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Highly radioactive water is leaking into the Pacific Ocean from a crack in a concrete pit outside a crippled reactor at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power facility, an official with the plant’s owner said Saturday.

Water from the two-meter deep, concrete-lined basin could be seen escaping into the sea through a roughly 20-cm (8-inch) crack, an official the Tokyo Electric Power Company told reporters Saturday afternoon. But the company could not explain how the water was getting into the sump.

Officials announced Thursday, based on samples taken the previous afternoon 330 meters (361 yards) off the plant, that seawater showed levels of iodine-131 measuring 4,385 times above the standard and cesium-137 at 527 times beyond normal. Experts say the latter radioactive isotope may be a greater concern, because it persists longer since it takes 30 years to lose half its radiation — compared to an eight-day half-life for the iodine-131 isotope.

Radiation levels in the pit have been measured over 1,000 millisieverts per hour, which is more than 330 times the dose an average resident of an industrialized country naturally receives in a year. Utility company officials said Saturday that the plan was to to fill the sump with concrete in order to stop the leakage.

The discovery comes after a feverish search in recent days to explain a sharp spike in contamination in seawater measured just off the plant.

Highly radioactive water is leaking into the Pacific Ocean from a crack in a concrete pit outside a crippled reactor at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power facility, an official with the plant’s owner said Saturday.

Water from the two-meter deep, concrete-lined basin could be seen escaping into the sea through a roughly 20-cm (8-inch) crack, an official the Tokyo Electric Power Company told reporters Saturday afternoon. But the company could not explain how the water was getting into the sump.

Radiation levels in the pit have been measured over 1,000 millisieverts per hour, which is more than 330 times the dose an average resident of an industrialized country naturally receives in a year. Utility company officials said Saturday that the plan was to to fill the sump with concrete in order to stop the leakage.

The discovery comes after a feverish search in recent days to explain a sharp spike in contamination in seawater measured just off the plant.

Courtesy Of CNN.COM

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