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High levels of radiation found at Fukushima plant

Nuclear & Energy

The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant says it has found high levels of radioactive cesium in groundwater in the compound.

Officials of Tokyo Electric Power Company say water taken on Wednesday from a monitoring well contained 460,000 becquerels of cesium per liter. Water from another well contained 424,000 becquerels.

The wells are several meters west of the No. 2 reactor building. There are about 40 around the reactor buildings.

Officials say the levels are 800 to 900 times the previous peak level of 500 becquerels per liter.

TEPCO officials say they don't know what caused the rise. They speculate a recent typhoon may be to blame.

They have stopped pumping water from the 2 wells to conduct an investigation.

TEPCO began pumping up groundwater from the wells on a trial basis in August. They started full-scale operations last week.

The utility plans to treat the tainted groundwater and discharge it into the ocean to deal with the buildup of contaminated water.

But local people strongly oppose the plan. TEPCO has yet to discharge water into the ocean.

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