in water pouring into a nearby bay.

The sensors, which detected the fresh leak earlier in the day, were reportedly rigged to a gutter that poured rain and ground water at the plant into the bay.

“We have shut the gutter (from pouring water to the bay). We are currently monitoring the sensors at the gutter and seeing the trend,” an unnamed TEPCO spokesman said.

The levels fell later in the day to about 10 to 20 times more than normal levels.

TEPCO said the cause of the rise in the contamination levels is not yet known.

The reactor unit 5 was offline but loaded with fuel rods when the plant was damaged by a massive earthquake and tsunami back in March 2011. A nine-magnitude earthquake triggered a tsunami that inflicted heavy damage on the six-reactor Fukushima plant. The cooling systems of the plant’s reactors were knocked out, leading to meltdowns and the release of radioactive material.

More than 18,000 people were left dead or missing in the disaster.


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